Skip to main content

Full text of "Entertaining the American army : the American stage and lyceum in the world war"

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/entertainingamerOOevanrich 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 




Entertaining the American Army 



ENTERTAINING 
THE AMERICAN ARMY 



The American Stage and Lyceum 
in the World War 



■J^MES -W.' EVANS 

Dramatiz Ffoducer a.tii Coach 
AND 

CAPTAIN GARDNER L. HARDING 

Attached to General Pershing's Staff at Chaumont 
Intelligence Division of the War Department 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY NEYSA MCMEIN 
ANITA PARKHURST AND ETHEL RUNDQUIST 



ASSOCIATION PRESS 

New York: 347 Madison Avbnub 
1921 







• •<►/•» « 
• • • tt 






Copyright, 192 i; by 

The International Committee of 

Young Men's Christian Associations 



RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED 

TO 

All Those Who Served as Entertainers 
WITH the American Army 



9657C3 



FOREWORD 

No doubt every book published should have a dedica- 
tion to the public, for by them it will be read and by them 
judged, but in presenting this particular history in narra- 
tive form, one must realize that while it may bring much 
interest to the general reading public, it belongs by its 
very title to those women and men who wisely saw the 
writing on the wall and indifferently turned their backs 
upon their everyday life with its creature comforts, never 
counting the cost nor exaggerating the danger, but gladly 
joining the great crusade. 

History repeats itself! But in this present book there 
is no repetition — for, search as we may through the annals 
of past wars, we can find no precedent for a work of this 
nature. In very fact, when the opportunity came and the 
idea grew into a resolve, those who believed in the gospel 
of recreation realized that by the creation of just this 
particular type of amusement, an anachronism was being 
inaugurated. But by the very nature of its novelty it 
found a hearty response in the minds of the men in the 
camps in this country and overseas, and by its inherent 
opportunity for service it commended itself to the women 
and men who had no other chance of showing how solidly 
they stood behind the representatives of their country. 

From its very moment of inception it carried with it 
the support of two men, without whose whole-hearted 
assistance it must have failed — Mr. William Sloane, Chair- 
man of the War Work Council of the Young Men's Christian 
Association, and Dr. John R. Mott, its General Secretary. 
Through its early stormy days, when the skeptical and 
the timid hesitated at the very innovation of the proposi- 
tion, they stood absolutely convinced of the power of 

Tii 



viii FOREWORD 

entertainment, and by the very authority of their coagency 
carried with them the more doubtful and hesitating. 

Where shall we turn for an adventure more novel than 
that imdertaken by those vahant people who crossed the 
seas that they might bring maybe the last smile to those 
"going over the top," that they might be perhaps the first 
"real American" girl the doughboy had seen since he 
sailed from the land of Home? 

Into the theatre or the cow-barn, to the tent or station 
platform, they brought the gospel of laughter, and even 
while the shells burst over their heads or whizzed by like 
rent cloth, the song of sentiment soared hke a wave of 
comfort to tired and homesick men. 

No sympathy need be extended to those who went — 
only to those who did not see the opportunity to get out 
of themselves and learn the joy of losing, that others might 
be the gainers, the joy of relinquishing a real money-making 
position and going out to meet whatever came, so that 
when the roll call is answered they will not be ashamed 
to answer to their names. 

No record, however complete, could tell all the indi- 
vidual sacrifices that were made, or the story of the sol- 
diers' appreciation, but this volume is offered as a lasting 
tribute to those who went, that their contribution may 
be recorded and their offering chronicled. 

That the Young Men's Christian Association was priv- 
ileged to be the instriunent through which this presentation 
was made it feels duly grateful, for the recollection of this 
service will last when others may be forgotten. 

To each and every man and woman who did his and 
her part in this work and received an honorable discharge, 
this book carries a greeting from those whose privilege 
it was to be the instrument through which this service 
was consummated. The work was an inspiration and the 
service rendered adds the only comment necessary. 

Thomas S. McLane. 



CHAPTER 



I. 

II. 

III. 

IV. 

V. 

VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 

IX. 

X. 

XL 

XII. 

XIII. 

XIV. 

XV. 

XVI. 

XVII. 

XVIII. 

XIX. 

XX. 

XXI. 

XXII. 

XXIII. 

XXIV. 

XXV. 

XXVI. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Foreword vii 

Preface xi 

The Performers Enter 1 

The Men behind the Scenes 6 

The Advance Guard in France 11 

The Pioneer Company 17 

The Troupers in Action 22 

The Ames-Sothern Reconnaissance 35 

The Stage Called to Arms 42 

A Message from France 51 

The American Stage Answers 60 

A Stock Company under Fire 66 

A Regular American Girl 74 

The Over There Theatre League Enters. ... 80 

A Bombardment of Songs and Fun 88 

Strenuous Days for the Troupers 101 

Keeping Step with the Doughboys 109 

Pushing Up to the Front 121 

Knights and Ladies 134 

Two Makers of Entertainment History 143 

Spreading Joy along the Line 156 

Soldier Shows after the Armistice 164 

Broadway Successes on the Big Circuit 180 

Famous Casinos in a New Role 185 

Entertainment in Camps at Home 193 

Singing Their Way to Victory 201 

Enlisting Eminent Lectures 213 

"Movies Tonight!" 223 

Curtain 237 

Appendix — Personnel 240 



PREFACE 

The greatest books of the War have not yet been written. 
While we now have contemporary records of incalculable 
value, upon which many future judgments will be based, 
the permanent histories of the conflict are yet to come. 
The General Staffs of all the Governments are now pre- 
paring their military records. The diplomatists have only 
just begun to write their memoirs. The time has not 
arrived when standard works, weighed in the scales of 
historical perspective and scientific research, can begin 
to give the final judgment of the world struggle. 

It is with this understanding that we ask the privilege 
of submitting to contemporary records a phase of Amer- 
ica's participation in the World War which might other- 
wise be overlooked. The purpose of this volume is to sketch 
some of the adventures and experiences of what we may 
term ''our American troubadours," professional, semi- 
professional, and amateur, who followed our Army through 
the War; to show what the entertainers, the American 
stage and lyceum, did in the World War; how they under- 
took one of the most important missions in the struggle; 
how, like true soldiers, they did their duty to the end. 

While it is conceded that this was one of the most effec- 
tive arms of the Army, and it is generally understood that 
the American stage and lyceum performed a great service, 
the magnitude of it is little known by the public. It is 
realized that the American stage was one of the powerful 
forces behind all the Liberty Loans, Red Cross drives, 
and United War Work campaigns; that it was directly 
instrumental in raising hundreds of millions of dollars; 
that it recruited the entertainers from every available 
source, including actors, lyceum entertainers, lecturers, 



xii PREFACE 

singers, musicians, song leaders, motion picture stars and 
operators, vaudeville performers, soldier shows, stock 
companies — all merging in this achievement, which re- 
quired the organization of play bureaus, costume and 
scenic factories, transportation offices, and the leasing of 
many of the most famous theatres in Europe; that it en- 
rolled in its operations at home and abroad more than 
35,000 men and women. 

We trust that the experiences and anecdotes related 
will give a new insight into the hearts and characters of 
our soldiers. Names are named, not so much to honor 
individuals, as to illustrate situations. The problem has 
been to select. There are almost endless records of mirth 
and misery, romance and tragedy, such as the bards of 
other days used in ballad and epic. This volume is sub- 
mitted, therefore, as a tribute not only to the entertainers, 
but to the American Army — one more contribution to the 
records of America's fight for humanity in the World War. 

The readers of this book are particularly indebted to Miss 
Neysa McMein, Miss Anita Parkhurst, and Miss Ethel 
Rundquist, entertainers all, who have brought the very 
life of overseas service into these pages through the illustra- 
tions they have contributed. 



CHAPTER I 

THE PERFORMERS ENTER 

*^They have their exits and their entrances; 
And one man in his time plays mxiny parts.** 

As You Like It. 

It is June, 1917. An axis^joer^tic old mansion at 31 
Avenue Montaigne, Paris, is the ^ scene of the beginning. 
This former palace, with its mass«of, ^iJilirg, .qf.irr.(;rs, and 
satin upholstery, is transformed suddenly from its stately 
elegance into the headquarters of our troubadours; a 
movement through which those in America are to touch 
hands with their sons along the battle fronts of France. 
It is here that the pioneers start the plans for the stupen- 
dous achievement. Six months later, we find the old 
palace unable longer to hold the rapidly expanding forces, 
and in December, 1917, all the splendor is left behind for 
a commodious French office building at 12 Rue d'Aguesseau. 

Let us climb to the fifth floor. It is reached by a wind- 
ing marble stairway, or a personally conducted French 
lift holding four people. The building is unfinished and 
unheated and the plaster is oozing moisture. Mail sacks 
block the hall and all the near-by office entrances, since 
next door is the post office and mailing room. 

Parties of Americans, just arriving from "home" or 
coming in from the front, sweep along the hallway, hopping 
over mail sacks and struggling with the knob of the door 
leading to the two rooms known as the "Entertainment 
Department" on this fifth floor. The office is horribly 
crowded and grows worse week by week as the Americans 
are coming on every ship, climbing the long staircase, tripping 
over their hand-baggage, seeking information regarding 



2 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

their destinations, demanding to be sent right out to the 
front line, and finally waving good-by as they disappear 
with their red permits and start off on their individual 
missions. 

So great did the office and other activities become that 
it was found necessary to move again to larger quarters and 
take over a house on 10 Rue de I'Elysee — a street running 
from Faubourg St. Honore down to the Champs Elys^e, 
along the west side of the President's palace. The Enter- 
tainment Department was housed on the third floor and 
given overflow rooms Giver, the stables in the courtyard, 
the driveway leading through the house in regular French 
fashion. .. . And t\)jd Departm^t filled these quarters and 
* 'cried for more." 

What scenes there were through all the hours of the 
day and late into the night — rehearsals, tuning instruments, 
trying out songs, costuming, playwriting, all going on at 
the same time with the regular office routine of booking 
and routing. You met doughboys, medieval ladies, knights 
in armor, and French widows, hurrying to rehearsals, up 
and down the carved and frescoed marble stairway. Out on 
the Rue de TElysee big army trucks were drawn up to the 
curb, loading and unloading musical instruments, and the 
sidewalk^ were' covered with bass drums, banjos, trom- 
bones, and violins. 



This, then, is the story of how the American stage and 
lyceum sent out an army of volunteers which finally num- 
bered more than 35,000. It tells how they furnished enter- 
tainment in cantonment and training camp, in cities and 
towns, in shipyards and ports of embarkation for more 
than 4,000,000 men who at one time and another passed 
through the great war organization of the American Army; 
how they followed the A. E. F. through the campaigns and 
out to the battlefields; and how they fought and won 



THE PERFORMERS ENTER 3 

continuous battles against a common enemy — gassed, 
bombed, and under fire in the greatest crusade in the 
world's history. 

Let us line up our forces for review: The first line is 
composed of the 1,064 who were sent from America over- 
seas to France and the 300 recruited from the French; 
the second line consists of the recruits whom they trained 
in the American Army in France, 4,000 soldier-actors, who 
in turn coached 11,000 more from their own ranks for 
soldier shows; the third line comprises the 200 trained 
song leaders with their forces augmented by 1,000 recruits; 
the fourth line brings the 1,500 enrolled in the motion 
picture service; the fifth line presents the 200 lecturers 
augmented by 500 more recruits and volunteers; the sixth 
line includes the costumers, theatre managers, general 
staff, and transportation service, over 300 more — the field 
strength now exceeds 20,000. Behind this are the reserve 
entertainers in America, working in the home camps or in 
the War Fund drives, numbering 15,000, bringing the 
fighting strength to 35,000. 

In estimating the full service of the profession in the 
foregoing forces, it is necessary to mention the American 
theatre owners who opened their houses for war service 
in whatever capacity needed; the actors working from all 
the stages in the loans; the managers delivering personal 
appeals, and purchasing bonds in the millions; the solicitors 
working in the aisles of the theatres. More than 25,000 
theatres (motion picture and legitimate) throughout America 
became the central points for all the organized efforts. 

It is impossible to estimate the huge funds raised in the 
theatres. Such favorites as Mary Pickford, Douglas 
Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and William S. Hart alone 
raised more than $17,200,000 on their tours through the 
country. It is further safe to state that there probably 
was not a professional or semi-professional entertainer in 
America who did not give his services either among the 



i 



4 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

soldiers in their camps or at benefit performances during 
the War. They became one of the most powerful arms 
of the Government and ''did their bit" in the true tradi- 
tion of the profession. 

It is to the war experiences of the troupers 1,064 strong 
who went to France, and their augmented forces, that 
this volume must largely confine itself, with occasional 
reference to those who served at home. To put through 
this tremendous task there was organized the biggest 
entertainment enterprise in the history of amusements: 

It gave 109,794 separate performances to the soldiers, 
with an approximate attendance overseas of 87,000,000 
and more than 40,000,000 at home. 

It gave overseas 157,000 movie shows aggregating over 
8,000,000 feet, or more than 1,500 miles, of film. The 
aggregate attendance at these movie shows alone (between 
April, 1918, and July, 1919) was over 94,000,000 at 5,261 
different places. It is estimated that in the United States 
and overseas the gross attendance at motion picture shows 
reached 210,000,000. 

It gave performances by stock companies and perform- 
ances by soldier shows throughout the area of the Amer- 
ican Army. 

It organized four great ''play factories" which were 
centers for rehearsals and costume equipment. It im- 
provised plays and vaudeville acts. 

It provided overseas alone 23,000 costumes and ac- 
cessories, 18,000 musical instruments, and 450,000 pieces 
of sheet music. 

It took over and ran in the leave areas and important 
cities behind the fighting line the largest circuit of theatres, 
casinos, and amusement halls ever administered under 
one management. 



The adventures of these modern troubadours, if each 



THE PERFORMERS ENTER 5 

could be persuaded to relate his own experiences, would 
give a deep insight into the most human side of the War. 
There would be tales aboard ship, nights on submarined 
seas, the first hours ashore at the base ports, the journeys 
into the bleeding heart of France, the last march on the 
road to battle. 

From trench to stevedore camp, from the leave areas 
to the great supply centers, in dugouts, ruined chateaux, 
cathedrals, barns, village squares, and trucks backed 
against barns, these couriers of cheerfulness and sanity 
and corn-age, the troubadours of our time, sang the Amer- 
ican Army on to victory, the splendid consmnmation of 
its mission across the sea. 

Throughout the whole range of the profession, from the 
Shakespearian actor to the burlesque comedian, from the 
classical singer to the juggler, the ventriloquist, and the 
chalkologist, no one could set a limit to their enthusiasm 
or their devotion. One little jazz soubrette, whose lightning 
dance steps brought her to complete exhaustion after a 
single performance in America, coming across a trainload 
of forlorn, show-hungry soldiers, gave this amazing dance 
eighteen times at different sections of the train, and then 
exclaimed, "All right, go on with the War!" 



But let us now observe how this crusade was put into 
operation and become acquainted with the forces behind it. 



CHAPTER II 

THE MEN BEHIND THE SCENES 

^^Turn him to any cause of policy, 
The Gordian knot of it he mill unloose, 
Familiar as his garter.*' 

King Henry V. 

The cast of characters in this dramatic invasion is so 
great that if given in the method of the profession it would 
include, directly or indirectly, every celebrated name on 
the American stage. It will be necessary, therefore, to 
select the characters as they appear and watch them in 
action, that we may judge the work of many from the 
experiences of a few. 

It will be well, however, to stop a moment behind the 
scenes and meet some of those who planned, developed, 
and kept this continuous campaign of entertainment in 
operation throughout the War. Here in America we find 
the forces of the Red Triangle, under the direction of the 
National War Work Council, as the motive power behind 
the whole achievement, with Mr. William Sloane, an able 
and progressive administrator, as its chairman. We meet 
Thomas S. McLane, as Chairman of the Overseas Enter- 
tainment Bureau, in ^'command" of the recruiting and 
movement of the entertainment army across the seas to 
France; we meet James Forbes, the dramatist, with his 
able lieutenant, John Briscoe, in command of the forces 
of the Over There Theatre League. 

Those in France, we find engaged in the constantly 
expanding headquarters described in the preceding chap- 
ter. Here is the ''Director General" of all the operations 
of the A. E. F.-YMCA, Edward C. Carter, who entered 
the War in India at its outbreak in 1914, followed the 

6 



THE MEN BEHIND THE SCENES 7 

British-Indian armies into the campaigns in Mesopotamia, 
came to the seat of operations in London, and, upon Amer- 
ica's entrance into the War, went to Paris, extending full 
cooperation in any and every capacity in which the organ- 
ization which he represented might be able to serve. 

We have looked into the crowded headquarters of the 
Entertainment Department, from which we found the 
operations of the Troupers being directed. Here, in com- 
mand during the big campaigns were a progressive business 
man from the Midd e West, Charles Steele; Walter H. 
Johnson, Jr.; and one of the most lovable personalities in 
the whole army, A. M. Beatty, a man who probably knows 
more actors intimately than any man who went to France. 
With all these men and many more we shall be face to face 
in the coming chapters. 

The First Division arrived in France in June, 1917, 
and settled in its training areas around Gondrecourt by 
the middle of July. By the end of October the other di- 
visions of America's first contingent began to arrive. Within 
a few days of each other, early in November, the Second, 
Twenty-Sixth, and Forty-Second Divisions landed in France, 
and went into training quarters. The Forty-First Division 
arrived at the end of the year, and by January, 1918, 
there were something over 190,000 American soldiers in 
France, of whom about two thirds were combat troops. 
The Second Division, including the Marines, went into 
quarters around Bourmont; the Twenty-Sixth, the Yankee 
Division, composed of the National Guard units from the 
New England States, spread out around Neuf chateau; 
while the Forty-Second, the Rainbow Division, made up 
of National Guardsmen from all over the country, moved 
into the Rolampont Area between Chaumont and Langres. 

These were pioneers of the commonwealth of fighting 
Americans from whom the world expected so much. They 
settled in an area something less than fifty miles in diameter 
around the newly founded General Headquarters at Chau- 



8 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

mont, occupying in all over one hundred and fifty villages 
and towns, strung out for the most part along the lines 
of communication, but concentrated here and there in 
centers outnumbering the neighboring French villages five 
and even ten to one. 

Hard work and indomitable cheerfulness carried the 
Americans a long way through the almost unrelieved mo- 
notony of their routine in this environment. The courtesy 
and hospitahty of the French inhabitants aided enor- 
mously in staving off homesickness and keeping up the 
spirits of the troops. But the American soldier is the 
most social human being in the whole world — and he soon 
began to realize, amid the dreary rain and mud of the fall 
and winter, how completely he was cut off from home. 
The mails had failed. The leave system was still undevel- 
oped. Leisure time after work became a thing rather to 
dread than to enjoy. 

Our action begins here. The American soldier felt free 
to express his real feelings — he wanted to hear American 
voices, American jokes, American laughter, and American 
songs, to see American girls, American movies, American 
shows. In September and October, Chief Secretary Carter 
had cabled to New York urging that an organization be 
set up immediately to fill the demands of the soldiers for 
entertainment. Every army in the War had been forced 
to meet this same situation. 

Already ''back home" in America the profession was 
beginning to take up the call. Hundreds of volunteers 
were performing among the American camps and the 
ranks soon swelled into thousands. Before the first de- 
mands from overseas were heard, in September, 1917, 
Dr. Paul Pierson had brought a long experience in man- 
aging Chautauquas to the task of covering the home camps 
with entertainment troupes and had established, under 
Mr. William Sloane, a central booking office in New York. 

The problem now arose of finding the right man for 



THE MEN BEHIND THE SCENES 9 

the important task of sending an army of entertainers 
overseas on a scale sufficient to cope with the vast need 
of the rapidly expanding Army in France. 



One day early in October, 1917, there came into Mr. 
Sloane's office a man on his way to Washington to volunteer 
for war work. On Mr. Sloane's desk lay a cablegram from 
Paris, reiterating the extreme need of entertainment for 
the men in France, which he handed to the caller, and 
thus Thomas McLane became director of what was soon 
to be the greatest entertainment enterprise in the world's 
history. The following twenty months wrote a new tra- 
dition into the history of America's entertainment. 

Mr. McLane first organized a successful campaign for 
"that spare ukelele on the top shelf." He searched the 
country, in other words, for new and secondhand instru- 
ments, sheet music, plays, and sketches. This was but 
one of his jobs. He then organized a '^drive'' to reach 
every professional and amateur in America, to impress 
them with the need on the other side of every eligible 
entertainer. And the volunteers responded by the thou- 
sands — by letters, by telegrams, and in person — all the 
way from eminent actors down to stage-struck girls and 
the elevator boy who wanted to play Hamlet. 

From four to six every afternoon he "received" hopeful 
talent. For months a quiet New York home resounded 
to the clatter of jazz-dancing feet, the wheeze of sax- 
ophones, the chirping of lady singers, the gusto of male 
quartets, the patter of monologuists in all dialects and 
known forms of speech — all to save the soldier from a 
career of crime. There were times when life for Mr. McLane 
was one long round of tragediennes telling him wrathfuUy 
that "The Hun Is at the Gate," large ladies in white singing 
"Good-By Sunmier" (in January); and breezy soubrettes 
always leaving for the "Darktown Strutters' Ball." 



10 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Mr. McLane looked for three main qualifications: First, 
the ability to entertain; second, a watertight hst of recom- 
mendations; and third, personality as tested by his own 
instinct. Using these standards, he traveled out to Chicago 
and Pittsburgh. Later, Francis Rogers, when he came 
back in the spring of 1918 from a six-months' tour of enter- 
tainment ^^over there,'' consented to trying out candidates 
in his own home. 

All this, however, was only the beginning of the McLane 
campaigns. His was the foresight which endorsed and 
forwarded the plan to send dramatic coaches to France, 
as well as actors and entertainers. Thomas Wood Stevens, 
a professor of dramatic technique at the Carnegie Institute 
of Technology, and Joseph Linden Smith, a well-known 
pageant director, were the principal protagonists of this 
idea. After months of firsthand experience in France, 
Stevens, in cooperation with Dean Bossange of the Carnegie 
Institute of Technology, organized at Pittsburgh a short 
course in the technique of play directing which required 
but three weeks, and graduated a group of trained people, 
who, when they went over to France, stepped into action 
at once as trained personnel ready at hand to put on soldier 
shows. This was how the soldier show got its real chance 
for professional finish and expert leadership. A second 
course was all ready to open at the Carnegie Institute to 
prepare another group of directors when the Armistice 
cut across its plans. 

As this story unfolds, the service of this man back in 
America bulks larger. For many weeks he was the link 
between the Army in France and the entertainment world. 
The results are known. The accomplishment is the more 
impressive when it is understood that Mr. McLane was 
neither a member of the profession, nor a welfare worker, 
but an American business man volunteer, who was search- 
ing for some form of service to the soldiers when he was 
swept into the task by Mr. Sloane. 



CHAPTER III 

THE ADVANCE GUARD IN FRANCE 

*^/ would applaud thee to the very echo 
That should applaud again.'' 

Macbeth. 

The experiences of the first American troubadours in 
France begin with the arrival of the American troop — 
some four months before the crusade "back home" was 
organized. In truth, they even preceded the arrival of 
Pershing in France. 

The man to whom the honor should probably go of being 
the first American entertainer to go "overseas" after Amer- 
ica's declaration of war is Jack Barker. This pioneer 
arrived in Bordeaux on May 16, 1917, six weeks before 
the arrival of General Pershing and the first American 
contingent. Barker was a young college man just grad- 
uated from Northwestern University. He was sent to 
England, where he sang his way into the hearts of the 
Britishers and got up shows, not only for the Americans 
coming through on their way to France, but also for many 
British camps. His gift of holding an audience and of 
conducting a sing-song made him invaluable. After more 
than two months in England he went over to France to 
cover the American camp circuit at a time when enter- 
tainers were "worth a regiment." With his "one man 
shows" and his popular sing-songs he covered the camps 
at Brest, Issoudun, Gondrecourt, Neufchateau, and else- 
where through the American sector. He was taken ill 
and lay for a time in Neuilly Hospital, returning home 
to enlist early in 1918. 

The first American to go directly to the American Army 
in France, was Gerry Reynolds. He sailed from New 

11 



12 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

York on July 29, 1917. (Barker was then in England.) 
Reynolds had been music director at a New York high 
school, a church organist, and an entertainment coach. 
He went to France as the first musical and dramatic di- 
rector. He was at once assigned to the First Division at 
Gondrecoiu-t. He tried continually to get into the Army 
as a volunteer and was rejected, but his spirit was irre- 
pressible — he could sing, tell stories, and give rollicking 
imitations. 

Gerry Reynolds spent twenty-six months in France 
when he had planned to spend two; he went up with the 
First Division in August, 1917, the first full-time enter- 
tainer in the field; he opened up the amusement enter- 
prises in Paris in October and put on its feet the splendid 
organization for entertaining men on leave there, which 
later grew to such huge and capably managed proportions; 
he went to Aix-les-Bains as Entertainment Director in 
February, 1918, and wrote, rehearsed, and staged shows 
in a single day, led the local orchestra, took a chance as 
impromptu impresario of a real grand opera company, 
and handled the collective temperaments of the Comedie 
Frangaise Company, the finest players in France, as well 
as innumerable stellar French vaudeville attractions. He 
ran the Aix Casino, the social center of one of the most 
notable watering places in Europe, with dances, parties, 
and shows put on nightly to the delight of the soldiers 
on leave; he helped to organize entertainment circuits in 
the Riviera; he spent two months at Brest, of muddy misery; 
he reopened the Festhalle in Coblenz with a show that fin- 
ished its last rehearsal five minutes before the curtain 
went up; he put on the show '^Let's Go" and clothed his 
soldier chorus with amazing gowns which he had secured 
from the leading costumers of Paris. 

