Oregon PBS did a little companion documentary to go along with Ken Burn’s documentary on WWII. I watched about half of it and had very mixed feelings. It was a series of interviews with Oregonians who were living in Oregon during the war and either worked stateside or were in the service. That part is interesting. But, the series had an unfinished feeling to it. The stories tended to skip around from the beginning of the war to close to the end. From home front to battle field without following any kind of time line or attempt to put the story in context.
The production jumped from stories about Japanese Americans who found themselves interned for the duration at the beginning of the war to a soldier who found himself fighting in Luxemburg. There was no attempt to say when he was in Luxemburg or where the little duchy is. It’s sandwiched between Belgium, France and Germany by the way. And I’d guess the fighting took place sometime between D Day and VE Day. I guess my inner obsessive compulsive would appreciate a little more clarity please. I haven’t watched much of the Ken Burns series for pretty much the same reason.
Although I did get a kick out of a story in the Oregon documentary about a nutrition expert who donned boots and stagged pants to see whether or not loggers could do their jobs eating peanut butter sandwiches instead of meat. He decided they couldn’t so the loggers were entitled to bigger meat rations. From stories I’ve heard about the depression years in Oregon I suspect that a lot of logs got cut on bean power. Or out of season venison and elk. Dad had a few stories about that too. Most of the old game wardens would look the other way if the hunter was feeding a family and kept it on the QT.
And there was the storyhe told about the feed store owning member of the local draft board up in the Newburg-Swiss Home area who boasted that he’d make sure all the Catholics would be drafted. Three guesses as to the leanings of most of his customers. He wasn’t in business at the end of the war.
Frankly the WWII section of Peter Jenning’s series on the 20th Century, the companion documentary to Band of Brothers, or the old Thames TV/PBS series The World at War are far better, in my not so humble opinion.