Category Archives: Videos, DVDs & Podcasts

Roll ‘Em!——5th Annual “G.I. Joe Stop-Motion Film Festival” to Premiere All-New Movies Based on—and Utilizing—”America’s Movable Action Hero”

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Submissions for 5th Annual “GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival” Now Being Accepted

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Gio Toninelo, coordinator and distributor of the upcoming 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (Photo: Gio Toninelo)

Despite Hasbro having turned its corporate back on 12-inch GIjOE action figures and their worldwide array of fans, collectors and customizers, the “most beloved toy in the last 100 years” (see HERE) continues to make its presence known to the public in ever more unexpected ways. We’re speaking specifically now, about independent filmmaking—and stop-motion animation. Cinematographer, graphic designer and festival coordinator, Gio Toninelo (shown above, right) has just announced the opening of submissions for what will become the 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (GSMFF). The GSMFF is referred to as a “travelling” film festival, due to the fact that Toninelo will exhibit the winning entries in theaters and venues all across the country. This year’s festival premieres September 27th at the Bug Theater in Denver, Colorado and extends thereafter to LA, New York and Austin (TX).

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Lisa and Tim Weedn, creators of superb 1:6 scale stop-motion animated videos, regularly premiere their work at Joelanta conventions in Atlanta, GA. (Photo: Tim Weedn)

Stop-motion animation, once championed by early effects wizards Ray Harryhausen (see bio video above) and animators Rankin & Bass (of 1964’s Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer fame), had almost become a lost and forgotten art form, but it seems to be back on the path to popularity once again. This will surprise many, because today’s CGI-dominated animators view the (much) more laborious and time-intensive stop-motion process as an unwieldy and (dare we say) “wasteful” practice from a bygone, pre-digital era. Fortunately, there are STILL some diehard (and VERY patient) individuals out there for whom stop-motion animation (and its unique results) remains a JOY to create and behold.

An Analog Technology For a 1:6 Digital World

You may already know of some fellow GIjOE fans who are also stop-motion animators. We certainly do. Two such patient practitioners of the technique (that come immediately to mind) are the talented filmmaking duo of Lisa and Tim Weedn (see above, right). The Weedns are regular attendees and popular presenters at each of the Toylanta (formerly Joelanta) GIjOE shows held annually in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s a 2014 video they made in celebration of GIjOE’s 50th anniversary:

Is Stop-Motion Animation Merely a Fad—Or Making a Comeback?

Fortunately for stop-motion animation afficiandos, they don’t have to rely solely on the efforts of amateurs in order to get their “fix” of the technique. In fact, there are many influential showbiz pros out there who continue to utilize stop-motion in their projects. For example, Seth Rogen revived the technique for his standout animated TV series, Robot Chicken (see his HILAROUS GIjOE short below). Academy Award winner Nick Park too, used the process for his superb Wallace and Gromit shorts and features. Perhaps a sort of “tech-revolt” is underway, one that rages against the film and TV industry’s current overuse of CGI? If so, it appears that the nostalgic animation style is actually GROWING in popularity—with no end in sight!

We asked Mr. Toninelo to comment on the upcoming GIjOE film festival and he kindly replied:

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Filmmaker and Festival Coordinator, Gio Toninelo (Photo: GT)

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“Hi Mark, I’m so excited! Our GIjOE film festival is back for its 5th season! I’m not surprised that you haven’t heard about our festival. We started waaaay back when the internet was a sleepy teenager. Plus, we took a needed break since 2013. Put simply, we screen films that use G.I.JOE action figures as their main characters using the ‘stop-motion’ animation technique. We always read The Joe Report and I’ve bought some stuff from Patches of Pride (PoP) in the past as well. I’ve even listed PoP as one of our sponsors! 