The first male entertainer to appear among the fighting 
troops was a "song and piano" artist — C. E. Clifford 
Walker. He came over at the end of September, 1917, 





E. C. Carter 



Lt.-Col. R. M. Lyon 





Major J. O. Donovan Warren Dunham Fostei^ 




General Y M C A Headquarters, Paris 



THE ADVANCE GUARD IN FRANCE 13 

and stayed about three months. Walker was with the 
First Division when they went into the line. He had 
a piano on which he "vamped' ' as he told his various stories 
and gave his divers imitations, but as they neared the 
firing line he was forced to leave his piano behind, and at 
the front he simply let his legs hang over a stage and told 
stories to the boys. 

Along the lines at this time was a magician, Maletsky. 
He was one of those marvelous one-man-shows, the rest 
of his company being made up of rabbits. He had to 
return to Paris every now and then to stock up on rabbits, 
as those he had with him grew amazingly and soon got too 
large to fit into silk hats. Maletsky could not speak a 
word of EngUsh and as he would say, ''Eh, Monsieur, 
voila!" or "Alors, un, deux, trois, vous voyez?'' the men 
took great delight in mimicking him and in counting in 
unison. Fortunately, besides being a prince of prestidig- 
itators he had a great sense of humor, so, after all, he spoke 
the American language in his own way. 



The first woman entertainer to appear with the A. E. F. 
was a grand opera contralto — Mme. Cobbina Johnson, 
wife of Owen Johnson, the novelist. This charming artist 
came up from Monte Carlo, where she had been singing 
with great distinction in the opera after successful tours 
through France and Italy. She volunteered to go with 
the First Division toward the end of September, 1917. 

They wanted somebody to go out to the Mallet Reserve 
at Soissons for Christmas. It was in the French Zone 
and at that time there was great difficulty in getting the 
passes. They had planned to have her go with Nicholas 
Sokoloff, a fine violinist and conductor, and spend Christ- 
mas with the boys. Mme. Johnson was told that these 
boys did not have anybody to help them out on Christmas. 

"I will go if you will get me my passes," she exclaimed. 



! 



14 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

"We can't." 

"All right, I'll get them for myself." 

She went to the French Embassy, got the passes, and 
spent Christmas with the Mallet Reserve. She lost her 
voice and could not speak for two months; then she went 
down to Aix in the summer of 1918. Mme. Johnson made 
a great hit because of her versatility and willingness. She 
would sing at any time, under any conditions, whether 
with a band, a piano, or alongside a canteen counter. 

No account of this period will be complete without 
recording the superlative good luck of the American Army 
in having at their disposal the services of Mrs. August 
Belmont who, as Eleanor Robson, will always be remem- 
bered as one of the most gifted and beloved actresses of 
the American stage. Mrs. Belmont went over in special 
work with the American Red Cross in the fall of 1917, 
and found time to make several trips around the American 
camps. Before she returned home in March, 1918, she 
gave selections from all her great successes. Mrs. Belmont 
took an active interest in the work from the start, and 
it was she who suggested to Mr. Carter the happy choice 
of Mr. Winthrop Ames as the man best qualified to become 
the chief recruiting officer for the American stage. No 
measure can be placed on the value of this single suggestion. 

Another of the pioneers with the First Division at this 
time was Miss Anna Hughes, a Philadelphia girl. She went 
over to France with the "American Fund for French 
Wounded" and filled a very important niche as a delight- 
ful personality, who not only gave songs for the boj^s, 
without number and without price, but who could raise 
more volume of song from the men in a given space of 
time than anyone else in reach. She literally was the 
first to set the Army to singing its way to victory. 



It was in these modest beginnings in France that the 



THE ADVANCE GUARD IN FRANCE 16 

stage was being set for this greatest entertainment enter- 
prise in history, the little beginning of a big achievement 
— and right here let us record the fact that it began as a 
lecture bureau. 

Arthur H. Gleason, an American who had served as a 
private in the French Army, and written the volume ^^ Golden 
Lads" as an account of his war experience, was now in 
England. At Mr. Carter's invitation, he came to France 
and joined Emmet O'Neil in the PubUcity Department. 
It was Mr. Gleason 's idea that much could be gained by 
an interchange of speakers, familiar with both nationalities, 
between the American and French Armies, and on his 
own initiative he went ahead on this idea. Its original 
purpose was to send lecturers into both Armies — and these 
lecturers did take an important part as the vast enterprise 
developed. 

Dr. John G. Coulter, of Chicago, was appointed on Septem- 
ber 15, 1917, as sole head of the Bureau of Lectures and 
Entertainments. Dr. Coulter had just finished six months' 
service with the French Army as a captain in the American 
Ambulance Corps. With two young ambulance drivers 
as his assistants, he found himself installed in the little 
office on the Avenue Montaigne, with facilities for enter- 
taining the American Army — consisting of ten men and 
women who had been serving in the field as lecturers and 
half a dozen entertainers who had been sent over by the 
New York office. This was the nucleus of a great idea. 
Dr. Coulter expanded it with all the means at his dis- 
posal. He engaged French concert and music hall artists, 
whenever his funds would stand it, and sent repeated calls 
for help to America. 

Before the First Division arrived in France, the organ- 
ization was asked by the French Government for a group 
of men to state the causes of the War clearly to some of 
the flagging units of the French Army, in the Foyers du 
Soldat established at the divisional bases. These lecturers 



16 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

first brought to the French Army the promise of the im- 
mense American assistance that was to come. Later they 
reported to the French the first arrival of the American 
troops. When the First Division sent a regiment to march 
through Paris on July 4, 1917, these secretaries with the 
French Army in the field shared in the wonderful demonstra- 
tion of gratefulness and relief with which the French greeted 
this symbolic act of their great ally. There was no such 
pressing need at that time for stimulating the American 
Army, but some of the same group of lecturers performed 
a splendid service in putting before American soldiers in 
the field, at the very beginning of their operations, the 
basic issues of the War. 

At this time, also, the first prominent American enter- 
tainers began to arrive in France. The story of these 
pioneers will be told as this powerful human drama de- 
velops — it is one of the many intensely interesting scenes 
to come. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE PIONEER COMPANY 

''So we'll live 
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh.'' 

King Lear. 

It was the twenty-fifth day of October, 1917, that the 
first ''company" to leave America sailed for France. This 
pioneer ''company'' consisted of Francis Rogers, a prom- 
inent baritone of New York; Mrs. Francis Rogers (Cornelia 
Barnes), a well known and talented elocutionist; and Roger 
Lyons, an accompanist, and it set sail on an historic voyage 
— a tour that was to make history — for the Rogers were 
not only to be the first company to travel through the 
battle areas tackling the hardships of transport and staging 
under the most primitive conditions, but they were to 
bring home with them the first message of the great hunger 
with which the American doughboys were waiting for 
"real American shows." 

The Rogers were recruited by Mr. Sloane, in response 
to the urgent call from France for entertainers, and set 
sail shortly after Mr. McLane took control. It was a stroke 
of wisdom and excellent judgment diu'ing a critical time. 
The Rogers were truly patriotic, and immediately upon 
America's entrance into the War had volunteered their 
services. They had been appearing in the army camps 
in this country before the boys "went over" and were 
anxious to get into the conflict. Rogers set aside his pro- 
fessional work to give his entire services, in company 
with his wife, to the American Army. 

And so they sailed on one of the early troop ships — 
their adventures would alone fill a volume. They began 

17 . 



1^ ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMr 

to entertain on the ship until it passed into the submarine 
zones, Mr. Rogers singing many of his own songs, and 
Mrs. Rogers in lier monologues impersonating (juamt 
characters with a joyous humor that soon made the boys 
forget their dangers. 

The first letter ^^home" from Mr. Rogers described the 
experiences of these American pioneers: 

'^In the first eight days ashore we gave ten concerts, 
eight in the American camps and two on the side in the 
French hospitals. The responsiveness of our boys is really 
pathetic. They all say that they measure the passage 
of time by the arrival of letters from home. 

^They all want to hear the latest songs and anything 
fresh from home. Their taste in music is frankly Broadway. 
The boys want songs with chorus and ragtime. Their 
favorites are: ^When the Red Dawn Is Shining,' 'Sunshine 
of Your Smile,' 'I May Be Gone for a Long, Long Time,' 
*0h, Johnnie, Oh,' 'Good-by Broadway, Hello France,' 
'Tipperary,' 'Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,' 'I Want 
to Be in Dixie,' 'Keep the Home Fires Burning,' 'Indiana,' 
'Joan of Arc,' 'Where Do We Go from Here?' 'Huckle- 
berry Finn,' 'Over There,' 'A Long, Long Trail,' 'Pack Upi 
Your Troubles,' 'Poor Butterfly.' 

"All mother songs the boys are crazy about — no matter 
how sentimental they are. They love such solos as: 'I 
Hear You Calling Me,' 'Mother o'Mine,' 'Mother Machree,' 
'Irish Love Song,' 'Little Grey Home in the West,' 'Per- 
fect Day,' 'Absent,' 'That Little Mother o' Mine,' 'An 
Irishman's Dream.' 

"Nellie has found a great liking for the poems of R. W. 
Service among the boys — especially 'Rimes of a Red Cross 
Man.' She has had great success, too, with her poem, 
'Now That My Boy Has Gone to France.' " 

After persistent demands and many difficulties, the 
Rogers were granted permits to tour first in the Bordeaux 
Area, but went as soon as they could make the connec- 
tion — that is, late in November — up to the First Army 
Area around Gondrecourt, where 30,000 Americans were 
getting ready for action. They were one of the first enter- 



THE PIONEER COMPANY 19 

tainment groups ever to play in the big artillery camp at 
Valdahon. There were Americans serving on the front 
line even then. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers put on their '^show" 
under real war conditions in cities and camps under bomb- 
ing fire within German artillery range. They went to 
Rheims, covering a long line of British front up toward 
Bapaume in that breathless period just following the 
Cambrai offensive, when the British revealed for the first 
time in the War the redoubtable tank. 

In those days Americans were still doing all they could 
to help entertain the French in the Foyers du Soldat, 
especially along the Champagne front, where a perilous 
morale still persisted from the unhappy days of that summer. 
The Rogers pitched in nobly. Mr. Rogers translated his 
songs and Mrs. Rogers her stories and monologues into 
French, and you might have beheld the unique sight of 
huts filled with French soldiers actually laughing at Amer- 
ican jokes translated into French, but with their American 
origin showing through every chink of the translation. 

The tense and most dramatic moments came, however, 
after the performance. The Rogers were real folks. Mrs. 
Rogers, a charming, home-loving woman, loved every 
mother's son of them. So after each performance they 
went out and shook hands all around and wanted to know 
if there was anything, anything at all, they could do for 
the boys — and they never failed to find a heartfelt response. 
What they did will never be known. Only the boys can 
tell. They probably relieved more lonesomeness to the 
square inch than any other people on the circuit during 
that winter. ^'When they gave you cigarettes or a bar of 
chocolate in the days when stocks of these articles were 
just beginning to get through the transportation jam, it 
was like getting a personal gift from folks in your own 
home town," say the soldiers, who do not forget. Some- 
times they ate with the men; sometimes they took boys 
back to their own hotel to give thetn a taste of real home 



20 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

preserves and an hour of real U. S. A. talk. No one knows 
how much this meant to men who were just shaking down 
to war, thi'ee thousand miles from home. 
Again Mr. Rogers sent word back to America: 

'^The response of the boys is wonderful. We are 'carry- 
ing on' under the greatest difficulties — there has been only 
one clear, dry day since we landed in France. In the re- 
gion where we have been the ground is always covered 
with mud. When it rains, the mud is inches deep; when 
the heavens cease to weep, the mud is just the same. 

''My wife and I did our best to keep going, but she 
gave out on one night and I on the next. We are now in 
Paris recovering our voices. We hope to resume work 
next week. It is a wonderful work and we love it. Our 
boys need and deserve everything anybody can do to 
cheer, encourage, and support them." 

And on they went, these pioneer American messengers, 
carrying happiness to the ports and the S. O. S., arriving at 
Brest just in time for the big Christmas celebration organ- 
ized by Gerald Reynolds and Karl Gate. For this celebra- 
tion "friends'' back in America had sent a load of gifts 
for the boys. Mr. Rogers wrote: 

"The 'Y' is doing a beautiful work. My greatest admira- 
tion goes to Mr. Garter, Miss Ely, and Miss McGook, 
who never seem to lose their tempers under the most un- 
toward circumstances, and to the brave women canteen 
workers and secretaries who exist in cold, damp, fireless 
rooms and are subject to any kind of hardships and who 
do their work with good cheer and courage. It is splendid." 



By this time the Rogers had lost their identity as a 
single party and were giving joint shows with most of the 
other early pioneers on the circuit. They toured the British 
front, for instance, with the Dushkin party which had 
been organized in France. It was one of those wonderful 
violin, singing, instrumental combinations, which did mag- 



THE PIONEER COMPANY 21 

nificent work in every sort of environment. The personnel 
of the Dushkin party consisted of Samuel Dushkin, the 
famous American violinist, Mile. Mona Gondre of the 
Theatre Odeon in Paris, Jean Verd, accompanist, and Pablo 
Casals, one of the world's great cellists. The Dushkin party 
not only toured all over the front and stayed with the Ameri- 
can troops through their hardest campaign periods, but stuck 
to the game until way along in May, 1919, one of the long- 
est periods of service, if not actually the longest, achieved 
by any concert troupe in France. 

The last message from Mr. Rogers at the front reads: 

"We have now given more than 100 concerts and are 
planning to go home in about a fortnight. We ought to 
be in New York by April 15th. After that date we shall 
be entirely at the service of the YMCA for concerts, advice, 
or any old thing. We have had a wonderful experience 
and are sorry it is nearly over. But we are going to work 
harder than ever in our American camps at home." 

Mr. and Mrs. Rogers finished their service in France 
by providing the pihce de resistance of the concerts which 
greeted the first regular leave of the First Division at 
Aix-les-Bains in the spring of 1918. On their return home 
they sang in camps near New York City and assisted in 
war work and Liberty Loan drives. As the first concert 
people to respond to the call, theirs is a splendid and en- 
viable record. 



CHAPTER V 

THE TROUPERS IN ACTION 

^^ Screw your courage to the sticking-place 
And we'll not fail.'' 

Macbeth. 

The problems which were developing in the American 
Army at home and abroad in the fall of 1917 called for 
urgent action. General Pershing, with the whole American 
nation behind him, was accomplishing the ''impossible" 
— the creation of a huge fighting machine behind the lines 
in France. Mr. Carter in Paris foresaw the burdens and 
responsibilities that were to be placed upon his organiza- 
tion with the continual arrival of troops. His cables warned 
**the folks back home" of the increasing needs. The pioneers 
on the field were proving the incalculable value of sus- 
taining the spirits of the soldiers at the fighting pitch 
with which they had embarked on their great adventure. 
In America, the same farsightedness was actuating Mr. 
Sloane and Mr. McLane — the latter now in full control 
of the task of recruiting and sending over the volunteers. 

The problems were without precedent — never in the 
history of warfare had such an undertaking been attempted. 
Whether a hundred or a thousand recruits would be needed, 
or for what period they should enlist, was entirely un- 
known. There was no way to judge what type of enter- 
tainers would be most acceptable to the soldiers. The 
factors of the human equation on which everything was 
to depend were still unknown. Then there were the problems 
of present contracts, of passports and war regulations, 
of recruiting exclusively above the draft age, of trans- 
portation — innumerable difficulties that must be met and 
overcome when the recruits went into service. 

22 



THE TROUPERS IN ACTION. 23 

Mr. McLane's first move was to get in touch with the 
responsible agencies where entertainers, such as Mr. and 
Mrs. Francis Rogers, could be secured. This initiative 
resulted in the survey of the entire field of concert singers, 
church organists who could play a wide range of popular 
music, Chautauqua readers, and gifted amateurs and 
volunteers of all kinds. His second move was to secure 
thousands of musical instruments — guitars, banjos, mando- 
lins — whatever might be sent to the doughboys to help 
them create their own ' 'spirit." His third move was to 
secure hundreds of thousands of copies of popular songs 
to start the Army singing its way to victory. 

The public quickly responded to Mr. McLane's cam- 
paigns. Thousands of letters began to flood his office. 
The cooperation of the big music publishers proved a very 
valuable asset. Mr .Walter Damrosch, from the plat- 
form of Carnegie Hall, made an eloquent appeal for the 
movement. Mrs. John Philip Sousa appealed for band 
instruments, and the result was literally carloads of gifts. 
When Mr. McLane sent out his nation-wide call for every- 
body to take down ''that old ukelele" from the top shelf 
and send it to the boys "over there," the public threatened 
to bury him under mounds of instruments. 



The first regularly organized unit to be sent to France was 
forced to sail on three ships. First went the famous Liberty 
Quartet with an accompanist and its organizer, who 
later became director of the whole entertainment bureau 
in Paris — Walter H. Johnson, Jr. This pioneer unit sailed 
on the Rochambeau on November 30, 1917. It included 
Mr. Johnson, two church choir singers — Miss Beulah 
Dodge, contralto, and Miss Kate Horisberg, soprano — 
and Albert Wiederhold, who had been bass soloist for some 
time at Dr. Parkhurst's church in New York. On the 
second ship, the Niagara, on December 16th, went William 



24 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Janauschek, an organist from Englewood, N. J., who later 
became Elsie Janis's accompanist extraordinary in her 
record-breaking tour of the armies. On the third ship, 
La Touraine, saihng December 28th, was John Steel, one of 
the bright Ughts of Broadway, who also had been a church 
choir singer. 

The Liberty Quartet was a splendid organization. Col- 
lectively, it was an aggregation of stars endowed with a 
fine esprit de corps; individually, the members of the unit 
all made magnificent records and displayed unconquerable 
spirit and unswerving loyalty to the cause they went abroad 
to serve. From the beginning they encountered many 
difficulties which were inseparable from the conditions of 
the time, but they stuck through everything with a perse- 
verance and pluck which set a high standard for those to 
follow. 

The initial difficulty — a typical instance of the unfore- 
seen circumstances which created continual obstacles — 
was met on the pier on the very day of sailing. ''We got 
down to the dock of the French Line," says Mr. Johnson, 
"and everybody thought they would all meet there. 
When we got there we found Bill Janauschek, the accom- 
panist, and we said, 'Hello, Bill,' but he said, 'I can't go.' 
Word had come from Washington at the last moment 
canceling his passport until further investigation." Thus 
the strong hand of the Government's necessary precaution 
was interposed, as many times afterward, to make as- 
surance doubly sure of the hundred per cent American 
quality of the men and women who were going over to 
join the fighting forces. Mr. Janauschek's detention was 
a purely technical matter and this loyal American sailed 
on December 16th on the next French liner, the Niagara , 
to join his comrades in France. 

Meanwhile, the quartet, minus accompanist and tenor 
(for Mr. Steel was not able to sail until December 28th), 
sang all the way over on board the Rochambeau, and 



THE TROUPERS IN ACTION 25 

on their arrival in Paris December 10th spent no time 
waiting for the missing members of their Httle group, but 
went out to sing in the camps around Paris, with Mile. 
Colet, a Franco-American girl, as their accompanist. Their 
programs ranged over a wide field, all the way from opera 
numbers and religious selections to the beautiful old Negro 
melodies. They also had a goodly sheaf of humorous and 
comedy songs, for in this dreary winter every laugh was 
as good as a letter from home. And at the end of every 
show they saw to it that the boys had a good sing-song of 
their own. ^'It was then,'' Mr. Wiederhold modestly says, 
"we had some real music." Anyhow, each evening a 
thousand or more happy soldiers went away from the 
show feeling that life was worth living and that a million 
loving thoughts from America were still on their trail in 
muddy, dreary France. Then they started for Chaumont 
and the training areas round Neufchateau and Gondre- 
coiu-t. On Christmas Day, they commenced a long tour 
through the hospitals along the whole American line of 
communication. The prodigality with which they gave 
themselves to the work is shown by the fact that on Christ- 
mas Day they gave fourteen different programs. 



Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson was having his first taste of 
service in the Twenty-Sixth Division. Mr. Carter sent 
him immediately on his arrival to the little town of Pom- 
pierre, to learn at first hand, as a hut secretary, the life 
of the soldier under war conditions. He stayed there till 
February 1, 1918. No better training for the man who 
was eventually to supply such splendid and practical 
initiative at entertainment headquarters could be imagined. 

Entertainment facilities during this period were prim- 
itive, indeed. Mr. Johnson tells this story of the Christ- 
mas show at Pompierre: 

"I will tell you an experience at my own hut at Christ- 



26 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

mas. I had been there a few days. We had any quantity 
of cigarettes, big tin boxes of five hundred each. So we 
took the tin boxes and bent them out to make reflectors 
for foothghts, and used candles. All the lights we had in 
that hut of ours were three lamps; the chimneys of two 
were broken and we had no oil, but we used candles, with 
these tin boxes as footlights, and we built a stage out of 
wooden crates that cigarettes came in and things like that. 
I will never forget the show we got up. The average French 
peasant in such a little town had about two suits of clothes, 
the one he had on and worked in and his Sunday clothes. 
The Sunday clothes might be fifteen years old, but they 
were his Sunday clothes and they were neat, not particularly 
stylish, but serviceable and clean. We put on a show at 
Christmas, entitled 'School Days'; the idea was a school 
in which there could be any quantity of horse play that 
appealed to the masses and was automatic. It really took 
little rehearsing and it was automatic. But we had to 
have a certain amount of costumes and in feeble French 
I went around the village and tried to get clothes from the 
French. We got a few women's dresses and a few pairs 
of civilian trousers and out of courtesy to the French people 
who had loaned their other suits of clothes we asked them 
in to see the show. We borrowed desks from the school- 
houses. I think they were the desks that Napoleon Bona- 
parte studied over; the old school-teacher must have been 
seventy-five easily. 

*^I don't think we had ever had a dress rehearsal. The 
first time they had those clothes on was the real thing, 
and every conceivable prank that you can imagine might 
be pulled off in a schoolroom — only rather intensified — 
was pulled off at that show. Not throwing cream puffs 
but paste or anything hke that, and the kicking of seats 
out from under one another, all of which I am telling be- 
cause of the effect it had on those Sunday clothes of the 
French populace who were in the back of the house and 
were just raving mad at seeing their clothes, their only 
other suits, going to rack and ruin. The crowd of dough- 
boys thought it was a wonderful joke and the sorer the 
French got the better the show was. It took a considerable 
number of francs to make up to the French. They never 
really did get over it." 



THE TROUPERS IN ACTION 27 

Every day of Mr. Johnson's six weeks at Pompierre 
was not so eventful as this, but the job was training of the 
kind that gains real value when the need comes. Mr. 
Johnson remembers with particular affection, as does 
everybody who worked overseas, the quality of his soldier 
assistants. 

On the first of February, 1918, there came a brief tele- 
gram from Mr. Carter: "Report to Paris to C. M. Steele." 
Although Mr. Steele, before he went to Paris to become 
Director of the Entertainment Department, had had an 
experience as hut secretary similar to Johnson's in a little 
town not twenty miles from Pompierre during this very 
time, this was the first Johnson had ever heard of the man 
with whom he was to accomphsh such far-reaching results 
in the entertainment initiative overseas. Johnson had 
been selected as Assistant Director, so he was informed 
when he arrived in Paris. But Steele was "out on the 
road" accompanying Messrs. Ames and Sothern on their 
tour through the camps, so Johnson's first job was not 
to report to his chief, but "to chase and catch him." He 
caught him at Tours. Mr. Steele was extremely glad to 
see his young assistant, for the trip he was then taking with 
the Ames-Sothern party around the American area re- 
vealed to all how much there was to be done before even 
a fair beginning could be made in entertaining the fast- 
growing American Army. They returned to Paris about 
the 15th of February and then began that long connection 
which lasted, with the exception of a six weeks' trip to 
America which Mr. Steele took between late July and early 
September, until the end of December, 1918. Then Mr. 
Johnson carried on the campaign in sole control until 
May 8, 1919. 



Charles M. Steele had arrived in France in December, 
1917, and gone out with the First Division to become 



28 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

hut secretary at the httle town of Baudigncourt. He won 
a considerable reputation in the early days as the man 
who had put on more good shows than anybody else in 
the First Division, a record that culminated in the Christ- 
mas celebration at Baudigncourt, which Mr. Steele pre- 
sented to six enthusiastic audiences of doughboys. He 
describes it in this modest fashion: 

"From the time that I first went out to take over the 
hut at Baudigncourt, I saw that one of the big things 
was to have entertainments, and so, having had a little 
experience in getting up shows in Detroit at the Board of 
Conamerce, I started to do it. It wasn't hard because one 
of the first things the gang said to me was, ^Why don't 
we have a show?' So we had some very crude entertain- 
ments, sort of rough and tumble, wild-west kind, and that 
developed a certain amount of dramatic talent or what 
we were pleased to call our Dramatic Club in the battalion. 

