Locations we traveled to for the show:
California: San Diego, Sonoma, San Francisco
Germany: Munich, Urfeld, Haigerloch, Hechingen
This episode in particular was one of the more well-traveled efforts of the "War Stories" staff. Oliver North was finishing up a month-long assignment in Iraq when co-producer Ayse Wieting told me she had located and contacted Dr. Eberhard Born, son of one of the German scientists who were kidnapped by the Soviets at the end of WWII. He agreed to an interview in Munich. We also were able to get permission to shoot inside the Atomkeller-Museum in the beautiful, tiny town of Haigerloch, Germany — the site of the hidden German nuclear reactor where Hitler's scientists tried to stay one step ahead of the tenacious ALSOS team, led by Col. Boris Pash and Dr. Samuel Goudsmit.
The "War Stories" wraps shoot involved a German speaking crew of about 20 people and a 30-foot "jib" which holds the camera. We wanted to show Ollie standing in the former brewery-turned nuclear reactor. Getting to the sheer cliff location with gear is always tricky. Additionally, the challenge was to get the shot smooth as the 500-pound jib sometimes 'acts cranky' as it gets pushed around by wind and occasionally unsteady hands. (Of course, Oliver North NEVER makes mistakes. HA! )
Usually our wraps (the intros and outros) with Oliver North take 5-6 hours to shoot, (that's after we spend four hours setting up the cumbersome gear.) On this particular day, we were on the road at 7 am in Munich, (after shooting a full day before in Munich and Urfeld.) drove some 400 miles to Hechingen to shoot, then another 50 miles to Haigerloch for the wraps shoot which ended around 10 pm. From there we drove an hour to Stuttgart to lay down for three hours before boarding a plane back to the States. Television is so glamorous!
Stateside, Ayse was doing an interview with Eddie Dolan, a driver for the famed Red Ball Express she located in Michigan. Associate producer Michael Weiss had tracked down Harold Agnew, the man who took the only pictures of the atomic bomb "Little Boy" as it was dropped over Hiroshima.
So this was a trail tough to follow as our team attempted to piece together the secret race for the atomic bomb, but we like taking you as close as possible to history as it happened. We enjoyed making the episode, and hope our in-depth look at the people and events involved in the race makes you look at the subject through new eyes. Thanks for watching.
— Pamela K. Browne
Senior Producer, "War Stories"