There are only TWO main rules for our Festival:1- Your film MUST be shot using stop-motion technique. Puppetry, wires and live action could also be used as long as it does not comprise 30% of the entire film. 2- Your main character MUST be an official G.I. Joe action figure, created by Hasbro, Inc. or an Action Man figure, created by Palitoy. Other licensed figures are also accepted, like “Comandos em Acao” and “Falcon” (BRAZIL) or “Commandos Heroicos” (MEXICO). Other action figures, dolls and toys can be used for supporting roles.

Finally, because we are a ‘travelling’ festival, I try not to put the videos up on the web, at least not on our social media channel. We always save the BEST ones for the tour. However, some of our old trailers can still be found over on YouTube HERE. Enjoy!

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At Work in the World of 1:6 ScaleGio Toninelo, shown here in his home office and/or art studio, carefully details one of his 1:6 scale custom GIjOE action figures. Will this Joe become a “star” in one of Toninelo’s future film productions? We’ll just have to wait and see! (Photo: Jeff Otte)

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Fans of Films and GIjOEs— Is there anything better than watching “America’s Movable Fighting Man” up on the big screen? Here, fans gather at a past screening  of Gio Toninelo’s GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival to watch the “Best of the Best.” (Photo: Gio Toninelo) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This looks like yet another EXCELLENT opportunity for GIjOE fans and customizers, as well as all aspiring amateur and/or professional filmmakers. For complete details on festival submission requirements, entry deadlines, etc., go HERE. Our sincerest thanks go out to Gio Toninelo and to everyone else connected with these exciting shows. Go, Joe! And… Go, GIO!

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Geronimo!!! Skydivers Perform an Amazing Group Jump with Intrepid 1:6 Scale “Salto Fantastico” (Fantastic Jump) Action Figure in First of Two New Brazilian TV Commercials For Estrela’s FALCON

A pair of new TV commercials currently airing ONLY on Brazilian television screens are bound to make GIjOE, Action Man, Geyperman and Falcon collectors elsewhere around the world turn absolutely GREEN with envy. The two spots in question continue Brazilian toymaker Estrela’s current “celebration” of Falcon’s 40th Anniversary, and promote its three new commemorative action figures including: a skydiver, jungle explorer and turbo copter pilot. Both commercials feature top-notch photography, pacing, music and graphics. It’s safe to say most 1:6 fans haven’t seen TV promos this good in a LONG time. They clearly celebrate nostalgia and bring back the high levels of EXCITEMENT and ADVENTURE that GIjOE and Falcon fans of all ages have come to expect.

Bottom Line: The quality of these new TV commercials and the action figures they represent, are EXCELLENT. It’s a shame Hasbro has completely relinquished this sort of endeavor to other companies. <sigh> Yes, the figure’s prices are fairly high (approximately $68+ s/h apiece), but for such rare sets, they’re really not that unreasonable. Fortunately, each of the 3 Falcon figures shown in these new promos are available directly from Estrela HERE and should also be available to fans worldwide from such respected action figure webstores as Cotswold Collectibles (HERE). Expect prices to vary from dealer to dealer due to mark-ups. Depending on WHERE and WHOM you buy from, some of the figures may also have to be back-ordered, but in the world of action figure collecting, patience—is a virtue. Happy Hunting!

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“Veterans for Peace” Hope “Battlefield Casualties” Parody Video Will Convince UK Government to Raise Minimum Military Recruitment Age to 18

Playing with Action Man was never like this (thankfully!)

We recently came across a VERY powerful Action Man (AM) television commercial parody video. It was created by the advocacy group, Veterans for Peace UK, (VFPUK) and first aired (on the internet, natch’) back in 2015. But before you watch it(!), you should be aware that its content is somewhat startling, even bordering on adult-content. Yes, its creators clearly WANT children to see this video, but we think you should exercise due caution (see graphic freeze-frame image above) depending on your little ones’ ages and sensitivities.

