The pilots Riveters Mule Rearing African American Officers doughboys with mules gas masks African American Soldiers 1 pilots in dress uniforms

 

 

March 27, 2018 - Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero - The World Premiere

Regal LA Live 14, Los Angeles

 

by Bill Betten, Co-Director California WW1 Centennial Task Force

 

sgt stubby marquee regal la live theater resultMarquee of the Regal's LA LIVE Barco Innovation Center in L.A. at the Sgt. Stubby premier.

 

 

Although the typical, dramatic searchlights out front were not there, in classic Hollywood fashion the Redbill betten on red carpet resultCalif. WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Bill Betten on the "Red Carpet" at the Sgt. Stubby premier. Carpet was rolled out, the reception rooms decorated, the pre-viewing party food and drinks were in place, introductions and speeches of honored guests planned, and the viewing theater had been properly prepared. Another film debut in Los Angeles was about to start and I and my wife had been invited to the premier. We were to join the "celebrities" on display that night, and I wondered who we would meet. As one of the California WW1 Centennial Task Force Managing Board members invited to attend the March 27, 2018, world premiere of the animated film Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, I did not really know what to expect of the film, though I was somewhat familiar with the Sgt. Stubby story.

commissioner zoe dunning sgt stubby premiere resultUS WW1 Centennial Commissioner Zoe Dunning at Sgt. Stubby premiere

 

As was expected, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, retells the truejoni on the red carpet resultBill's wife Joni Betten on the Sgt. Stubby "Red Carpet." story of the most decorated American canine of WW1, and all U.S. military history for that matter. But, what was unexpected was what the film delivered.

Alongside California WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Courtland Jindra, I was joined by national Commissioner Zoe Dunning, and Chief Technologist and national Program Manager Theo Mayer to walk the "red carpet" and represent the WW1 Centennial Commission at the world premiere in Los Angeles.

The Pre-viewing reception area, decorated with a WW1 semblance of full-scale French towns and battlefield trenches set the background environment that was enhanced by colorful posters from scenes from the movie, actual WW1 artifacts, and a larger than life-sized ice sculpture of the star of the movie, Sgt. Stubby.

 

bill betten & michael hjelmstad  amer leg post 43 resultBill Betten & Commander Michael Hjelmstad of American Legion Post 43 of Hollywood stand before a set scene display from the movie Sgt. Stubby exhibiting actual gas equipment from WW1. Michael is also a writer, producer, and motion picture and television liaison.But, soon we found that the real celebrities who drewcourtland & melissa resultCalif. WW1 Centennial Task Force Co-Director Courtland Jindra and his date Melissa Angert pose on the Sgt. Stubby "Red Carpet." the most attention were to sit in the audience. They were the hundreds of children invited to the viewing by the producers and Variety –The Children’s Charity of Southern California. Co-hosted by Fun Academy Motion Pictures the premiere witnessed the great number of kids from the local Variety Boys & Girls Clubs.

Although the children were the last to arrive on buses, and never were allowed to venture upstairs where the adult refreshments were being served, they did pass through the amusement park-like setting, shake hands with a walking Sgt. Stubby, and get a free popcorn and memento before being brought directly into the theater.

Eagerly the children all took their seats on the ground floor of the theater. The director of the film, Richard Lanni, stepped out to introduce cast members, and of course when the voice of Sgt, Stubby's owner in the film, Logan Lerman (The Vanishing of Sidney Hall [2017,] Fury [2014,] and the Percy Jackson franchise,) walked updirector richard lanni with reenactor damian stellabott resultSgt. Stubby Director Richard Lanni with WW1 re-enactor Damian Stellabott. onstage the audience exploded. Their excitement and enthusiasm was to make for a wonderful showing of the feature film.

The horror of war is a very difficult issue to share with young children, while still making it interesting enough for older audiences as well, but upon viewing the film I found that the producers have succeeded in doing just that. Additionally, they have offered classroom teachers a way to address the topic in a manner any school districtjoni betten & stubby ice scuplture resultThe giant Sgt. Stubby ice sculpture was a treat all wished their photo to be taken with, including Bill's wife Joni. or school board can accept. As a retired teacher with over three decades experience in the elementary classroom and now, a grandparent, I was very impressed with the possibilities of using this film in the school, and at home.

Sgt. Stubby was based upon the true story of an American military canine, the real Sgt. Stubby of the 26th "Yankee" Division. As the story tells, he joined the YD's, 102nd Infantry Regiment, composed entirely of National Guard units, as a stray in New England. This brave division was the first reserve component to see action in World War I.

