Guam was the only U.S. jurisdiction that was completely occupied by an Axis power during World War II. Our liberation from the Japanese forces by the U.S. Navy, Marines, and Army in 1943 had numerous remote news broadcasts from the island. One interview of Marine Corps private named Staff was quite monumental and poignant.
Most OTR fans know about these audio documentaries. Even Guam public school teachers, who are required to take a course in Guam history at the University of Guam, MUST listen to those broadcasts by the NBC, CBS, Mutual, and Blue networks of the liberation.
So I had to do something different:
One thing where Guam really gets shortchanged is in entertainment. I don’t mean we lack in it… Oh, no. We have NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox local TV affiliates. We lost our CW affiliate last year and we never had MyTV. We have all the cable stations.We have three cinemas showing the latest films from Hollywood and Manila. We see movies from Hollywood almost one day before anyone else on the U.S. mainland, since we are two time zones west of the International Dateline.
We only have three AM radio stations but we get a constant dose of radio drama. One of those stations even airs complete OTR shows with unedited original commercials…
No… The problem is what the entertainment industry thinks of Guam.
In the early 1961, a movie was made about a locally popular hero, George Tweed, a U.S. Navy radio man who got stuck here after the Japanese took over in December 1941. His story is told in a book which is available at all Guam bookstores (also check online sources) is called Robinson Crusoe, USN. The movie starred Jeffrey Hunter as Petty Officer Tweed. The problem was that at this time it was impossible to make any movies on the island since the entire place was considered a naval installation (including Andersen Air Force Base). Even to take a pleasure trip to the island require a base pass from the Department of the Navy. So this movie, No Man is an Island, was filmed in the Philippines. The locals in the movie were Filipinos, living their culture and speaking Tagalog. Guam’s culture is much different and the indigenous language is Chamorro. So Guam didn’t really get noticed.
In Good Morning, Vietnam, the harassing Army sergeant major was punished for being so mean to Adrian Cronauer by being sent from Saigon to Guam because, “Nothing ever happens in Guam.”
In Look Who’s Talking, children were admonished not to play on the airport conveyor belts as their parents told them, “You might end up going to Guam!”
And in Matilda, as the little girl’s parents tried to flee from police and FBI agents, her mother shouts, “We’re going to Guam!” As if Guam lacks law enforcement. Ha, ha! We have the Guam Police Department, the Border Patrol, and the FBI. They wouldn’t get far. (They probably wouldn’t make it through Won Pat International Airport!)
David Letterman was a little nicer about Guam on The Late Show. The question was asked, “What do you know about Guam?” Nobody knew anything. Hey Dave! We watch your show here!
Because of the time difference, as I finish writing this post, it’s 11:30 AM, March 5, here on Guam, but it’s 5:30 PM, March 4, in California. It was this time five years ago, March 4, 2007, that my dad died peacefully in his sleep at home in Rialto, California. A happy anniversary. And a sad one.