The video contains three separate commercials. Each focuses on a different (and imaginary) Action Man figure play set. The three spots may feature fake products, but the heart-breaking scenarios depicted are all too possible, graphic and (regrettably)—realistic. The first introduces viewers to a psychologically damaged and emotionally traumatized “P.T.S.D. Action Man.” Rather than utilizing AM’s traditional “Eagle Eyes,” this sad fellow possesses instead, a “thousand yard stare,” and comes equipped with booze, drugs, and even a noose—to hang himself with.

The second spot features “Paralysed Action Man” in his wheel chair, wearing a hospital gown and carrying around his 1:6 scale colostomy bag (oh, what fun). The third spot, rather than “playing around” with any other physical or mental conditions, simply jumps straight to death, presenting viewers with a bombed-n-bloody corpse figure appropriately named, “Dead Action Man.” Don’t expect much “action” out of this (in)Action Man, as he is already completely, utterly and 100%—DEAD. The commercial gamely shows that you can zip him up in a body bag and bury him (with full honors, of course) out in your backyard. But after that…<well, sigh>

If you still didn’t get the message—War is Hell—and this Action Man parody drives that point home exceedingly well with its stories of these three tragic heroes. And, as AM television commercial parodies go, this is undeniably an excellent one in terms of its production. Each spot is superbly acted, staged, photographed, edited, narrated, scored and directed. Each perfectly recreates the elusive “vintage video look” of a 1970s original. Our sincerest congratulations to ALL of the master 1:6 scale customizers and diorama builders involved in its production. Simply AMAZING work!

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Superb 1:6 custom packaging—surrounds three tragic and depressing 1:6 scale custom Action Man figures. No, you can’t go out to a local toy store and buy these sets. But then again, why would you want to? Despite the quality of their execution, they’re just too sad to own (or ARE they?). (Custom figure sets and photo: Darren Cullen) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: The creators of this video clearly hope it will generate strong reactions among viewers, thereby aiding them in their cause. But will it? Military recruitment remains (sadly) a necessary endeavour for all free nations (freedom ISN’T free), but at what AGE should an individual be allowed to enter their country’s military? VFPUK’s website is urging UK citizens to write into their local MPs concerning this matter, and request that they raise the minimum enlistment age from 16 to 18. It will be interesting to see whether or not their Action Man parody video has any effect in making that change happen. Stay tuned, AM fans!

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Ripple Effects of Chapter 11 Filing By Toys ‘R Us Begin to Spread to Manufacturers— Declining Profits Now Reported By Hasbro and Mattel

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Where are all of our customers? As the number of independent toy retailers and their “brick-n-mortar” stores continues to decline, toy manufacturer claims that their own lost profits could be made up with rising internet or “online” sales has now proven to be questionable—even unlikely. Should toy manufacturers such as Hasbro consider opening their own retail store outlets to compensate?

To most toy fans and collectors, this latest news will not come as much of a surprise. In fact, current developments regarding the world’s ongoing toy retailing saga may seem all too predictable, but here we go nonetheless: It turns out, having fewer retail stores for customers to visit and browse for products (like toys) can actually be bad for business. <Wow. Who’d a thunk it?> In fact, following closely on the heels of the recent story of Toys R Us’ (TRU) filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, we now also learn that Hasbro and Mattel (both) are beginning to feel their own negative economic ripple effects—and that they believe their troubles can be laid squarely at the doorstep of TRU’s earlier woes. According to the AP:

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“Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, reported disappointing third-quarter results late Thursday and said it was hurt by Toys R Us’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last month. Earlier this week, Hasbro, the maker of My Little Pony and Monopoly, also blamed weak results on the Toys R Us bankruptcy filing.

Mattel, whose revenue in North America fell 22 percent in the three months ending Sept. 30, said that about half of that decline was due to the Toys R Us bankruptcy. Globally, most of its brands saw sales declines. Barbie sales fell 7 percent and Hot Wheels fell 6 percent. Sales of its American Girl brand, whose 18-inch dolls typically cost more than $100, fell 30 percent.” —AP

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Will Matty need a handout? Looks like this company mascot is extending his hand for…what? Will his business soon seek court protection, ala Toys R Us?

