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Monday, May 31, 2010

Dean Hess & Steve Canyon

Happy Memorial Day!

Colonel Dean Hess, USAF

I think it fitting on this Memorial day to FINALLY be getting to the long promised post on Korean War icon and hero Dean Hess.

Dean Hess taken in his home on March 14, 2009.

On March 14th of 2009 I had the pleasure to sit down with Dean Hess in his home and reminisce with him on his involvement with the Steve Canyon TV series.

From left, author James H. Farmer, Dean Hess and John Ellis. Photo by Calane Farmer, March 14, 2009.

My friend James Farmer (and associates Chuck Carson and Michael McMaster) had invited me to tag along with them that day to their taping of interviews at the Air Force Museum for their documentary "By Faith I Fly", the story of Dean Hess. I had never been to the Air Force Museum and spent about as much time wandering in amazement as I did watching them shoot their footage of Col. Hess, Sgt. Joe von Rembow, Col. Mike Bellovin and Col. Ernest Craigwell (whom I had shared breakfast with that morning and had listened to his USAF tales with great interest). I was then invited to join them at Dean Hess' home for lunch and further interviews to be recorded there.

During lunch, one of Col. Hess' sons noticed my Steve Canyon cap and said to me "You know pops knew Dean Fredericks" and told me to ask his father about it. So I sat down between Jim Farmer and Col. Hess and asked him how he knew Dean Fredericks, and Hess said "Well I was the USAF Official Liaison to the Steve Canyon television series" and I suspect I looked like Jim Farmer did when I looked back at him...his mouth was hanging open! We had no idea! This was both serendipity and an amazing revelation! Who knew what secrets were held in Col. Hess' memories? While I continued to interrupt Dean Hess' lunch with questions, Jim Farmer went over and talked to his associates (Mike and Chuck).

Poster for the 1957 Universal International motion picture about Col. Dean Hess. (Universal International studios is also the place where Steve Canyon was made)

Jim returned and said to us that once they had finished taping his interviews with Hess and the others that (if Hess is willing) they would be glad to shoot an interview for our Steve Canyon documentary. Col. Hess agreed wholeheartedly and what follows is an excerpt of our talk that day:

Dean Hess interview excerpts

More of this interview appears in our documentary "Steve Canyon On TV" in the 3rd and final DVD of THE COMPLETE STEVE CANYON ON TV Coming in late June 2010 (at the earliest). We're sorry it is taking so long to finish, but as we've explained we do not have the resources of a huge studio behind us and are doing our best to make this as great and special as we can. Pre-orders and ordering our other products helps us tremendously...and helping spread the word to others does too. Thanks to everyone for their kindness and support and for sticking along with us in the co-pilot's seat!

I want to thank everyone that was involved that day for their assistance in making this meeting and interview with Dean Hess an enjoyable and enriching experience. Special thanks to Ron Kaplan and the National Aviation Hall Of Fame for helping to make this possible. Here's the official trailer for "By Faith I Fly", the documentary on Dean Hess by James H. Farmer, Michael McMaster, Chuck Carson and their Up In The Air Pictures :

Official trailer for "By Faith I Fly", the story of Dean Hess

Coming up more snippets and tidbits, clips, tips and news about THE COMPLETE STEVE CANYON ON TV Volume 3...and even a few OTHER PROJECTS that are coming down the runway...! So stay tuned.


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Milton Caniff's Complete Steve Canyon On TV DVD Volume Three
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