Saturday, October 2, 2010


I said I've been thinking a little more about grooming fact during the Heat Wave here in the Inland Valley, I was thinking about about all things snow and ice when I came upon a story of an "Ice Boat" that sank while in production for a BBC GeeWhizTV Show, "Bang Goes the Theory"

I read the story, and while looking at the photo, I remembered seeing an episode of The History Channel's "Modern Marvels" that delved into the WW2 scheme to build a giant aircraft carrier out of "Pykecrete"...the same stuff the British TV guys made their little runabout with.

Pykecrete was the creation of Geoffrey Pyke an inventor who worked for England's Combined Operations. Pykecrete was simply frozen water and wood pulp.

Combined Operations spearheaded many innovative projects that helped win the war...most notable were the "Mulberry Harbours", the concrete temporary harbors that the Allies towed accross tha English Channel to construct fully functional harbors at the Normandy Invasion Beaches, where war material was brought ashore to fuel the Allies march to liberate Europe form Hitler's clutches.

In concert with the Mulberry Harbors, Combined Operations' "Operation Pluto" strung fuel pipelines across the bottom of the Channel to bring fuel to the Allied warfighters.

"Operation Habakkuk" was Pyke's frozen airbase idea. The Modern Marvels episode showed archival footage of the scale model tests done in Canada. The project fell out of favor and was never brought to fruition. The scale model took three hot summers to melt away.

While I was looking at the History Channel's site for the Habakkuk video, I found some grooming video from the "Winter Tech" Modern Marvels episode.

The clip isn't exactly Grooming 101, but it is Grooming on TV.

If memory serves, the first groomer I saw on the Big Screen was a scene from Stanley Kubrick's horror classic "The Shining". It wasn't actual grooming per se, it was a Thiokol Sprite Troop Carrier driven by Scatman Crothers at night with the snow falling as the music swelled to pump up the suspense.

Tucker SnowCats were featured prominently in the Jerry Bruckheimer Actioner "National Treasure". The aerial scene of two SnowCats ranging across the frozen Arctic in search of a lost 19th century sailing ship is awesome. The editor even cut in a scene of the Tucker's small blade pushing some snow away from the entombed ship...a nice edit says this Critic!

There's a little SnowCat footage in the Trailer

In my opinion, "National Treasure" is a Modern Classic. It's half of my "Annual Independence Day Film Festival". It gets Top Billing over "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson. Strangely, I've never watched the SciFi "Independence Day" on Independence Day, though there's lots to like in the Will Smith blockbuster. "Independence Day" just isn't a 4th of July Movie, like my film festival faves are.

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