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Meanwhile, Back in Korea

12 Jun

trove.nla.gov…

Korean War Project
Salute Of Entertainers

Jack Benny and Company

(w/ 5th RCT, 24th Div.)

It was around the middle of July, 1951. The peace talks began earlier and there was peace in the Kumhwa valley.
Instead of combat, everyone was talking about rotating home. There was also a rumor about a USO troupe coming to this forward camp. During combat, we would see entertainers of two or three hitching rides to the rest areas, rain or snow, to give their little shows. I gave them a lot of credit for their courage. Bob Hope was also here for the troops but he was 50 miles behind us somewhere.

On this July day, the entertainers in trucks and jeeps, came driving into this little clearing. A makeshift stage was built for the occasion. To our surprise, It was none other than Jack Benny and with him, in the group was Errol Flynn and Marjorie Reynolds.

This is the first time I’d ever seen movie stars in the flesh. For this country boy, I was fascinated and they looked so human and of course, they were. On the stage, Jack did his comedy of jokes and Errol and Marjorie acted their series of mostly funny skits, a lot of laughs for all of us.

Everyone was standing around intermingling after the show. I was standing close to Jack. He somehow looked smaller than in the movies. I slowly sneaked up behind him and sure
enough, I really was taller than he was!

Errol Flynn was walking by and I got this sudden impulse. I stuck out my hand and Mr. Flynn, can I shake your hand sir? He stopped, looked at me for a couple of seconds, smiled and said, My pleasure, lad, my pleasure. I think when he stopped and saw this oriental face, I can feel his uncertainty, but I think what won him over was this pure American slang coming from this face. He must have thought this guy has got to a real Yankee.

RICHARD ISERI wrote on January 29, 2018
Garden Grove California

— Gentleman Tim

 

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  1. Gentleman Tim

    June 12, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Who, one (like myself) might ask, was Marjorie Reynolds? Well, as I’ve now learned, she was quite popular and highly regarded back in the day. She not only toured be with Benny and The Baron, she also danced with Estaire, and sang White Christmas with Bing! Oh yes, and she was in Gone with the Wind, and the original Saramouche! … How’s that for a Hollywood resume!

    As confirmed by this clip from Holiday Inn, she was quite fun, talented, and gorgeous.

    youtu.be/L1mIgKOdOyA…

    Marjorie-Reynolds-Fred-Astaire-and-Bing-Crosby.jpg?zoom=2&fit=1330%2C748

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