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Hollywood Canteen

Hollywood Canteen Closes Its Doors


Hollywood Canteen Closes Its Doors

Gay, laughing Hollywood closed its famed Hollywood Canteen for servicemen and women last night, on a note of sadness.

Yet, there was a gay sparkle afforded by the quips of such comedians as Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Jerry Colonna – servicemens’ favorites both at home and overseas.

It was the last day of the long tenure of the West Coast’s leading recreation center for those who fought their country’s battles on land, in the air and under the seas.

Since its opening on October 3, 1942, the Hollywood Canteen has entertained, with the highest paid talent of the land, more than 32 million servicemen and women.

During the Canteen’s three...

Vintage Photos of the Hollywood Canteen

Vintage Photos of the Hollywood Canteen

The largest collection of vintage photographs of the Hollywood Canteen is on the website.  There are more than 300 vintage and historical photographs of all the activities that took place at the Hollywood Canteen.

The history of the Hollywood Canteen is one of Hollywood's greatest stories and one that should be remembered by everyone interested in Hollywood's illustrious history.


Founding The Hollywood Canteen

The Hollywood Canteen was founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield....

The Hollywood Canteen History & Photos

Grand Opening

The Hollywood Canteen open October 3, 1942, with Eddie Cantor as master of ceremonies. The grand opening was tailored like a premier at Grauman's Chinese theater. For bands entertained including Rudy Vallee and his Coast Guard Band, Kay Kyser's band, and Duke Ellington and his band. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and other celebrities were on hand to entertain the thousands of celebrities, civic leaders, and visiting serviceman.

Eventually, 6000 stars, players, writers, directors, and studio secretaries were registered to work as hosts, hostesses, bus persons, kitchen crew, and general helpers. It took 300 volunteers each night to operate the Canteen in two shifts between 7 PM at midnight.



During the course of the Hollywood...

Hollywood Canteen activities photos

Hollywood Canteen Activities Photos

The Hollywood Canteen was founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield in October 3, 1942.  Located on Cahuenga Ave., just south of Sunset Blvd., the Canteen was open to servicemen of all branches of the armed services.   The only people who were allowed to volunteer, at the Canteen, were those that were employed in the entertainment industry.  Volunteers included actors, actresses, studio secretaries, prop men, radio technicians, film editors, etc. 


Actresses, both established and starlets, volunteered as hostesses to dance and chat with servicemen during their visit to the Hollywood Canteen. Each night, two bands played on stage so the servicemen could dance with the beautiful ladies. Of all the types of dances that were popular in...

Hollywood Canteen Blog #2


Hollywood Canteen

Most servicemen who came to the Canteen for the first time had a general idea of what to expect, as they had heard about it from fellow soldiers and read about it in movie magazines. The bounty was well known: dancing with glamorous stars, free food, fabulous live music -- and such general consistency was comforting. Yet there was nothing routine about the Canteen, and no night was ever the same as another.

In addition to the surprises inherent in mixtures of G.I .s, celebrities, pretty volunteers and varying entertainment, the Canteen offered unique events and specific celebrations.

Within a month of its opening, the Canteen was hosting almost 20,000 servicemen a week; in March, 1943, Seaman Wilham Rakowski of Chicago was feted as its 500,000th visitor. Granted a modern day Aladdin’s...

Popular Hollywood Canteen

Hollywood Canteen

World War II opened a new chapter in the lives of depression-weary Americans.  As husbands and fathers, sons and brothers shipped out to fight in Europe and the Pacific, citizens who remained at home were galvanized in support of a common goal: to actively maintain the home front. Millions of women marched into factories, offices, and military bases to work in the paying jobs formerly held by men in peacetime.

   One of the greatest contributors to the war effort was Hollywood’s entertainment industry; no other single group gave so much of its time, talent, energy, and enthusiasm. Hollywood film and radio stars, movie and studio employees, actors and actresses of varying degrees of fame, as well as screenwriters, directors, and producers, rolled up their sleeves to sell war bonds, traveled far and wide to perform for troops, and cheered up wounded servicemen on hospital tours.

