Old 08-21-2007, 08:46 AM   #1
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Default Question re amount of time Al was in 'Nam

This question comes out of a discussion that somehow ended up on The Leap Back thread. In MIA, Al said that he came home from Vietnam in 1973. But at the end of The Leap Home: Vietnam, which was in 1970, Al said, "What the hell, I get repatriated in five years." That would mean he doesn't come home until 1975.

I'm wondering if this change was intentional or if it was a simple slip of the pen. After reading a few of the scripts with their various discrepancies--for instance, I think the Mirror Image script says Al and Beth have been married 35 years, which is wrong; it's 39 years--I wonder if DPB simply wasn't that careful about keeping track of the timeline.

Did anyone ever ask DBP if he meant to extend Al's time in Vietnam?
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:09 PM   #2
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The novel "Pulitzer", while not technically canon, explains this discrepancy. I can't remember the exact explanation.... It's something like Al and the POWs were moved or hidden or something that didn't happen in the original timeline, which ended up in the end causing them to not be rescued 'til 2 years later than the original timeline.

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Old 08-21-2007, 03:54 PM   #3
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Sam changed it by letting Maggie on the Mission. Al had to stay longer due to the Pulitzer winning photo of him. Or that's what's explained in the novel Pulitzer although thats not canon information. It makes sense though.
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:16 PM   #4
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Well, my question was whether DPB meant to make that change when he wrote "Leap Home: Vietnam" or whether it was simply a typo. If Al had said, "I get repatriated in 3 years," then he would have come home in 1973 as he did originally. The whole change in the timeline hinges on a single word. Probably no one knows. I was wondering if someone had asked him at one of the conventions.

I got a copy of the novel "Pulitzer" and I like the way it explored the change in the story. The plot was a bit murky, but overall it was well done.
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:43 PM   #5
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Yeah since the information givien in Pulitzer is not canon I guess thats one of many facts that's up to the fans.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:51 PM   #6
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I always figured that when Al made the decision to save his brother, and the picture was taken by Maggie, that was what lead to the extra two years. It was just more angst that Sam had to take (saving his brother meant Maggie dying and Al having to take on two more years of absolute and total hell - willingly.)

It was obvious that in the original timeline, the Lazarus Mission failed. Tom was killed and Al didn't come home until 1973 (per MIA). Al was figuring that Sam's mission this time was to make sure that mission didn't fail, and he'd be repatriated in April 1970 (hence his trying to get Sam over to where he was as a prison.) Instead, he saw how Sam's whole focus was on this brother and Al made the decision to help Sam instead. I'm not sure at that moment whether he realized there'd be an extra two years tacked on. Thus, Sam changed things by having Maggie there and saving Tom.

The thing that DOESN'T make sense (historically) is that after the peace talks 'ended' the war in January of 1973, repatriation of known POW's started almost immediately. Thus, it might have made sense that an MIA might be held back until 1975, but not a known POW which is what Maggie's picture make Al. It would make more sense for Al to have been repatriated earlier rather than later under those conditions.

However, a way to explain that away would be to have his captors feeling that they now were shown to not have told the truth that they had him and used the picture to continue holding him longer (sort of as retaliation.) It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it sorta works for motivation.
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asearcher
It would make more sense for Al to have been repatriated earlier rather than later under those conditions.
Yeah but the photo probably caused the VC to hide him, in Pulitzer it was suggested that the photo caused the VC trouble. I think.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:04 PM   #8
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Whether or not the publishing of Maggie's photo caused the NVA to "hide" where they kept Al, it was now known that he was a POW and no longer MIA. There is a difference between the two designations. A POW - prisoner of war, is known to be alive and captured by the enemy. An MIA is missing in action and could be dead, captured by the enemy or even a desserter - the fate is simply not known. Previous to the publication of Al's photo it wasn't known if he was dead or alive or where he was. After the publication it was very clear that he was alive and being held as a prisoner.

Part of the provisions of the Paris Peace Accord reads:

Quote:
(a) The return of captured military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties shall be carried out simultaneously with and completed not later than the same day as the troop withdrawal mentioned in Article 5. The parties shall exchange complete lists of the above-mentioned captured military personnel and foreign civilians on the day of the signing of this Agreement.
Since it was known that Al was a POW, it doesn't make any kind of historical sense that Al wasn't repatriated until 1975 as opposed to 1973 when Operation Homecoming began. It only makes sense if the photo is never published and no one knows that he's a POW...if he remains listed as an MIA. His name could have then been left off the list of known POWs and would explain the extra two years. Otherwise, it just doesn't make any kind of historical sense.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:46 PM   #9
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Exactly.

And Cyd...we said the same exact thing (read through my final paragraph.) I'm sure that's why the writer of Pulitzer used that as a concept. Logically, it made NO HISTORICAL sense he'd be kept longer and thus the writer would have had to come up with a way to explain that away.

Julia's scenario makes more sense (e.g. the photo was witheld) but then the US Govt. is the real reason that Al would have had those extra two years. If the picture wasn't published until later (e.g. 1975) and Al's name appeared on no POW lists, he'd still be considered MIA up until the picture was published (and won the Pulitzer.)

