Aircraft Scrap Yard in The Best Years of Our Lives

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Senior Airman
May 1, 2016
Amazon has The Best Years of Our Lives on Prime. I havent seen the movie in years. At the around 20 minutes before the end, Dana Andrews walks through a scrap yard of aircraft, rows and rows of Cyclones, B-17s and other aircraft.

I think it was Havener who took his wife to a movie and prior to the film starting they ran a newsreel of aircraft being cut up after the war. As the film was running he saw his own B-26 get dynamited. He was so shook up he had to leave the theater.
My guess is Arizona - Ontario has the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains looming over it.
Kingman Arizona. There was a local restaurant, maybe still there, that had photos of the actors and crew doing the filming. The local history talks of some of the town folk working as extras for the movie. The way they tell it, the director walked about and selected six different airplanes for the shot, but came back the next day and found them scrapped. So there were two shots, one external, and the cockpit shots from a chopped up part that they could adjust for the scene and cameras.
The scene was filmed in Kingman, AZ. I visited the site years ago but there was nothing left of the WW II facility. A man who had been there at the time the planes were scrapped said that the first buyer never even moved the planes, he only drained the av gas out of the tanks to recoup his purchase price + profit and sold them to a second buyer who removed all the platinum-tipped spark plugs.... and so on down the line until the aluminum went into the smelter.

This scene is a powerful and emotional shot. I get the same feeling watching the scene in "Twelve O'clock High" where Dean Jagger is walking on his old runway and we hear the sound of big radial engines starting and the grass blowing in the prop wash. The two movies' directors deserved academy awards for these scenes alone!
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Picked this up when I was passing through Kingman a few years ago.......
Well, here is one that was saved. The guy who bought this airplane from a surplus yard after WWII reportedly was not a pilot and crashed the first one he tried to take off. They just gave him another one and he managed to fly that one home to Oregon and mounted it to make a unique gas station. It is currently being restored.


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