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Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

UPDATED from Memorial Day post May 29, 2011

Newspaper clipping from the Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette, Thursday May 10, 1945

Sgt. Fred J. Foote was serving in action against the Japanese in New Guinea when he got the word that his brother "Bud" had been killed in a Japanese ambush on July 20, 1944. Fred's unit was preparing for the invasion of the Philippines in October. He would miss his fallen brother for the rest of his life, and visited his grave in Hawaii whenever he could over the years.

Airman Edward "Bud" Foote

Edward "Bud" Foote enlisted in Los Angeles in March of 1942...just 7 months before his younger brother. While Fred had later joined the famed 1st Cavalry Division, Bud wanted to be a pilot and joined the Army Air Corps as a Private...he eventually attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with the 5307th Composite Unit, more popularly known as MERRILL'S MARAUDERS as a C-47 pilot.

"Merrill's Marauder" Edward "Bud" Foote

Though they were only operational for 6 months, their exploits in Burma under impossible odds and horrible conditions are legendary. Their battles against the enemy's superior forces as well as struggles against constant torrential downpours, hunger and disease (which took more of their lives than the Japanese did) were noted when the unit was awarded a Distinguished Service Citation in recognition of their heroism. Bud Foote (and each soldier in the unit) also received The Bronze Star...though his was posthumous, and was accompanied by a Purple Heart.

Bronze Star and Purple Heart service medals

I'm certain those reading this until now have never heard of Lt. Edward G. Foote, but he gave his life in the service of our country back in July of 1944, and was a hero in the very true sense of the word.

Remember him the next time you watch an episode of Steve Canyon, for his brother, who also was a hero during WWII...

Corporal Frederick J. Foote at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas 1943

(aka Dean Fredericks, star and namesake of STEVE CANYON)

Sergeant Frederick Foote recuperating from wounds received in a firefight during the invasion of the Philippines in October 1944. The future Steve Canyon star spent 15 months in several hospitals recuperating from injuries that nearly cost him his leg.
Happier times: Teenaged brothers Bud and Fred Foote before the war.

Remembering our Veterans and fallen service men and women on Memorial Day 2016.

John Ellis
Hollywood, CA

Friday, May 06, 2016

Abel Fernandez - July 14, 1930 - May 3, 2016

Abel as Airman Featherstone in Steve Canyon.

I'm still in shock, I didn't expect him to leave us so soon. Going to keep this brief for now:

Abel Gonzalez Fernandez passed away early Tuesday evening, May 3, 2016 at Presbyterian Hospital in Whittier, California, from advanced lung cancer. He had been having trouble breathing earlier that day, and was moved from SoCal Post Acute Care to nearby Presbyterian Hospital mid-afternoon.

I last spoke to him this past weekend and he was in good spirits. As usual, he said "hasta luego" and (as usual) I replied "hasta la!" and he laughed while hanging up the phone.

He was a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne Division at the end of WWII, a pro boxer and actor and stuntman...and my good friend for the last 7 years, and I miss him already. 

Here's a clip from an extensive interview Laura Barltrop and I recorded with him on Monday, September 13, 2010, in Pasadena, California, where Abel talks about his heroes when he was growing up:

If you want to read more about Abel, here is his wikipedia link: 

and his Imdb link:

There will be a service the evening of Monday, May 16th from 5pm to 9pm at the Guerra-Gutierrez Mortuary, 6338 Greenleaf Avenue, Whittier California, 90601. Please drop me a line at  if you would like to attend.

Godspeed, Abel, and thanks for everything.

John Ellis
Hollywood, CA

P.S. Note that I am STILL mailing V3 + slipcases out to the remaining (mostly foreign) pre-orderers (as we are broke and fighting a battle to stay afloat) ... slowly but surely am shipping them...please remain patient...thank you.