Show Business to Korea’s Front Lines

4 03 2010
Jolson visiting a Tokyo hospital







Jolson, other names want to work in Korea

Billboard, August 12th 1950.

HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 5. — With the intensification of the Korean crisis, showbiz here is girding for battle. Names and various orgs devoted to entertaining the troops during the last war are either resuming their previous operations or are ready to go into action on a call from Washington. Al Jolson, one of the first personalities to hit the fighting front in World War Two, has volunteered to entertain armed forces in Korea.

His offer, as well as a bid from Frances Langford, also very active in service camp shows during the last war, were relayed to Washington by the Hollywood Coordinating Committee (HCC). Org clears all free appearances of Hollywood talent for a patriotic, public service and charity purposes, representing Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG), Association Of Motion Picture Producers, American Federation of Radio Artists (AGVA) and the radio nets.

Jolson probably will be the first entertainer to enter Korea, although so far Washington brass has been unable to set the time and place. Mammy-singer, in volunteering, expressed willingness to devote a full month to the Korean camps. However, Washington said that at this time it was unable to guarantee transportation to and from Korea, inasmuch as top priority is being given to servicemen and material. Danger that the not-so-young entertainer may get stranded at the fighting front has temporarily tabled his offer.

In the meantime, HCC wrote to Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson, National Securities Resources Board Chairman Stuart Symington and Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder informing them of performers “willingness and desire to volunteer their services or helping in any way they can in the present national emergency” and that they are “prepared and ready to perform whatever project is needed.” Letter was signed by George Murphy on behalf of the committee. HCC has been furnishing screen celebs to visit embarkation centers in the area. Last week, Joan Crawford visited a shipload of Marines and route to Korea.



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