Whoa. 30 percent?  That’s quite a financial nosedive. And if ever a particular toy brand needed a store’s support (i.e. an actual, physical PLACE to go to) so as to be able to SEE and HANDLE their extensive and upscale line), it’s pricey American Girl. Anyway…

Bottom Line: If TRU’s Chapter 11 reorganization and debt payoff difficulties continue, it seems likely that additional store closings and employee layoffs industry-wide could also continue. That would result in even fewer “brick-n-mortar” toy stores, less actual shelf space for toys, and then ultimately, fewer toys overall for fans and collectors to buy and enjoy. Ouch! That’s where WE feel “the pinch.” We’re not too worried about the financial stability of either Hasbro or Mattel (they’re doing just fine, thank you), but this situation is fluid and developing. Stay tuned for further intel. Read the AP story HERE.

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No More Toy Stores? Toys ‘R Us Going Bankrupt

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Going, Going… GONE? Someday very soon, a simple trip to a neighborhood toy store may become a nostalgic memory from America’s past. In yet another startling measure of the growing number of consumers switching over to online purchasing, retailing giant, Toys ‘R Us, recently announced that it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Though safe for now, all of the company’s colorful stores may soon be shuttered—and completely empty. (Photo: gettyimages)

Bottom Line: Toys ‘R Us (TRU), has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see complete details HERE). Sadly, we saw this event coming along YEARS ago. As more and more consumers have chosen to “shop” for bargains online and purchase their toys on the internet, web-retailing powerhouses such as Amazon and Walmart (and many, many others) have continued to drain away TRU’s financial stability and perilously erode its market share.

Indeed, TRU’s once-dominant, nation-wide chain of “brick-n-mortar” toy stores is now facing a dire and uncertain future. Faithful readers of The Joe Report will recall we first reported on TRU’s mounting fiscal woes waaaay back in 2014 (see that story HERE), and since that time, the company’s situation has only continued to weaken. It’s too soon to “call the game” on this sad story, and we’ll continue to monitor developments, but if current market trends are any indication, we don’t expect news to improve for America’s once mightiest—but now FAILING—toy chain.

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Rudy Panucci’s Video Recap of 2017’s Kentuckiana GIjOE Toy Expo Held August 5th in Louisville, KY

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Toy Expert and Pop-Culture Blogger, Rudy Panucci (Photo: Rudy Panucci)

Bottom Line: Here’s another great video from the MASTER of pop-cult videos—Mr. Rudy Pannuci! Our sincerest thanks to Rudy for taking the time to cover this year’s EXPO and for his production of yet another superb video review. Be sure to leave any comments or compliments you may have for this famous “PoPCulteer” on his blog found HERE and keep up-to-date with future Rudy videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel HERE. Go, Rudy! Go, JOE!

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Space Ghost 1:6 Scale Custom Action Figure—WOW!

Ready for ACTION— Once again, customizer extraordinaire, Wayne Faucher, has produced a 1:6 scale action figure that the rest of the world will covet with envious eyes. His amazing new Space Ghost action figure is a spot-on, 1:6 scale masterpiece. Zowee! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

Look Out, Zorn! Wayne Faucher Creates Custom Space Ghost Action Figure in 1:6 Scale

Holy Asteroids! That jut-jawed, baritone-voiced, onesy-wearing, powerband-shootin’ outerspace superhero of the 1960s has FINALLY been given the 1:6 scale “star treatment” he’s so long deserved. We’re tongue-in-cheek-talking here, of course, about the inimitable namesake character from Hanna-Barbara’s 1966 Saturday morning TV cartoon—Space Ghost (SG).

As you may recall, Mr. “Ghost” (first name, “Space?”) was every little ’60s kid’s favorite intrepid cosmic avenger. He was a true defender of the the defenseless and a battler of all things weird, sinister—and MONSTROUS. For 42 action-packed episodes, no matter how dire the predicament or struggle, Space Ghost always managed to blast his way out—and into our hearts!

