Former Medford Mayor Jack McGlynn Was Member of Top-Secret World War II Unit Depicted In Documentary
The Mystic Art Gallery is pleased to announce a very special
edition of the Off-the-Square Screening Room. On Saturday, September 21 at 6:00 pm, the Screening Room will present “The Ghost Army,” a documentary about a top-secret U.S. Army unit that carried out series of deceptive operations during World War II.
Using rubber tanks, sound effects, phony radio transmissions and even playacting, the men of the 23rd Special Headquarters Troops – as The Ghost Army was officially known – used deception and “special effects” as its main weapon in fighting the Axis powers. From June 1944 to March 1945, beginning in Normandy and ending along the Rhine River, over 20 missions were carried out to deal with a specific battlefield situation, each with its own carefully scripted scenario designed to play on the fears and expectations of the enemy.
Former Medford Mayor Jack McGlynn was hand-picked to join the covert unit as an audio specialist. He will be our special guest at the screening and take part in a Q&A.
Unlike previous Screening Room sessions, this will be the only film shown that evening.
Following is a description of the documentary, from the film’s website:
“In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of G.I.s landed in France to create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the German Army as their audience. From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the Ghost Army, conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Every move they made was top secret and their story was hushed up for decades after the war’s end.
Each deception required that they impersonate a different (and vastly larger) U.S. unit. Like actors in a repertory theater, they mounted an ever-changing multimedia show tailored to each deception. The men immersed themselves in their roles, even hanging out at local cafés and spinning their counterfeit stories for spies who might lurk in the shadows.
Painstakingly recorded sounds of armored and infantry units were blasted from sound trucks; radio operators created phony traffic nets; and inflatable tanks, trucks, artillery and even airplanes were imperfectly camouflaged so they would be visible to enemy reconnaissance. The Ghost Army staged more than 20 deception operations in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, often operating dangerously close to the front lines. In the final days of the war they faced their ultimate test: a deception along the Rhine River in which thousands of lives depended on their delivering a convincing performance. What they accomplished was kept secret for nearly fifty years.”
The Ghost Army was written and directed by filmmaker Rick Beyer of Lexington, MA, who is also the author of the best-selling Greatest Stories Never Told series of history books. Beyer worked more than eight years on the film, which was the audience-award winner at this year’s Salem Film Fest in Salem, MA, and is an official selection of the GI Film Festival in Washington DC.
Jack McGlynn returned from the war and eventually undertook a 50-year career in local and state government, including five terms as mayor of Medford; the McGlynn School on Mystic Valley Parkway is named after him.
“We are very excited to be showing ‘The Ghost Army’ and pay tribute to the efforts of Jack and his compatriots in the service,” said Screening Room organizer and Medford Arts Center, Inc. (MACI) President Mike Oliver. “This is a very special event for us, and we anticipate a strong turnout.”
As with the previous sessions, admission to the Screening Room is free but there is a $5 suggested donation at the door. A large crowd is expected and seating is limited, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early; a second screening may also be given depending on demand.
For more information on the film, visit www.ghostarmy.org.
For future Screening Room sessions, the Mystic hopes to feature films by other local producers, and is actively seeking submissions. If you have work you would like to submit or recommend, contact email@example.com.
For more information on the Mystic Art Gallery, its latest schedule of events and MACI, visit us on the web at www.medfordarts.org or www.facebook.com/TheMysticArtGallery, or call 781-396-ARTS (2787).
- Submitted by the Mystic Art Gallery