"When Christmas came we put on a show which we 
called The Soldier's Dream' and because the hut was not 
big enough to hold the whole battalion we gave the show 
by companies. We gave the show four times Christmas 
Eve with the distribution of presents, and then Christmas 
afternoon we gave a part of the show for the children of 
the village and Christmas morning we had an athletic 
meeting — so that made a program of six entertainments 
within twenty-four hours." 



Meanwhile, in all this period of beginnings, especially 
from January 1, 1918, to the crisis of the great German 
drive which began on March 21st, the Liberty Quartet 
continued to be the most active of the entertainment units 
in the field. Mr. John Steel and Mr. Janauschek joined 
the quartet soon after Christmas and for two months they 
went on a grand tour which covered the areas of the five 
American divisions and swung down on the S. O. S. and 
leave area circuits as far as Aix-les-Bains on the east and 
Brest and the other deep-sea ports on the west. At Brest, 



Col. John 
R. Kelly 




Lt-Col. R. B. Gampli; 




Jazz and Jazzerinos 



THE TROUPERS IN ACTION 29 

the quartet was the first entertainment group to board 
the American transports then coming in great numbers 
to the shores of France. They sang on the old Prometheus^ 
the big repair ship which became famous as the "mother 
ship" of the American Navy; they gave a show on the Seattle y 
the American cruiser which brought Secretary Daniels to 
France. At Issoudun, they gave one of the first shows to 
the American Air Force in a hangar which the boys had 
converted into a stage. "They had put lovely white crash 
on the floor," says Miss Dodge, "and on either side of 
the stage were machines owned by the boys themselves, 
which they called their private boxes. The mud out there 
was simply dreadful, and we with our muddy feet felt 
just criminal going on their lovely white flooring." 

Miss Dodge tells another anecdote : "One day at Issoudun, 
we went into a hut after mess with the officers to get warm, 
and saw three young lieutenants shaving at the far end. 
We started to back out at once, but one of the young men, 
who afterward proved to be Quentin Roosevelt, waved his 
razor and called out, 'Oh, come right in! This is just a 
little of the home touch, you know.' " 

After the Brest performances the quartet split up and 
went out separately, for by that time entertainers had 
come to be so much in demand that everybody as far as 
possible had to be a little quartet all by himself. Mr. 
Wiederhold paired up with the inimitable Mary Rochester, 
who not only played the piano beautifully, but was one of 
the earUest of the singers who discovered in themselves a fine 
ability to get the boys to sing, which made all of their 
performances memorable. Miss Rochester, by the way, 
who had been a music student in New York and an am- 
bitious beginner in church and concert work, was one of 
the real musical discoveries of the War. She arrived in 
France on February 24, 1918, and her brief account of 
some of her early experiences reveals a loyal and intrepid 
soldier admirably worthy of her splendid opportunity. 



30 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

''My earliest experiences were with the First Division 
in the Toul area. At this time the men hadn't seen an 
American girl for months and when I entered the large 
camouflaged tent where hundreds of men were waiting 
wide-eyed for their first glimpse of an American girl, their 
eager, concentrated stare embarrassed me very much, but 
I soon came to realize what it all meant — that I stood for 
some one of their American women at home. The one 
thing that impressed them more than any other was that 
I could speak English. 'She talks English, she's an honest- 
to-God American girl,' they would cry. I used to wear 
my gas mask in alerte position when I played accompani- 
ments, but only once was I ordered to put it on. One night 
the shelling was so loud I stopped playing and asked whether 
they were going or coming, which amused the boys very much. 

"I shall never forget the way the boys would file past me, 
pumping my hand up and down, some of them too timid 
to look in my face, but squeezing my hand so hard I always 
had to remember to take my ring off. One man stuttered 
so when he talked I could hardly understand him. When 
I asked him why he stuttered, he replied he was so em- 
barrassed meeting a girl. They were just like children out 
there, it was too pathetic. 

"One night an officer took me out to his battery. He 
telephoned his men to be prepared, that he was bringing 
an important visitor to call. They, of course, thought it 
was no less than a general himself, and were all standing 
at attention when we arrived. It was late at night and it 
seemed to me we had walked through miles of mud to get 
there. They stood at attention all the while, but the smiles 
on the boys' faces, especially when I sang for them in their 
dugouts, was worth the long ride out and my wet muddy 
feet. Only a few nights after that, all these boys were 
killed when their battery was blown up, and the house 
where I had dined was wrecked." 

Miss Beulah Dodge, the quartet contralto, after the 
trip to Brest was assigned with Jean Nestoresen, the violin- 
ist to the royal court of Roumania. "We toured together 
for six months," she says, "a most successful concert tour. 
We were all over in the lines and were in several bom- 
bardments and night raids in camps near the front, giving 



THE TROUPERS IN ACTION 31 

several interrupted concerts during the great drives of a 
year ago in which our Americans figured so prominently up 
in the region of Chalons. We were stationed in Mailly and 
gave concerts all around. For instance, we went up into 
the Vosges woods, where the men were so delighted to have 
anything at all, and simply mobbed us with appreciation. 
The men were almost stumped by the fact that an Amer- 
ican woman had really come up there to entertain them." 

These trips were not all mere mud and frolic, as the 
front was simply poisonous, then as always, with tonsilitis 
and other deadly throat and bronchial risks. Miss Dodge 
got back to Aix, after her tour with M. Nestoresen, and 
found that she had lost her beautiful voice and nothing 
could bring it back again save an interminable rest. So 
this gallant little soldier, to whom the loss of her voice 
meant nothing less than her whole vocational and artistic 
future, put her own troubles behind her and pitched in to 
canteen work in the Aix Leave Area. For more than eight 
months she worked there loyally and unselfishly. Her 
voice came back, but she sang for the men too soon and 
lost it again. In those days it did not seem to matter 
much, when the very men to whom you were singing had 
faced death cheerfully and were going back in a few days 
for another bout, that a singer should lose a little thing 
like her voice. The real artistic spirit was to offer one's 
best, but if ever any noncombatant deserved a wound 
stripe, it was Beulah Dodge. 

Such sacrifices were legion; the pity of it is that many 
of the entertainers, early and late, who suffered the most 
in voice or physical impairment or in falling behind in that 
hard competitive struggle which goes on so remorselessly 
even in the world of art — the pity of it is that most of those 
who suffered did not tel . Another girl who lost her voice 
came back to the leave areas and became one of the best 
dramatic coaches in France. Others kept on with the 
cheering reflection that, after all, if the boys did not mind 



32 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

the cracked pianos they seemed so fond of, they couldn't 
object very much to cracked voices, especially if they could 
join in the choruses and give the singer a rest. 



Another party which belongs unforgettably to this 
period is the ''Five Hearon Sisters," a quintet of dainty 
English girls who had won deserved recognition in Amer- 
ican vaudeville and who were lovingly referred to by the 
boys as the Sardine Ladies. They were Winifred, Anna, 
and Charlotte Hearon, Clara Gray, and Eunice Prosser. 

These five girls hold one of the long-distance entertain- 
ment records of the war. They sailed February 17, 1918, 
immediately after finishing a long circuit on the American 
Chautauqua. They played to twelve different combat 
divisions, including all the veterans, the First, Second, 
Third, Fourth, Seventh, Twenty-Sixth, Twenty-Eighth, 
Forty-Second, Seventy-Ninth, Eighty-Fifth, Eighty-Ninth, 
and Ninety-Second; they made a circuit of all the base 
hospitals, and played for four months in most of the large 
cities where the American Army of Occupation in Germany 
was stationed, finally coming home and "calling it a war" 
late in March, 1919. 

Five girls appearing on the stage at the same time were 
bound to be a success in the prevailing psychology of the 
A. E. F. But the popularity of the Sardine girls was founded 
on enduring qualities. They seemed to turn up wherever 
the fight was the thickest and the need for diversion and 
relaxation of overstrained nerves was the greatest. When 
the Twenty-Sixth Division took over its first hard sector 
from the French on the Marne in May, 1918, the Hearon 
Sisters played every unit in the division, and in the weeks 
just before July 15th, when the morale of the AlHed Armies 
was probably at its lowest ebb, they played every single 
unit of this crucially situated American division. General 
Edwards, the idolized Commander of the Twenty-Sixth, 



THE TROUPERS IN ACTION 33 

saw that the girls made the circuit as complete as possible 
by sending them about in one of his own staff cars. Many 
of the men of the Yankee Division got their last real mes- 
sage from home from the plucky and laugh-compelhng 
show put on by this courageous quintet. They were on 
hand at Chateau-Thierry, this time helping in dressing the 
wounded, and giving impromptu entertainments at the 
first aid stations all along that historic line. 

In half a score of places the girls played a good part of 
their show under fire. In Essey, for instance, where they 
were playing to a ballon squadron, a German shell fell 
close to the car in which they were leaving the performance, 
only missing them by a miracle; while at Bouillon ville, 
where they played in a gun pit one and a half kilometers 
behind the lines, they were in the midst of a very lively 
artillery duel for the greater part of their stay in town. 
In this town, which had only recently been captured from 
the Germans, they gave a show at a Red Cross hut which 
had formerly been a German moving picture theatre. 
Half an hour after their departure and the dispersal of 
the audience of over five hundred men, a German airplane 
came over and industriously machine gunned the town. 
The next day an officer counted over fifty bullet holes in 
the roof of the theatre. The Hearon Sisters were on deck 
during the St. Mihiel drive, and carried up supplies to the 
advance units just before the offensive opened. They 
were then stationed with the First Division, and just on 
the day it went into the line they entertained the Sixteenth 
and Eighteenth Regiments of that division all day. 

On Dominion Day, July 1, 1918, the Hearon Sisters 
were the central attraction of the great Canadian celebra- 
tion, and made that patriotic festival as memorable for 
the Canadian soldiers as Elsie Janis made the Fourth of 
July eventful for the American doughboys in Paris. They 
found time also to put in a week's intensive entertaining 
among the British Tommies. 



34 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

That they came out of all these tireless months of travel- 
ing and trudging was miraculous. Charlotte Hearon was 
severely injured while riding on a truck near Verdun, but 
she soon came back fit for action again, and never even 
asked for a wound stripe. Certainly the Hearon Sisters 
lived up to Winthrop Ames's amply justified claim that 
entertainment was as practical and vital an everyday 
necessity in the American Army as overcoats and intrench- 
ing tools, or any other of the indispensable auxiliaries to 
a victory. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE AMES-SOTHERN RECONNAISSANCE 

^'Strange things I have in head, that will to hand; 
Which must he acted ere they can he scanned.'* 

Macbeth. 

Great events were now brewing in both France and 
America. There was a premonition throughout the Amer- 
ican Army that things were doing, when early in January, 
1918, Mr. Steele had arrived in Paris to take over the 
entertainment service, and was joined later in the month 
by Mr. Johnson as his assistant. Mr. Steele had arrived 
just in time to link up with the first emissaries of the Amer- 
ican stage two of its most distinguished representatives — 
a great producer and a great actor — Messrs. Winthrop 
Ames and E. H. Sothern, who arrived in France late in 
the month to survey the whole entertainment field and to 
report to the theatrical profession in America what the 
American Army expected of them. 

The Ames-Sothern mission is notable in dramatic his- 
tory. It originated, like most of the important movements, 
at the New York end, from the initiative of Mr. McLane. 
A cablegram was received one day bearing simply the 
cryptic message ''Belmont suggests Ames.'' McLane de- 
cided that it meant in plain English that Mrs. August 
Belmont, who was then in France, suggested Winthrop 
Ames as the ideal man to survey the entertainment problem 
in France, and to get what was wanted from the American 
stage to cover that field. He communicated this suggestion 
to Mr. Ames, who protested that he was a "high brow," 
but finally said, '1 will go if Ed Sothern will." The re- 
suit was that Messrs. Ames and Sothern decided to go. 

Throughout the American lines these emissaries of the 

36 



36 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

American stage gave shows and watched shows, looked 
over huts and got out among the men, conferred with 
General Pershing in Chaumont and with the ''Y" head in 
Paris, and finally evolved a thorough working plan, which 
they drafted in the form of a report as to what the Amer- 
ican theatrical profession could do — and what they were 
determined to see that it would do — to bring relaxation 
and happiness, and to help hold up the spirits of the Amer- 
ican Army in France. Theorists had been expounding for 
a long time before the spring of 1918 just what kind of 
entertainment the American Army in France wanted. 
Students in crowd psychology, military authorities, and 
newspaper writers had proposed various solutions, from 
stock companies to programs exclusively devoted to clog 
dances and pretty girls. The splendid entertainers who 
had already been sent over to France were beginning to 
report back some real experience. But it was from the 
report of Messrs. Sothern and Ames that the astonishingly 
simple solution was finally and decisively learned. This 
was that the same show that was good at home was good 
over there, and that when the really good shows came to 
camp, the S.R.O. sign went up outside of huts just as it 
did in a crowded theatre on the Great White Way. 

Mr. Sothern tested this out for himself before huge 
audiences of cheering soldiers. His repertoire in France 
was what is generally known in the profession as "classical 
heavy, '* specializing on the immortal passages with which 
he has thrilled a generation of American audiences. It 
ranged from Petruchio's boisterous Elizabethan advice 
about handling women in 'The Taming of the Shrew" to 
Francois Villon's romantic love-making in ''If I Were King." 
He recited the great poems of the War, "In Flanders Fields," 
"Verdun," "The Hun Is at the Gate," "The Landlord's 
Daughter," and the stirring war songs of Alan Seeger and 
Paul Scott Mowrer. Besides this, Mr. Sothern discovered 
in himself an altogether new talent — he told stories. 



THE AMES-SOTHERN RECONNAISSANCE 37 

Standing on the dark and shaky stages of the little huts, 
Mr. Sothem found in these rows and rows of sturdy, brave, 
attentive faces the greatest audiences of his lifetime. In- 
stead of polite handclapping, he was greeted with cheers, 
pounding, stamping of feet, and real American yells. His 
programs were always followed by friendly handshakes, 
long comradely talks, and an exchange of war yams for 
the latest stories from home, hours which made Mr. Sothern, 
in a way neither he nor his audiences can ever forget, a real 
member of the A. E. F. 

Sometimes the effect of the performance was greatly 
heightened by the unexpected thrills which were always 
lurking about at the front. One night Mr. Sothem was 
doing a recitation from ^'Hamlet," in a towTi where the Grer- 
man airmen often put over a different kind of entertain- 
ment. The actor had just got to that impressive point, 
following the murder of Polonius, where the Queen says, 
''O, what a rash and bloody deed is this," when a soldier 
stuck his head in the half Ughted room and yelled, "Air 
raid, lights out." Out went the lights and the audience 
sat perfectly still in the dark except for the ominous mur- 
mur that arises from several hundred men in a state of 
considerable tension. Then a sharp voice rang out in the 
ColoneFs well known tones, "Attention! Turn on one 
light on the stage. We have air raids every night, but we 
don't have Mr. Sothem. Mr. Sothern, would you mind 
going on with your readings?" So Mr. Sothem continued, 
''O, what a rash and bloody deed is this,"— "I'll tell the 
world," sang out a doughboy's voice from the dark. The 
spontaneous laugh which followed broke the tension and 
the show went on. This is probably the only time that 
this solemn speech from "Hamlet" ever "got a laugh"— 
and deserved it. 

On another occasion, Mr. Sothem's automobile passed 
through an intensive homemade barrage coming from an 
American ammunition dump which had just been hit, 



38 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

and which was going off in all directions. His car con- 
tinued, however, and finally landed him in an old chateau. 
Climbing up to the second floor, he found a large room 
filled with doughboys and officers, waiting for him in the 
midst of this weird scene. Two candles on the mantle- 
piece gave the only illumination. All the windows were 
boarded up. The audience sat on camp stools and boxes, 
or lay about the floor. Such was the setting in which he 
recited Alan Seeger^s poems, nor could that heroic soldier 
poet himself have wished a better one. 

At another time, Sothem found himself in the cellar 
of a ruined house, before two himdred men with their steel 
helmets and gas masks, and only one sputtering candle 
for illumination. Here he decided that recitations on 
Verdun and heroism were out of order and that the only 
thing to do with these men was to talk to them. Sitting 
down in the midst of the bunch, he told stories about 
Kankakee and Cincinnati and Broadway, and the folks 
back home in that country about which every boy had 
agreed that there was only one real slogan — ''See America 
First." 



The gallant little party went everywhere. Mr. Ames 
made the arrangements and saw and studied everything 
from the S.O.S. to the front. In Bordeaux Mr. Sothem 
put on four shows, including a special performance for 
the Negro stevedores which w.as perhaps the most enthusi- 
astically applauded show of the whole trip. Everywhere 
they found doughboys who had been scene shifters, actors, 
property men, advance agents, and other acquaintances in 
the brotherhood of the stage. They dined with General 
Pershing and received from him a cordial and personal 
approbation of their foster child, the Over There Theatre 
League. 

Mr. Steele made practically the whole trip with them, 



THE AMES-SOTHERN RECONNAISSANCE 39 

and his enthusiastic and tactful collaboration laid the 
foundation for the harmonious relations which prevailed 
in the months that followed between the entertainers and 
the directing heads of the *'Y." 

Mr. Ames spoke to the men on many occasions, and 
caught at first hand the splendid spirit of the audiences 
he was going back to supply with the best talent of the 
American stage. Doughboys who met the party on their 
tour aroimd France remember them with humorous affec- 
tion, for the distinguished travelers were encountering for 
the first time the wreck that the War had made of the 
French railway service. Hot water bags, thermos bottles, 
cushions, and other signs of a desperate attempt to be 
comfortable protruded at various angles from their baggage. 

Later in the year Mr. Sothem gave in England one other 
set of impromptu performances which deserved special 
mention. This was in August, 1918, when American 
wounded, following the generous invitation of the British 
authorities, had abeady begim to arrive in British hos- 
pitals. Mr. Sothern on this occasion made a special tour 
of Great Britain, giving not only Shakespearian readings 
but real performances wherever possible, in company 
with Miss Mary Anderson, the famous and beloved Shake- 
spearian actress, and Ben Greet, leader of the Ben Greet 
Shakespearian Players. The party played imder all sorts 
of circumstances, from a "real" show at the Eagle Hut 
in London to an improvised string of scenes which was 
put on at the big hospital near Evesham. 

This last show was one of the greatest examples of what 
an actor can do with nothing to work with. The play was 
"Macbeth,'' and the stage was a kind of scaffolding across 
one end of a room. There was an erratic curtain but no 
footlights, no scenery, no properties. The company finally 
cut the property list down to five items, as follows: Two 
blood-stained daggers, a saucer of blood (or rather, two 
saucers in case one got spilled or lost), a bell, and the mechan- 



40 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

ism for producing ''the dull ominous knocking at the gate." 
Sir John Hare, the famous English actor, whose daughter 
Miss Mollie Hare played one of the parts, volunteered to 
supply the knocking, and contrived for that function a 
croquet mallet swathed in a silk scarf. The only exit door 
was very considerably lowered by planking, and there was 
a precarious passage off the stage, ending in one plank 
through the door. As a result Mr. Sothern, engrossed with 
his lines, smartly banged his head against the door every 
time he entered the stage and every time he left. His 
most effective exit, however, was on the occasion when, 
as Macbeth, he escorted the weeping Lady Macbeth off 
the stage. At this great moment Macbeth walked the 
plank one step too far to the left and disappeared amid 
some confusion, only to clamber back again and make a 
dignified exit, while the house maintained a sympathetic 
silence. The dark and creepy murder of Duncan had to 
be contrived in the broad sunshine, there being no foot- 
lights. The great scene where Macbeth is surprised by the 
knocking at the gate found Macbeth waiting on the stage 
in an agonized attitude, for there was no knocking. Sir 
John Hare was reading the manuscript and all signs failed 
to disturb him. Finally Lady Macbeth, from behind the 
scenes, stamped her foot three times, whereat Macbeth 
gave the required guilty start. Just then the mallet, not 
to be denied its part, protruded in full view of the audience, 
gave three solemn knocks, and was stealthily withdrawn. 

The audience, according to Mr. Sothern, was the most 
chivalrous aggregation that ever listened to Shakespeare. 
Their chance to be magnanimous came when a messenger, 
who had carefully rehearsed the part of announcing the 
coming of the king, violently knocked his head on enter- 
ing the stage, and then said in a strange voice, "The king 
comes here tonight." Lady Macbeth duly replied, "Thou'rt 
mad to say it." Whereupon the messenger rendered a 
perfectly good Shakespearian speech thus: "So please you. 



THE AMES-SOTHERN RECONNAISSANCE 41 

it is true. One of our fellows told me about it, who could 
scarcely speak because he was dead." 

Mr. Sothem admits that this performance was not far 
short of that classic situation of melodrama when the 
villain stands before the firing squad, but to the command 
"Fire" only a series of feeble clicks replies. Somebody has 
forgotten the cartridges. But the villain must die. "My 
God," suddenly cries the doomed man, "I have broken 
my neck," and so he falls dead. 

The Sothern-Ames party returned to New York in the 
middle of April, 1918, with the material for a fruitful and 
inspiring message for the American stage, and with a vivid 
idea of the splendid democracy of service overseas. One 
of the ways in which the latter conception got home to 
them may be told in the following anecdote. One day 
Mr. Sothem, who had noticed for a long time that his 
chauffeur seemed exceptional, asked him what he did in 
the States. 

"My name is Danforth," was the reply, "William H. 
Danforth. I'm from Missouri," and he named a nationally 
known cereal miUing company. 

"Maybe they will promote me," said Mr. Danforth, in 
answer to Mr. Sothem^s inquiries as to why he did not 
ask for work more in his line, "but if they don't, I am 
going to stick to this job for the duration of the War." 

"Well, that is the best recruiting story I ever heard," 
said Mr. Sothem, "I will use it on the actors." And he did. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE STAGE CALLED TO ARMS 

"// it were done when 'tis done, then Hwere well 
It were done quickly. " 

Macbeth. 

When Messrs. Ames and Sothem returned to America, 
the great German offensive of March 21, 1918, had al- 
ready broken upon the AlHed Armies. The terrible shadow 
of that spring impelled every American to seek the means 
readiest and nearest to him to back up the Army. Amid 
this general spirit of self-sacrifice and deepening loyalty, 
Messrs. Ames and Sothem confidently prepared their 
appeal to the theatrical profession. The arrival "home" 
of the Sothem-Ames mission, with its message to the 
American stage, and the scenes which followed form in 
themselves a drama of American spirit and American charac- 
ter. They returned to America with a definite purpose 
and plan by which through eighteen months of unstinted 
work the American stage was to serve the Army. 

"The opportunity for the American stage and lyceum 
to do a great service in standing back of the men behind 
the guns — behind the American doughboys — is without 
parallel," announced Messrs. Sothern and Ames on their 
return home. "The first step is to prepare the way, under 
the 'Y,' by erecting 'war theatres' or auditoriums through- 
out the war areas." It was proposed to grade all the halls 
in France to meet the needs; to concentrate on plans for 
a great chain of small, home-like, standardized theatres 
where 700 soldiers could easily be within sight and hearing 
of the stage; and then to recruit from the American stage 
and lyceum every man and woman who could go "over 
there" to do his or her "bit." 

42 



THE STAGE CALLED TO ARMS 43 

Messrs. Sothern and Ames brought home a specimen 
itinerary on which American entertainers could spend 
ten weeks in France for the back areas, and a similar period 
for the front, so as to cover the maximum amount of terri- 
tory. This report suggested a plan to supply trained 
dramatic coaches for the soldier shows, which were even 
then breaking out everywhere. It also communicated the 
vivid impression of its authors of the great need for plays 
of all kinds in manuscript and synopsis form, for grease 
paint, false mustaches, rouge, and the hundred other 
props and accessories of the make-beheve world, required 
for minstrel shows and costume nights; to relieve, if only 
for an occasional evening, the strain and tension of war. 



On the night of April 6, 1918, at the Metropolitan Club, 
Mr. McLane gave a dinner to the Sothern-Ames mission, 
which was in the nature of a preliminary conference. Among 
the guests were Daniel Frohman, the great producer, E. F. 
Albee, head of the B. F. Keith enterprises and dean of 
vaudeville, George W. Perkins, General T. Coleman Du 
Pont, C. W. McAlpin, John Sherman Hoyt, Harold I. 
Pratt, and William Sloane, Chairman of the National 
War Work Council. In the midst of this group, Mr. Sothern 
told his story with an eloquence and a conviction which 
swept all before him. Mr. Ames followed his colleague's 
vivid portrayal of the need "over there," with an account 
of the inspiring suggestions which they had devised to 
begin the work. 

The next step was to mobilize the managers. Mr. Ames 
gave a dinner at Sherry's, the old Fifth Avenue rendezvous 
which passed with the War, to every prominent manager 
who could be reached on short notice. George M. Cohan 
came, and Marc Klaw, Abraham Erlanger, Lee Shubert, 
Daniel Frohman, E. F. Albee, and many others. Mrs. 
August Belmont, who had just arrived from France, reen- 



44 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

forced Mr. Ames's appeal for prompt action, and the only 
question the meeting had to discuss was what to do and 
how soon to begin. 

The American managers rose magnificently to the occa- 
sion. They guaranteed their full cooperation not only to 
release every actor who wanted to go to France, but to 
put their weight behind a great mass meeting of the theatri- 
cal profession which would be a stirring call to service 
for every actor in America. Before the dinner was fin- 
ished, the Over There Theatre League was christened. 



