This black-and-white Douglas Aircraft Company “welcome film” dates to the early 1960s but begins with a 1924 proclamation: “World Cruisers Make Aviation History New York, N.Y.” — a nod to an accomplishment by the company after the first around-the-world flight was by a team of aviators of the United States Army Air Service (predecessor of the U.S. Air Force) using a modified Douglas DT.The trip took 175 days and covered nearly 28,000 miles. The celebration of the final landing in September 1924 is captured at mark 00:30 and kicks off film, but it is really just a blip on the radar of the company’s history.
Less than 30 second later, the scene is replaced by a passenger jet gliding through the sky as the opening credits roll. At mark 01:42 the viewer is introduced to the company president, Donald Douglas, Jr., who welcomes the viewer to the organization. At mark 02:35, the narrator recounts the origins of the company, started in 1921 by Donald Douglas, Sr., in Los Angeles. At mark 02:50, we are reminded of the Douglas Cloudster, the bi-plane designed to make the first non-stop flight coast-to-coast across the United States.
At mark 03:37 we see an image of a Douglas World Cruiser, the aircraft developed in 1924 to accomplish the first flight around the world. (Four aircraft were made for that mission — named Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, and Seattle. Chicago is now housed at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.) We also see the DC-1 and the workhorse DC-3 (which the film credits as commercial aviation’s “coming of age” aircraft), all of which were introduced in the 1920s and 1930s. “It all began in the backroom of a barbershop,” the narrator says at mark 04:38.
The company began to grow during the 1940s, bolstered by a contract to produce the C-47 Skytrain and C-54 Skymaster military transports. “In all the combined Douglas divisions built 29,385 of the airplanes produced during World War II, the announce says beginning at mark 06:06. Though the film is heavily spliced and some of the material is garbled, the viewer can also see such aircraft as the C-124 Globemasters and C-133 Cargomaster, which were introduced in the late 1950s and early 1960s. “The C-133A is capable of airlifting any of the Air Force’s … ICBM missiles as well as the necessary ground-support equipment,” we’re told starting at mark 07:15.
The D-558-1 Skystreak and D-558-2 Skyrocket are also touted as some of the aircraft Douglas created to help with national defense planning. The same held true for missile development, the narrator explains at mark 08:50, with air-to-air missiles with nuclear warheads among the weapons developed for the Air Force and the the Sparrow II a “fire and forget” weapon that allowed several to be fired at separate targets at the same time, developed for the U.S. Navy, and the MGR-1 Honest John rocket (the first nuclear-capable surface-to-air missile) made for the U.S. Army.
At mark 09:27, the viewer learns of the company’s involvement in Project Nike, involving the development of missile systems including the Nike Ajax, Nike Hercules, and Nike Zeus missiles for the Army, as well as development of the Thor ballistic missile for the Air Force. “Missiles and other military weapons systems are important to deter war in critical times,” we are told at mark 10:40.
Since the name “Douglas” had long been synonymous with commercial aviation, the film returns its focus to that avenue at mark 10:55, again touting the success of the Douglas DC-3, DC-6, and DC-7 series of aircraft, carrying passengers and cargo around the world.
The film delves closer into the development of the DC-8 aircraft beginning at mark 11:46, literally starting at the drawing board and for the next few minutes taking the viewer through the design, scheduling, purchasing or parts, and rate of fabrication and production of the final product, which comprises the remainder of the film.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com