Being a movie officer in trouble is not easily forgotten. In the old days, an EMFN at the Movie Exchange could put our skipper on report for torn sprocket holes. Loss of a reel or an entire film brought forth thoughts of a cell at Leavenworth.
I was new on SEA OWL on a Mediterranean deployment in 1954. As movie officer, I knew the number of films we loaded for the trip, but it never entered my mind to check the contents of each container.
Mississippi Gambler was being shown underway, and when reel 3 was put on the projector, instead of a continuation of the featured film, we found a cartoon entitled Fuddy Duddy Buddy. It turned out that reel 3 was made up entirely of short cartoons spliced together. We searched every film container on board, but could not come up with reel 3.
Sometime later (and my memory is not up to speed), we sent a message from Commanding Officer SEA OWL to COMSIXTHFLT which read something like: “Does anyone have reel 3 of Mississippi Gambler? Will swap Fuddy Duddy Buddy for it.” Nothing came of this plea for help.
Upon return to homeport, I approached the Movie Exchange in somewhat of a state of anxiety. After relating our problem, the EMFN at the counter said something like: “Gee, we’ve been looking for that reel of cartoons for months. Reel 3 of Mississippi Gambler is right over here on the shelf.’