Smithsonian Channel continues its annual initiative honoring Veterans Month with the new special, Memphis Belle In Color, the story of the famed Memphis Belle, with vibrant color footage of the iconic aircraft in combat. The B-17 bomber plane that became a symbol of the Allies’ desperate fight against the German Luftwaffe during WWII. It premieres on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Watch the cold open above.
The special examines the role that B-17 bombers, nicknamed “Flying Fortresses,” played across airborne battlefields. By the summer of 1942, American B-17 airmen were facing chaotic, deadly and frigid battles at altitudes of five miles with a paltry 25 percent survival rate. The B-17 Memphis Belle and her 10 crew members managed to beat these odds, becoming the first B-17 to earn a trip home and the focus of William Wyler’s 1944 film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.
Memphis Belle In Color uses newly-restored 4K footage from this iconic film to uncover the story of the famed plane and the contribution of B-17 bombers to victory in the war. Veterans of B-17 missions tell their hair-raising, first-person tales of combat, while the film also reveals the full restoration of the Memphis Belle at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Memphis Belle In Color is executive produced by Tim Evans and David Royle for Smithsonian Channel.