But if there was one operation in which all the...

Hollywood Canteen Rules


Before the Hollywood Canteen opened its door, on October 3, 1942, Bette Davis, John Garfield and the Canteen’s Board of Directors formulated and adopted ten rules that all volunteers had to follow. Upon acceptance, and after being fingerprinted and photographed, each volunteer was issued a list of rules. Most of the rules we re directed at the hostesses who were managed by Doris Stein.

1) Scrupulous politeness at all times of all men in uniform is demanded. If there is any difficulty with a serviceman, please report this immediately to the Officer of the Day, who will deal with him. You must not attempt to handle this yourself.

         2) Stay in your own department....

Hollywood Canteen Food

Hollywood Canteen Food   

The old saying, “After ecstasy, the laundry!” certainly applied to the Hollywood Canteen as the glamour of opening night gave way to the reality of daily preparations. Efforts to get everything ready for the nightly onslaughts of over 2500 servicemen had to be as well coordinated as military maneuvers.

         Each month the soldiers consumed an estimated 4000 loaves of bread, 400 pounds of butter, 1500 pounds of coffee, 50,000 half-pints of milk, 30,000 gallons of punch, 1000 pounds of three varieties of cheeses, 2500 pounds of assorted meats, 20,000 oranges, 100,000 pieces of cake, more than 150,000 sandwiches and hot dogs, 800 pounds of potato chips, 300 dozen doughnuts, 300 gallons of ice cream (for Sundays only), thousands of boxes of raisins, plus cases of jellies, relishes, pickles, mustard,...

Hollywood Canteen Photos

Hollywood Canteen

The Hollywood Canteen was the jewel in the crown of World War II Hollywood.  From 1942 to 1945, over three million servicemen came through its doors on their way to fight in the Pacific – some never to return.  There, in a converted barn in the heart of Hollywood, soldiers were fed, entertained by and danced with some of the biggest stars in the world. The Canteen was free to all servicemen and women, regardless of race, inviting them to jive to the music of Kay Kyser and Harry James, laugh at Bob Hope’s jokes, be handed sandwiches by Rita Hayworth, or dance with Hedy Lamarr. Knowing that they were so appreciated, the soldiers were armed with the kinds of hope and encouragement that would help them win the war. The Canteen was founded by Bette Davis, John Garfield...

New Hollywood Canteen Book

New Hollywood Canteen Book

Authors Lisa Mitchell and Bruce Torrence finished penning their new book, “The Hollywood Canteen” and had it released in June 2012.  Opened on October 3, 1943, the Hollywood Canteen was for the benefit of servicemen during World War II.  It was founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield and with the assistance of Dr. Jules Stein, the Canteen became one of the most popular places in Hollywood during the war.





Millionth Man

The millionth serviceman to visit the Hollywood Canteen was...

Amazing Hollywood Canteen Photos

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Now that Bruce Torrence’s and Lisa Mitchell’s book, The Hollywood Canteen, is going to be released in July or August, it’s time to tell the world about the great text and wonderful photographs that are contained in this exciting book.

The text was written by Lisa and the selection of Hollywood Canteen photos were chosen by Bruce.  They all came from his vast collection of Hollywood photographs which can be seen on his web site.  The site has over 8000 historic and not so historic photographs of old Hollywood.  

Within the collection are more than three hundred images of the Hollywood Canteen.  They include images of the opening ceremony, servicemen dancing with celebrities,...

The Best Hollywood Canteen Photos

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The Hollywood Canteen operated for three years during World War Two.  Founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield, the Hollywood Canteen was located on Cahuenga Ave., just south of Sunset Blvd.

The Canteen was supported and operated by all the unions and guilds of the entertainment industry.  All the people who volunteered at the Cahteen were members of the motion picture and radio industries.  Over the course of its three year operation, more than three million servicemen visited the famous Hollywood Canteen.

Volunteers served in several capacities;  Hostesses,...