Original Proclamation 

New York, April 17, 1918. 
Mr. E, H. Sothem and Mr. Winthrop Ames have re- 
turned from a three months' tour through the American 
camps in France. They report that entertainment, and 
particularly entertainment sent from ''home,'' is vital to 
the morale of our troops there. They bring a message 
from General Pershing emphasizing the need. 

The opportunity has come for our men and women of 
the stage to serve, in person, our soldiers abroad. 

This opportunity for service is so important that we 

feel it should be put before the American Theatre as a whole. 

Will you not attend a meeting at the Palace Theatre 

on Tuesday Morning, April 23rd, at eleven o'clock, to 

consider the situation? 

Mr. Sothem and Mr. Ames will describe the conditions 
in France. 
The need is urgent. We bespeak your presence. 
E. F. Albee 

(The B. F. Keith Circuit of Theatres) 
George M. Cohan 

(Abbot of 'The Friars") 
Rachel Crothers 

(President "Stage Women's War Relief") 
Walter Damrosch 

(President "Musicians' Club") 
Charles B. Dillingham 
(Captain N. A.) 




fu^%7r^ ^ 




You are mistaken, you who think the life of an entertainer was one of 
luxury and ease and floating about in a limousine. You see here a common 
occurrence — the sore-throated and wet-footed soprano, ruining her voice for 
the sake of her country, while the young gallant shields her with his mar- 
velous find — ^yes, an umbrella — unheard of in the A.E.F., but miraculously 
produced by that astonishing and obliging wonder of humanity, a doughboy. 



THE STAGE CALLED TO ARMS 46 

John Drew 

(President "The Players") 
Daniel Frohman 

(President "Actors' Fund of America") 
Joseph Grismer 

(Shepherd of "The Lambs") 
Marc Klaw 

(Klaw and Erlanger) 
Willard Mack 

(President "National Vaudeville Artists") 
Lee Shubert 

(President "Shubert Theatrical Company") 
Augustus Thomas 

(President "American Dramatists and Composers") 
Francis Wilson 

(President "Actors' Equity Association") 

The scene now changes to the Palace Theatre, in the 
heart of America's dramatic world. "The actors are going 
to recruit for the War." This was the word along the 
Great White Way. Thousands of actors from every nation 
were fighting in the ranks of all the armies. Tens of thou- 
sands of professional musicians were in the trenches as com- 
mon soldiers. The flower of the British stage, the artists of 
France, the actors and musicians of Italy were in the ranks. 

At last the hour had struck for the American artists. 
It was eleven o'clock on the morning of April 23, 1918. 
The Palace Theatre was crowded with the greatest gather- 
ing of actors "before the footUghts" in the history of the 
profession. More than 2,200 theatrical folk stormed the 
doors, filled every available seat, crowded the boxes, and 
even sat in the aisles. Mr. E. F. Albee, head of the Keith 
Circuit, was host of the occasion in the finest of his great 
chain of theatres. He raised his hand for order and named 
George M. Cohan chairman. Mr. Cohan, hero of a life- 
time of patriotic hits, but never so much as on this occasion 
the leader of real patriotic public spirit among his profession, 
brought the audience sharply to the seriousness of the 
task in hand with a few trenchant words. 



46 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

"General Pershing," he announced, "has called upon 
the actor to line up with the rest of the manhood and 
womanhood of America, and now is the time to send him 
his answer." 

"I say to General Pershing," exclaimed Cohan, "that 
whatever he wants from us we are ready to give him." 

This was the keynote appeal; the audience broke into 
its first cheer. He read the following telegram: 

"I learn with greatest interest of the work you are under- 
taking in collaboration with Mr. E. H. Sothern and Mr. 
Winthrop Ames. It has my most cordial approval and I wish 
you the best possible success. It is a big undertaking, but I 
have no doubt you will accomplish it. — Woodrow Wilson." 

There was no doubt of the stand of the American actors 
in the World War. The response came from all parts of 
the house. They spoke from the audience, from boxes, 
and from the stage — but all spoke to a house imbued with 
an electric spirit of sympathetic enthusiasm. 

The dean of American dramatists, Augustus Thomas — 
the only American dramatist to have been honored with 
an election to the presidency of the American Institute 
of Arts and Letters — stood before the assembled actors. 

"I came this early because I have to leave to take the 
train for Boston where I am doing some government work," 
he explained. "I regret not being able to remain here 
and see the inspiriting sight that I know all who will be here 
will witness. The War has done a great deal to turn over 
old opinions," continued the dramatist. "It has brought a 
great many changes in our social fabric, and is bringing 
a great one to the theatre and the status of the theatre. 
We of the theatre come into the field with our contribu- 
tion as one of the most effective in the whole push behind 
the drive. We are not especially renowned as business 
men, and a lot of us make bad contracts. The world does 
not call upon us when it wants to revise its philosophy, 
but business and logic are not the only things in this life. 



THE STAGE CALLED TO ARMS 47 

The great thing is the spiritual ^ect and nothing is done 
at all where the emotions are not stirred. Now in that 
field of emotional stir, we do not take off our bonnet to 
anybody. That is our reason for being. That is the thing 
in which we specialize and we are going to go into this 
whole-heartedly, and the whole theatrical community is 
going into it." 

Mr. Thomas, knowing full well the soul of the actor, 
then prophesied: 

^'I know when the proper time comes — and this meeting 
is called on for volunteers — that there will be a wonderful 
sight. I am reminded of the captain who had come to 
his company for volunteers. He was talking to his line 
of fine young fellows. He told them he wanted three, 
but that if one went through the work would be done. 
He did not disguise the danger. He said, 'Now I want the 
men who will volunteer to step out one pace.' As he thought 
of what they were going into, he momentarily crossed his 
hands over his eyes. 'Not one volunteer?' The whole 
line had stepped out one pace." 

Mr. Sothern stepped to the edge of the stage. He has 
appeared for a quarter century before distinguished audi- 
ences, but never before a gathering of celebrities such as 
greeted him here. 

"A very great distinction, as Mr. Thomas has just told 
you, has been conferred upon our calling," he said. ''It 
is very important that you should be aware in the beginning 
of the origin of this meeting. In the middle of December 
a message was conveyed by Mr. McLane of the Y M C A 
to Mr. Ames here in New York, from General Pershing. 
It appears that General Pershing, in consultation with Mr. 
E. C. Carter, General Secretary of the Y M C A in Paris, 
stated that it was very necessary to aid and uplift the 
spirits of the forces at the front by some formulated plan, 
preferably from the profession of entertainment from this 
country. Mr. Ames was appealed to, and he asked me 



48 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

if I would care to look over the ground. We had very little 
time to call a mass meeting of our fellows. We just got 
on board a steamer and we went. The object was to find 
out under what conditions entertainment could be given 
to the troops in France." 

The master of the art of Shakespeare here related some 
of his experiences: 

'^We went to the American front and to the British 
front," he said, "and we brought back, I beheve, a very 
complete report of what the condition is and how we are 
able to serve. I need not tell you with what pride Mr. 
Ames and I went upon this mission. I felt that the call- 
ing of which we are very happy to be members, had been 
very distinctly honored. 

"The necessity of entertainment at the front becomes 
very obvious when you land amongst the forces — ^when 
you perceive their life, the conditions under which they 
live, the monotony of their existence. The vehicle for this 
service is necessarily in the hands of the Y M C A. They 
have built at the front, as Mr. Ames will shortly explain 
to you, a great number of buildings which are called huts. 
In these buildings, which are the club, the general meeting 
place for prayer, for gatherings of all organizations, these 
performances will have to take place. The Y M C A, there- 
fore, becomes the inevitable place where these performances, 
we hope, will be held." 

"The situation of the American forces is more difficult 
than that of the French or the English," Mr. Sothern 
explained. "The Englishman can go home to England. 
He is content with what small entertainment is provided 
amongst his own fellows. The same conditions prevail 
amongst the French. They also can visit their homes 
occasionally. Our men will not come back to this country 
until the War is over; it may last for two or three years, 
and then they may not come back to this country until 
eighteen months after the War is over." 



THE STAGE CALLED TO ARMS 49 

Mr. Sothern dramatically presented some of the scenes 
which he had witnessed along the battle front. 

"We, who have traveled all over this country, and have 
been known to all the boys in the Army more or less, know 
that the desire they have for some thread with their homes 
is very pathetic. You find them sitting in the huts looking 
at the women canteen workers with the greatest longing. 
They sit around dumb, with their eyes full of wonder and 
full of affection which they dare not express. 

''This anecdote is very familiar in the huts, and has 
occurred again and again. A boy, after watching one of 
the women canteen workers for days and days, will edge 
his way up to the counter where the ^Y' woman is serving. 
She will ask, 'Is there anything I can do for you?' The 
boy will look very sheepish and say, 'No, lady, I just wanted 
to hear you talk.' 

"When I was about to go on this mission with Mr. Ames, 
I confided my purpose to a friend. He immediately began 
to smile and said: 'This is the first time that I ever heard 
that fighting men found it necessary to carry about their 
company of comedians.' He had not been recalling his 
history, because there was a time when distinguished 
monarchs took their dancing girls and accompanying 
vaudeville teams on all their military expeditions." 

And here the great classical actor paid an historic tribute 
to the vaudeville stage — to the man who can tell a story, 
to the girl who can sing the latest jazz music and "do a 
dance," to the fellow who can play the banjo, to the in- 
imitable "all-evening-by-himself vaudevillian." 

"Those of us who have taken part merely in plays will 
have to learn a very important lesson from our brothers 
and sisters in vaudeville," said Sothern. "When we get 
over, we shall find conditions of such a nature that we 
shall not be able to perform our plays. I am stating the 
facts of my own experience when I tell you that I was 
practically useless for entertainment. I went to investi- 



50 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

gate, but I was very eager to entertain and consequently 
I persuaded myself to recite, a thing I have never done 
before in my life. I am sure I did not do it very well. 
There was no stage. I got on tables and on counters and 
I stood amongst the soldiers and did what I could. I have 
been in the habit of being supported by a company. I 
have never been able, as the vaudeville artists so brilliantly 
do, to get up and entertain by myself. But you will be 
called upon to do it and if you are not able to do it now, 
the thing to do is to get to work and learn. I am very sure 
that those qualities that have enabled you to distinguish 
yourself in the theatre proper will enable you to do some- 
thing worth while which is important. 

"When I arrived in France and contemplated what the 
YMCA was doing," continued Mr. Sothern, *'I was en- 
tirely overwhelmed, as were Mr. Ames and Mrs. Ames, 
who accompanied us. The function that the YMCA 
fulfills in France is one of the most amazing and most 
difficult accomphshments that you can possibly imagine. 
That also Mr. Ames will explain to you. I merely wish to 
offer my own tribute to the activities which are carried 
on at the front by the YMCA and to plead on behalf of the 
YMCA that you will recognize in it the inevitable help, 
the great instrument with which you are favored in ful- 
filling this service. May I humbly plead with you to 
respond to the appeals that are going to be made to you? 
I should be very proud if any work of mine could induce 
you to such a response. If I can induce you to go over 
there and stay over there until all is over, over there, I 
shall be very happy to have contributed to the result." 



And right here let us ring down the curtain — not that 
the curtain was rung down, for it was a continuous per- 
formance — but the ovation literally ''stopped the show." 



CHAPTER VIII 

A MESSAGE FROM FRANCE 

''Stand not upon the order x)f your going, 
But go at once.*' 

Macbeth. 

As the curtain rises on what we may call the second 
spectacular scene in the national drama at the Palace 
Theatre on this April morning of 1918, we find Winthrop 
Ames occupying the center of the stage. Home from the 
battle front, Mr. Ames told his experiences in France. 
With Mr. Sothem and Mr. McLane — "the power behind 
the throne" — he completed the triumvirate which became 
the "godfathers of the American stage" in the world 
conflict. 

"Nobody can say that our profession hasn't done its 
full share in this war," he exclaimed. "Actors have given 
their services and managers have given their theatres for 
benefit after benefit. Our work for the Liberty Loans has 
probably exceeded that of any other profession. I think 
one cause of our eagerness has been a secret feeling that 
in this world crisis entertainment had no vital place. The 
farmer, the manufacturer of munitions, and the shoemaker 
can each see the direct need of his work. But the artist 
— the painter, the actor, and the singer — ^somehow couldn't 
see any direct use for his personal service except as an 
advertiser of some other fellow's efforts. I think in our 
hearts we've felt a little out of it." 

At this moment Mr. Ames delivered the message that 
he had brought home from General Pershing. 

"I've just come back from France," he declared, "and 
I can tell you, as a fact beyond dispute, that entertain- 

61 



52 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

ment is not a luxury to the modern man. Once deprive 
him of it, even for a little time, and he learns that it is a 
necessity as vital to him as sugar in his food. We actors 
make something that is as needful in this war as overcoats 
or shovels. And at last our opportunity has come to serve 
— not through some other fellow any longer, but in person 
— to fight side by side with our soldiers, to enter actively 
the service of America's Army in France." 

Mr. Ames thus explained the situation as it confronted 
him in France: 

"In France there are two organizations that are the 
right and left hands of the American Army, accredited by 
and working under its control — the Red Cross and the 
Y M C A. Both are semi-militarized, and the functions of 
each are assigned by military order. You will be prac- 
tically in army service and subject to its discipline. In- 
deed, I have no doubt that if any of your performances 
over there should be bad enough to warrant it, the officers 
in conamand might order you out and have you shot at 
dawn." 

Vividly he pictured the exigencies of war and its demands : 

"You must wear the Y M C A uniform, not only because 
you belong to the entertainment organization, but be- 
cause you'd have as much chance of getting about the 
camps in civilian dress as a convict in stripes would have 
of strolling down Broadway. 

"I think you will get very fond of that uniform, and 
may be pretty proud of it before you've worn it long," 
he exclaimed. "It is a badge of service to the soldier that 
he has grown to esteem and respect. When I got back to 
New York and passed our boys in the street I missed 
it when they didn't smile and say ^Hello,' as they almost 
always did when I was in uniform over there. And my 
wife particularly missed the half affectionate greeting 
^Hello, "Y," ' which is their pet name for women in that 
service." 



A MESSAGE FROM FRANCE 53 

The speaker told how he found wearing that uniform 
abroad presidents of big manufacturing concerns, bankers, 
and college presidents, and all sorts of other men, many 
of whom had given up large incomes and big positions 
for the duration of the War. 

''You will find them in the huts," he said, "getting up 
at daybreak, making their own beds, and spending the 
day selling cigarettes, sweeping the floors, and moving 
heavy benches for your evening performance. In one of 
the huts I met a woman canteen worker whom I had known 
in New York. The last time I saw her here, she gave me 
a lift in her limousine. There were two men on the box 
and she was wearing the finest sable coat I ever saw. In 
France, she was standing behind a counter, wearing a soiled 
uniform, and doling out letter paper. When she shook 
hands with me, her hands were chapped and red from 
days spent in washing chocolate cups. And she told me 
she had never been so happy in her life." 

Many dramatic scenes to be expected in the life of a 
volunteer American, making the voyage to France to ''do 
his bit" for the doughboy, were graphically presented by 
Mr. Ames and he predicted that his experience would soon 
become that of thousands of others. 

"Before you sail you may have an opportunity to ac- 
quire a little of that patience under orders that is part 
of military life. For instance, maybe the very day you 
are ready to start the Government may conmiandeer your 
berth (I say 'berth^ advisedly and not 'stateroom^ for 
some officer, and you'll be left to cool your heels till the 
next steamer. Well, there is nothing to do about that 
sort of thing but to bear it — and grin if you can. In any 
case, you'll be wise to acquire early, before you face the 
inevitable little discomforts and irritations of war service, 
the useful French habit of shrugging your shoulders and 
saying cheerfully, ^C'est la Guerre' — 'Well, it's war!' 

"But no trifling discomforts will coiuit in face of the 



54 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

great experience that is coming to you — of learning what 
war really is at first hand. You'll begin to get some hint 
when you see your steamship — camouflaged perhaps to 
look like a cloud on the horizon; or when you find that all 
your fellow-passengers, without exception, are either officers 
or workers in some war service like yourself. The mere 
Visitor' to Europe doesn't exist any more. You will feel 
it when your portholes are battened shut at night, and 
covered with tin lest any gleam of light escape, and you 
are forbidden to smoke on deck. And before you see the 
shores of France there will come out of the sky to meet 
and watch over you, an American airplane followed by 
an American destroyer flying Old Glory. 

''And before you reach the dock you may gather some 
notion of what it means for an entire nation to be at war 
when, instead of the smart French customs inspector of 
former days, a little file of middle-aged women clad in 
black climbs the rope ladder up your steamer's side to 
examine your baggage." 

It was a thrilling story of adventure that Mr. Ames 
related — perhaps the clearest insight that has been given 
of the varied phases of hardship and self-sacrifice for the 
great cause. 

"As the train takes you through France — for you will 
first go direct to Paris for instructions — you will see no 
men out of uniform," he said, "except those actually de- 
crepit, and only women working in the fields. And every- 
where there will be barracks and more barracks, and crawl- 
ing freight trains laden with cannon and ammunition, and 
boxes and bales labeled from every part of the world. 
You'll pass encampments of English troops and Canadian 
troops, and troops from India and Senegal and Africa, 
and gangs of day laborers by the thousand brought from 
China. 

"The whole stream seems somehow headed in one direc- 
tion, crawling toward 'the line.' That thin line — only about 



A MESSAGE FROM FRANCE 55 

450 miles long, the distance from Washington to Boston, 
and never wider than a mile — that crack in the ^arth is 
the center and focus of the whole world today. And toward 
that crack — that narrow crater of destruction — ^the whole 
world is flowing in two streams from opposite sides of the 
globe. And you are carried with the current, and are part 
of it. 

''In Paris the YMCA will take charge of you and tell 
you what area of camps you are to visit first. Most of 
the camps are not actually in the towns, but from two 
to seven miles outside. But the base town is where you 
will lodge — some of them are the most interesting historical 
towns in France — and go out by motor to the camps them- 
selves for your performances. And when youVe given 
performances in all the camps near that town, you'll go 
back to Paris and get a bath (hurrah!), and start for an- 
other base town. And so on!" 

The observations of Mr. Ames, with his keen analysis 
of character and his sense of humor, must here become a 
permanent part of war literature. 

"You will be met at the station by your local boss, that 
is, the YMCA secretary in charge of the district; and about 
nightfall he'll load you all into one open Ford motor car — 
so there mustn't be more than six of you in the company 
at the very outside — and you'll start for the camp to give 
your performance. 

''All the scenery you'll be able to carry ought to be under 
your hat; and your costume, if you take one, must pack 
in a flat handbag; otherwise there won't be room in the 
Ford. But, oh! respect that humble Ford! It cost $1,000 
in France, and had to be fought for at that! And the gas- 
oline that feeds it can be had only by order from the Army, 
and it's a penal offense to use a drop for pleasure riding. 

"On your way to the camp your car may be halted two 
or three times by a sentry — and his rifle is really loaded. 
'Halt! Who goes there?' 



u r 



56 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



"TMCA/ 
"Tass YMCA/ 



"And finally you do pass the bounds; and inside you'll 
find a flat, treeless expanse of trodden mud, covered close 
with the barracks where the boys live. The camp looks 
like a newly built mining camp without the saloon. Imag- 
ine a big sleeping car, without wheels, built of matched 
boards, and you have a picture of a barrack. Inside it 
there is a center aisle, and on either side of this aisle is 
a double row of bunks. This is the soldier's home!" 

"Oiu" boys are the finest, healthiest, most upstanding 
set of young giants you ever saw. They are as keen as 
mustard to get to the front, and when they are at the front, 
they are as keen as mustard to get at the Boche, and we 
are going to have reason to be mighty proud of them." 

It is to Mr. Ames also that our war records are indebted 
for a clear vision of the ' 'soldier's home" in besieged and 
war-ridden France. 

"Some genius realized what this absence of any touch 
of home in the^soldier's life might mean, and the Y M C A 
in France is the result. Wherever there is a camp, you'll 
find a Y M C A hut or house. It isn't decorative. It is 
made of matched boards, and it looks just like a larger 
barrack, or a shooting gallery at Coney Island without 
the paint. It might cost at the outside $3,000 to put up 
in America; in France it costs $15,000, because the lum- 
ber has to be smuggled out of Spain or Switzerland under 
the nose of German agents, and when the Army can't spare 
the men to help put it up, or there are no German prisoners 
available, it sometimes has to be put up by French women. 
But it's there in every camp now with its Red Triangle 
over the door, and it is the soldier's home and club, and 
corner grocery store, and church — and it wants to be his 
theatre. 

"There is always a canteen (or counter) at one end, 
where they sell, at cost, the minor luxuries that Uncle 



A MESSAGE FROM FRANCE 57 

Sam doesn^t supply, such as cigarettes and hot chocolate 
and shaving brushes and biscuits. Along one side is a 
row of plain wooden tables, always crowded, where boys 
are writing back to you letters home. You may have 
noticed the Red Triangle on the corner of the letter paper. 
On the other side is another row of tables where they are 
playing checkers or cards. There is a little library of 
books. And here's where the old magazines go that you 
put a stamp on and drop into the postbox without address. 
There is probably a phonograph grinding out 'Mother 
Machree.' And at the end, opposite the canteen, is a 
little platform. This is your stage. Sometimes the hut 
hasn't even a platform, and they will put two tables to- 
gether for a stage. 

"In some of the more important camps there are sep- 
arate auditoriums — except that auditorium is altogether 
too grand a word, for they are just like the other huts, 
except that there are no tables or canteens and they are 
filled with closely packed benches. Sometimes the little 
stage has a drop curtain, oftener it hasn't. Once in a while 
the boys have painted a rudimentary back-drop. It almost 
always represents New York harbor with the Statue of 
Liberty. There may be a little gasoline engine coughing 
its life away outside, and so you may have the luxury of 
electric lights. Sometimes the light is kerosene lanterns, 
and once in a while candles. But even when there is light 
enough, it's hard to see because the place is so filled with 
smoke. 

"The fact that you are coming to play there will have 
been chalked up a week ahead on the bulletin board out- 
side the hut, and the hut will be packed with boys to wel- 
come you. They will be standing outside the windows 
as far as they can hear. If you are late they will wait." 

And Mr. Ames told a story about getting to one hut 
where Mr. Sothern was announced to read. Their car 
broke down ("You may expect that, and it may be raining. 



58 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

too — but 'C'est la Guerre!' ") and they were an hour and 
a quarter late. 

''But the boys had waited all that time, whistling and 
singing in chorus to keep themselves amused. Not one 
left his place, because he knew that some one else would 
take it if he did. You see, it's not only entertainment you'll 
be bringing them, but entertainment from home — home 
that's 3,000 miles away. 

''Over there in France everything about home has come 
to have a kind of golden halo. You know how it is your- 
self when you've been away for a long time. Every man 
from America seems to the doughboy a kind of messenger 
and representative from 'God's country,' and every Amer- 
ican woman represents, not merely a woman, but his own 
mother or wife or sweetheart." 

He related how when Sothern and he went up to the 
trenches they took Mrs. Ames as far as a woman was allowed 
to go. They left her in a canteen hidden away in a little 
wood, at nightfall. The shack was lighted by three candles. 
In it there were about two hundred boys who had come 
in to smoke because they couldn't light matches outside, 
or to get a cup of hot chocolate before they went out for 
their night's shift in the trenches, or to mend the broken 
barbed wire on "No Man's Lane." They had to mend 
that wire by feeling. They showed her their hands. She 
was the only woman within two miles. 

"When we came back," related Mr. Ames, "I asked 
my wife how she felt among all those boys. And she said: 
'If I had a daughter of sixteen, I'd leave here there alone. 
And if any man touched her with his finger, these boys 
would tear him into a thousand pieces.' 

"The place was within reach of gas shells, and she had 
been ordered to carry a gas mask. But the boys took it 
away from her. One of them held it near. 'I'll put it on 
you quicker than you can if there is need,' he said. 'But 
we just can't bear to see an American woman wearing a 



A MESSAGE FROM FRANCE 59 

gas mask/ Is it any wonder that everyone who saw our 
men in France feels that there has come to them a new 
dignity? 

"They are just great, happy, wholesome, fine American 
boys," explained Mr. Ames. "They haven't lost their 
sense of himior. For instance, one division has taken for 
its motto: ^See America First.' They don't want you to 
lose your sense of humor, when you come to them. They 
want cheerfulness, and gaiety, and clean laughter, and 
good catchy music, and stirring recitations, and little swift 
plays — oh, anything that's good of its kind, and well done, 
and that is 'Made in America.' That's it — 'Made in Amer- 
ica.' You'll never realize how much it will mean to those 
boys to have you come 3,000 miles to serve them — how 
much they need you — till you stand before your first 
audience and get their welcome. I envy you that feeUng. 

"We of the theatre can personally help to speed the 
victory, because our men will fight better if we keep them 
happy and contented in their exile, and because in addi- 
tion to entertainment we can bring the unspoken message 
that America is with them and behind them every day 
and every hour. The service we are asked to do is not 
a duty — it is a great privilege. And we owe a debt to the 
Y M C A in France, who have asked us to join with them 
in serving our soldiers there, and whose pioneer work has 
made our service possible." 