Nice, but TOO SMALL— For years, fans have had to satisfy their cravings for all things Space Ghost at much smaller scales. In fact, 3.75″ remained the norm, but some newer figures promise to reach as tall as 1:12 scale (or 6″). This blister-packed mini-Ghost and Blip set by Jazwares is typical of current offerings. (Photo: Michael Crawford)

Back in 1966, bleary-eyed children would plop down on the livingroom floor early Saturday morning to eat bowls of Quisp and other sugary cereals, content in the knowledge that after a rousing 15-minute episode of exciting outer-space/alien/monster action, Space Ghost would arise triumphant and restore the universe to its good and proper course again (just in time for another GIjOE commercial, ‘natch). However, as SG fans well know, after an all too brief 42-episode run, the beloved cartoon suddenly vanished within its own cloaking spaceship (The Phantom Cruiser) and would not to be seen again until 1994, when the show’s characters were resurrected and recast in Cartoon Network’s offbeat talkshow spoof, “Space Ghost—Coast to Coast.”

Sit Long and Prosper— Getting up early to watch cartoons on tiny televisions was a rite of passage for children during the 1960s and ’70s. What time do YOUR kids get up? (Photo: ClipArt Kid)

51 years after his television debut, Space Ghost continues to live on indefinitely in reruns. A plethora of smaller-scale toys, action figures and other “merch” have (thankfully) FINALLY been created, and videos on YouTube will keep the beloved character’s legacy alive and well for future generations. Nonetheless, and despite SG’s obvious popularity, it remains a mystery to thousands of 1:6 scalers as to why this space superhero has never been successfully “captured” (in 1:6 scale) by any major toy company. Is this another sign of the “demise” of 1:6 scale?

Custom Cartoon Perfection— As this closeup clearly reveals, Wayne Faucher’s new 1:6 scale custom Space Ghost action figure is a very accurate representation of the ’60s cartoon character. His headsculpt, figure, costume—it’s all perfect. Spaaace Ghooost! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

After some research, we were able to find a 1:6 scale Space Ghost costume on the internet (made for Captain Action figures), and even the 1:6 scale headsculpt utilized by Wayne for his custom project (shown above). Typically, putting all the pieces together (head/body/costume/accessories) requires the skills of a talented customizer like Mr. Faucher who states:

Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“I’m happy to finally have a 1/6 scale Space Ghost on my shelf. He’s one of artist Alex Toth’s most striking creations, and it’s finally been made possible with the help of yet another stunning head sculpt by the (very) talented Todd Grimes. It’s spot on, and I couldn’t have done this custom figure without him! Todd’s work can be found on Shapesways.com.

 
As you may recall, Space Ghost was created by Mr. Toth while in the employ of Hanna Barbera studios back in 1966. Only one season was produced (probably due to growing concern over violence on TV) but it’s been rerun ad infinitum ever since. I really hope people are aware of the original series, as it ranks right up there with Jonny Quest (which Toth also worked on with artist Doug Wildey) as one of the classics of television animation.” —Wayne Faucher

Step to the Left, Step to the Right— In this side view, Space Ghost appears to be doing a “do-see-do” at some square dance hoedown. Boogie DOWN, SG! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

Close, but no Cigar— The upcoming Space Ghost figure by Mezco looks promising at first glance, but it turns out to be only in 1:12 scale or approximately 6″ tall. D’oh! (Photo: Mezco) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Toymaker MEZCO has announced plans for a 1:12 scale Space Ghost (see pic at right) which would come in at about 6″ tall. That’s really not going to do it for most fans of 12-inch action figures. And what’s with the evil-looking Blip figure? Why did they decide to make the little guy look like some sort of possessed primate? Oh well, we’ll continue to keep our eyes open for a Captain Action or other 1:6 Space Ghost figure, but don’t hold your breath. It looks like it’s an uphill struggle to get ANY new 1:6 figure made these days. Our sincerest thanks go out to Wonderful Wayne Faucher for all his help with this article. You sir, are ‘da MAN. Finally, here are a few more pics of Wayne’s amazing SG custom and a video clip from the original show. Enjoy!

