'Doolittle Raid'


POSTED: Saturday, April 11, 2009

Television news anchor Joe Moore brings us today's news right now, up to the minute and piping fresh, and news being what it is, it's often about bad people doing terrible things. But when he's got a minute to himself, Moore steeps himself in heroic deeds of the past. His plays are generally about stalwart types who go against the grain, often alone.





        A fundraiser commemorating the 67th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid

» When: 7 p.m. April 18


» Where: Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor


» Admission: $15, members; $35, non-members


» Note: Reservations required: Call 441-1008 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5 p.m. Tuesday.





        » The 67th Anniversary of The Doolittle Raid: Book signing by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes (granddaughter of Jimmy Doolittle & author of “;Calculated Risk”;), 5 to 7 p.m., next Saturday, Hangar 37

» Righteous Revenge Performance, 7 to 8:30 p.m. next Saturday, Hangar 37. A meet-the-cast dessert reception follows




His latest work, “;Righteous Revenge,”; tells the story of the famous “;Doolittle Raid”; of World War II. Daring and wild-haired doesn't begin to describe the event, in which the U.S. Navy crept up to Japan's back door and hurtled 16 medium bombers at the empire. The raid was not just an adventuresome stunt, it changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

There will be a reading presentation of the play next Saturday—the 67th anniversary of the raid—at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, in front of the North American B-25 “;Mitchell”; bomber, the same kind flown by Doolittle's men. (And the bomber is named Mitchell after Gen. Billy Mitchell, another high-flying hero Moore has written a play about.)

But in a time when the average high-school senior can't recognize Franklin Delano Roosevelt, much less Col. Jimmy Doolittle, what possessed Moore to do this?

“;I wanted to tell the fascinating story of one of the biggest gambles of World War II. It's such a compelling tale of courage and self-sacrifice—it DESERVES to be remembered,”; said Moore, for whom all the books, documentaries and official records about the raid and Doolittle's autobiography were just the starting point for three years of research.

“;The real treat was interviewing eight of the surviving raiders who shared information that I had not seen anywhere,”; said Moore, who wondered, for instance, why the B-25 pilot who flew to Russia instead of China after bombing Tokyo did so against the direct orders of Doolittle. “;The 'low fuel' story often cited was just a cover for the real reason. His story is a sub-plot in my play.”;

Converting an aerial escapade into a stagebound play wasn't easy. “;The conception of the raid and the training for it was relatively easy,”; said Moore. “;But to effectively convey the aerial aspects of the mission was a major challenge. I finally settled on a method ... we'll see if the audience agrees!”;

Jimmy Doolittle has been portrayed in the movies by Spencer Tracy in “;30 Seconds Over Tokyo”; and by Alec Baldwin in “;Pearl Harbor,”; and now on stage by Joe Moore. Which will be his role model?

“;I liked Spencer Tracy, but did not care for 'Pearl Harbor,' but don't get me started on that film! If 'Pearl Harbor' is the only thing a person knows about the raid, they've been terribly misinformed.”;

Moore's essential goal with these historical plays is education. “;My main objective is sharing the true story of the mission, including personal nuggets from the men who lived it,”; said Moore. “;It was a thrill to have 93-year-old Dick Cole, Doolittle's co-pilot on the raid, read the script and say 'You got it right, and did us proud.' “;

But what drives Moore is the notion of heroism and personal sacrifice, values he thinks are worth repeating.

“;I've always believed in heroes ... people I've looked up to and admired. I don't view them as superhuman, but rather as ordinary men, who—because of their dedication, personal bravery and courage—did extraordinary things. I hope we'll always be inspired by heroes like Jimmy Doolittle and his Tokyo Raiders.

“;I grew up the son of a career Air Force pilot who flew the B-25 and B-26 during World War II, and he's always been my biggest hero, for the way he's lived his life with honor and integrity. I'm thankful he's still with us.”;