It was a fictionalized account of two soldiers’ experiences at the canteen, in which dozens of stars played themselves, volunteers for the war’s entertainment efforts. On October 23, 1943, Davis wrote Bob Hope a thank-you letter, on Hollywood Canteen letterhead, expressing gratitude for his contributions to the canteen. As for the Gene Tierney bit, I’ve done a bit of further research to confirm my statements, and it seems that the Hollywood Canteen was the place. Those famous canteen staffers long remembered serving the servicemen who were sacrificing much more than their time in the fight for democracy. Hollywood Canteen is a 1944 American musical romantic comedy film starring Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Dane Clark and features many stars (appearing as themselves) in cameo roles.
Letter from Bette Davis to Bob Hope: The National WWII Museum, 2008.461.001, Postcard of the Hollywood Canteen: Gift of Cherie Messore, 2006.046. Bette Davis quipped "get those two krauts out of the kitchen! Go visit it if you have the chance, K is a friend of mine and does a magnificent job with her site. From rural Mississippi to Iwo Jima, Joseph LaNier confronted racism in society and service. I always think I’m not going to be surprised, but…. The driving forces behind the creation of the Hollywood Canteen were Bette Davis and John Garfield, along with Jules Stein, President of Music Corporation of America, who headed up the finance committee. Hollywood Canteen was the fourth highest grossing film of 1944, with 40 percent of the proceeds contributed directly back to the canteen. Upon seeing that tables were not segregated at the canteen, many white soldiers opted to leave in lieu of sitting and chatting with fellow service members of African-American descent. Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson in "Mrs. In 1944, Warner Bros. produced a film called Hollywood Canteen. Lara is the author of CAPTAIN OF HER SOUL: The Life of Marion Davies (UC Press, 2022). [2][unreliable source?] Opening in 1942, the canteen only served serviceman, but that’s not what made the canteen so special….see it was entirely staffed by Hollywoods entertainment elite. Carole Lombard's beautifully haunting Life magazine cover, that I am honored to have in my personal magazine collection. In 1943 Tierney gave birth to their child, Daria, who was born prematurely, severely retarded, and was eventually institutionalized. The canteen continued even after the war was over, finally closing for good on Thanksgiving Day, 1945. Thanks for being such a great reader! That was how the star contracted German measles late in her pregnancy – an innocent kiss from an admiring fan who wanted an autograph.”. Modeled after, and affiliated with, the Stage Door Canteens founded by the American Theatre Wing, the Hollywood Canteen became a haven for servicemen—a place where they could enjoy entertainment and dancing free of worry or charge. Backlots is devoted to honoring and celebrating all aspects of classic film and is written by Lara Gabrielle, a California-based classic film writer and historian. It was directed by Delmer Daves, who also wrote the screenplay. Join us at the Backlot Commissary, the place for Backlots' readers to share content and discuss movies! Plot. Yet the Canteen was mindful of social relationships between Negroes and whites that had … The Hollywood Canteen, like others, was staffed completely by volunteers. Three million packs of cigarettes were distributed; six million pieces of cake, 125,000 gallons of milk, and nine million cups of coffee were served.

Club founders Bette Davis and John Garfield give talks on the history of the place. The idea for the canteen came from actor John Garfield, who was inspired to recreate the successful Stage Door Canteen in New York for service members on the West Coast. Among the frequent volunteers were Rita Hayworth, Deanna Durbin, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Jeanette MacDonald, and countless other Hollywood luminaries. The canteen provided a welcome respite from the pressures of a world war. It sure can.

With Bette Davis, John Garfield, The Andrews Sisters, Jack Benny. Thanks so much for sharing this! Mexican-born Jose Lopez earned America’s highest military honor for his heroic one- man stand during the Battle of the Bulge. Thank you, Susan!

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Before it closed on Thanksgiving Day 1945, over 3,000 volunteers, many famous stars among them, entertained nearly four million servicemen. Miniver.". Kimberly Guise holds a BA in German and Judaic Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He even volunteered in the kitchen washing dishes. Stars volunteered to wait on tables, cook in the kitchen, and clean up. Davis recalled it was so crowded that she had to climb through a window to enter. On September 15, 1943, the one millionth guest walked through the door of the Hollywood Canteen. She also studied at the Universität Freiburg in Germany and holds a masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Louisiana State University. Bette Davis and John Garfield were the two stars instrumental in the opening of the club which ran for the duration of the war. The décor of the canteen played on the building’s history as a stable by employing a western theme—the sign was made of rope lettering and chandeliers were constructed from old wagon wheels and retrofitted kerosene lanterns. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Tierney suffered from serious mental anguish and guilt for the rest of her life because of her decision to go to the Hollywood Canteen that night. I’d seen one of the movies, but fascinating to hear about the real-life story, both good and bad.