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Hollywood Canteen

Hollywood Canteen

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Flashback: Hollywood Celebrates American Military Resolveby Robert J.

Avrech During this Memorial Day Weekend Big Hollywood pays tribute those who have fallen, and those who sacrifice so much in the cause of freedom.Remember when Hollywood celebrities flocked across the globe to entertain and support American troops? Remember when Hollywood—as a community—denounced tyrants, Jew-haters, and mass murderers? Joan Crawford as Miss LibertyMy father was a Rabbi, a Chaplain in the 42nd Division during World War II and the Korean War.

He often told me just how much the troops loved and respected their Hollywood supporters.Here's just a brief sampler of what Hollywood patriotism once looked like.â€"In February 1954, on her honeymoon in Japan with Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe took time off and traveled to Korea to entertain the troops.

Monroe appeared on stage wearing skimpy outfits in freezing temperatures.

The men adored her.

She performed ten shows in four days, in front of audiences that totaled more than 100,000 soldiers and Marines.â€"Marilyn performs Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.â€"Dinah Shore, a hugely popular singer, traveled with USO tours throughout Europe.

During one of her tours she met actor George Montgomery.

They married in 1943.

Soon after the wedding, Montgomery entered active service.â€"In the late 1930's Nazi agents approached Marlene Dietrich and asked her to return to Germany.

She flatly turned them down.

Dietrich was one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds.

She entertained troops on the front lines in dozens of USO shows.

Dietrich hated the Nazis and often spoke out against anti-Semitism.

Here, she's autographing the cast of Earl E.

McFarland at U.S.

hospital in Belgium 1944.â€"Carole Landis probably logged more miles than any other actress in Hollywood during WWII entertaining American troops.

She wrote a book about her experiences, Four Jills in a Jeep.

Tragically, this generous but deeply unhappy young woman committed suicide in 1948 while carrying on a desperate affair with the married actor Rex Harrison—a notorious womanizer.â€"Bob Hope, friend to GI's, entertains American servicemen at the airstrip in Munda, New Georgia, an island in the central Solomons, on Oct.

31, 1944.

Hope's commitment to America's troops brought him into four wars: World War II, the Korean War, Viet Nam and the Persian Gulf War.

When on tour the great comedian usually performed in Army fatigues.

A 1997 act of Congress signed by President Clinton named Bob Hope an "Honorary Veteran."â€"Carole Lombard raised millions of dollars selling war bonds.

Tragically, she died in an airplane crash on January 15, 1942, after completing an eight-hour sales drive in Indiana in which she raised $2,017,513 in bonds .

She was anxious to reunite with Clark Gable; they had only been married for three years.

The last thing she said to him was: “You better get yourself into this man's army.”â€"Following Lombard's death, deeply depressed and drinking too much, Gable rallied and asked MGM to release him from his contract.

He joined the U.S.

Army Air Forces.

Most of Gable's friends believed that Hollywood's greatest leading man was seeking death.

Far too old for active service, Gable worked hard to earn his stripes.

Gable trained with and accompanied the 351st Heavy Bomb Group as head of a 6-man motion picture unit making a gunnery training film.

Gable flew five combat missions in B17's.

In one mission over Germany he was almost killed when a German 20mm shell exploded through the plane's floor and ripped the heel from one of Gable's flight boots.

Adolf Hitler offered a million dollar bounty to anyone who captured Gable and brought him back to Germany as a POW.

Gable was Hitler's favorite actor.

Gable left the Army Air Forces with the rank of Major.â€"Jimmy Stewart was a B-24 pilot in World War Two and flew twenty missions over Europe.

Stewart ended the war as a command pilot and stayed in the Air Force Reserves until 1968, when he retired as a Brigadier General.â€"Edward G.

Robinson visits the troops on the front lines, 1944.â€"The Hollywood Canteen, 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, California was open from October 3, 1942 until the end of World War II.

The club offered food and entertainment for American servicemen.

The founders of the Canteen were Bette Davis, John Garfield and composer Jules Stein.

All costs and labor for The Hollywood Canteen were donated by the various Hollywood guilds and unions.â€"In the Hollywood Canteen, Bette Davis ladles out food for American servicemen.

Davis devoted enormous amounts of time to the Canteen and served as its President.

When funds ran low, she reached into her own pocketbook to cover expenses.

Glamorous stars like Olivia De Havilland, Edward G.

Robinson, Hedy Lamarr, Frank Sinatra, Dorothy Lamour, Cary Grant, Lauren Bacall, Randolph Scott and hundreds of others, volunteered to wait on tables, cook in the kitchen and clean up.

Notable by their absence in the Hollywood Canteen were three great stars: Jimmy Cagney, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin.

In 1944, Warner Bros.

produced a star-studded film—a revue really—about the Hollywood Canteen.

When the Canteen closed its doors in November 1945, it had hosted almost three million servicemen.â€"Carole Landis on the cover of Screenland Magazineâ€"Never ForgetCopyright © Robert J.

AvrechEmail this to a friend | Print | Share on Facebook | Tags: Bette Davis, bob hope, Carole Landis, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, Dinah Shore, hollywood, Hollywood Canteen, jimmy stewart, marilyn monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Memorial Day, patriotism Posted May 25th 2009 at 6:21 am in Entertainment, Politics, military | 140558Comments
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