I was not the only audience member at Regal's LA LIVE Barco Innovation Center in L.A. thrilled with the Sgt. Stubby film. Patrons young and old at the typically posh début freely declared their approval, and on its website Variety reported, "...the film is sufficiently intelligent and entertaining to engage most grown-ups and, no kidding, fascinate history buffs."producer jodan beck & wife janis resultSgt. Stubby producer Jordan Beck & wife Janis at the premier reception.

Logan Lerman, as the voice of Stubby's adopted master, Pvt. Robert Conroy did a superb job, as did Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter franchise, the Alice in Wonderland franchise, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street [2007].) She stars as the narrating voice of Margaret Conroy. With his trademark French buoyancy, Gerard Depardieu of The Life of Pi [2012,] The Man in the Iron Mask [1998,] and Cyrano de Bergerac [1990,] stars as the jovial poilu, Gaston Baptiste.

director & editor resultSgt. Stubby director, Richard Lanni & the film's editor, Mark Solomon, talk with invited guests.Director, co-writer, and producer, Richard Lanni, a native of Ireland, was readily on hand to greet guests and answer questions about the making of the film, as were co-producers and a crew presenting a variety of accents demonstrating the film's transnational sponsorship.

For example the music for Sgt. Stubby, an original score, was composed by Scottish film composer and Academy Award nominee Patrick Doyle (Murder on the Orient Express [2017,] Thor [2011,] Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011,] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [2005,].) The excellent score was verycomposer patrick doyle &  reenactor damian stellabott resultComposer Patrick Doyle & WW1 re-enactor Damian Stellabott pose together. Doyle's score for Sgt. Stubby added just what the film needed. much inline with the story, and I personally had to compliment Doyle for the work. I told him that all too often the music of a film destroys the "fourth wall," (leaving the audience's mind to muddle around in the orchestra pit, sometimes getting lost there.) Mr, Doyle expressed appreciation for the observation.

Though the real Sgt. Stubby was an American, he was a hero to many nations, so it is only fitting that the film of his life is played by a global cast supported by an international crew. Pre- and post-production was done in Paris, France; animation production in Montreal, Canada; Foley art and sound effects were recorded in Cornwall, United Kingdom; while voice-over recordings were made in Santa Monica, California; Columbus, Georgia; London, England; and Paris, France.

My fellow Task Force Co-Director, Courtland Jundra, commented that, “It was especially good to find how historically accurate it was.” Though I personally questioned one particularly unbelievable depiction, that of Stubby saluting, it appears that really did occur. According to Curt Deane, grandson of J. Robert Conroy, Stubby's real adopted owner one hundred years ago, the dog did impress officers with his ability to salute, a trick which Private Conroy taught him.

Commissioner Dunning of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission also pointed out the accuracy of the film adding that, "The graphics were very well done."

The film opens this Friday to the general public and the California WW1 Centennial Task Force encourages all to take the time to see it.

In theaters April 13, 2018

Learn more at http://www.stubbymovie.com

California WW1 Centennial Task Force

 

Managing Board Co-Directors

Bill Betten
Sal Compagno
Col. Andre N. Coulombe
Hugh E. Crooks, Jr.
Mike Hanlon
Brigadier General R.G. Head, Ph.D. USAF (Ret.)
Prof. Jennifer Keene, Ph.D
Courtland Jindra
Dennis Matarrese
Major General Michael J. Myatt USMC (Ret.)
Stephen M. Payne, Ph.D.
Anthony Powell
Lester Probst
Prof. Jonathan Roth, Ph.D.
Col. Fred Rutledge 

Northern California Committee

Sal Compagno
Mike Hanlon
Stephen M. Payne, Ph.D.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Nielsen
Major General Michael J. Myatt USMC (Ret.)

Anthony Powell
Col. Fred Rutledge
Prof. Jonathan Roth, Ph.D.

Southern California Committee

Bill Betten
Maria Carrillo
Col. Andre N. Coulombe
Brigadier General R.G. Head, Ph.D. USAF (Ret.) 
Courtland Jindra
Lester Probst
Jeff Sharp

 Education Committee

Bill Betten, Master of Arts in Education, (Retired teacher DUSD, OUSD, AGUSD)
Lauren Weiss Bricker, Ph.D., Professor of Architecture at Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Scott Corbett, Ph.D, Lecturer, History, CSUCI
Jennifer Keene, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of History, Chapman University
Michael Powelson, Ph.D., Lecturer, History, CSUCI
Jonathan Roth, Ph.D., Professor of History, SJSU, Burdick Military History Project Director [Committee Chair]
Miriam Raub Vivian, Ph.D.,  Professor of History, CSUB

Website Administrator

Bill Betten

 

Email: courtland.jindra@worldwar1centennial.org

Snail Mail:
     California World War 1Centennial Task Force
     330 Myrtlewood Dr.
     Calimesa, CA 92320

 

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