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Six Turnin and Four Burnin

An evening pause: From the 1955 Jimmy Stewart film Strategic Air Command. The B-36, with both propeller and jet engines, was soon superseded, but the takeoff, as captured so well in the movie, is impressive. It was a big plane.

Hat tip again to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Dale Martin

    As an Air Force brat in Ft Worth, I watched some of the filming of this fine film. The B-36 Bombers flew over our house on Garza St, all the time, and one gets used to the noise. My Father was a Flight Engineer on these aircraft, so once, on a Sunday my Dad took me and my Brother to the Plant, to get a tour. It was most interesting, and later that day, we got to try our skill with tail gunner simulator, which is most likely the first video game ever produced!! I got two Migs!

  • Phil Berardelli

    Nice post, Dale! Thanks for sharing.

  • PeterF

    They had a B36 on display at Chanute AFB as well as a number of other rare aircraft. The B36 dwarfed the B52s.

  • Dale Martin

    Phil: The filming was a big deal, they held up traffic at the East Gate for some shots of the Gate Scene, they would let the traffic pass and try again. I think they finally did it on a Sunday. As kids we got to climb thru and sit in the crew positions of the new B-36 Bombers parked at Convair, keep in mind, in those days, Military Brats did mind their elders!! My Dad was assigned to the Convair side, doing the acceptance flights, not the active SAC side at Carswell. I did see the B-25 that was used to do the aerial filming parked on the Air Force side once or twice, I think that Paul Mantz or someone like him used the surplus bomber for the shots. It was the first and last time I saw a B-45 Tornado in the flesh, parked out on the ramp with the civilian B-25. I think this is visible in the film during the DC-3 landing scene with the Armored Car and the Air Police. One of my favorite films, ever!!

  • Phil Berardelli

    Great stuff, Dale! Thanks for this as well.

  • bkivey

    “The B36 dwarfed the B52s.”

    That’s saying something!

  • bkivey

    A manly movie featuring a manly aircraft. My favorite scene is when Stewart’s character expresses concern about getting home on time, and his CO promises just one takeoff and landing. Of course, it’s a bomber mission. . . Fighters make headlines; bombers make history.

    I’m not an Air Force brat (Army), but when we had a job in Honolulu directly adjacent to the airport, our intern would stop and watch every time a C-5 went by. I understood the attraction. That’s a lot of metal.

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