My hometown of Kāneʻohe sits below the Ko’olau mountains—a ridge of sheer cliffs that are the remnant of an ancient volcano.
And the most famous site in the Ko’olaus is the Nuʻuanu Pali. It’s a jagged split that—before we could blast tunnels with dynamite—was the only path through the range. It’s historic. Kids take field trips there. It’s one of the most beautiful vistas on the island.
But the wind is fierce. On a blustery day you can open a jacket like wings and lean 45 degrees into the wind, supported only by air. And that’s only part of why it holds a reputation for ghosts and otherworldly events. Most locals refuse to go there at night.
In 1795 Kamehameha’s armies invaded Oʻahu, driving the army of his enemy Kalanikūpule up the valley, and over the thousand-foot cliffs of the Pali. The event was captured by local artist Herb Kane in his famous painting.
Even as a child, I knew that I would tell this story someday. The image of those warriors, driven off the cliff, was too haunting to shake. I have to thank Extra History for letting me finally do that, and for both the narrator Dan and artist Lil for being responsive to my constant (often nitpick-y) feedback. I wanted to tell the story as best as I could, and I think we did that.
Hey! I’ve been moving and knocking around the US for a bit so I neglected to put my latest up on the blog.
But just in case you missed them, I wanted to post the conclusion of Extra History: Hunting the Bismarck.
I’m deeply proud of these episodes. They’re some of the best work I’ve ever produced. And so much of that is due to Scott’s art and Dan’s narration. They’re fantastic team members and were a pleasure to work with.
What makes me most proud, though, is that we’ve included many events that documentaries on the Bismarck tend to cut out, like the role of Bletchley Park and the friendly-fire incidents in Episode 3.
I’m about a week late announcing this, but I wrote a series for Extra History!
Hunting the Bismarck is a four-part series about one of the most exciting episodes of World War II. Written as an hour-by-hour intelligence procedural rather than a traditional documentary, it follows British sailors, pilots, and intelligence analysts as they try to find—and sink—what was (at that time) the largest battleship on Earth.
My goal with these scripts was to focus on neglected aspects of the hunt, like the role of resistance fighters, radar operators and signals experts. Telling the story from the British side also portrays the chaos and uncertainty the British faced as they tried to determine where Bismarck was headed and how badly they had damaged it.
I’m extremely pleased with the first two episodes. Scott DeWitt knocked it out of the park on the visuals (seriously, watch it full screen) and it’s among the best narration Dan has ever done.
I’ll also be creating a LIES comment to post beneath the final video, so if you have specific questions, feel free to ask them in the comments here!
Hunting the Bismarck – I: The Pride of Germany
Hunting the Bismarck II – The Mighty HMS Hood
AND THERE’S MORE!
It’s been a very World War II week! My column at Waypoint on Thursday also dealt with how we represent the war in media—specifically, how WWII movies and games continue to be dominated by the visual style Spielberg created for Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.