Shinji Kasahara, victim of the dreaded peace sign!

You learned elsewhere that I was a US Army Motion Picture Photographer in the early 1970s, stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

In that job, I travelled to many places in Europe to film NATO exercises, missile firings, joint German-American Volksfests, “hometowners” (short films of individual soldiers doing their army job, that got sent to a television station in or near their hometown), and miscellaneous “stuff”.

These films my teammates and I made we shipped to an army facility in Alabama to be processed, which sent a print to the Pentagon to be critiqued. The print of the films and the Pentagon critiques came back in a few weeks to the 69th Signal Co. (Photo), my home company, for us to view and learn where we did well or needed improvement. Arrival of the critique prints was a great lot of fun!

We had general rules of what not to show in our films. No one drinking alcohol (unless at a Volksfest!), chewing gum, or smoking. No horseplay. Nothing that reflected poorly on the US Army, such as out-of-uniform soldiers. (We were, in a sense, making propaganda films for the US Army, of course.) AND, the biggest bugaboo: NO ONE FLIPPING THE PEACE SIGN! This was the Vietnam War era.

Watching Shinji Kasahara’s latest video, a 29 minute visit to Seattle, with lots of his cats edited in (his main video output is wonderful cat videos), I had a flashback:

Scene from Shinji Kasahara's Seattle visit video: On the streets of Seattle.

Scene from Shinji Kasahara’s Seattle visit video: On the streets of Seattle.

Watch the woman coming up from behind!

"You cow! You just ruined the shot!"

“You cow! You just ruined the shot!”

I couldn’t believe the woman flashed the peace sign! In my army days, that snippet of action would ruin a scene, necessitating reshooting it or making sure the caption notes we enclosed with the undeveloped film included reference to the unplanned peace sign in scene such-and-such! Not to note the peace sign got a bad review. To cover for the peace sign meant extra time CYA-ing oneself in the paperwork so the Pentagon reviewers didn’t get the idea you purposefully staged the peace sign “incident”. LOL!

Over 40 years after my time as an army motion picture photographer, I still got a chill when the woman flipped the peace sign!

I’m sweating now thinking of it. I could use a few Japanese cat videos to relax. Hey! Shinji Kasahara makes great cat videos. He’s Japanese! Maybe you’d like a taste of them, too:

…or, for the more adventuresome with 29 minutes to spare, here’s the infamous Seattle peace sign video:

There! I feel cool and relaxed again thanks to Shinji Kasahara and his cats!

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