There’s an old adage about everyone having their 15-minutes of fame. Well, I really doubt that is true but On August 18, 2011 I did get about 3-minutes of minimal fame. I appeared in a film, Doughboy the Movie, playing the role of an aging Vietnam Veteran named Bob, who had been a Navy Corpsman serving with a Marine detachment close to the border of North Vietnam.
The film was shot entirely in Wheeling, WV and the world premier took place at the Marquee multiplex Theater in Tridelphia, WV on the 18th of August. The premise involves a young man with little understanding or appreciation of the sacrifices made by America’s veterans, being sentenced to perform public service in a local veteran’s home.
Eventually it is decided that he will spend his time making a video documentary focusing on the stories of several of the home’s residents. So, as the fictional portion of the film unfolds it also becomes a factual documentary focusing on the attitudes, memories, sacrifices, etc. of the actual veterans interviewed for the young man’s film assignment.
While being a veteran, the part I played was factually based but fictional. I did serve in the Navy but as a Radioman rather than a combat Corpsman. While being given, by director J.W. Myers, the desired scenario, being a historian I was permitted to create my own character and story line. All the other vets appearing in the film are relating their actual experiences.
Doughboy the Movie is an interesting film but may not appeal to everyone. It is very patriotic and pays great homage to those who have served in the nation’s military. If the Forth of July is your favorite holiday this film’s for you. If you’re on the verge of becoming a Quaker, you may want to spend your entertainment dollar on a feel-good love story.
Regardless of your feelings about the military, veterans, patriotism, and such things, Doughboy speaks to several issues that contain lessons we all could learn from. To me, the primary lesson is that many veterans feel they served so others could have the freedom to choose, not to serve. One doesn’t fight for freedom and then deny that same freedom to those who choose to believe differently.
Doughboy the Movie is an independent film and will begin its life with limited distribution within the Marquee Theater chain. It is hoped that national distribution will shortly follow and it will soon be in your neighborhood’s theater.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue reflecting on the fun I had doing my little moment of fame and the experience of attending a world premier. I’ll also be waiting for an opportunity to see myself again on screen since during the initial screening, even though my face and upper body dominated the screen, I didn’t recognize myself for several seconds and then mentally quizzed over whether that was my voice talking. By the time I realized that it was in fact me, my moment of fame had passed. Isn’t there another adage about fame being fleeting?