From:  Nancy Smoyer

   Dated:  October 21, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

Wow!  I guess our little group was vulnerable too because we spent a day with them on a little boat on the Mekong.  Can you summarize the threat? 
Nancy


    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  October 21, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

The CBS bureau was above Air France and I took Rather back for the first time during the 1993 documentary (also described in my digital book). One of the Caravelle rooms (not CBS) was blown up during the war. 
Rick Fredericksen
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    From:  Nancy Smoyer

   Dated:  October 20, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

Here's my account of that encounter, the back story of the interview. 
"I've had my 15 minutes of fame.  Back in '93 when I went back to Vietnam, it happened that CBS with Dan Rather was in-country doing a program about General Norman Schwarzkopf's return to Vietnam.  Somehow they learned that our group was there and decided they should have some other veterans on the program.  So we sat on the roof of the Caravelle Hotel at a long table and talked. 
It was very hard for me to do because I was at a very emotional phase of the trip.  I couldn't say the words "Vietnamese people" without tearing up, and I was determined not to cry on national television.  At one point while I was talking, I choked.  But at just that moment the tape ran out.  The cinematographer did the fastest tape change in the west, and it gave me just enough time to regain my composure (and the General time to pat my hand and tell me it was okay). 
But there were two things I wanted to say to the veterans, so I geared myself up beforehand, did some imaging of myself talking without crying, and did okay.  One point I wanted to make was that women, too, were in Vietnam in various capacities.  The second was about having been told to “get over it.”  I knew the guys were hearing the same thing and I knew the damage it can do.  So I said, forcefully, “The war will never be over for me.”  General Schwarzkopf picked up on it and repeated that it wouldn’t be over for him either.  I thought later about how powerful that would be for veterans and their families to hear that this man, the Gulf War general, still carried his Vietnam scars too. 
Nancy


Good Morning Vietnam

Comments on the making of the Movie

October and November, 2017


    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  October 21, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

Sorry I missed the Caravelle session. I love that old hotel, which is being renovated right now. You filled in some of the gaps that happened in the background of that dinner. I'm sure you will never forget it. The project was a career highlight for me. 
By the way, a lot of unreported things happened during the time we were in-country filming, most notably, threats of bloodshed made against the CBS delegation. I tell all in "Broadcasters: Untold Chaos." It's pretty amazing. 
Rick Fredericksen
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AFVN Group Conversations

    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  October 20, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

Nancy, I enjoyed your comments a lot, especially your comparison of Robin's role as a deejay being similar to the Donut Dollies: they were all there to lighten the mood and lift the spirits for the fighting men and women. That scene, the convoy scene, just happened to be the one filmed the day I spent on the set outside Bangkok. 
It was just last year that I learned we nearly ran into each other in Vietnam for the CBS Schwarzkopf-Rather documentary in 1993. I was a field producer, hopping from one place to the next and was not involved with the interviews you were part of. I didn't make the connection until Jim White discovered the doc on YouTube and asked me about it. Your story was very moving. I link to it here if anyone wants to watch. You are about 40 minutes into the video. 
All the best Nancy!

Click Here to see the above-mentioned CBS documentary


    From:  Nancy Smoyer

   Dated:  October 20, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

​​​​Rick, 
I really enjoyed reading your full account of the making of the film.  Although I get Vietnam magazine, I know they cut a lot so this was good to see.  The film made a big impression on me as I wrote in my book.  Although I laughed at times during it, the overall effect was as I said here: 
I went to see “Good Morning, Vietnam” with a DD friend and a civilian friend of hers.  During the scene where the actor playing Adrian Cronauer was caught in a traffic jam and started kidding with the guys in a nearby truck--where are you from, how long you been in, etc.-- the whole atmosphere changed from growing frustration to one of lightness and laughter.  I whispered to my friend, "He was a Donut Dollie, too." 
Then when we came out of that movie, after the ending in which Louis Armstrong sang “What a wonderful world” to scenes of destruction in Vietnam, I said to her, "I feel like bawling."  She responded something like, “That was so depressing.”  The civilian woman said, "What?  I thought it was funny!" 

Nancy​ 

    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  October 21, 2017

Subject:   The Making of Good Morning Vietnam

We stayed at the Rex and got two letters threatening bloodshed, demanding money or gold. We considered it a serious threat against the general and our group. It wasn't until later we learned it came from a group of former CBS Bureau Vietnamese who used our presence to press their demands for back pay. One of them was a staff cameraman, a star photographer, who was wounded, later spend many years in re-ed camps and then scraped along with virtually no income. The next year I sneaked into Vietnam with $20,000 strapped to my torso to pay off the guys, who finally got their last paycheck, with interest, almost 20 years late.  Other interesting back stories about this visit are in my digital book. 
Rick Fredericksen​