Mr. Ames's simple narrative thrilled his auditors. He 
had brought to them a professional message from the war 
zone. He had pictured in the imaginative minds of the 
creative artists of his time the true vision of war. The 
doughboys were calling to them — ^waiting for them. Is it 
at all surprising that the adventure which followed on the 
scene in the Palace Theatre was to become one of the 
heritages of the American stage? 



CHAPTER IX 

THE AMERICAN STAGE ANSWERS 

^'We are ready to try our fortunes, to the last man." 

King Henry IV. 

If the S. S. Leviathan could have been made fast at the 
door of the Palace Theatre, it is safe to say that the audi- 
ence would have gone on board en masse, prepared to sail 
for France at once, with the cordial consent of the man- 
agers, booking agents, producers, dramatists, and the 
whole theatrical world, leaving the American public to 
shift for its dramatic future as best it might. 

And this despite Mr. Ames's warnings: ''If a commander 
disapproves of your performance he can have you shot 
at simrise"; "All the scenery you can carry must be under 
your hat"; ''Your costumes must be carried in a hand- 
bag, and your company be squeezed into a Ford"; "You 
will be dirty, bedraggled, tired, hungry, and homesick"; 
"You will travel through a desolate country, in which 
the graces of civilization have been suspended by war"; 
"You will get utterly lost, from time to time, amid the 
planless confusion which is inevitable in a great war where 
every soldier is more important than you are" — but with 
the assurance of Mr. Sothern, "You will play before such 
audiences as you never believed existed on earth, and 
you will hear applause that will drown the air raids." 

But when the American stage becomes imbued with a 
great idea, when it hears the call of country or humanity, 
it never fails to answer with heart and soul — as was dem- 
onstrated in every Liberty Loan drive, in every Red Cross 
and United War Fund campaign, in the response to the 
appeals of every relief organization. 

60 





John W. Beattie 



Joseph Lindon Smith 





William H. Duff, 2nd 



Carl J. Balliett 



THE AMERICAN STAGE ANSWERS 61 

And SO it was on this historic occasion in the Palace 
Theatre, as Sergeant Arthur Guy Empey pointed his 
aggressive finger at the audience and shouted: ^'The biggest 
job in the War is to send the boys over the top with a 
smile. It is the men who go over the top with a song in 
their hearts who keep their wits about them and come 
back — and you've got to provide the songs." Empey 
told of running a show 600 yards behind the Hnes with 
shells flying over so regularly that ^'the bass dnmmier 
would wait and let the shell make the noise for him while 
he rested." He told the actors they probably would be 
disappointed with Europe until they played their first 
engagement before the soldiers, then ''no matter how 
rotten you are, you're going to get a wonderful hand." 

Mrs. August Belmont inspired her hearers: "The boys 
over there are giving their best, and they deserve yours; 
the service you can render, small as it may seem amid the 
great sacrifices that are being made, will come back to 
you in after years as the greatest experience of your lives." 

Mr. McLane pledged the support of the National War 
Work Council. 

No element of the profession was forgotten. Joseph 
Grismer, a Union veteran of the Civil War, pledged the 
full ranks of ''The Lambs" and its thousand or more 
members. 

Margaret Mayo promised to turn actress again for the 
occasion, though she admitted, even in George Cohan's 
presence, that a playwright was only a bad actor whom 
the managers would not hire. 

Francis Wilson, who was called upon to respond for the 
Actors' Equity Association, made probably the happiest 
one-minute speech of the morning. He said: "It was 
understood that a few of us would address you, and I was 
to be among the few. I want to call your attention to the 
change that is coming over our opinion of the Y M C A. 
We used to think of them as pink tea folks, but now we 



62 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

know that they are a power of manhood. The ' Y' has made 
its discovery, too. It is learning how great an influence 
for good there is in the American stage. The members of 
the Actors' Equity Association will go." 

With such an audience, won a thousand times over 
by these irresistible appeals, the response went far beyond 
control. Volunteers rose from all parts of the house before 
any call was made, and when Mr. Cohan finally asked 
all those who were "ready to go'' to stand up, three fourths 
of the audience rose. 

To the standing crowd, Mr. Cohan read telegram after 
telegram pledging the great names of the American stage 
for service overseas — Julia Marlowe, Maude Adams, Lillian 
Russell, John Drew, John Barrymore, William Collier, 
Frances Starr, Viola Allen, Marguerite Clark, Grace George, 
James T. Powers, Grant Mitchell, Jessie Busley, John 
Charles Thomas, Jane Cowl, Ruth Chatterton, Louise 
Dresser, Donald Brian, Walter Jones, Billie Burke, Otis 
Skinner, Kittie Edwards, Eugene O'Brien, Julia Sander- 
son, Joseph Cawthorne, David Bispham, Blanche Ring, 
Tom Wise, Marie Doro, James J. Corbett, Weber and 
Fields, Barry McCormack, Nora Bayes and Company, 
Amos Sutherland — and a long roll call of celebrities cover- 
ing every branch of the profession. 

Miss Amelia Bingham volunteered from a stage box, 
and Edith Wynne Mattison and Charles Rann Kennedy 
were announced as among the volunteers, as were Charles 
B. Dillingham, Joseph Riter, and Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. 
The last three offered their services as producers. Organ- 
izations offering to organize companies to go overseas 
were the Players, Lambs, Friars, Green Room Club, Stage 
Women's War Relief, Actors' Equity Association, and the 
National Vaudeville Artists. 

Elsie Janis cabled from London making a date with the 
whole audience in France. Willie Collier volunteered to 
"head a company, or carry a spear or gun or anything." 



THE AMERICAN STAGE ANSWERS 63 

The tide of emotion reached its topmost crest when 
Secretary Henry Chesterfield, of the National Vaudeville 
Artists, announced that more than 9,000 members of that 
great organization had signified their willingness to go at 
once. As the famous Tammany politician said, from then 
on ' 'pantomime reigned." 

Thus there emerged from this historic meeting, held 
on the birthday of Shakespeare, the Over There Theatre 
League, fully organized, officered, and ready for duty. 
Its officers were: 

George M. Cohan, President (Abbot of "The Friars"). 

E. F. Albee, Vice-President (The B. F. Keith Circuit of 
Theatres). 

Directors: Winthrop Ames; Rachel Crothers (President 
* 'Stage Women^s War Relief"); Walter Damrosch (Presi- 
dent "Musicians' Club"); Charles B. Dillingham (Cap- 
tain N. A.); John Drew (President of "The Players"); 
Daniel Frohman (President "Actors' Fund of America"); 
Joseph R. Grismer (Shepherd of "The Lambs"); Marc 
Klaw (Klaw and Erlanger); Willard Mack (President 
"National Vaudeville Artists"); Lee Shubert (President 
"Shubert Theatrical Company"); E. H. Sothern; Augustus 
Thomas (President "American Dramatists and Com- 
posers"); Francis Wilson (President "Actors' Equity Asso- 
ciation"). 

The following individual contract was drawn up: 

America's 
Over There Theatre League 

AND 

Y M C A Contract 



By my signature below, and because of the receipt by me 
of a uniform and living expenses from the Y M C A, and 
a salary of S2.00 per day from America's Over There Theatre 
League, and because I shall be employed in a country at 
war, I hereby pledge myself to 

1. Obey all Military Authorities in conunand, 



64 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

2. Obey the Secretary of the Y M C A to whom I am 
du-ectly responsible. 

3. Remain in Entertainment Service abroad not less than 
three months, unless otherwise ordered. 

4. Return to the United States at any time upon the 
request of the head of the Y M C A organization in 
France or England. 

5. Deliver to the Y M C A, immediately after my re- 
turn to America, the uniform furnished me by them. 

Signed 

Accepted by T. S. McLane 
For the National War Work Council, Y M C A. 

Witnessed by 

Accepted by Winthrop Ames 
For America's Over There Theatre League. 
In order to facilitate the handling of entertaining com- 
panies abroad, I further agree to recognize 

as the manager of the unit with which I am connected, 
and to conform to such arrangements in regard to travel- 
ing, etc., in France as he may make. 

Signed 

Received from the Y M C A and America's Over There 
Theatre League: 

(1) $100 in French money, to be used for trip expenses, 
an expense account and any balance left over to be 
delivered to the Y M C A, 12 Rue d'Aguesseau, 
Paris, France. 

(2) $5.00 to be spent on taxi fares, etc., to steamer here. 

(3) Order No. — , entitling me to America's Over There 
Theatre League's allowance. 

(4) Service contract. 

(5) The balance of my passport photographs. 



The offices and headquarters of the Over There Theatre 
League were for nine months in the Little Theatre, the use 
of which was extended to the organization gratuitously 
by Mr. Ames. 



THE AMERICAN STAGE ANSWERS 65 

The list of volunteers for immediate service exceeded 
seven hundred personal applicants in two days and steadily 
went on growing; and the vigorous and unstinted enthusi- 
asm of organizations representing more than 15,000 mem- 
bers placed the resources of the whole dramatic world at 
the feet of the American Army. 



CHAPTER X 

A STOCK COMPANY UNDER FIRE 

" ^Tis true that we are in great danger; 
The greater therefore should our courage 6e." 

King Henry V. 

Before Messrs. Ames and Sothern sailed for home, they 
met the first American professional stock company which 
had come to France. This was the Craig Company, which 
had been sent over by Mr. McLane, on the initiative of 
Mr. and Mrs. John Craig themselves, the heads for many 
years of the famous Craig Players of Boston. The sacri- 
fices and experiences of the Craigs would require a volume 
in themselves. 

"I would not trade my experience for a million dollars, ^^ 
was the answer of Mr. Craig when questioned regarding 
his nine months' tour of the A. E. F. 

John Craig and his gifted wife, Mary Young, co-leaders 
of Boston's time-honored Castle Square Stock Company, 
decided as early as September, 1917, to put everything 
aside and go to France. They had given their two sons 
to the cause — both had volunteered in the service of the 
French Army without waiting for the call of their own coun- 
try — and one was to make the supreme sacrifice. It is an 
heroic story of an American stage family that gave all they 
had to the call of humanity. 

There are two very interesting phases of the Craig expe- 
riences: the first was their persistence in getting to France; 
the second, their fight to go to the front and play clear 
up to the trenches. The spirit which actuated them is 
such that it deserves a special place in this story. 

The first play selected as the medium for overseas pro- 

66 



A STOCK COMPANY UNDER PIRE 67 

duction — Margaret Mayo's rollicking farce, '^Baby Mine" 
— had enjoyed a record run on Broadway some years before. 
It was a play which required the minimum of costumes 
and scenery — the chief items being three rubber babies 
and a portable telephone as the props, with citizens' clothes 
as the costumes. Also it was a play with inextinguishable 
humor of situation, the first and funniest of its type of 
farces. 

Mr. Craig, Mary Young, his wife, and the capable players 
who supported the Craigs, Charles Darrah, Ivy Troutman, 
Robert Tabor, Theresa Dale, Rose Saltonstall, and Wilfred 
Young, sailed from New York February 3, 1918. 

''The company had to be reduced to six,'' Mr. Craig 
explained, ''so that all the players and properties could 
be gotten into a Ford. We went from camp area to camp 
area by train and then by automobile over each area. 
These were sometimes forty miles in extent, but we had 
to make every center in a day if possible. We carried 
draperies for scenery, and these were hung in a field, in 
the woods, or in a hall, as the case might be, wherever 
the soldiers congregated. Many a performance was given 
outdoors, and we always had an appreciative crowd. If 
we couldn't borrow an army cot, we would requisition 
a chair for the bed that is used in the play. We even put 
on 'Baby Mine' in a dugout one night for a few officers, 
most of whom had to sit on the edge of the 'stage.' " 

Their first regular assignment was Aix-les-Bains. It 
was in March. The First Division was turned loose in 
that area, for their first real leave of the War. There the 
Craig Company went to give America's veteran fighting 
division the sight of the first real show they had seen in 
France. The town was placarded with posters — the un- 
believable news that an honest-to-goodness American 
comedy in four acts, "not a movie," was being staged at 
the local casino by America's best known stock company. 

When the players arrived, they found for the first time 
in their lives that the theatrical writer's ancient boast, 



68 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

'The house was crowded to the rafters/' had really come 
true. The last square inch of floor space had been pre- 
empted. The nimble doughboys had climbed to the girders; 
they even decorated the short slanting joists that upheld the 
roof. The delighted yells and cheers of this irrepressible 
audience would have made any show a riot. But when 
the stage husband, who yearned in vain for a *'che-ild'' 
and found himself presented with one, then two, then three 
infants, who bobbed on and bobbed off the stage in a series 
of astonishing miracles — one finally being produced of 
altogether the wrong color for its parentage — the dough- 
boys howled and cheered until some of them nearly dropped 
off the rafters. This was a ''regular show." And this was 
its usual reception. 

As we follow the Craig players, as they go toward the 
front and play under impromptu conditions which differ 
at every performance, a series of pictures arises which show 
that the nimble wit and resourcefulness of the American 
actor had a share in helping the Army to win the War. 

There is the time, for instance, when the company is 
jogging along the road in its own "tin Lizzie." It meets 
an outfit of plodding doughboys on the march. Some- 
body recognizes them or sees the entertainment insignia 
on the uniform and there is a general yell of greeting. The 
column halts and one of the officers says: "These boys 
have been in France six months and haven't seen a real 
show yet. We don't know when we shall see you again. 
Can't you give us something?" Mr. Craig looks at the 
open field, with a little hill on one side, shaded by some 
trees, and then at the long line of upturned lively faces, 
and says: "Sure! We will give you a whole play right 
here and now." And so the news passes from rank to rank, 
the men give a whoop as the order is given to break ranks, 
and soon Mr. Craig is stepping forward and coolly announc- 
ing: "Our first scene is laid in a Chicago drawing-room, 
and you who know what a Chicago drawing-room looks 



A STOCK COMPANY UNDER FIRE 69 

like will feel perfectly at home — the rest can use their 
imagination." 

The audience is ranged in a broad circle on the ground 
imder the trees. At one side of the ''stage/' which is fur- 
nished with square boxes for chairs, with long boxes for 
sofas, and a tall box on end for a table, stand the local 
villagers who make a very good screen behind which the 
actors can disappear and make their modest changes. 
When the great bed scene comes on it is an army cot bor- 
rowed from a salvage wagon which takes the place of the 
Chicago brass bedstead, and a soap box serves as a cradle 
for the unhappy infants. As the excited heroine dashes 
across the stage and leaps on to the bed in order to be safely 
tucked up before her husband enters, the bed gives way 
with a crash; but after a little carpentry the scene goes on, 
funnier than before. A volimteer is called for to enact 
the star part of an irate janitor in the last act. He is re- 
hearsed in front of the whole audience, made perfect in 
his lines, and at the right moment rushes on to the stage 
and sometimes — it happened once or twice — he gets the 
lines right. But there is terrific applause as the play fin- 
ishes. Then the ranks form up again. The army boots 
again take up their rhythmic tread as the boys go off over 
the hill with a laugh in their hearts. The company packs 
up its India rubber babies and its telephone and wends 
its way to the next camp. 

There is the time, repeated over and over again, when 
the company is playing close up behind the firing line to 
a tense crowd of men who have only recently come out of 
action, or who may be going in the next morning. Grad- 
ually the tenseness relaxes and into their eyes comes the 
fresh, care-free look of men over whom a breath of air 
from home is visibly blowing. In the midst of the per- 
formance comes an order. All over the house men get up 
quietly and steal away. They are going to the front. 
The rest of the audience sits quiet, but the tenseness comes 



70 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

again. Then when the show is over, tramp, tramp, tramp, 
go the boots again up toward the Unes, as the actors go, 
tired and spent, to their cold but well-earned beds. 

Half a dozen times ''Baby Mine" is interrupted by 
other kinds of infants of German extraction, which come 
from enemy aviators above. Actors and audiences are 
forced to seek shelter until the pests are driven off. From 
camp to camp the company travels in the indestructible 
"Lizzie," a war product which runs with many of its parts 
missing and apparently with all nourishment taken from 
it excepit water. They play in railroad stations, with 
trains coming and going, the audience leaving as their 
trains come in and being swelled by newcomers from 
other troop trains. 

At one camp they are playing "Baby Mine" before the 
Sixth Marines of the immortal Second Division. The 
place is a barn and the illumination is candle light. The 
only exit is through the closely packed Marines. On an- 
other occasion when there is absolutely no illumination, 
the resourceful soldiers, not to be beaten out of a show, 
all turn on their electric pocket torches and focus them 
on the actors' faces. This is the first time in the history 
of the stage that every actor has had not only one spot 
light to himself but hundreds of them. 

They play in quarantine camps where spinal meningitis, 
diphtheria, and many other contagious cases are confined. 
At one place they have 2,500 contagious cases in the audi- 
ence, yet they cheerfully take the risk and are a thousand 
times rewarded in giving limitless pleasure to men who 
have not seen a show since they have been in France. 
On another occasion they play before the Polish-American 
soldiers who are on their way to join the Polish Legion. 
They play to Negro stevedores and French soldiers. And 
they give a never-to-be-forgotten show before the Ninety- 
Ninth Aero Squadron — at the conclusion of which, as a 
special tribute, Mary Young is taken up and given a flight 



A STOCK COMPANY UNDER FIRE 71 

in a plane by one of the best known aviators in the British 
Army. 

All through these months John Craig gives readings 
from Shakespeare — one-man shows. He specializes in 
"Twelfth Night'' or "The Taming of the Shrew," and 
writes some special new interpolations in Petruchio's 
famous part which the twentieth century doughboys under- 
stand and cheer frantically. Finally, he finds time to help 
the hard-pressed administration of Johnson and Steele in 
Paris, and is a useful liaison officer between his fellow- 
entertainers and the "Y" directors, inaugurating the first 
outlines of the reception and assignment work, later so 
ably taken up and conducted by A. M. Beatty. 

The Craig players covered the entire front and played 
in practically every American advance base of any size. 
Besides "Baby Mine," the company occasionally gave "The 
Circus Girl," a musical comedy which had been one of 
Mary Young's early successes. They also presented some 
one-act plays hastily adapted and condensed for use when 
only a very abbreviated show could be given. Then there 
were the pageants — "The Drawing of the Sword," and 
"Joan of Arc." 

"The Drawing of the Sword" was written by Thomas 
Wood Stevens of the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, the 
well-known play and pageant creator who was in France 
under the Entertainment Department. Another distin- 
guished American dramatic writer, Frederick Cowley, 
assisted in the production, and the Craig players filled the 
principal parts and helped to coach. Two performances 
were given in the large yard or drill ground of Napoleon's 
old barracks at Camp Pontanazen near Brest, while a third 
was given in the big American "Y" Navy Hut at Brest, 
which was choked and crowded in the best war style. The 
music was furnished by one of the best bands in the U. S. 
Navy, and soldiers, sailors, telephone girls, "Y" worker?^, 
British Tommies, and many others were liberally called 



72 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

upon to fill the parts. The pageant put in broad historical 
setting the Allies' cause in the War. It was a successful 
and stirring dramatic exploit. At any other time it would 
have been a national event; but in the War's profusion of 
splendid initiative, it was just one more Craig success. 

The Joan of Arc pageant was based on one of Mr. Stevens's 
plays, which was awarded the gold medal of the Joan of 
Arc Society in America when it was first performed in 
Pittsburgh some years ago. Mr. Stevens never dreamed 
that it would one day be given in its own atmosphere at 
the birthplace of Joan of Arc. Not only did this happen, 
but the fitness of this splendid and moving spectacle was 
heightened by costumes designed by a member of the 
Institute de France. The play was staged in front of the 
cathedral in Domremy, enacting with striking fidelity the 
life of France's peasant girl saint in the place of her birth. 
To enact Joan of Arc, standing thus on this hallowed stage 
centuries old, and looking out on another army of her 
own countrymen and their allies, thousands strong, en- 
gaged in the greatest of all wars of liberty — that is a dream 
whose fulfillment might make any actress feel that she 
had not lived in vain. Miss Young's performance, though 
no theatrical critic or sophisticated audience was there 
to give it fame, was one of the greatest of her career, for 
she herself, like the stoic peasant mothers in the audience, 
had made the supreme sacrifice and had given her eldest 
son on the battlefield of liberty. 

Here, too, on one occasion, comedy trod the boards, 
inseparable from romance and tragedy. Miss Young had 
made the criticism after a previous performance that the 
fire for Joan's martyrdom had been, for safety's sake, so 
limited that the result was not the moving spectacle it 
should have been. ^Tom" Gushing enlisted the services 
of members of the Camouflage Corps. This was their 
opportunity and they made their preparations but did 
not rehearse their fire. The result was a success of a kind, 



A STOCK COMPANY UNDER FIRE 73 

but such a success that Joan was concealed so completely 
and apparently consumed so rapidly that she was unable 
to read her final lines. 



After *'Baby Mine" completed its tour, Mr. Craig was 
sent on an inspection trip of the Y M C A huts, scouting 
for all which might prove suitable for performances by 
other companies of players who would come later, and 
arranging for such changes in construction as were neces- 
sary for the adaptation of the huts to theatrical purposes. 
^^On this trip," he said, ^^I used to recite The Taming of 
the Shrew' in the huts at night, taking all the parts. I 
usually followed this with a recitation of the poem, 'Christ 
in Flanders.' One night I read it to a large assemblage 
that was waiting to go into the action that wiped out the 
St. Mihiel salient. After I had finished, the boys asked 
the 'Y' man, a noted Boston pastor, to pray. This he 
did while every head was bowed and knee bent. Immedi- 
ately afterward the order came to move forward." 

Miss Young did not accompany her husband back to 
America. She waited in Paris for their son, John Craig, 
Jr., who had been serving as a second lieutenant in ar- 
tillery, commanding one of the French seventy-fives. 
Before Mr. Craig's return — after the Armistice — he and 
his wife went on a pilgrimage to their shrine. It was the 
journey to the grave of their other son, Harmon Craig, 
a former member of the French Volunteer Ambulance 
Field Service, who fell in action at Verdun and lies buried 
just back of France's impregnable fortress. 



CHAPTER XI 

A REGULAR AMERICAN GIRL 

^^Make the doors upon a woman^s wit and it will out at 
the casement; shut that and 'twill out at the key-hole; 
stop that, Hwilljly with the smoke out at the chimney." 

As You Like It. 

In the spring of 1918 began one of the most memorable 
individual adventures of the War. It is an exploit, the 
like of which has no parallel in theatrical history. The 
first scene is laid in most unromantic surroundings — and 
is one of the War's most thrilling prologues. It is in a big 
locomotive shed at the American railway repair shop at 
Nevers. Present: four thousand waiting doughboys. 
The boys are standing on the tracks. They are swarming 
up the sides of the shed, keyed up to great expectancy. 
Suddenly there is a shout. A big Baldwin locomotive 
puffs up one of the tracks. The men make way on either 
side, cheering madly, for there on the cowcatcher, her 
famous fluted skirt streaming in the breeze, her hand 
waving the usual breezy salute to everybody, is *'the girl." 
Up to the very platform she proceeds, jumps nimbly off, 
turns a handspring, and shouts: "Boys, are we down- 
hearted?" There comes a thunderous ear-splitting answer: 
"Hell, no!" It is Elsie Janis, who from this day becomes 
the "Sweetheart of the Army," in the most spectacular 
stage entrance in the annals of the theatre. 

What this American girl was to accomplish in the armies 
in France; how she was to go along the battle areas to 
arouse the cheers of "my boys"; how she worked day and 
night for six months in camps, hospitals, leave areas, with 
fighting regiments, in dugouts, up to the very lines where 
it required the Army to hold her back from going "over 

74 



A REGULAR AMERICAN GIRL 75 

the top" is one of the War's classics. General Pershing 
echoed the opinion of every doughboy when he declared 
at his own dinner table to the for-once shy and abashed 
star: "Elsie, when you first came to France they said you 
were more valuable than a whole regiment. Then some- 
body raised you to a division, but I want to tell you that 
if you can give our men this sort of happiness you are 
worth an army corps." 

Elsie Janis came over to France on March 3, 1918, hav- 
ing been in England since October, 1917. An unexpected 
breaking of a French contract was the providential means 
of her beginning at once. Nobody is a better authority 
on how she happened to start out for the *'Y" than Elsie 
herself. She tells the story in her breeziest style in her 
book, "The Big Show": 

"When I left home we had no arrangement with the 
Red Cross or Y M C A ; we came ostensibly to fulfill con- 
tracts in Paris and London. But the Y M C A was right 
on the job that very next day after our arrival. They 
had a map of France with dots all over it where their cir- 
cuit would take me if I would go. At first I was not too 
keen on being with the Y M C A. It sounded rather like 
it might cramp my speed — and I asked them quite frankly 
if my friends could come to the shows whether they were 
Young Christians or not! They explained that they had 
only one idea, that was to make the boys happy. As we 
had the same idea, we agreed to start at once. That very 
afternoon they sent a pianist up, and we rehearsed. I 
must say that for a Christian Association they have some 
speed. It was arranged I would start on tour one week 
later, and in the meantime would practice on the soldiers 
in and around Paris." 

Elsie's performance was simplicity itself. It consisted 
of a few songs, some stories, some imitations, a little dancing, 
another story, and "Good Night." This could be repeated 
over and over again, and nobody ever seemed to get tired. 
Elsie sang French songs as well as English songs, and when 
her French songs failed she would translate English songs 



76 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

into French songs and vice versa, with amazing results. 
Her imitations depended upon the whim of the audience. 
She could do anything from Queen Mary of England to 
Chauncey Olcott. She claimed she could imitate anybody. 

