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The Hollywood Canteen Book

        ** Click Here To View Photos **

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 the entertainment industry which included, radio, stage, and the motion picture business. All the photos in the book came from the hollywoodphotographs.com web site.

Only enlisted men and women were allowed in the Hollywood Canteen and their ticket for admission was their uniforms.  Officers, who wished to visit the Canteen, were not allowed onto the first floor, where all the dancing, eating and entertainment took place. Officers, and their guests, were relegated to a second floor room which had a large window that looked down onto the first floor.

The Canteen’s nightly activities included dancing with female celebrities and volunteers, called hostesses.  It was not uncommon to see the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, or Hedy Lamarr dancing with the eager servicemen.  All the food, sandwiches, pastries, soft drinks, coffee was all free to the servicemen.  The kitchen staff and those who served the food and drinks were actresses and actors who had just put in a full day at the many Hollywood studios.  Celebrities like Basil Rathbone, Bob Hope, and Dinah Shore could be seen rolling up their sleeves to prepare and serve the food and beverages.

Entertainment was certainly the most featured activity at the Canteen.  Where else could servicemen see Hollywood’s top entertainers on stage.  Some of the most popular entertainers included Red Skelton, Spencer Tracy, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye and Eddie Cantor.

Over the course of its three year existence, the Hollywood Canteen played host to over three million servicemen and women.  It closed its doors on thanksgiving day, 1945.  The money that remained in the Canteen’s bank account was transferred to the Hollywood Canteen Foundation, which continues today making substantial donations to many veterans organizations.

All the photos that will appear in the book can be seen on the hollywoodphotographs.com web site.  The collection has more than three hundred fabulous images of both the interior and exterior of the Hollywood Canteen.

“The Hollywood Canteen” book should be published by mid-2012

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