I got talked into giving this one last shot by a dear friend, only he thought I should do the script first and finish the book while that is being shopped around. So Anthony, I think I'll try.
Script writing is very different from the type of writing I'm so well known for, so I will need to hire some real pros to help me finish that first, hence the difference in my updated Go Fund Me dollar amount vs. the old one.. I'd give my LEFT NUT if @RealJamesWoods, best AMERICAN alive...next to TRUMP!...to write the script with me, but he's harder to get to than a sane person in the Hippy Press! If anyone can get him to me, you get acknowledged in the book! I mean, he's a certified MENSA genius, a gifted and intelligent writer, a true class act. But even without him I still need a script writer or two to help me write a professional script, not to mention the 7 or 8 months I'll need to finish the book itself, advertising, living expenses, etc.
So here's the deal:
If you donate $100, you get acknowledged on the official website.
If you donate $500, you get acknowledged in the book.
If you donate $1000 or more, you get acknowledged in the movie.
(Those who donated to the original Go Fund Me, I have you and your amounts, and the same applies to all of you, so never fear, I got you right here!)
Join me in finally honoring this man from our longest running war: Korea. Join me in the great art of telling a story....
I carefully opened a Reader’s Digest article from the November 1959 issue, penned by famed Hollywood producer Hal Wallis. The headline across the yellowing page read, “The Movie Star You Never Saw.” My heart swelled the way it does when I feel something sacred, and my awe over the selfless love a warrior has for his fighting brother was born...
Ricardo Carrasco arrived in Korea in late March 1953 as part of the 7th Division, 32nd Infantry Regiment, Company A. He spent the next three months fighting on the evil twins - Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill. He longed for home. What happened next should have been a godsend - a big old silver-screen, Hollywood-in-its-heyday godsend.
While Ricardo was fighting, his future was unfolding back home in a way most people can only fantasize. Director Owen Crump approached producer Hal Wallis at Paramount Pictures, with a pitch to make a movie on the front lines in Korea using only front-line soldiers. The story would take place on the last day of the war, shortly before the cease fire, in that tragic time when fighting continues for a few hours longer and men die just inches from the finish line.
So in mid-June 1953, Crump walked among the front-line troops, choosing each soldier who would be part of the fictional Easy Patrol. Every “actor,” every uniform, every bullet, every explosion was the real government-issue thing. No fake Hollywood stunts for this film.
The 14 GIs-turned-actors were whisked off to the war correspondents’ building in Seoul, where they slept in real beds, ate dinner served by waiters at tables with linen cloths and had all the cigars and whiskey they wanted. Raised on John Wayne and World War II, these men knew the double excitement of being a sudden movie star AND getting out of the hell of war.
But not Ricardo. The 19-year-old from El Paso, Texas, was quiet, moodier than his comrades, and every day he would ask the same question: “When can I go back to my fellahs?”
Crump had already decided that Ricardo would be the American to die on that last day of the movie war. The other men were enjoying every minute of the experience, grateful to be away from the shooting, mud and death, but Ricardo couldn’t seem to wait to get it done. Crump couldn’t figure him out.
Wallis watched the black-and-white rushes with growing enthusiasm. He was Hollywood’s pre-eminent “starmaker,” and he talent when he saw it. As he watched, one warrior stood out: PFC Ricardo Carrasco. This kid had “it.” Wallis watched each piece of raw footage over and over. Every frame proved his instincts right. He wired the news to Crump: Get Carrasco under contract with Paramount. The starmaker had big plans for him.
Back in Seoul after a particularly long day, Crump pulled Carrasco aside for a private moment so he could relay the news. He held his breath and waited for the shriek of joy.
“No thank you, sir.”
Crump sat at a table, scratching out a quick note to the producer. When Wallis read it a couple of days later, the starmaker boiled. He had never been turned down before.
After he cooled down, he told his assistant to wire back that because the cease-fire would be signed into effect in a few days, Crump was to make the contract offer again. Maybe then, with the war behind him and his sense of duty fulfilled, Carrasco would be more receptive.
But back in Korea, Crump could take no more of Ricardo’s constant pestering. He rewrote the sketchy script to kill off Ricardo two weeks ahead of schedule and shot the close-ups of Ricardo’s final scene, his death scene, on the morning of July 6, 1953.
It was the best acting the kid had done yet, but he took no time to celebrate. After lunch, Ricardo gathered his gear and hopped into a waiting jeep, chatting about his mother and El Paso and the approaching football season with the driver, who cussed him out the whole way for going back early. Ricardo just smiled, unfazed. As they pulled up to the forward area around Pork Chop, he hopped out with his duffle bag and waved goodbye.
The Chinese attacked that night, and at 11:25 p.m., the man who could have been a prince of Hollywood ended his tour of duty in a mortar explosion. There was no slow motion, no swell of music, no close-up for the camera this time. PFC Ricardo Carrasco’s reel death and real death had played out about 12 hours apart.
The cease fire was signed on July 27, 1953. The movie premiered in November 1953. Ricardo had been the only one to return to the front before the cease fire, the only one to see battle again, and the only one to die--twice in one day. The movie, like the war, was not popular. The movie, like the war, faded into the past and never received much notice or attention. The men of the movie, like the men of that war, moved on with their lives--all except one, who left his life on a hillside in Korea after leaving his once-in-a-lifetime mark on Hollywood.
And I've worked 25 years to tell this story, the most unique in military history, verified by the Pentagon in 1995.
It's time to tell the story of this man of Character, Ricardo Carrasco. It's time for FORGOTTEN WARRIOR: Twice in One Day.