ZZAPPP!!! Get back in your volcanic crater, you mindless Lava Monster! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

Courage in Profile— Todd Grime’s excellent headsculpt perfectly recreates the cartoon version from the 1960s. Out-STANDING work, Mr. Grimes! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

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Catastrophic Capsule Failure Dooms Astronaut “Major Bob Tom” During “Mercury 10” Mission Commemorating Action Man’s 50th Anniversary

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Lost (From) Space— The whereabouts of the UK’s most famous 1:6 scale astronaut, Major Bob Tom, remain unknown. Did he survive his momentous fall? Can YOU help find him? (Photo: Rob Wisdom)

Final Fate and Location of Organizer’s Vintage Action Man Astronaut Remain Unknown

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Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Bottom Line: A 1:6 scale “space mission,” designed to lovingly commemorate Action Man’s 50th Anniversary, has ended with mixed—some might say, heartbreaking—results. The goal was to lift a vintage Action Man astronaut figure (strapped securely into a vintage AM space capsule) up, up, UP through the stratosphere with the aid of a helium-filled balloon, and return him safely back down to the Earth (see our earliest coverage of this event HERE).

Designated “Mercury 10” by its organizers, the UK mission was masterfully coordinated by Rob Wisdom and funded primarily through donations raised in a surprisingly successful (10-day!) Kickstarter campaign (see that fundraising page HERE). Thankfully (for the thousands of AM fans around the world who were not able to attend), this mission’s breathtaking ascent, its startling final fate, and the frustrating field search for the intrepid (yet sadly, still missing) “Major Bob Tom,” have all now been preserved and presented in an excellent 25-minute video (see below). Enjoy!

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Identifying Marks— To help you find him, note that Major Bob Tom was bedecked in an original silver space suit with a union jack flag and custom “Mercury 10” patches from Patches of Pride—one was even placed on his helmet for maximum visibility. Also-fricken-TASTIC! (Photo: Rob Wisdom)

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A Perfect Fit— As this closeup reveals, the real cloth “Mercury 10” patches provided by Patches of Pride conform perfectly to the folds and sleeve of a vintage AM space suit. If you find an astronaut in a field in Britain, look for THIS patch. It’s only on the uniform of Major Bob Tom! (Photo: Rob Wisdom)

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Happy New Year, Everyone! Have a Great 2017!

happynewyear2017Bottom Line: Whoever you are, wherever you live, we wish you a WONDERFUL 2017!

Remember Pearl Harbor Day Today—Ceremonies Will be Livestreamed on Numerous Websites

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Horror, Death and Destruction—In this historic photo, the Battleship USS West Virginia has already been sunk and continues to burn during the deadly attack on U.S. ships, installations and personnel at Pearl Harbor, HI, Dec. 7, 1941. In the background is the Battleship USS Tennessee. It would be damaged, but somehow remained afloat and was later repaired and modernized. (Photo: US Navy)

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In this full-color recreation of the attack, (a scene from the Hollywood film, Pearl Harbor), a stricken U.S. battleship lists severely to port as its sailors struggle to hold on. (Photo: Touchstone Pictures)

Bottom Line: Clear your desks, gather around, and REMEMBER with us the terrible events of this historic day back in 1941. Fortunately, there will be numerous websites providing LIVE streaming coverage of the memorial ceremonies taking place in Hawaii today. Here’s an article showing a complete list of those streaming sites and here’s a direct link to the DOD website as well. Please remember the time difference. If you don’t see an image, try the other links. Our sincerest thanks to everyone involved in providing live coverage of this important event available today.

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