“It's hard…to believe such a small airplane could cause so much chaos, death and destruction. But it did. It's even harder to understand how such a remarkable story could go untold for half a century.” L-Bird, The Little Plane That Did.

Emmy award winning director Brian Shipman spent nearly a decade producing L-Bird, The Little Plane That Did. Shipman chronicles the untold story of a single-engine tail dragger and the role it played for Allied success.

Brian Shipman’s sister-in-law Katy Kirkman was an assistant account executive at Marlin and knew from working in the business that her sister’s husband needed help. Shipman had already taken the DVD jacket design down the road with another artist but wasn’t happy. And no wonder: It didn’t inspire curiosity or desire to see the film. In fact, it would have only appealed to L-Birders and hardcore propeller heads.

Shipman and I thought of our favorite war flics and observed themes that reflected the content of the films. The obvious solution was to take the star of the movie and make it the star of the case. The plane is flying low onto a field of battle at sunrise reflecting the drama and reality of the L-Bird’s wartime contributions.

After I completed the DVD cover I also designed a website to help generate buzz for the project.

Working on the L-Bird jacket design gave me a glimpse into a small fragment of the big story that was World War II. Shipman sums it up well:

“At the start of World War II many officers thought the little planes were a joke. But before the war was half over field officers wouldn't go anywhere without them. Using L birds as spotters the US Army was able to place it's artillery with pinpoint accuracy. Anything that moved under the watchful eye of an L bird Pilot was immediately blown away. A remarkable landing device was developed so the planes could be used at sea on transport ships. With the Brodie System planes could land, refuel and take off again without their wheels ever touching the ground! This documentary reveals the only film in existence of the Brodie System and the incredible story of the men who flew these cloth covered planes into battle.”

Despite the terrible subtitle to the movie, “The Little Plane That Did”, the cover is a great lead-in to a story worth telling, and one that shouldn’t be forgotten.

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