Newly acquired photographs of Ernie Pyle have just been posted on the website under Film Stars. Ned Scott created these images under the direction of producer Lester Cowan while the film was being shot in late 1944. A key feature of life then was the social process of smoking. Among Ernie's army pals, smoking was a cohesive force binding men together in difficult and stressful circumstances found on the battlefield. Ned Scott smoked as well, and he was always ready to light up since he had an Ohio Blue Tip match between his teeth most of the time. This habit caught on, as the photographs demonstrate, showing Ernie and newsman Lee Miller both chewing on the stick matches. Ned reflected later how much he enjoyed Ernie's company and how well they got along together. Ernie was convinced by Lester Cowan to do the film "The Story of G.I. Joe" despite the fact that film was not his genre. Nor was Hollywood an inspiring place or atmosphere for Ernie. But he was convinced to participate because he loved his army pals and wanted to celebrate their experiences in film just as he had in his own writings. It wasn't long after these photos were taken that Ernie packed up his gear and headed to the Pacific Theater. Ernie lost his life to a Japanese sniper during the battle for Okinawa in April, 1945. Lee Miller memorialized his friend Ernie and his accomplishments in his 1946 book "An Ernie Pyle Album". Several photographs attributed to Ned Scott appear in the book. These were shot on the set of the movie and include images of director William Wellman, actor Burgess Meridith (who payed Ernie's character in the movie), producer Lester Cowan, Ernie himself, and comedian and actor Bob Hope. William Wellman wrote his autobiography, "A Short Time for Insanity" in 1974. He chronicles his role in the film (and his role in convincing Ernie to participate). In the book there is a wonderful Ned Scott photograph of all the cast members in the film. These were men, veterans all, who had fought campaigns in Northern Africa, Sicily and Italy. Ernie knew them all and they played themselves in the film. As a result, this film is regarded as the most genuine and authentic war movie Hollywood ever made. I know my father was proud to have a hand in the making of this movie.
Photograph of Ernie Pyle and Bob Hope sharing a moment on the set of "Story of G.I. Joe", by Ned Scott