One night a boy called out from the ranks: 

"How about Will Rogers?'' 

"Haven't got the rope." 

"Yes, but here's one," said the boy, producing a nice 
long one. 

Elsie was caught that time, but she took the rope, made 
a lasso and danced in it, like the famous Follies cowboy 
himself. Result, a riot. 

Elsie's accompanist was William Janauschek who, as 
narrated in a preceding chapter, had gone over as pianist 
for the Liberty Quartet. Mrs. Janis, or "Mother Janis" 
to the doughboys, accompanied the party. She is a lovable, 
motherly woman who served her country as nobly as any 
soldier. The party at first struck into the Old First Di- 
vision training region around Gondrecourt, Chaumont, 
and Neufchateau, where Elsie caught the inevitable cold 
that dogged the steps of all entertainers who faced that 
lung-searching spring weather. Elsie was laid up for ten 
days in Paris as a result, but was off again as soon as she 
was able even to whisper her stories or to sing in a hoarse 
and husky voice. 

She swung around the entire circuit, spending three 
months of tireless zigzagging and volplaning over the war- 
torn roads of the American area, going into the heart of 
that Homeric region northwest of Toul which had already 
become known to the American public as the American 
front. She traveled in a General Staff car, with a con- 
stantly accumulating collection of silver stars from T. A. G.'s. 
T. A. G. means, in the Elsie vernacular, "Terribly Attrac- 
tive Generals." She was one of the few entertainers who 
sought out and made a special trip among the American 
units which were tucked in along the British front. When 



Charles 
Steele 




Walter H. Johnson, Jr. 



A REGULAR AMERICAN GIRL 77 

she finally had to depart in October, 1918, to fulfill a long- 
planned engagement to head the cast of "Hello, America" 
in London, she had come as near to playing to the whole 
American Army as any entertainer on the road at that 
stage of the War. 

The experience of Elsie Janis with the American Army 
was unique. Owing to a combination of circumstances, 
in which Elsie's inability to contract herself for a six- 
months' service at any one continuous period was the 
principal factor, Elsie was permitted to go out without a 
uniform. The men enjoyed seeing a famous actress dressed 
like a regular American girl from Colimibus, Ohio, bobbing 
up defiantly in an environment where all the world went 
uniformed. 

She stops in her whimsical and entirely individual book 
to record the hope that: "Some day some one with the 
powers of description of Hugo, Balzac, Dickens, and a 
few others, will try to describe the splendid work done by 
the Y M C A.'' 

This American girl, who had considered it a hard day's 
work to do two twenty-minute shows a day in peace times, 
tore about war-torn France and was never allowed to go 
to bed until she had done five and even nine shows during 
the day, sometimes with laps of 75 or even 100 kilometers 
on the day's dizzy circuit. Imagine Elsie in a Httle Amer- 
ican sector in Alsace after a day of eight performances. 
Waking up in her hotel, she catches the strains of the song 
she had sung the night before, "When Yankee Doodle 
Learns to Parlez-Vous-Frangais" — it is echoing through 
the climtip, clump of the doughboys' iron-shod feet as they 
are marching up to the front at four in the morning. Imag- 
ine her leaning far out of her window and joining in the 
chorus, while a thousand faces look up and shout back: 
"Yea, Elsie! Atta boy, Elsie!" until she withdraws in sobs 
of speechless exultation. 

On that great Fourth of July in 1918, it was Elsie who 



78 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

appeared at the Gaumont Palace in Paris and symbolized 
the indomitable crusader humor of the American Army. 
She stood on the platform in the midst of a typical Amer- 
ican crowd — in a real prize ring alongside of the wonder 
man, Georges Carpentier himself. When Elsie appeared 
on this fantastic stage, the French members of the audi- 
ence looked in terror for the next exit, for from the throats 
of all Americans present there arose yells, screeches, whistles, 
and a din so terrible and so bloodcurdling that they imagined 
a German spy at least must have been trapped on the 
platform. It was only the boys' greeting to Elsie. 

It was a great spell and it held throughout the War. 
It can best be expressed by that husky American colonel's 
brief speech up on the line, when a bunch was just getting 
ready to go into action after one of Elsie's shows: ^The 
British give their men rum when they go over the top, 
and the French hand out cognac, but we give ours 'Janis 
straight.' " 

The stories! How Elsie could tell them! What boy, 
however morose, could help being affected by this one, 
with Elsie leaning over the platform and employing the 
richest of her dialects: 

A colored soldier is on outpost duty, and it gets a bit 
thick. So he comes running back at great speed and bumps 
into an officer. 

"Hey! What's the idea of leaving your post of duty?" 
demands the officer. 

And the colored soldier replies: "Oh, Lord, boss, the 
shells is just raining out there. One went right by my nose." 

Officer: "How did you know it was a shell? Did you 
see it?" 

Soldier: "Did I see it? I seen it twice — once when it 
passed me — and once when I passed it." 

Just one more story from her inexhaustible fund : 

Two Negroes in the guardhouse, talking through the 
bars to each other. It is Sunday. 
First Negro: "How long you in foh?" 



A REGULAR AMERICAN GIRL 79 

Second Negro: '^Three months." 
^^What foh?" 

^'Stealing from the captain. How long you in foh?" 
'Three days." 
''What foh?" 
"Killing a sergeant." 

"How come you get only three days foh killing a sergeant 

while I get three months foh only stealing from a captain?" 

"Oh, they takes me out on Wednesday — an^ shoots me." 

Elsie Janis succeeded because she went through the 
whole experience overseas in the essential spirit of a "regu- 
lar American girl." She asked no favors that she could 
not a hundred times repay in service; she paid her own 
way except for meager personal expenses, in the spirit 
of true sport, spending herself recklessly in the cause in 
which she was little less than a fanatic. And all the enter- 
tainers in France have a right to part of her glory, which 
she would be the last to begrudge them, for all shared the 
same common danger and rose to the glorious opportunities 
of that unforgettable time. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE OVER THERE THEATRE LEAGUE ENTERS 

'^Suii the action to the wordt the word to the action.^^ 

Hamlet. 

The spontaneous outburst of ''Americanism" which was 
set in operation at the Palace Theatre, in April, 1918, 
did not wane. It developed into a mighty force. The 
whole American stage and lyceum wanted to go to the 
front — now — today. And unable to get overseas at once, 
its members put their forces into immediate action at 
home. They visited the American camps; they threw their 
energies into the Liberty Loans; they took the lead in all 
the war drives for funds to relieve suffering. And they 
took hold enthusiastically of the red tape whose unwind- 
ing would enable them to join the rapidly increasing 
American troops in France. 

The difficulties that began to develop in America — the 
almost insurmountable obstacles that beset Mr. McLane 
and the organizers of the Over There Theatre League — 
were but replicas in miniature of the stupendous problems 
that confronted the Government at Washington. Here 
was the urgent call from General Pershing for entertainers 
from "home"; here were the thousands of professionals 
and semi-professionals volunteering their service. Here, 
too, were the multitudinous restrictions and complications 
of civil and military authorities — the inquiries, confer- 
ences, documentary exchanges, and the whole gamut of 
routine which necessarily develops under war conditions. 
The government problems were of first consequence — they 
must have the right of way — all else was secondary. 

The difficulties met by all the subsidiary agencies and 
their cooperating organizations were of minor consequence 

80 



THE OVER THERE THEATRE LEAGUE ENTERS 81 

when placed in the historical Ught of achievement itself. 
Nevertheless, it is well to give an insight into the details, 
precautionary measures, and infinite patience required in 
even so comparatively limited a service as that of recruit- 
ing entertainers for the Army. The response to the McLane- 
Ames appeals had ''swamped" all the channels for securing 
passports, for securing transportation, and for all govern- 
ment decisions. The theatrical world stood ready to go 
to France en masse and now. How could it be absorbed? 
What regulations would it be necessary to set up? What 
were to be the military restrictions? These are but a 
suggestion of the thousand and one points of detail to be 
carried through. 

Following the Palace Theatre meeting, there ensued an 
inevitable period of roughing out the great work ahead 
through committee meetings and through what army officers 
call the "exploitation of documents" for the purpose of 
meeting all the requirements of the Government. These 
documents were mainly the elaborate questionnaires sent 
to the volunteers, to be filled out with a complex and be- 
wildering variety of information. Each item of this in- 
formation was designed to settle some practical question 
of eligibility for overseas service. 

The number of counts on which the most ardent and 
apparently the most eligible entertainers could be dis- 
qualified was extensive and seemed to increase weekly. 
There was the question of the draft, which cut out all 
the young and able-bodied men entertainers at the start, 
and which always kept back a large number of men, on the 
borderland of physical fitness. Then there was the ques- 
tion of nationality, raised by our Allies, a ban which cropped 
out most unexpectedly. It was a prime deterrent, especially 
when a drastic interpretation was made excluding even 
American citizens, one of whose parents had been born 
in an enemy country. There was also the later ruling 
forbidding husbands and wives to go over and the ruling 



^2 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

holding up sisters who had brothers in the service, which 
was appUed with varying strictness. 

Above and beyond all, there was the condition which 
can be described only as the great drought in passports. 
It was the time when every ton of shipping was being 
concentrated not merely on the Army but on the arm of 
the service most crucially needed in France, the infantry, 
plus only the bare necessities of its equipment. While 
artillery, quartermaster supplies, and even engineering 
equipment were held up on the docks to make more room 
for fighting men, there was small opportunity of finding 
places for actors and entertainers, who had so far no status 
with the Army but their own noble and patriotic desire 
to serve. 

The Over There Theatre League thus opened its career 
in the face of an inexorable situation. The actor was 
willing and ready to sacrifice a season if a decision could 
be made to sail tomorrow, or even next week or next month, 
but could not face the uncertainty and delay of many 
weeks during which all arrangements for the coming season 
had to be postponed and all opportunities for the immediate 
future killed. Hence, with the best intentions in the world 
and after urgent appeals to be sent "over there, ^' many 
of the great of the American theatre had to forgo their 
hope to serve their country in France — only to turn more 
energetically to serving the soldiers in America. Thousands 
waited eagerly, as week after week passed by, for the favor- 
able decision from Washington which must sooner or later 
come and break the passport ban. The first volunteers 
among the "over there" entertainers waited weeks at their 
own expense, with spirits undismayed, already trained, 
contracted, equipped, inoculated, and ready for the great 
war circuit. 



Here enters another personality, one of the leaders of 



THE OVER THERE THEATRE LEAGUE iENTERS 83 

the American stage — James Forbes, dramatist. It was in 
May, 1918, that this inspiring leader took command of 
the Over There Theatre League. Mr. Forbes accepted 
the title of Chairman of the Program Committee of the 
Over There Theatre League, but his duties could better 
be described by some such title as Czar, Lord High Pro- 
tector, Man-of-All-Work, and Chief of Staff, with other 
innumerable duties thrown in. Mr. Forbes confessed that 
he preferred the simpler but much more expressive title 
of Chief Doormat. 

This is Mr. Forbes^s own outline of his induction into 
the service. Telephone conversation between Ames and 
Forbes, as reported from Forbes's end: 

''How are you?" said Ames. 

''Well," said I. 

"And strong?" said he. 

"Yes," said I. 

"That's good," said he. 

"And how is the League?" said I. 

"Fine. I've decided to tm-n it over to you," said he. 

And never a word said I. My motor wasn't transmitting. 

"I'm going to be its godfather," said he. 

"And what am I going to do?" said I. 

"The work," said he. 

Mr. Forbes is a man of vigorous ideas and action. He 
had already got into war work long before the Palace 
Theatre meeting, having volunteered for the War Camp 
Community Service, and with Mr. Marc Klaw and others, 
helped to put on its feet back in October, 1917, an organ- 
ization later perfected by the War Camp Community 
Service and the "Y" entertainment section, whereby the 
soldiers in home camps should organize amusement com- 
panies themselves. Mr. Forbes went down to Washington 
and volunteered his services to the Government. In the 
late fall he instituted at the War Department a card index 
system covering all the talent in the American Army — 
a stupendous undertaking in itself. General Kuhn, Com- 



84 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

manding General of Camp Meade, who later commanded 
the Seventy-Ninth Division in France, cordially sup- 
ported the Forbes plan, as it paralleled very closely the 
organization General Kuhn had himself witnessed on his 
recent visit to the British Army front in France. 

The first service of Mr. Forbes for the Over There Theatre 
League was to set up a practical plan for ascertaining the 
exact requirements of the Army. His plan was to give 
the volunteers an effective and realistic trial on this side 
before sending them abroad. The League found an ideal 
stage ready for this purpose in the big hall at Ellis Island, 
where thousands of sailors from destroyers, mine sweeping, 
and home fleets constituted a steady audience with just 
the kind of criticism that was needed for ''try-outs." Every 
Thursday night a new group of volunteers was tried on the 
ever-willing crowd of ''gobs" at Ellis Island and the results 
were almost always decisive. This was another instance 
where the Navy served the Army. Mr. Forbes soon dis- 
covered what he had long suspected — that the boys re- 
served their greatest welcome for the highest type of acts. 

Among the whistles, cheers, and yells with which this 
audience of more than two thousand fighting men greeted 
the opening of every performance, many professionals 
discovered that they were just beginning to learn what 
a stage reception could be. As the program progressed 
the jazz dances, monologuists, and comedy acts were re- 
ceived with discriminating good humor. The men joined 
in one of those great chorus songs of the War, which can 
be heard in all their beauty only as the great surge of 
men's voices swings up to the platform. This was usually 
the time to put on a "straight" singer. 

There were thrills in those early days, but life for most 
of the volunteers seemed to be just one delay after another. 
All the volunteering, all the training, all the sacrifices 
were dependent on one little piece of paper with a big 
seal in the comer. June passed and July, and still there 



THE OVER THERE THEATRE LEAGUE ENTERS 85 

were no passports. The German drive was at its zenith; 
the Marines were fighting their dogged way through Belleau 
Wood; the American Army was still in the transport 
crisis; and the actors, a modest, almost forgotten force, 
were still desperately holding a line along Broadway. There 
is a limit to the time that even an actor, famed as he is 
for happy improvidence, can live without working. And 
this limit approached, arrived, and passed for many of the 
first volunteers. ^'There were noble souls among them," 
says Mr. Forbes, in relating the experiences of those try- 
ing days. "No one will ever realize the great heart of our 
American stage folk. They were true patriots." 

Optimism impelled alike the successful actor and the 
still struggling one to give up all in the hope that the ever 
receding "next week" would see them sail. One man 
sold his home, his car, and most of his worldly goods, and 
took a small room in town, spending the weeks of scorch- 
ing July weather in waiting for the opportunity for which 
he had sacrificed everything. There is an end to New 
York engagements, even for the strongest headliner in 
vaudeville, and after playing the Palace Theatre and the 
"subway circuit" as much as they would stand, one actor 
after another found himself stranded in the metropolis 
in midsunmier, a very unenviable role to play among 
a city full of friends who would keep exclaiming: "Why, 
I thought you were going to France!" With fine spirit 
they pitched in and filled dates around the camps, but the 
"neither here nor there" sensation was a grievous tax on 
the temperament of the artist. 

An unexpected revelation of the questionnaires was the 
large number of vaudevillians and professional people 
who were of German, Austrian, or German-Jewish parent- 
age. The regulations in this case were very strict. They 
required that neither the actor nor his parents should be 
of alien citizenship. The first quartet to start for France 
was crippled by the elimination, right at the very pier, of 



86 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

the perfectly loyal American citizen of Austrian parentage, 
who was to act as their accompanist. This bore as hard 
on sons and daughters of German-Alsatians and German- 
Poles as on bona-fide Germans; it produced heartburning 
complications without number. 



All this time the volunteers who had passed muster 
were being inoculated and photographed and measured for 
their uniforms; equipment was bought and kits got to- 
gether and made ready; and the long list of entertainers 
was grouped and regrouped into the teams of little units 
which it was hoped would harmonize into complete pro- 
gram companies over there. The uniforms evoked a varied 
reaction. "Well, I should say/^ said one young lady, 
"the boys will certainly be heroes to face us now." The 
general remark was, "I am willing to do this for my coun- 
try, but for no one else." But the real feeling, as Mr. 
Forbes and many others can testify, was a new "pride in 
belonging," which a real uniform, a uniform that already 
has a tradition and history behind it, cultivates above all 
other agencies of comradeship and service. 

While the passport drought continued unabated, the 
"fathers'' at Washington provided one or two surprise 
rulings which were all in the day's work in running the 
War, but which nearly split the little army of actors, al- 
ready impatient to the point of exhaustion, from end to 
end. The most interesting of these bombshells was the 
celebrated "husband and wife" ruling, which descended 
in July, 1918, and forbade both members of that well- 
known partnership to go to France with the same army. 

"Vaudeville, as all those who know it understand," 
explains Mr. Forbes, "is a hopelessly domestic profession. 
The League's lists were at that time crowded with hus- 
bands and wives, many of whom had given up all their 
contracts and even sold or leased their goods, in the early 
expectation of going overseas. 



THE OVER THERE THEATRE LEAGUE ENTERS 87 

"The government ruling came on Saturday, and after 
the League office in the Little Theatre had descended to 
a state of complete consternation, it was decided to give 
these hopeful couples at least a peaceful Sunday before 
breaking the news to them. Even then they hung on, 
and divorces were really considered if that was the only 
way to get over." 

Eventually, after a frantic exchange of cables, Mr. Carter 
obtained rescindment of this order direct from General 
Pershing, and hope again came to the Little Theatre offices. 

These cold statements seem trivial now, but every prob- 
lem involved men and women — individuals used to quick 
decision and movement on a moment's notice. No one 
was used to war conditions or war regulations. The changes 
in rulings and consequent delays during that intolerably 
hot summer made it the most trying time in the lives of 
those connected with the entertainment work, but the 
entertainers met the trials bravely and well. 

The first volunteers under the Over There Theatre 
League sailed on July 31, 1918, the last on May 15, 1919. 
The League ceased its activities on July 15, 1919. 



CHAPTER XIII 

A BOMBARDMENT OF SONGS AND FUN 

*Wo pains, sir; I take pleasure in singing, sir.^^ 

Twelfth Night. 

The spirit of 1918 brought the severest test of the AlUed 
cause since the first great German host was beaten back 
at the Mame in 1914. In this crucial period, when America 
was bending every effort to send troops to France, and 
while every ship that went over had every available foot 
of space crammed with troops, leaving even essential 
equipment to be gathered on the other side, Mr. McLane 
continued to augment the ranks of his entertainers. It 
was General Pershing himself who had said to Mr. Carter: 
^'Morale is a state of mind upheld by entertainment." 

Between March and July, 1918, Mr. McLane responded 
to the emergency by sending over artists, independent of 
the Over There Theatre League, including Mr. and Mrs. 
Forrest Rutherford of Denver, among the most successful 
of the early vocalists; Myrtle Bloomquist, the musical 
comedy star of ''O Lady, Lady,'' fame, with her happily 
chosen "side partner" at the piano, Lillian Jackson; Neysa 
McMein, the painter and illustrator (who added actress 
and playwright to her roles in France) ; James Stanley, the 
New York concert basso, accompanied by his wife, a bril- 
liant pianist and a favorite overseas, and by Miss Geraldine 
Soares, reader and impersonator extraordinary; George 
Warwick, artist and chalkologist, who drew and chalked 
cheerful pictures on every front, and downed language 
bars by drawing whimsical Americanisms for half a score 
of the motley nationalities on the Allied battle line; the 
immortal Joe Lorraine, banjoist; the Hoyt sisters, "Smiling 
Sue and Silly Sally," who sang everything from Yvette 

88 



A BOMBARDMENT OF SONGS AND FUN 89 

Guilbert's chansons to "Kaiser Bill's a Bum"; little Mary 
Seller, the Irish harpist, and Grace Kerns, soloist at St. 
Bartholomew's, New York, the first American girls to 
stir the deathless echoes in the underground citadel at 
Verdun ; Walter Damrosch, greatest of American symphony 
conductors; the St. Louis Quartet, composed of Charles 
Flesh, Ernest Collins, Robert Stark, and Wallace C. Neid- 
ringhaus, all residents of the Mound City and far and away 
the most popular male quartet that ever came to France; 
Sarah M. Willmer, the plucky Chicago singer who subjected 
herself to every hardship an artist couM stand, including 
drenchings from the weather and gas from the Germans; 
Paula Lind Ayers, the girl who sang the shell-shock patients 
to health again ; Tsianina, daughter of a real Cherokee Indian 
chief, who danced and sang to the music of her forefathers; 
and finally, omitting many, many others, a splendid little 
army of unselfish and devoted troubadours. Miss Margaret 
Wilson herself, the President's daughter, who went over 
with her singing teacher, Mr. Ross David. 

These are some of the actors in the drama. When the 
"Big Push" began in earnest with the great German drive 
on March 21, 1918, and the whole American military 
policy was accelerated to the utmost limit to stop what 
looked like a very imminent disaster- to the Allied cause, 
whatever regularity there had been in the lives of the 
entertainers disappeared. In the swift movements of 
troops from training areas to trenches and from one section 
of France to another, the entertainment policy was adapted 
"to play anywhere and everywhere" the men might be, 
whether this happened to be on the road the night before 
they went into action, or the morning after they came 
out. The S. O. S. still remained a stable area, though new 
camps and veritable cities, like the great 60,000 population 
camp around Gievres, were gi-owing up weekly along the 
American lines of communication. Before this enormous 
multiplication of arriving troops and of new camps and 



90 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

troop centers, the number of entertainers seemed micro- 
scopic in the face of the huge forces which had suddenly 
set themselves in motion. The organization adapted itself 
to conditions as best it could, especially in administering 
specified areas by the regional system instead of trying to 
follow specific units of rapidly moving troops, and it fell 
to the lot of every entertainer who was in France during 
this ominous period to play as he could under any and 
all circumstances that developed. 



The experiences of Mr. and Mrs. Forrest Rutherford, 
who went over in the middle of March, illustrate splendidly 
what two good-humored, thoroughly human entertainers 
could do for the American Army at this stage of the War. 
Mr. Rutherford was a business man, to whom singing 
was a delightful and constantly practiced avocation. He 
had had many years^ experience in concert singing in the 
West, particularly in and around Denver, his home town. 
His wife had been an accompanist and a very competent 
musician before her marriage. Mr. Rutherford had a 
repertoire of droll readings and impersonations which he 
sandwiched in liberally throughout the program. The 
Rutherfords usually ' ended with an uproarious concert in 
which the audience was the dominant factor, and the test 
of a big evening — "Did you boys have a good time?'^ — was 
answered in a thunderous affirmative through song after song 
under Mr. Rutherford's energetic and contagious leadership. 

The Rutherfords early in April went straight up to the 
Toul sector. Throughout all that long spring, when the 
veteran divisions were battling in the practice sectors 
north and northwest of that great fortress town, they 
wove a network of shows and traced out a tireless itinerary 
of cheer which kept pace, as much as one entertainment 
party could do it, with the rapidly shifting troop move- 
ments of the time. 



A BOMBARDMENT OF SONGS AND FUN 91 

They gave their show ''anywhere" — sometimes in real 
huts and real halls. Usually when they drove into a town 
in their three-ton truck, it was simply a case of stopping 
in the largest open space and telUng the boys, subject to 
censorship by the officers, that there was going to be a 
show in an hour. They then went to the nearest hut, 
if there was one, or to any house in sight with a roof on, 
prinked up a bit, foraged for a meal, and came back to that 
particular puddle in the sea of mud where they had left 
the truck. Here already a crowd of doughboys would have 
gathered with some live spirit beating out ragtime on the piano 
— it seemed a shame to disturb them by an entertainment. 

Mrs. Rutherford struck the first notes of "On the Road 
to Mandalay" — and the boys were convinced that a real 
show was on. Soon the whole town, French soldiers, civil- 
ians, and the usual troop of black-eyed youngsters, reen- 
forced the silent ranks of appreciative Americans clustered 
around the truck. Then Mr. Rutherford would lean over 
the side of the truck and tell some real American stories. 
During the handshaking farewells which followed, some 
honest-to-goodness doughboy would exclaim fervently: 
"Gee, I'd rather hear the old stories well told than all the 
new ones in the world!" 

The chauffeur cranked up the truck and they slowly 
oozed through the mud and lurched around the corner 
toward the next town, with the strains of "Glory, Glory, 
Hallelujah," or some other splendid refrain, ringing in 
their ears from hundreds of manly throats. The Ruther- 
fords, clinging to each other and to the jolting piano, wiped 
the tears from their eyes and declared: "This is the great- 
est life in the world!" 



What experience could be more romantic than that of 
Joe Lorraine and his bull-necked banjo? "SmiUng Joe" 
came over in April, 1918, with a party of secretaries on the 



92 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

S. S. Victoria. Being a "one-man show," he simply slung 
his banjo over his shoulder on arriving in Paris and hmped 
siway. He stayed in France five months and gave over 
six hundred performances, not coimting the times when 
he gave a show "every time a boy who saw the banjo over 
his back asked him if he could play." Joe^s method was to 
go up with the troops wherever they went, eating and sleep- 
ing where he could, and playing and singing almost literally 
all the time. Imagine him sitting on a fallen tree trunk 
in the Argonne, for instance, while an artillery unit under 
camouflage lay in a circle all around him and joined in 
the choruses of the Southern lullabies and the old-fashioned 
coon songs, which never sound quite so beautiful as when 
they are twanged on a real old banjo. 

