"So They Bombed Pearl Harbor, Did They?"

That question, uttered by taxi-driver-turned-Asian-adventurer Joe Tracey (Barry Nelson) in 1942's A Yank on the Burma Road, was the first mention of the attack in a Hollywood film. Today, with TV transmitted instantly from around the globe, we've forgotten how long images once took to reach audiences. There were weekly newsreels, but with long lead times, topical events made it into the movies much later. This utterance was recorded in post-production and the movie rushed into release in January, weeks after the Japanese assault on Hawaii. The New York Times panned the picture, calling it "a five-and-dime fiction." TCM has the trailer. Nelson's later claim to fame: the first James Bond. He played the agent in a 1954 made-for-TV version of Casino Royale.

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