World War Two - Hollywood
If you ever wondered how Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Barbara Stanwyck, Carmen Miranda, Veronica Lake, Charlie McCarthy or Edgar Bergen prepared their respective meals during the bad ol' days of food rationing during W.W. II - then you'll get your answer here:
"Hollywood has done a complete about-face and banned the lavish, costly dish.... These days when the inhabitants of Glamor Town take off their faces and sit down to dine, the taste may be varied, but every meal is eaten with the full knowledge that a quarter of a pound of butter or a pound of ground steak is just as rare in Hollywood as Wheeling, West Virginia."
We were very surprised to read in the attached editorial that the whole idea of draft deferments for actors and other assorted Hollywood flunkies was not a scheme cooked-up by their respective agents and yes-men, but a plan that sprung forth from the fertile mind of the executive officer in charge of the Selective Service System: Brigadier General Lewis Blaine Hershey (1893 - 1977) in Washington.
Always one to ask the difficult questions, Ernest V. Heyn (1905 - 1995) executive editor of PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE posed the query "Should Stars Fight?" and in this column he began to weigh the pros-and-cons of the need for propaganda and an uninterrupted flow of movies for the home front, and the appearance of creating a new entitled class of pretty boys.
Twenty years earlier a Hollywood actor would get in some hot water for also suggesting that talented men be excused from the W.W. I draft...
Even the broad-shouldered, steely-hard men who toil daily over this website cry like little girls when exposed to the 1944 home front movie, Since You Went Away; for our money it was the best movie Hollywood ever produced about the war years.
That said, we invite you to take a gander at the attached photo-essay from CLICK MAGAZINE in which a spy camera using infrared film was used to capture the weeping masses sobbing in the dark of the theater as they watched that remarkable movie.
When the actor Lawrence Olivier (1907 – 1989) first heard that a state of war existed between Britain and Germany, he was enjoying the breezes off the shore of Southern California in a sailboat skippered by Hollywood's heir expectant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and it was to Fairbanks that the attached letter was addressed. When this letter was written, Olivier was posted to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm where he gained the understanding that aeronautics was an acquired taste, and one that he simply could not cultivate. In his book International Stars at War, author James Wise noted that Flight Officer Olivier would soon be judged incompetent by the Royal Navy and released for other duties more in line with his abilities (like writing this highly self-conscious letter to his Hollywood friend).
Fairbanks, on the other hand, played an important roll in the U.S. Navy and by the war's end was sporting a chest-full of ribbons.
Paulette Goddard (1910 – 1990) is pictured in color wearing an all-purpose uniform designed by the Hollywood stylist Irene (Irene Lentz, 1900 - 1962). The actress was a sporadic volunteer, having appeared in four films throughout 1942.
"Hollywood's manpower problems have multiplied, as in any large industry, since the U.S. entered the war. The draft, war plants, and the Government need for technicians depleted studio staffs all along the line, from producers to prop boys. The majority of Hollywood stars have devoted an untold number of hours to Army camp tours, war work, canteens; they have raised funds for war relief and war bonds. Robert Montgomery (pictured in uniform) is only one of many stars who have entered the armed services. Now he's a lieutenant in the Navy in charge of a torpedo boat squadron....With the reduction in Hollywood's talent ranks and the new ruling for a $25,000-net-income ceiling, movie companies face a crises in production."
Click here to read a about a particularly persuasive and
highly effective W.W. II training film...
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