The best proof of Joe's travels was this banjo. All over 
it on every inch of space there were scrawled and scribbled 
and printed the names of his auditors. He had over 700 
names on the banjo, almost all of them fighting men from 
the front line. There is the name of the young American 
captain, for instance, who fired the first shot from an 
American gim on captured German soil ; there is a Senegalese; 
there is the Marchioness of Marshfield, said to be the rich- 
est woman in France; there are privates from Dallas, 
Texas, and Cohoes, New York, and Walla Walla, Washing- 
ton; and in the midst of a little white circle there is the 
name of Sergeant Charles Cunningham. 

You may not know the story of Sergeant Cunningham 
— it is one of the prize stories of his division, but the re- 
porters did not get hold of it. While out with a raiding 
party in No Man's Land he came upon eight Germans. 
He shot four of them and wounded three others before a 
hand grenade laid him low; and then he crawled back. 
Joe Lorraine met him in a hospital and was told by the 
doctor that his wounds were fatal. Cunningham, smiling, 
stretched out his hand to grasp Lorraine's and said: "String 
up the old banjo and let us have a tune, Buddy." 





Thomas S. McLane 



WiNTHROP Ames 





James Forbes 



Johnson Briscoe 



'M '■^'" 






>:t f** 



A BOMBARDMENT OF SONGS AND PUN 93 

Joe sung a little Negro lullaby. Then Cunningham asked 
for another, and Joe played it. The nurse held the boy 
up, and, the doctor helping him to guide the pen, Cunning- 
ham wrote his signature falteringly in a little unoccupied 
space at the head of the banjo. There was a smile on the 
boy^s face as he was laid back on his cot, but there were 
tears in the eyes of the nurses. And the smile was still 
on Cunningham's face as he died. 

There is a little white space still left about Cunning- 
ham's name, the only vacant space left now on either side 
of the head of Lorraine's war banjo. "I never again played 
the tune Cunningham asked for," said Lorraine, "without 
looking at that little space and thinking of the smiling 
hero who 'went west' with the echo of the music still in 
his ears." 

Lorraine washed dishes for canteeners, helped find beds 
for doughboys in Paris, and in various other ways inter- 
preted the word "entertainment" with generous liberality. 
Although he was lame, and by no means husky in physique, 
he kept up with the infantry during the Argonne, riding 
on the ammunition wagons and in the big trucks. Many 
a terrific jam around a shelled crossroads corner heard the 
familiar twang of the bull-necked banjo, and as the drivers 
listened with a weather ear for the well-known whistle of 
the next German shell they said to one another: "There's 
that little 'Y' duck with the banjo back there somewhere." 

Joe Lorraine was there once too often. One day in the 
folds and hollows of the captured land there lurked a little 
too much mustard gas. He didn't know he was gassed, 
however, until he tried to whistle and found his Ups would 
not pucker, but he could sing and play, and so he went on 
giving shows. But his face gradually became paralyzed 
on one side. Then he had to give it up and go back to 
the hospital. At the hospital they told him he had "a 
narrow squeak," and ordered him to go home as quick as 
he could get there. 



94 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

So he came back to America, but he could not remain. 
In April, 1919, he sailed for France again, and spent three 
months in the great demobilization centers, returning in 
July. The next heard of Joe Lorraine was that, not satis- 
fied with being a troubadour in France, he must try Russia 
also! With one of the early groups of ''Y" folk, who went 
to Archangel to help cheer the lot of the little American 
force existing there in the dark during the winter of 1918-19, 
was recorded the name of Joe Lorraine, banjoist and 
entertainer. 



Among those who met and loved Joe Lorraine in France 
on his wayward journeyings is George Warwick, cartoonist 
and chalkologist. The two traveled together for a number 
of weeks. Warwick, like Lorraine, was a whole show in 
himself. He also came over early in June, 1918, and wan- 
dered around through the Army like a jongleur of old 
France, except that he made pictures instead of songs. 
Warwick broke down language barriers that singers could 
not overcome, for everybody understands a picture. He 
stayed overseas for a year; he drew for the Twenty-Seventh 
Division at Kemmel Hill and for the Seventy-Seventh 
Division in the Argonne. He was at St. Mihiel and on the 
Marne; he worked along the Picardy coast among the 
naval aviators and the naval base camps, and he was one 
of the headliners of the '^after the war circuit" in Germany. 
Near Verdun, he entertained 500 men of the Twenty- 
Sixth Division just before they went into a drive in which 
only sixty of them came out unwounded. 

Warwick gave shows outdoors and in dugouts. He 
drew the Kaiser's picture in every conceivable place where 
his audience could throw things at it. Meals were irregular 
and sleep was a luxury. Like many Montmartre artists 
in Paris, who draw their pictures on the walls of the Chat 
Noir and many another restaurant for a free meal, Warwick 



A BOMBARDMENT OP SONGS AND FUN 95 

encountered rolling kitchens on the front where the cook 
demanded examples of his art for a hand-out of army 
beans. ''I gave them all the pictures they wanted," said 
Warwick in telling of it afterwards, ''even if the cook was 
a horseshoer by trade." 

Warwick's performance generally began with pictures of 
the Kaiser in comic relief, with his numerous progeny; 
then, in a more serious vein, he drew striking sketches of 
President Wilson, General Foch, the inimitable Teddy, 
always a favorite with the soldiers, and other war-time 
figures. Then he came to even more important subjects 
— he could probably draw food better than any living 
artist. 

"Now let's have a banquet," he would say. "What will 
you have, boys?" 

"Draw a plate of hot biscuit," shouted a boy from 
Alabama, and, presto! there they were. Then George 
would draw roast chicken, waffles, salad, and strawberry 
shortcake with whipped cream and great big red straw- 
berries. The boys would yell at every stroke of the chalk, 
for these were the days when army stew, slum, corn willy, 
and other famous jokes of 1920 and after were not jokes at 
all, but day-by-day realities with nothing else in sight. 
After Warwick had finished up with ice cream and a cup 
of real American coffee, somebody would shout from the 
audience: "Say, there's one thing you have forgotten. 
You ought to have a sign over that banquet, 'For officers 
only!' " 

Then as a grand climax — and this was a special hit in 
Germany — Warwick would draw a transport fljdng the 
Stars and Stripes with the Statue of Liberty looming out 
of the west. Did you ever hear real applause — terrific 
applause? You never did unless you heard the dough- 
boys at this moment. In the midst of this tumult he would 
draw the "little gray home in the west," or that little house 
in Dixie, or Indiana, or Cape Cod, or wherever the majority 



96 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

of longings among the audience were being directed in 
those long, lonesome days. There was a moment of tense 
silence — then deep gulps and an outburst of thousands 
of voices in song and cheers swept over the crowd. 



Neysa McMein was an artist, too. She was another 
early June product who played with special diligence and 
success along the hospital circuit through the summer of 
1918. Miss McMein was a real artist — not only with her 
crayon and brush, but as an impressario, actress, play- 
wright, and scenario writer, all of which vocations she 
employed to delight the doughboys. Her principal side 
partners during the summer were Anita Parkhurst Wilcox 
and Jane Bulley. These clever women put on one of the 
most original shows the boys had the good luck to see. 

And this is how they did it: They arrive in a village, 
let us say, just as the band is concluding 'The Star-Spangled 
Banner'^ at evening retreat. Miss McMein jumps out 
of the little car, as the groups are just unstiffening from 
^'Attention.'' 

"Boys, do you want a show tonight?'' 

Nobody had expected them. But the doughboys are 
quick on a trigger. "We sure do!" comes back the response 
from the surprised camp. 

A show on the spot results. It is first necessary to find 
a place to give it. Somebody calls, "Fall in!" About 
500 men follow along through the winding streets to an 
old barracks suggested as a good "theatre." By the time 
the crowd reaches the theatre it is about three times too 
large. So Miss McMein orders: "About face!" and leads 
the way to the village square. The mob heaves an old 
manure wagon up in front of a big bam door. The artists 
nail their sketching papers and movie curtain to the barn 
door, put two boxes on the wagon for table and chairs — 
and all is set for the show. 



A BOMBARDMENT OF SONGS AND PUN 97 

Like the offerings of Homer for the Greek villagers in 
ancient times, the show added a little at every performance. 
Its usual title was ''Orlando Slum, a Man of Mystery/^ 
It was an amateur play cast in a movie scenario art form. 
Mrs. Wilcox was the heroine, Susie Coughdrop of Bird 
Center, Iowa, U. S. A., a lady of large eyes and many 
adventures. Miss McMein was the villainous vamp and 
the rest of the cast was selected from the audience. Miss 
McMein, cruising around among the audience, suddenly 
pounces on a blushing victim and calls loudly: 

"Jane, can we have a villain with blue eyes?" 

"Stand him up so I can look him over," replies Jane. 

Needless to state, 500 brother soldiers are perfectly ready 
to "stand him up." Thus Orlando, the Man of Mystery, 
is found and cast in his part. On the other side of the 
field Susie Coughdrop calls : 

"O, Jane, this one has a lovely profile for a hero — just 
look." 

Mid another uproar, Harold, the Hero, is chosen with 
loud acclaim. A beard, some make-up, a row of medals, 
a pair of bone spectacles for the villain, and a red sash 
for the vamp, and the stupendous plot is ready to unroll. 
One by one the thrills are reeled off, until at last the vamp- 
ing villainous lady spy eats corn willy and dies. 

One can imagine the way anywhere from 300 to 1,500 
men just out of the trenches howled at a performance like 
this. When Neysa and her troupe gave it for the marines 
— which they did for a month devoted to cornering through 
the Marne sector — one company of marines followed them 
for four or five shows in near-by towns and "laughed their 
heads off" at the last performance as unrestrainedly as 
at the first. The marines' famous battle hymn, "The 
Halls of Montezuma," is the greatest tribute the marines 
can pay to any visiting pal, and it rang out scores of times 
on the tours of Neysa McMein. 

Neysa's principal performance was, of course, her own 



98 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

sketches and impromptu drawings of all sorts of things 
which ^^came into her head" at the front. She sketched 
on blank walls and tents; she worked with her chalk by 
flashhght, candle light, and searchlight, as well as by 
intermittent daylight. Also she put on one of the most 
whimsical and farcical movie productions ever seen on any 
screen. Windsor McKay drew it. The heroine was ''Gertie, 
the Dinosaur.'' Gertie had many adventures with the 
Germans in the War, and her prehistoric temperament 
unfolded its gargantuan humor through a thrilling series 
of episodes before the Flood, at the end of which Gertie 
completely "strafed" the Hun and returned to her dino- 
sauric nest chortling in Jabberwockian glee. 

Jane Bulley, who accompanied Neysa on some of her 
tours, tells of a characteristic McMein performance during 
the hectic midsummer on the Marne: 

"The night we played for our pet battery," she says, 
"things were expected to happen at any minute, and the 
major issued us gas masks directly we arrived. How- 
ever, it isn't the thing to start anything before dark over 
there. They decided that if we had our show directly after 
dinner, even if the Hun meant to get busy that night, 
we could all be finished before he began. 

"They let the men congregate in an old barn and they 
surely were a beguiling crowd of generous enthusiasts. 
They seemed to be leaking into the building from all di- 
rections. As we became accustomed to the dim light, 
we picked out bunches of them on rafters, heads and shoul- 
ders coming through old windows in the back wall, and 
through cracks high and low on the sides. 

"What daylight squeezed in round the edges of the men 
dwindled away before Miss McMein had finished her third 
sketch. When she came to tackling the handsome young 
French lieutenant, acclaimed for sacrifice by overwhelming 
popular opinion, we had to pick out his features with 
little pocket flashhghts. We'll have to 'hand it' to the 
McMein — all things considered, the resulting 'portrait' 
wasn't half bad. 

"After that Gertie pranced on to the scene. Windsor 



A BOMBARDMENT OP SONGS AND PUN 99 

McKay probably didn't have the European front in his 
mind when he drew the 12,000 pictures that constitute 
the movie film of ^Gertie the Dinosaur,' a great prehistoric 
monster who cavorted over the landscape trying to behave 
like a little trained beasty. But 'Gertie' has done her bit 
in twenty camps already, and is still going strong. 

''Our pet battery took Gertie straight to their hearts 
— so warmly indeed, that we had to make a desperate 
dash back to that camp next day in a Ford that had rheu- 
matic springs and no brakes at all. For it was decreed 
that Gertie should serve the battery as a mascot. So 
next morning they took Miss McMein out to the guns 
with three cans of paint and some brushes that you'd like 
to have seen anyone offer her back in the States. With 
the entire battery lined up on the sidelines, she painted 
violent orange, blue, and green Gerties on six fine big guns. 

"Some of us watched her operations through a long 
range glass up in an observation post. By and by we 
swung the glass over to a point about five miles away 
where we could see German shells exploding in a little 
French town that they were tearing to bits. There seemed 
to be a strange mixture of good nature and nastiness abroad 
that morning. '^ 

Miss McMein's own account of her work is becomingly 
modest, but an artist certainly deserves success who writes, 
as she wrote to Mr. McLane in July: 

"In my whole life I have never worked so hard nor | 
been so happy. I had no idea of the importance of this i 
job nor of the size of our 'Y' organization when I came \ 
over here. As I told you before I left, my whole idea was j 
service. My plan was to join Margaret Mayo, as she | 
had asked me to do, but when I got here the Paris office i 
had other plans, so with Jane BuUey and another New 
York artist we've evolved a 'show' of our own, in which 
we make pictures, dance, sing, show 'Gertie, the Dinosaur/ i 
and put on a melodrama — needless to say we have a per- 
fectly magnificent time. 

"Incidentally, I used to be rather fussy about my work, 
but here I've made pictures in cow-pastures, on manure 



100 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

wagons, on the walls of hospitals, on operating tables — 
and usually a barn door or a canteen table — and while this 
war may have put the jinx on my career as an artist, it has 
made me a first-class roustabout. I can build an easel 
or push a piano aroimd with equal ease." 



CHAPTER XIV 

STRENUOUS DAYS FOR THE TROUPERS 

^'Hang out our banners on the outward walls; 
The cry is still, 'They come.' " 

Macbeth. 

We have seen the Liberty Quartet, the first entertain- 
ment unit to he sent over by Mr. McLane's office, spUt 
up in the early spring so that the soldiers might make the 
most of their services. We followed, .;t}';ie , £i,dv^t^4res : of 
Miss Beulah Dodge, who kept on singing long after her 
voice had succumbed to the climate and who did such 
splendid work at Aix as canteen worker while she was 
recovering. We have also seen how Albert Wiederhold 
went on tour through the First Division with Mary Roches- 
ter during the spring and summer. We now find them all 
through the summer right up with the guns at the front. 
The third member of the quartet, John Steel, the tenor, 
is continuing his service by joining forces with two very 
able musicians, Miss Myrtle Bloomquist, contralto, and 
Miss Lillian Jackson, pianist, forming an ideal little con- 
cert troupe called 'Three of a Kind.'' They are playing 
the front line divisions, specializing on the lines of com- 
munication among the railway troops. We see them sing- 
ing for a heavy artillery regiment in the Verdun sector, 
in which their concert is given from the flat car on which 
the big Yankee naval gun is furnishing a magnificent 
background, while the audience is lined up along the tracks. 

Mr. Steel figured with pardonable pride that at least 
600,000 soldiers had come within the sound of his voice 
during the six months he spent abroad. Most of the sum- 
mer tour of the "Three of a Kind" troupe was spent within 
fifteen miles of the front line. Over and over again they 

101 



102 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

sang in camouflaged huts two miles or less from the German 
trenches. On one occasion they used a piano that had 
been hit only a few days before by a German shell — not 
to speak of the many pianos which, Miss Jackson said, 
should have perished in this way. 

Mr. Steel went home in the late fall. Miss Bloomquist 
and Miss Jackson after the Armistice admitted Miss Elsie 
Stevenson, a very capable violinist, to their little family, 
and rechristened the party the ''Amex Trio." These three 
girls then entered into another, if less spectacular, chapter 
of adventures. They were assigned to the Aix-les-Bains 
Leave Area, where they cheerfully filled in as canteen 
girls on a "uothing to do until tomorrow" schedule — that 
is, they went on at eight o'clock in the morning and went off 
sometime near midnight. In the meantime they made 
all their own evening gowns and kept up their entertain- 
ment schedule. At their last performance in Paris in June, 
1919, Miss Bloomquist and Miss Jackson were able to 
claim the record of serving fourteen months as enter- 
tainers in France without canceling a single engagement. 



The achievements of the women equaled those of the 
ancient Spartans. There was the tour of Miss Mary Seller, 
the well-known Irish harpist, and Miss Grace Kerns, the 
petite soprano soloist of St. Bartholomew's Church in New 
York. These two early robins went over in May. Miss 
Seller soon became known far and wide on the lines as 
"The Little Minstrel of the Trenches." Miss Kerns, who 
stands on a stool when she sings in church and who at 
home contested with Emma Trentini the title of being the 
smallest soprano in America, sang her way into the dough- 
boys' hearts with her wonderful repertoire of favorites, 
ranging from '^O, Laddie, My Laddie" and the magnificent 
aria from the second act of "Louise," to "Dear Old Pal 
of Mine" and "The Rose of No Man's Land." 



STRENUOUS DAYS FOR THE TROUPERS 103 

We find these two wandering minstrels singing their 
"ballads, songs, and snatches" up as near the front as 
women were allowed to go. At one performance an air 
raid brought the usual precaution of dousing the lights; 
after the German Tauhes had passed over, leaving half 
a dozen explosive souvenirs in close proximity to the bar- 
racks, Miss Seiler found that one string of her precious 
harp had been neatly snipped by a flying fragment. It 
takes more than German shrapnel to put an Irish harp 
out of business, however, and Miss Seiler continued her 
performance on the remaining strings. 

Miss Kerns and Miss Seiler were probably the first 
American girls to give a recital in the immortal citadel 
at Verdun. The American divisions which passed through 
Verdun in September, 1918, when it was used as one of 
the jumping-off places in the Argonne Drive, never forgot 
these two plucky little troubadours, and went into battle 
with fragrant memories of the two self-reliant little musi- 
cians giving the best of the beauty that was in them on 
this exposed and ruined front. Miss Kerns came back 
in the late fall to resume her engagements in New York, 
but Miss Seiler stayed through until June, 1919, and car- 
ried the lilt of her harp from Aix-les-Bains and Nice up 
through the lonelier sectors of the Coblenz front before 
she finally '^called it a war" and came home. 



The Hoyt sisters, Grace and Frances, were two American 
girls, properly and conventionally billed as singers and 
elocutionists, who went over in July, 1918, but before they 
had been in France many weeks, became known wherever 
they went as "Smihng Sue" and ''Silly Sally." These 
sisters had a cosmopolitan quality, coupled with an un- 
usual amount of charm and American ''pep," which in- 
sured them a tumultuous welcome. 

On the steamer the Hoyt sisters sang at the churcn 



104 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

service; they sang for seasick passengers; they taught 
some Polish soldiers in the steerage ^'The Star-Spangled 
Banner'^; they led fifty Bohemian soldiers in the chorus 
of "Over There"; and when they left the boat, in their 
most exquisite manner they sang, "Fare Thee Well and if 
Forever'^ to the sailors who had steered them safely to 
French soil. You simply couldn't keep those girls from 
singing. 

The sisters' own accounts of their performances are full 
of humor and appreciation. This is one of Grace's stories: 

"Last week we gave a performance for about 2,000 men 
who had been in the trenches since February. Our stage 
was a boxing platform in a beautiful grove. The piano 
was two tones below pitch. My sister sat on a soap box 
to play and the army mules broke loose during one of our 
songs. The men sat and stood in mud at least three inches 
deep — all who were not festooned in the trees over our 
heads — but we were all happy. The nights in this part of 
France are very cool, but we wear our flufiiest white gowns 
when we sing, for the boys say it's a relief from seeing 
uniforms. They keep us so busy that we don't have time 
to feel cold. The old peasants and children — there are of 
course no young men — come to the outdoor performances 
and we always do some of their folk songs, so that they 
can sing the choruses with us." 

Another note from one of Grace Hoyt's letters illus- 
trates their wholesome and characteristically American 
approach to the Army: "They (the soldiers) take a great 
amount of interest in our gowns. Instead of wearing tight 
and very short skirts as the French girls do, ours are quite 
full and fluffy, and the boys tell us frankly they are glad 
to see some good-looking slippers again." 

During this same memorable summer an event occurred 
which made musical mihtary history. It was the arrival 
in France of one of America's greatest musicians. Dr. 
Walter Damrosch, the distinguished leader of the New 



STRENUOUS DAYS FOR THE TROUPERS 105 

York Symphony Orchestra, who sailed on June 15th. 
Dr. Damrosch was imbued with an intense ardor to serve 
America. His desire was to head a company of musicians, 
largely recruited in France, who would give a series of 
orchestral concerts in the large centers along the Amer- 
ican line of transportation. This generous plan was made 
possible by the joint initiative of the Y M C A and a special 
fund given by Mr. Harry Harkness Flagler, president of 
the Symphony Society of New York. 

Military exigencies required some readjustment of plans, 
which finally resulted in enlarging the important service 
rendered by this international artist. Dr. Damrosch was 
so honored by the French that he became the first non- 
French orchestra conductor to be invited by the French 
Government to play at the historic Salle de TAncien Con- 
servatoire. His concert at this famous hall was part of 
the festivities on Bastille Day, July 14, 1918. Among the 
audience were M. Pichon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. 
Alfred Cortot, Acting Minister of Fine Arts, and many 
other distinguished French and American guests. 

An inspiring feature of Dr. Damrosch 's concerts in France 
was the rendition of ^'The Star-Spangled Banner," as 
arranged by a committee of American composers headed 
by Dr. Damrosch and John Philip Sousa. This martial 
arrangement set the blood of every true American tingling 
and the heart beating, while the feet kept time. Its thrill 
swept through the Army, it was adopted by the American 
Navy, and has steadily gained headway among military 
bands and orchestras throughout the country as the most 
dignified and artistic rendering of America's great anthem. 

Dr. Damrosch was an indefatigable worker. While in 
France, in addition to his musical services, he continued 
his generous activity as president of the Society of Amer- 
ican Friends of Musicians in France, an organization formed 
for the purpose of obtaining funds to aid French musicians 
and many foreigners who were studying music in France, 



106 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

and who had suffered on account of the War. Several 
months after his election as president more than 65,000 
francs were sent to the various societies to be distributed 
among artists in straitened circumstances. Dr. Damrosch 
thus combined his mission of music to the soldiers with 
substantial aid to his fellow-musicians in France. Be- 
sides his work in France, he gave many concerts in home 
camps and cantonments in America. 



The American Army also had the historically suggestive 
experience of being entertained by a native American 
Indian singer, a Cherokee girl, daughter of a former chief 
of that tribe. Her name was Tsianina. She had been 
educated at Eufaula Indian School and at Wolf Hall in 
Denver. Tsianina, or, as the boys delighted to call her 
because of her proud and erect posture, Princess Tsianina, 
sang and crooned the old Indian lullabies of her forefathers 
and did many of the stately Indian dances. There were 
15,000 Indians in the American Army, and Tsianina, both 
in America and overseas, did her best to bring to each and 
every one of them the message of aboriginal music and 
culture, to the study and expression of which she has de- 
voted her life. 

Tsianina had two brothers fighting in France. Con- 
sequently, she could not go over until the rule was abrogated 
which refused to allow women entertainers in America to 
go to France if any member of their immediate family 
was fighting abroad. One of her brothers was killed, and 
the other, a member of the signal corps, saw action through- 
out all the major battles. 

Another Cherokee girl played Pocahontas to the American 
Army. This was an Oklahoma girl, Galilohi, whose Amer- 
ican name was Anne Ross. It was Galilohi who was chosen 
to pose for the Zolnay statue of Sequoya, one of her Indian 
ancestors, who was the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet 



STRENUOUS DAYS FOR THE TROUPERS 107 

and one of the great leaders of American Indian culture. 
Sequoya's statue now stands in the Hall of Fame at Wash- 
ington, and Galilohi was fittingly chosen to unveil it when 
it was presented to the pubUc in 1918. The Indian name ^ 
Galilohi means ''one who does things well," and this Indian 
princess lived up to her ancestral name by singing and 
dancing for the soldiers of the Ninetieth Division, which 
contained hundreds of Indian soldiers. She also, as plain 
Miss Anne Ross, filled in her time as a tireless and diligent 
canteen worker and a girl of all work. I 



A distinguished personality of these strenuous days was 
the eldest daughter of the President. Margaret Wilson 
went to France on October 23, 1918, after spending the 
spring and summer touring throughout camps and army 
centers at home, singing to more soldiers than have been 
reached, probably, by any other single entertainer. Her 
splendid energy and enthusiastic devotion carried her 
through a similar trip which covered, during the seven 
months she spent abroad, practically every center that 
the American Army was then occupying. It was a re- 
markable effort by a woman who knew how far the magic 
of her name and the semi-official character of her mission 
carried a real message from the American people to the 
men in France. 

Miss Wilson was accompanied by Mr. Ross David, her 
singing instructor, who had traveled with her on most 
of her tours throughout America and who was himself 
an accomplished baritone and genial platform singer. 
Mrs. David was the accompanist, and this remarkable 
woman, herself a composer and a poet, raised the task of 
accompanying Miss Wilson's songs to a very fine art indeed. 



