Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Louis Zamperini: The Man, Movie, and the Airport

Torrance's own home-town hero for the past . . . well, 70 years if you want to count from his Olympic career, is pictured below with Angelina Jolie, who is directing the movie based on the book about his life: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (herself a woman with an amazing story).

The book, of course, is about Louis Zamperini, who ran in the infamous 1936 Olympics (the one where Jesse Owens took so many medals and embarrassed the Nazis)and who was expected to be The Man Who Broke the 4-Minute Mile Barrier (at age 17 he was clocked at a 4:21 mile, and in college at 4:12)--but instead ended up fighting in World War II. His plane went down in the South Pacific, where Zamperini and another soldier set a different kind of record: the most days surviving being lost at sea on a raft (47).

Unfortunately, they were found by Japanese forces and ended up in a camp for prisoners-of-war, under the command of men who were often sadistic. And that's just scratching the surface of the story.

Amazing that no one did the movie before, but here are some of the fist photos from it now: one of Jolie & Zamperini, and one of the filming itself, above.

This is all linked loosely to an event at the small airport inTorrance called Zamperini Field (that's the link--the name, honoring Louis Zamperini).

On Saturday, Nov. 16, those who want to sit in the backseat of a T-6 aircraft can pay for a short flight, which is a pretty rare opportunity. The event happens between 10 am and 3 pm; the flights cost $165 for 15 minutes or $375 for 40 minutes.

Col. Marv Garrison will talk about the air war in Vietnam (he was chief of the fighter section of the 7th Air Force there), and there will be events for children too

For reservations on the flights and more information, contact (which stands for Western Museum of or call 714-300-5524.

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