MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR TELLS THE VIBRANT STORY OF THE ALLIES’ ‘FLYING FORTRESS’ OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, TO AIR NOVEMBER 10
BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE TRUE STORY REVISITS THE PACIFIC WAR’S MOST CRUCIAL BATTLE, TO AIR NOVEMBER 11
NEW YORK – October 8, 2019 – Smithsonian Channel continues its annual initiative honoring Veterans Month with two all-new specials to air this November. MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR tells the story of the famed Memphis Belle – a B-17 bomber plane that became a symbol of the Allies’ desperate fight against the German Luftwaffe during WWII – with vibrant color footage of the iconic aircraft in combat. Turning toward the Pacific theater, BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE TRUE STORY revisits one of the most pivotal battles in United States naval history – a decisive victory that turned the tide in the United States’ punishing fight against Japan. MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR will premiere on Sunday, November 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE TRUE STORY will premiere on Monday, November 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.
MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR examines the role that B-17 bombers, nicknamed “Flying Fortresses,” played across airborne battlefields. By the summer of 1942, American B-17 airmen were facing chaotic, deadly and frigid battles at altitudes of five miles with a paltry 25 percent survival rate. The B-17 Memphis Belle and her 10 crew members managed to beat these odds, becoming the first B-17 to earn a trip home and the focus of William Wyler’s 1944 film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR uses newly-restored 4K footage from this iconic film to uncover the story of the famed plane and the contribution of B-17 bombers to victory in the war. Veterans of B-17 missions tell their hair-raising, first-person tales of combat, while the film also reveals the full restoration of the Memphis Belle at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
The Battle of Midway was one of the largest naval engagements of WWII and an encounter that would change the face of warfare forever. BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE TRUE STORY tells the story of the conflict through the lens of the U.S. Navy’s three key aircraft at Midway: the Devastator, Avenger and Dauntless. Together, these three attack planes must overcome an ambush attack from the enemy and face the relentless Zero – a long-range fighter aircraft that had already wreaked devastation at Pearl Harbor. Using archival footage, interviews with historians and experts, and demonstrations of the aircraft, this hour-long special uncovers the story behind America’s first victory in the Pacific. BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE TRUE STORY reveals the inner workings of the complex and dramatic clash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and how this battle, fought in sea and sky, would turn the tide of the war in favor of the Allies.
MEMPHIS BELLE IN COLOR and BATTLE OF MIDWAY: THE TRUE STORY are both executive produced by Tim Evans and David Royle for Smithsonian Channel.