Of course...for the picture to win, it would probably have to be 'at the time' than 'after the fact.' Thus, neither scenario is really viable. But then, this is fiction and Bellasario told us..."Don't look too closely."
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Old 08-22-2007, 05:36 PM   #10
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Yeah that's true, the photo being published should have been an excuse to repatriate him. The author of Pulitzer must not have done enough research before writing that novel unless they had something in mind when they wrote it the way they did. It probably helps the whole back story with Eddie accusing Al of being a traitor because his brain tumor put false memories in his mind.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:49 PM   #11
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The writer had to work with the 'canon' of the show. The show said he was repatriated in 1975. Therefore a reason must be given. Again...it may be historically illogical but the motivation of the picture causing the additional two years is somewhat 'canon' based. Thus, the writer of Pulitzer came up with a motivation for the story.

I NEVER said that the writer didn't do the research. They may have done so and STILL had to come up with something that, while not historically accurate, does explain the motivation. Not a problem from my point of view. Just required more of a suspension of belief to enjoy the writing.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:12 AM   #12
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I never said that's what you said, I was trying to agree that what you said makes sense about how in a way the extra two years made little sense.

*sigh* I guess I don't belong in this conversation anymore I can't seem to say anything right. :P
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Old 08-23-2007, 07:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
Since it was known that Al was a POW, it doesn't make any kind of historical sense that Al wasn't repatriated until 1975 as opposed to 1973 when Operation Homecoming began. It only makes sense if the photo is never published and no one knows that he's a POW...if he remains listed as an MIA. His name could have then been left off the list of known POWs and would explain the extra two years. Otherwise, it just doesn't make any kind of historical sense.
Oh, you're tempting me to fanwank the whole thing away. The thing is, it would be hard to believe that Al made a mistake and simply said the wrong number when he was talking to Sam. As he said once, there are some dates you don't forget.

I think in the novel Pulitzer, the author did have an explanation for it though. After the photo was taken, Al escaped. So the VC could shrug and say, "Oh well, we had him, but now he's MIA again." There would be no way to force them to reveal that they had recaptured him later. It's a pretty good take on the situation, I think.

I still just don't want Al to have to spend those two extra years there.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:47 PM   #14
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This whole discussion of the picture making Al a known POW rather than MIA leads me to another little wrinkle: Wouldn't Beth know that Al was a POW, then? If so, it seems unlikely that she would have hooked up with Dirk. Could she even have had him declared dead if that were the case?

This is very interesting.
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Old 08-24-2007, 06:52 PM   #15
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Someone may have more info on the dates, but Beth met Dirk in 1969 and probably married him as fast as she could. The photo was taken in 1970 and I don't know how long it took to get published. Anyway, Beth had remarried by then. Legally I don't know what kind of tangle that would cause.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:58 AM   #16
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Yeah I consitered that too cookiemom and so did Kristen but like Snish pointed out Beth was already married to Dirk by the time the photo was taken because according to Al in MIA she met Dirk on April 1, the date Sam was there and married him in June. So she wasted no time. The photo came out far too late unfortuantly. She probably saw it but there was nothing she could do because she's with Dirk now. Although she would be unable to ignore it because it would cause her legal trouble since with Al alive she is now techinqually married to two men at once. I would love to explore how they got out of that scrape as its something very interesting to think about, but thats beside the point of this conversation.
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
Although she would be unable to ignore it because it would cause her legal trouble since with Al alive she is now techinqually married to two men at once. I would love to explore how they got out of that scrape as its something very interesting to think about.
Yes I wonder what they do in real life, years ago a family friends husband went missing while fishing, and he and his boat were never seen again. She had to wait 7 years before he was declared dead, before she could access life insurance, his accounts and remarry (which I think she has) It is an interesting concept to discuss in another thread perhaps.
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Old 09-01-2007, 01:23 AM   #18
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Asearacher did a little research on this for a story we're working on together. Here's a link she found regarding a legal case with some similarities though it is not the same situation by a longshot. http://www.mcmathlaw.com/Sid/DeathHoliday.htm
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Old 09-01-2007, 02:46 PM   #19
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Julia for some wacked out reason your link just brought me to the Al's Place board index. ???
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Old 09-01-2007, 04:45 PM   #20
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Me too. But I copied the link and pasted it into a new page. Interesting story! Since Arkansas has a five-year "presumption of death" statute, the wife would be able to legally remarry after five years. She didn't, so this story doesn't address the question of what would happen if her husband turned up alive after that.
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Old 09-01-2007, 06:45 PM   #21
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Thanx for the tip Snish. Very interesting story but although this wife had a simular expirence with thinking her husband is dead when he's not; this story does not at all address Beth's particular situation since the wife in this story had not remarried during her knowledge that he was dead. But I think I like Al and Beth's situation better cuz Al didn't abandon Beth; he went to war and her assumption that he was dead did not come from set up eveidence. PLus war stories are just plain interesting. What the heck was that man thinking to desert his family like that. How heartless
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