The Hollywood Canteen Book

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Recently, Hollywood historians and authors, Lisa Mitchell and Bruce Torrence, have finished their new book titled, “The Hollywood Canteen.”  Consisting of over 35,000 words. the book will contain approximately one hundred and sixty five photographs, many of which have never been seen by the public.  Opened on October 3, 1942, the Hollywood Canteen was the most popular place for W.W.II servicemen to go when in Hollywood.  Conceived by Bette Davis and John Garfield, the Hollywood Canteen was operated by the thousands of volunteers from...


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In the 1940's, soldiers being sent off or just returning from service could enjoy a visit to the Hollywood Canteen, where they could drink for free and even hobnob with movie stars and Hollywood elite.  Cofounded by actor John Garfield and superstar Bette Davis, offered free admission and free drinks for soldiers in uniform, and was so well respected in the industry for what it did for these soldiers that movie stars and other Hollywood talents often volunteered there or simply spent time there in order to shake hands with those in the service.

The Hollywood Canteen may be closed but for anyone that loves vintage Hollywood or Americana memorabilia, images and photographs of...

The Famous Hollywood Canteen

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 The Hollywood Canteen was built and created as a place for servicemen to go while on leave in Hollywood during the Second World War. The Hollywood Canteen offered entertainment, dancing, and food free of charge. To get in, servicemen simply had to show up in uniform. The Hollywood Canteen was mostly frequented by servicemen on their way overseas. 


The staff of the Hollywood Canteen consisted entirely of volunteers from the entertainment industry. Celebrities waited on tables, cooked, and cleaned up after the visiting servicemen. Servicemen were entertained by the most popular musicians and stars of the...

Historic Hollywood Canteen

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The Hollywood Canteen was located at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood  and existed from October 3, 1942 to November 22, 1945 (Thanksgiving Day).  As a place offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas, it was extremely popular. Even though the majority of visitors were U.S. servicemen, the Canteen was open to servicemen of allied countries as well as women in all branches of service. The serviceman's ticket for admission was his uniform and everything at the Canteen was free of charge.

The founders...

The Hollywood Canteen - Famous Place or Warner Bros. Film?

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While it is true that The Hollywood Canteen could refer to either the Warner Brothers 1944 film, “The Hollywood Canteen”, which was directed by Delmar Daves,  or the famous hangout for servicemen during WWII. The  Hollywood Canteen was a place that provided dancing and entertainment, as well as food, to servicemen and women in all branches of the service. The only thing a person needed to get in was a his uniform. There was no charge to get into the Canteen and the cigarettes, food and coffee were all free. The Hollywood Canteen was located on Cahuenga Ave, just south of Sunset Blvd.  Thousands of Hollywood Canteen photographs were taken during the time it existed

Started by ...

Hollywood Canteen Entertainers

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Over the course of its three years, the Hollywood Canteen entertained millions of servicemen with the best singers, dancers, actors, actresses, comedians and radio personalities in show business. 

There were at two floor shows each night, one for each shift fo volunteers, that lasted approximately 45 minutes.  Some people nabbed tables, but the larger mass of soldiers, hostesses, and other volunteers sat down on the dance floor or stood along the perimeter of the room, relishing Hollywood's cream of the crop entertainers. 



Hollywood Canteen Volunteers

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 For servicemen coming to Hollywood, during the second world war, the Hollywood Canteen was the place to go.  Word spread like wildfire and it wasn’t uncommon to see hundreds of soldiers standing in line to get into the Canteen.  

Fashioned after New York’s Stage Door Canteen, which was started on March 4, 1942, the hollywood Canteen was founded...

Hollywood Canteen Photographs



In the 1940's, soldiers being sent off or just returning from service could enjoy a visit to the Hollywood Canteen, where they could hobnob with movie stars and Hollywood elite. The Hollywood Canteen was founded by John Garfield and Bette Davis. They offered free admission, free food, sodas and cigarettes to soldiers. What made the Hollywood Canteen so popular was the abundance...