The Stars Do Their Part

It's War and Hollywood enlists. This slideshow contains a delightful montage of photos showing the stars doing their part for the war effort.

Working Girls

Do your part. Ginger Rogers (left) starred in the 1943 Home Front drama Tender Comrade. The plot has four diverse yet ordinary women moving into a big house to save money while working in a defense plant. The themes of share and share alike, making do and patriotism connected to wartime audiences who made the movie a hit. Its Soviet-sounding title came from a Robert Louis Stevenson poem. The script was penned by Dalton Trumbo, who would be blacklisted for his left-wing politics in the postwar Red Scare. Rogers said later some of the script's lines took a more "communistic turn" which she claimed upset her. Two other actors in the movie, Kim Hunter and Mady Christians, were also blacklisted.


Keen for the Canteen

Built in an old barn at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard, the Hollywood Canteen operated from 1942 to 1945. It was staffed with the studio's A-list stars, who entertained the servicemen and women passing through Los Angeles. This 1944 clip has young Dinah Shore giving a tour of the club, introducing Lana Turner and Marlene Dietrich among others. The canteen concept is even making a comeback. The National World War II Museum is opening a Stage Door Canteen and Victory Theater on their premises in November 2009.

Hollywood on the Brink

Leave it to Looney Tunes animators to capture a pantheon of stars dining at Ciro's, a famous nightclub, in 1941 on the eve of America's entrance into WWII. Jimmy Stewart, the Marx Brothers and Bing Crosby are a few of the stars caricatured. See how many you can identify.


You Must Remember This

It's the trailer from Casablanca, the 1942 classic that almost cast Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan, not Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the starring roles. How the movie got made is a fascinating story of Hollywood at war. More to come.


The Stage Door Canteen is Re-imagined for Today ...

News clip of the new Stage Door Canteen and Victory Theater, part of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Opening in November 2009 the Canteen revives the music and entertainment of the War Years.

... And One From the Past

Benny Goodman plays and Peggy Lee sings in 1943's wartime hit Stage Door Canteen.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

The movie trailer speaks for itself.

Chemistry Lessons

Sometimes an old-fashioned soundtrack makes it hard to pick up on the mutual attraction generated by shrewd casting in WWII movies. This clip proves you don't have to be explicit to generate heat. Astaire and Hayworth set sparks flying dancing to an updated soundtrack from the 1980s movie Dirty Dancing.

Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth in 1942's "You Were Never Lovelier"

The plot involves Hayworth as a girl from Argentina (a US ally in the War) who falls for the Nebraskan Astaire. Both dance up a storm to 40s band leader Xavier Cugat's Latin rhythms.