Film Review: Journey to Royal – A WWII Rescue Mission

HARRISBURG, PA — This documentary directed by Christopher Johnson of Misty Falls Motion Picture Company, and produced by Mariana Tosca, p.g.a. is a remarkable and effective piece of documentary filmmaking that chronicles the incredible stories of the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron rescue team during World War II.

This film tells the story about Lt. Royal A. Stratton and the rescue mission he flew to save the lives of nine downed B-29 bomber airmen adrift in the dangerous Japanese waters after their aircraft was hit by flak that started a fire in the rear of the plane.

I had never heard about Lt. Royal Stratton before, so for me, the film shines a new light on unsung heroes from World War II that we are forever indebted to.

The story, or rather stories, takes us right into the action with the feature narrative portion to start us off before we jump into the documentary section of the film. The editing is smart and successful which plunges us right into the stressful situation. The documentary portion is not only informative but educational and adds to our understanding of rescue efforts in the Pacific.

The documentary is an effective piece of cinema that informs and educates. Overall, this documentary is a very well-made and incredibly effective piece of filmmaking that is immersive cinematography with gripping action, mixed with firsthand accounts and historical images, showcasing the valor of the squadron who faced overwhelming odds to bring their brothers home.

Highly recommended for those interested in military history and in accounts of bravery in the face of overwhelming odds.

Dr. Zapotoczny is an author, historian, and professor of history. He can be reached at [email protected] and his website is

Brit Floyd Creates Magic For the Crowd in Hershey, PA

HERSHEY, March 14, 2022 — Brit Floyd vocalist Eva Avila earned a standing ovation for her thrilling performance of “The Great Gig in The Sky” from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album last night to a sell-out crowd in Hershey, PA.

The energy kept climbing from the start, leading to more standing ovations as Brit Floyd performed the Pink Floyd classics and dug deep in the Pink Floyd playlist to thrill the crowd with their flawless musical talent. Beginning with “Cluster One,” the band treated the audience to “High Hopes,” “Welcome to the Machine,” “Another Brick in the Wall” and more for the first set.

After a 20-minute intermission, the show regained its intensity with “Echoes” featuring organ riffs and Damian Darlington’s magical guitar. Ian Cattell showed his masterful guitar solos and Ryan Saranich’s dramatic saxophone added to the richness of Brit Floyd’s renditions of the Pink Floyd masterpieces.

Images of co-founder Syd Barret beamed on the screen as the band performed “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Darlington ‘s steely acoustic rendition of “Wish You Were Here” delivered another ovation. The second set ended with a skillful guitar solo in “Comfortably Numb.”

The sound was flawless. Video projections on the immense circular screen and choreographed dancing lights added to the experience. Everyone had a good seat in this small, but impressive theatre built by Milton Hershey in the early twentieth century. From its inception, the theatre was designed to be a beautiful place for Central Pennsylvanians to gather and enjoy a wide assortment of entertainment and Britt Floyd added to Hershey’s vision.

The crowd roared for more and Brit Floyd answered with an encore of “One Slip” and “Run Like Hell.” Many in the crowd asked about Brit Floyd’s performance schedule, as they wanted more.

Walter Zapotoczny is an author, historian, and local Pink Floyd aficionado. He can be reached at [email protected]