Project Liberty – Protecting a Flynn-Related Theater

14 Oct

In the 75th Anniverary Year of Desperate Journey and it’s World Premier in Libertyville, Illinois

High school students lead effort to protect Liberty Theater

Americans of all walks of life were banded together to support the war effort, and Hollywood celebrities were no exception. This was the reason that on September 3, 1942, famed actor James Cagney, known for his energetic performances, and deadpan comic timing, visited Libertyville as part of an effort to sell war bonds. Drawing a crowd of some 4,000 at Cook Park (according to the 194o census the population of Libertyville was 3,930) Cagney gave a speech about the virtues of supporting the war effort by buying war bonds. It must have been a very inspiring speech since by the time he left the steps of the Cook Memorial Library, which was at the time located in Cook House, the town had pledged nearly $111,000.

As a reward for the town’s patriotism, Liberty was chosen to be the location of the world premiere of “Desperate Journey”, a film about a group of downed Allied airmen making their way out of Nazi Germany staring Errol Flynn and (Future President) Ronald Reagan. As part of the ceremonies, then Illinois Governor Dwight H. Green drove a horse-drawn carriage, loaned to him by publishing magnate John F. Cuneo, up Milwaukee Avenue.

— Tim


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    October 14, 2017 at 11:38 am

    P.S. Hollywood and Broadway talent Nancy Coleman (shown in the clip above and link below) and EFB’s own distinguished leader David DeWitt graduated from the same schools in Washington State!!…


    • Gentleman Tim

      October 16, 2017 at 10:23 am

      You’re both alumni of North Junior High and Everett High, right David?

      And her father was Managing Editor of the Herald for thirty years, too – a paper you worked for?…


      • David DeWitt

        October 16, 2017 at 9:48 pm

        Exactly right! Rather Amazing!