For the past seven years, Lexington filmmaker Rick Beyer has been working on a documentary film about a unit the Army called the 3rd Headquarters Special Troops, but which came to be known as the Ghost Army.
Next weekend, he’ll bring that story home for an exhibit/benefit at the to promote his independent documentary, “” and the accompanying book he co-authored with Elizabeth Sayles.
From 12 to 6 p.m., next Saturday, March 3, Beyer and video from the in-progress film with be at the Depot, along with original wartime artifacts and artworks by Ghost Army soldiers, including Arthur Singer and Arthur Shilstone. The unit also included fashion designer Bill Blass, painter Ellswroth Kelley and rock photog Art Kane. Admission is $5.
Beyer began work on the film following a meeting with Beverly resident Martha Galvin to learn about the wartime experiences of her uncle, Army Corporal John Jarvie, reports the Boston Globe. Jarvie served with the so-called Ghost Army, a force of more than 1,000 American GIs who used inflatable rubber tanks, fake communications and other modes of deception to carry out more than 20 clandestine ops designed to dupe Hitler’s army.
“Not only were these men brave enough to be operating right near the front lines with inflatable tanks, but they were creating this amazing art while they did it,” Beyer told the Globe. “The Army was using creativity to save lives, but the men were exercising their own creativity in this awful environment.”
The will include wartime artifacts, “Top Secret” military training footage and vivid color photos from the wartime collection of Ghost Army vet Bob Boyajian of Waltham. Also, WWII re-enactors will greet visitors to the exhibit and show off some of their equipment.
According to the Globe, Beyer has raised $158,521 for the documentary and figures he needs at least $30,000 more to finish the film, which he described as a “salute to all of the men involved” with the Ghost Army.
“They’re articulate, spirited, amazing guys, but people aren’t aware of them,” he told the Globe. “That’s one of the reasons this is so exciting for me.’’
For more information about the Ghost Army and Beyer's project, visit ghostarmy.org.