Did you know...?




Did you know that 1934 Tech High graduate CLIFF POLAND was the underwater photographer responsible for the "Flipper" movie/TV series?  His work also included productions ranging from "cheapies" such as the classic "Creature From the Black Lagoon" to high- adventure pictures such as "Around the World Under the Sea".

Clifford H. Poland 1916-2008

Clifford H. Poland Jr., ASC, whose work graced productions ranging from "cheapies" such as Fireball Jungle (1969) and Wild Rebels (1967) to high-concept adventure pictures such as Around the World Under the Sea (1966), died on April 17, 2008, at the age of 91.

Born Aug. 1, 1916, in Memphis, Tenn., Poland grew up around the photography business. His father owned a commercial still-photo and motion-picture studio, where young Clifford began his apprenticeship. In 1941, he joined the camera guild, then known as IATSE Local 666, and one year later, he was direct-commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Signal Corps. From 1944-1946, he served as the officer in charge of the Motion Picture School section of the Signal Photographic Center in New York. During that period, he accompanied the Joint Chiefs of Staff and photographed the Quebec Conference, the Yalta Conference and the official Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

In 1947, after he was honorably discharged at the rank of captain, Poland became a staff cameraman and bureau manager for Warner Path� News. For the position, he relocated to Miami, Fla., the city that would remain his home for the next three decades. With Warner Path�, he contributed regularly to a twice-weekly theatrical newsreel, and he set a record when three of his stories were used in the same week. He won a Newsreel Critics Award, and when he wasn't photographing the latest in news, fashion, sports, short subjects and featurettes, he shot background footage for such Warner Bros, films as Key Largo (1948) and A Streetcar Named Desire'(1951).

In 1953, Poland left Warner Pathe to strike out as a freelance cinematographer. He was an experienced helicopter and fixed-wing cameraman, capable of working with both the Tyler mount and the Dynalens; he was an expert in underwater photography and scuba-diving, skills he would put to use photographing 47 episodes of Flipper (1964-1967); and he was a natural choice for background photography, rear-projection and blue-screen work.

Upon the recommendation of Joseph Biroc, ASC, Poland became an active member of the Society on Jan. 5, 1970. His credits included the features Hello Down There(1969), Mission Mars (1968) and The Aquarians (1970), as well as the series Everglades (1961-1962). In 1981, after nearly half a century in the industry, he retired and moved back to Tennessee with his wife, Juanita.

Poland is survived by three daughters, Charlene Holt, Sheila Poland and Linda Poland; six granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren.

- Jon D. Witmer

Published in The American Society of Cinematographers, August 2008.