PBS to air “The Ghost Army” in May

Filmmaker Rick Beyer recounts how a group of American G.I.s used inflatable tanks, sound effects and other tricks to creatively deceive the German army in the World War II doc The Ghost Army (pictured).
February 12, 2013

U.S. pubcaster PBS is set to air a World War II documentary about a group of American G.I.s who deceived the German army through a series of tricks and illusions.

Airing this spring, Rick Beyer’s The Ghost Army recounts how, in the summer of 1944, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops landed in France armed with inflatable tanks (pictured above), sound effects records, and other tricks, and created rubber convoys, phantom divisions and phony traffic nets to creatively fool the enemy.

Many of the men were young artists that went on to have successful careers following the war, such as fashion designer Bill Blass, painter Ellsworth Kelley and photographer Art Kane. Beyer, who spent the past eight years working on the project, interviewed 19 members of the once top-secret Ghost Army.

“The niece of a Ghost Army veteran brought me an armload of her uncle’s wartime watercolors and sketches and told me the story. I was hooked,” he said in a statement. “Since then I’ve been determined to bring the amazing story of these creative soldiers to the world.”

The Ghost Army premieres on PBS on Tuesday, May 21 at 8 p.m. EST.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.