ALASKA: WWII ENTERTAINMENT

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Many entertainers traveled to the frigid north to entertain the troops just prior to and during WW-II in Alaska. These entertainers generally traveled under the auspices of the United Service Organization, or as it was more commonly known as, the "USO." Some of the more well-known visitors included Joe Louis, Bob Hope, and Francis Langford. Olivia DeHaviland made it down the Aleutian chain to Shemya. After the war was over Olivia became a bona fide member of the Shemya Veteran's Association!

Parades were also held, dog sled races were in, and even the military bands came to town as part of the entertainment. Here's a few pictures of these entertainers in those days...

 

Joe Lewis Talks to the Troops on Attu - 1944 #1. Joe Lewis, renowned boxer, visits the troops on Attu, Aleutian Islands, Alaska in 1944. (George Villasenor)
Joe Lewis Autographs for the Attu Troops, 1944 #2. Joe Lewis, while visiting Attu in 1944, signs autographs for the troops. (George Villasenor)
#3. The start of the dog sled race from Fairbanks to Nome, 1941. (Florence Collings, aka Anderson, Mack Collings' mother, took this photo)
#4. This was the 4th Inf. Reg. Dance Band, playing the old biggies. This was taken at the Elks Lodge in Anchorage. where I got the chance to meet General Buckner, as this was a rehearsal for the Officers Dance. Boy did those Nurses flirt. (Mack Collings)
Olivia DeHaviland #5. Olivia Dehaviland not only visited Alaska, she made it out to Shemya to boot! (Unknown Photographer)
Francis Langford Goes to Alaska #6. This USO shot of Francis Langford (she's the one in the middle for those of you who don't know!) was taken in mainland Alaska in late 1942. (Jim Joyce)