Throughout this whole period leading up to the victory 



108 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

(Armistice Day), and on till the last American soldiers 
left France to return to their homeland, the troupers 
were in constant action. Through the hospitals and con- 
valescent camps their songs and laughter were ringing. 
The entertainment forces, now hundreds strong, threw out 
their barrage of good nature along the lines. What magnifi- 
cent tales of adventure could be told of this whole loyal 
I army of entertainers if the limitations of space would only 
\ allow! Tales of self-sacrifice, fortitude, courage, patience, 
\ and all the noblest qualities of manhood and womanhood, 
but we must now turn to the oncoming invaders under 
the indomitable James Forbes — the Troupers from the 
Over There Theatre League. 




o 



CHAPTER XV 

KEEPING STEP WITH THE DOUGHBOYS 

"0, wfiat men dare do! What men may do! 
What men daily do, not knowing what they do!'^ 
Much Ado about Nothing. 

It was in the late summer of 1918 that the American 
Army began to upset the idea that this war could be fought 
X)nly in the trenches. Wherever the American Army went, 
open fighting took place — open fighting in which for the 
first time in the whole War the tide of victory began to 
set steadily and surely against the enemy. In similar 
fashion Mr. Forbes and his much-tried volunteers had 
been forced to ^^break through" the obstructions back 
home in America before they could begin their first drive 
in France. July dragged on; and at length Mr. Forbes, 
figuratively speaking, addressed his fellow-volunteers in 
this wise: ^'I have told you, you were going to France to 
act for the soldiers; and yet after thirteen weeks you are 
still waiting — and still here. This is magnificent, but if 
it is war, then Sherman was right. And so I am going 
down to Washington to fight it out on these lines (apol- 
ogies to General Grant) 4f it takes all summer.' " Thus 
began the siege of Washington. 

The General Staff was organizing the first strokes of 
the counter-offensive that stopped the last German drive 
in the middle of July. But General March found time 
enough to be interviewed and finally surrender — to Mr. 
Forbes. General Churchill, then Lieutenant-Colonel 
Churchill, head of the Military Intelligence Division, 
signed, sealed, and delivered forty-four actual, authentic, 
and long awaited passports. 

109 



110 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

The fact that there were no steamship reservations 
available was a small obstacle before the accumulated 
momentum of three months' impatience. To save Mr. 
Forbes from the imminent danger of being stampeded by 
his own troupers, the Women's Department of the ''Y" 
postponed enough canteeners, and the Men's Department 
vacated the places of sufficient secretaries to make a little 
gap in the passage lists on various ships just large enough 
for the first of the Leaguers to creep in. Thus it was that 
on July 31, 1918, the first contingent of American players, 
five in number, to be sent abroad by the Over There Theatre 
League, set sail, closely followed by twenty-three others. 
The departure of the first unit was an event — and from 
then on the invasion of France by the professionals was 
a constant, forward movement. 

''No one will forget the unique experiences of the early 
period," says Mr. Forbes. "One young lady of the first 
contingent, who shall be nameless, burst into the office 
of the League at eleven o'clock, three hours before she was 
to sail. She protested in tears and complete despair that 
she could not go after all. The office by this time was 
beyond any reasonable accountability for its actions; so 
it simply waited dumbly for her to state the trouble. 

" 'Haven't you been telling me all along,' she said, 'you 
must have ten things to go to France? Well, I have only 
nine. Look for yourself,' and she dumped the contents 
of her handbag on the desk; while she related how she had 
unpacked her trunk and hand luggage twice and had 
worried all through a sleepless night, she checked off the 
following list: 

Passports with French and British vises, 

War zone pass, 

Y M C A certificate of identification, 

Certificates of inoculation and vaccination, 

Orders for steamship tickets, 

Twelve extra passport photographs, 



KEEPING STEP WITH THE DOUGHBOYS 111 

French and English money, 

Baggage labels, 

Contract with the League and with the Y M C A, 

League salary card. 

'The missing item was No. 8, baggage labels, and they 
were on the excited young lady's trunk!" 



Fortune, that most fickle and exasperating of stage 
managers, had piled one anticlimax on another until she 
bade fair to make the contribution of the American actors' 
great drama in France one long, heartbreaking rehearsal 
in America. It must be admitted, however, that when 
she finally got them cast and on the way to the scene of 
action, she then proceeded to evolve a series of situations 
that satisfied the most exacting temperaments among 
the actors and their soldier audiences. Picture, for instance, 
the soldiers who were waiting for "real home stuff" greet- 
ing the first company that arrived under the banner of the 
Over There Theatre League. Will M. Cressy and Blanche 
Dayne were the leaders of this company. 

There are very few Americans who have not seen or 
heard of that most familiar of all American stage classics, 
"The Old Homestead." Who does not remember the 
corn huskings and spelling bees and countrified sagacity 
of that rock-ribbed old American drama? Who, especially, 
could forget Cy Prime, the greatest of all story tellers of 
the cracker barrel brigade, every one of whose stories could 
be proved "if only Bill Jones were alive!" 

Well, Cy Prime was Will M. Cressy, and Will M. Cressy 
was Cy Prime, and so much has Mr. Cressy mingled him- 
self with his first and greatest characterization that he 
still lives on a little New Hampshire farm. He has lived 
on the same farm, in the same town, with the same wife, 
for thirty years. He met Blanche Dayne in "The Old 
Homestead" and they have lived in it ever since. Mrs. 



112 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Cressy is also the heir of another great American stage 
tradition. She was — yes, you have guessed it — little Eva 
in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and for six years played the 
unforgettable part of Rickety Ann in 'The Old Home- 
stead." For twenty years they have played in vaudeville 
and have carried their country types, bom out of their 
own shrewd observation and their own native hills, to 
every city in America. 

Certainly, then, it was a generous fate which cast these 
two genuine Americans for the Over There Theatre League's 
pioneer party, which sailed for France on the S. S. Megantic 
on July 31st. The supporting cast of that little company 
included three exceptionally able theatrical folks: George 
Austin Moore, a vaudevillian and Winter Garden star, 
who had traveled throughout the Orient with Donald 
Frawley's famous "China Coast Players"; Howard T. 
Collins, musical director in Victor Herbert's, "The Only 
Girl," "Nobody Home," "Very Good Eddie," and other 
successes; and last but not least, Helene Davis, a little 
vaudeville singer who was another of the bright stars to 
graduate from the first production of "Everywoman." 
Later the party received a breezy reenforcement in the 
person of Stella Hoban, who had sung her way to success 
on Broadway in the "Oh Boy" and "Love o' Mike" pro- 
ductions. 

On the Megantic going over, there were 3,200 boys of 
the Wildcat Division, National Army boys from the South- 
ern Atlantic States, who later made that division one of 
the most picturesque units in the American Army. Dur- 
ing the nine days' passage the Cressy Company made 
life exciting even for the Wildcats, and turned up with 
twelve good generous shows. The company, on arriving 
in England, had the honor of giving the first regular Over 
There Theatre League show at the big Eagle Hut in London. 

These pioneer leaguers arrived in France on August 20, 
1918. Five days later they were headed out along the old 



KEEPING STEP WITH THE DOUGHBOYS 113 

Neufchateaii-Toul circuit. On the Keith circuit in far- 
away America the Cressys used to skimp along in the old 
days with a carload of scenery to put on one sketch; in 
France they had repertory of a dozen plays and they got 
along on a suitcase apiece. The most unwieldy property 
was the inevitable organ, the exact counterpart for a gen- 
eration back of the familiar sitting-room ornament in "The 
Old Homestead." Occasionally there was a piano; and 
Mr. Collins, who had to live up to his description in the 
program as "at the piano," kept it as clean of rust and 
mud as possible under the circumstances. The Cressy 
Players quite deserved the name of "that dead game bunch." 
How they made good so emphatically, Mr. Cressy's own 
words may help to explain. This is how he describes the 
exciting days of their first trip to the front: 

"This is a great route we are playing. I started in my 
career of crime, via the footlight ladder, about as near the 
bottom as anyone could. My weekly remuneration, if 
I could get it, which I couldn't always, was six per week. 
Now, twenty-five years later, I am getting twelve — and 
paying expenses out of it. And, in addition, living in such 
dirt and general filthiness as I did not know existed. I 
am writing this by the light of a candle in a dirty room 
in an awful French inn, where the furniture consists of two 
lame chairs, two beds, and a wounded table. We don't 
talk the language, and don't have to, but take what they 
bring us to eat, which is black bread, string beans, car- 
rots, and some kind of meat, the original shape and name 
of which we do not ask. 

"But at that, there is not money enough in all America 
to make one of us quit our job. Oh, if you could see what 
we can do for these boys! We are now playing to men 
who have been up in the front line trenches in the midst 
of such hell as you cannot imagine — himgry, dying, seeing 
their best friends die at their sides — for weeks and are 
now back before going at it again. When I start in to talk — 
I open the show with a 'single' — their faces are drawn and 
tense. But gradually they begin to relax, the lines go, 
the smiles begin to come, and then, when I think the 



114 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

time has come, I go after a real, man-sized laugh. I may 
not get it the first time, but by the time I hand them over 
to Helene Davis they are feeling better, and from then 
on the laughter and applause and cheers are such pay 
as no living player ever received in America. And then, 
at the end, to see the changed men that go out of the 
Y M C A huts — well, God has been good to us to let us 
have this opportunity.'' 

Mr. Cressy was a great lover of the doughboy. He 
knew the man who wrote home to America, ''I am touring 
France in an hommes-chevaux four-wheeled car"; and the 
legless doughboy who received a pair of socks as a Christ- 
mas present, but proved he had not had his sense of humor 
amputated by getting up a little presentation ceremony 
and presenting them to a man who had lost both his hands 
in the same hospital. With all these lovable, inimitable, 
fun-loving, and lion-hearted boys. Will Cressy made good. 
You can see him as he stands with his arms around a group 
of "your sons and mine," leading the vociferous hymn 
which was among all other songs the darling of the dough- 
boys' hearts: 

'^We are, we are the Doughboys, 

With the dirt behind our ears; 
We are, we are the Doughboys, 

Our pay is in arrears; 
The Caval-ree, Artil-ler-ree, 

And lousy Engineers, 
Oh-h they couldn't lick the Doughboys 

In a hundred thousand years!" 

The Cressy show was a simple affair which, after the 
company had got into the swing of a circuit, practically 
ran itself. Will Cressy generally opened the program by 
stepping to the front of the stage and giving his famous 
monologue. One of the best features of this monologue 
was his own little poem, 'The Boy Next Door," for ''that 
is what these kids over here are to me," he says in one 



KEEPING STEP WITH THE DOUGHBOYS 115 

of his letters, ^'just the boys next door, and that little 
poem never failed to make us friends at the start." Then 
he would indulge in that famous theatrical sport known as 
''kidding the set," that is, he would introduce the piano 
and tell how the only way that last night^s show was given 
was by means of four husky doughboys holding a tarpaulin 
over the said piano in the midst of a terrific downpour; 
he presented the various wounded chairs and incapacitated 
tables serving as furnishings of the New England country 
home; the scene of the night's drama would likewise be 
''kidded" into proper perspective. 

"These two soap boxes," he would say, "are the dear 
old family sofy, and here is the supper table — imagine 
it has four legs instead of three — with the old red checked 
table cloth, and among other things the good old-fashioned 
New England cream pitcher with real cream for real Yankee 
coffee." This was the signal for a deafening outburst, for 
most American boys who went abroad had by that time 
forgotten that real milk had ever existed. In the Riviera 
Leave Area "kidding the set" became a totally different 
kind of pastime, but none the less a laugh-getter; for the 
New England homestead had to be played at Nice, Men- 
tone, Cannes, and similar "swell" places, in a room dec- 
orated with Louis XIV furniture and gilded French mirrors. 

Mr. Moore was a capital singer and an invariable success, 
and beside his own special part in the performance, he was 
usually cast for a strong part in the playlet which followed. 
Almost all the plays were of Mr. Cressy's own writing. 
Then- alluring titles included "Bill Biffin's Baby," "The New 
Depot," "Town Hall Tonight," and "Wyoming Whoop." 

The Cressy Company was one of the first Over There 
Theatre League troupes to cover the Riviera district after 
the Armistice. For three months more they continued 
their unabated war speed of four or five shows a day. ' 
From dawn until dark they could be found in the hut, 
and when the time came for them to start for home late 



116 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

in February, 1919, they left a splendid record of ungrudged 
and generous service behind them. 

Will Cressy had that happy faculty which a great many 
more actors possess than the world gives them credit for 
— the abihty to get on with the people with whom he was 
working. This is what he said of his relations with the 
Young Men's Christian Association: 

"Of course, soul saving was entirely out of my line. 
My religion had always been a good deal like the one 
white shirt that was issued to me along with my two O. D. 
shirts. I had it with me all the time but I didn't use it 
much. But I do not believe there was anybody, man 
or woman, who saw more of the American soldier boys 
or the workings of the American 'Y' in France than Mrs. 
Cressy and I. For seven and a half months we banged 
and bumped around the eastern front, playing at from 
three to seven different camps a day. We played at over 
four hundred different camps. We played to something 
over eight hundred thousand boys. And all under the 
auspices of the Y M C A. And if we do not know the 
organization, I don't know who does. To put the facts 
in one small bundle, I want to say that anybody who finds 
fault with the Y M C A as an organization is mighty mean 
or mightily mistaken." 

None of these actor folk, least of all modest old Bill 
Cressy, want to be called heroes. In Mr. Cressy's case 
a wreath of honor should be placed upon his reluctant 
brow. Like many of his comrades, he went into the gas 
zone whenever his job called him there. He was gassed, 
like many others, but how badly he did not realize until 
almost a year later when the ax he was wielding on his 
New Hampshire farm slipped and made a deep gash in 
his leg. The gas poisoning in his system then operated 
on this surface cut and brought about an infection which 
it may take an indefinite period to heal. It is as honorable 
a wound as any soldier endured in the cause which he 
went overseas to serve. 



KEEPING STEP WITH THE DOUGHBOYS 117 

But for the fact that this narrative has of necessity 
been constructed in a series of parallel lines, along which 
the players in this great drama seem to lead a much more 
consecutive kind of life, independent of one another, than 
was really the fact, the adorable and whimsical career of 
Margaret Mayo would have flashed across these pages 
long ago. At one time or another this energetic little 
playwright and actress met everybody on the circuit and 
everybody met her. She took over "The Mayo Shock 
Unit." It goes without saying that the author of "Polly 
of the Ch-cus," "Baby Mine," and "Twin Beds" had a 
sound idea as to what would amuse the American soldier. 
Certainly her company was a splendid witness of her in- 
stinct for the right people in the right place. It was a 
great company that could include, beside Miss Mayo, 
two such feminine stars as Elizabeth Brice and Lois 
Meredith. 

Elizabeth Brice is the girl who, just as in a novel, stepped 
out of obscurity one night into the satin slippers of the 
star — one night when Grace Van Studdiford was taken 
suddenly ill — saved the performance, and became an un- 
mistakable star herself. She twinkled her way to the 
reputation of one of the most roguish and fetching musi- 
cal comedy stars of the day. 

Lois Meredith came to Broadway from the Alcazar 
Stock Company of San Francisco, but didn't stay there 
long, for one of the road companies of "Peg o' My Heart" 
claimed her talents in the name part; then she went on to 
more fame in the movies. The men included Will Mor- 
rissey, the famous vaudevillian who has recently been 
Miss Brice's partner in "Buzzin' Around"; Thomas J. 
Gray, the vaudeville comedian who sang himself to fame 
with the song, "Any Little Girl That's a Nice Little Girl 
Is the Right Little Girl for Me," and who has written over 
200 playlets and short stage pieces; and W. Raymond 
Walker, pianist, music publisher, and accompanist. 



118 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

When 'The Mayo Shock. Unit" went ''trouping with 
the troops," it strove to play straight to the doughboys. 
The troupe played for more than ten weeks in the thick 
of the steady but terribly costly advance of the American 
Army. Miss Mayo herself gives a typical setting of these 
performances in a passage from her breezy and very per- 
sonal Httle book, 'Trouping for the Troops." They had 
arrived in the midst of a forest. Although there were 
thousands of American troops within a few miles, the 
encampments were so densely camouflaged in a thick woods 
that from her own little lookout absolutely nothing could 
be seen of human occupancy. 

"Each day our local secretary would take us in a car 
to some thicket where within twenty minutes we would 
have such an audience as none of us shall probably ever 
see again. Sometimes we would mount a truck for our 
performances, for wagons, artillery, and horses were also 
concealed in these woods, but more often we would play 
on the ground. The officer in command would give the 
order for the first few hundred boys to lie flat, those be- 
hind them were permitted to kneel, those at the back 
could stand, and those who were left over' would 'shinney' 
up the trees like squirrels and drape themselves across the 
branches and hang suspended in strained attitudes during 
the entire show. If we happened to be playing in a young 
forest we were sometimes almost dizzy with the swaying 
of the slender saplings waving back and forth under the 
weight of hiunan bodies. 

"Sometimes our performance would be canceled or cut 
short by the men to whom we were playing being sud- 
denly ordered forward. On one occasion when our con- 
ductor had happened to leave us to the Colonel of the 
regiment, who had volunteered to send us home in his 
car, the whole division was ordered forward in the midst 
of our performance. The Colonel had no alternative but 
to move with them. We were obliged to walk to the near- 
est railway station and beat our way 'home' huddled to- 
gether on a meat chest in a box car. We arrived about 
midnight, hungry and chilled. As we picked our way 
through the mud and the darkness up the hill toward the 



KEEPING STEP WITH THE DOUGHBOYS 119 

barracks, our musician drew his foot out of a hole and 
paused long enough to remark that he was sick of life. 
He didn^t care whether his gas mask fitted or not. . . . 
But the next morning we were all going back down the 
hill in the sunlight with the despised gas masks and hel- 
mets — off toward Verdun.'' 

The Mayo party gave from start to finish a light-hearted 
vaudeville show, a regular "little night at home" by itself. 
Will Morrissey told stories and played the fiddle, Tommy 
Gray sang, Lois Meredith danced and sang her song-hits, 
and Miss Mayo herself resumed her career as a comedienne 
to put on a bright little informal act all by herself. Also 
there was usually a skit in which everybody took part. 
Miss Mayo never claimed to have the latest jokes. "The 
old jokes well told," says Miss Mayo, "are better than all 
the new jokes on earth." 

Maybe the best chance the company had to see how 
the boys felt about it was the one time they played in a 
real theatre up near Argonne. It was crowded to the roof 
with buck privates and poilus, shoulder to shoulder. 
The poilus were quiet during the time-worn gags from 
back home. Will Morrissey, with his vaudeville jokes, 
got only a polite murmur from them. Tommy Gray, 
with his alfalfa whiskers, amused them very mildly. Pretty 
Lois Meredith won real but sedate appreciation; and even 
Ehzabeth Brice, singing "Buzz Around, Buzz Around," 
with all the pep in the world, was welcomed quietly, so 
far as the French half of the audience went. 

But the doughboys! The doughboys made up for all 
that. Not since the time when the theatre was divided 
into three parts had that gallery so resounded! Whistling! 
Clapping! Stamping of feet! But the next morning while 
the troupe was at breakfast, a delegation of French visi- 
tors, including the Mayor of the town, called upon them. 
They wanted, they explained, through an interpreter, to 
compliment the company upon the most excellent per- 



120 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

formance of the night before, and to present their pro- 
found apologies for the rudeness to which the players had 
been subjected. They were grieved to the heart that there 
should have been whistling during such a charming pro- 
duction. 

And so the Mayo Shock Unit weaves throughout the 
Army its web of cheer and encouragement. Its members 
sing one day in a base hospital. On another they make 
a dash to Paris at a gala show at the Tuileries Gardens; 
next day they play at a barge canal, at a little camp be- 
hind the lines where a lonely service unit has just finished 
putting up a little platform for the first entertainment 
they have ever had; next day they are in the midst of the 
front, playing in a barn somewhere south of Montfaugon; 
another day they are in a nice little theatre just as far 
front, but, to their amazed eyes, having all the appurte- 
nances, footlights, dressing rooms, and real scenery of an 
up-to-date playhouse; now they are playing in the drench- 
ing rain under a camouflaged stone rest-billet for the for- 
ward artillery; now they play for the gas units, and after- 
ward eat a friendly meal in the gas chamber itself, an ugly 
little structure which looks like an ironlined hogshead, 
but which their presence makes as bright and cheery as 
the snappiest cabaret in Paris. 

In late October or November, 1918, they make a tri- 
umphal little tour through the rest areas and leave cities 
of eastern France. While they are there, Margaret Mayo's 
presentiment that the War would be over before they got 
back to the front comes true. Late in November the 
little company breaks up, a shock unit no more, but a 
group of individuals who have given abundantly. 



CHAPTER XVI 

PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 

"7^0 he generous, guiltless^ and of free disposition is to 

take these things for bird holts that you deem cannon hul- 

lets." 

Twelfth Night. 

It is said that the only complaint Marshal Foch and the 
Allied staff ever made of the American Army was, "You 
can't hold them back." That, too, was the only real trouble 
with the actors — they wanted to play right up to the 
German trenches. 

There never was a group more thoroughly expressive 
of the American "never-say-die'^ spirit. The streets of 
Paris soon began to look as familiar as "dear old Broad- 
way." Here on this August afternoon in 1918 we find 
our old friends — Irene Franklin of "Redhead" fame, and 
her husband, Burt Green. Here, too, are Corinne Francis 
and Tony Hunting, likewise twin luminaries in married 
stardom. They are just starting on a conquest which is 
to result in an unconditional surrender of the armies. 
They sailed on August 5, 1918. 

Stage folk, when confronted by the harlequinade of 
getting about in this bizarre dayUght world, are the great- 
est satirists in creation; and Irene's account of what was 
perhaps the most exasperating voyage of any made by 
members of the Over There Theatre League is a little 
classic voyage of satirical humor. Miss Francis and Mr. 
Hunting, by the way, had started two days before and 
were spared all this. 

"We left on the S. S. Quilpue/' says Miss Franklin. 
"It was her maiden trip across the Atlantic. Well, finally. 



122 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

to skip a lot, we arrived at a port somewhere near the 
North Pole (it was only Scotland, but that's near enough). 
The harbor looked like a Russian toy shop gone mad. 
All the ships were covered with bright screaming camou- 
flage. Not a single color was omitted. 

" 'Now, look here,' I said to Burt Green, 'if we are going 
to stay in this place two days, I'm going to give some 
shows,' so we went ashore and found a theatre which we 
rented. Then I asked the captain if he would wigw^ag 
to the captains of all the boats in the harbor and ask if 
their men could come to the show. I guess that was the 
first time that a program with all the acts and names of 
the performance was announced in real shipshape sailor 
fashion. All the captains except one agreed. That one 
commanded a special mother ship to submarines or some- 
thing of the kind and everybody was strictly kept off her 
mysterious decks. Everybody? Well, now listen. That 
afternoon I hired a tug, and Mr. Green and several of the 
other entertainers went out to that ship. The stern cap- 
tain came to the side and said nobody could come aboard. 
He looked so sorry, that I thought I might take a chance, 
so, standing on the rope ladder, we started one of the 
strangest shows that you ever saw on sea or land. I don't 
know what watch it was, but before we finished everybody 
was watching us. Finally, just as I had thought, the 
stern captain relented and I led a troop of boys to the 
back deck, where I shut my eyes and said I wouldn't tell 
what I'd seen, and then for about a half an hour we gave 
a regular show." 

Irene Franklin and Burt Green made a remarkable 
team, and the fact that Miss Franklin's physician had 
warned her of a nervous breakdown a few weeks before 
they started for France only made her work the harder. 
After a short period out on the front line circuit, they 
met Tony Hunting and Corinne Francis. The four of 
them, ''The Broadway Bunch," put on a combined show 
during the big weeks of the St. Mihiel offensive. They 
were playing just south of Verdun when that offensive 
got under way, having just "detrained" in the midst of 
the Woevre Wood, all loaded down shoulder high with 



PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 123 

bedclothes, costumes, gas masks, helmets, make-up, and 
other equipment. "We looked like a couple of caravans," 
says Miss Francis, "as we rolled off the train, but our 
entrance got a big Yankee laugh and that made our aching 
limbs a lot less tired." 

A vivid idea of the kind of show these four clever enter- 
tainers were giving may be had from the account of an 
enthusiastic soldier critic in the Plane News, a weekly 
sheet issued at a big aviation center. 

"There are shows and there are shows, and there are 
just productions. The true classification of the 'Redhead' 
show, however, is that it is one of the biggest and greatest 
productions on the stage in the A. E. F. And the most 
remarkable thing about it is that only four people make 
up the entire cast. Irene ranks first; she is ably accom- 
panied at the piano by her husband, Burt Green, who 
also is the single-handed orchestra for the other big part. 
Miss Corinne Francis and Tony Hunting are real come- 
dians. The curtain rises if their stand happens to be in 
a place where such a thing is available. Burt Green is at 
the piano, and after they hear his first selection the audi- 
ence usually wishes that the evening program might be 
entirely musical. But Corinne and Tony soon cause this 
feeling to disappear and create an uproar. Their comedy 
is about as genuinely American 'as they can make 'em.' 

"Miss Francis displays fine talent with instrimiental 
and vocal selections and Tony clogs himself up into further 
fame. When this couple has finally satisfied the bench 
warmers and escaped from the continuous cry of 'Encore' 
Miss Irene reappears as the little 'Redhead' in bloomers. 
It is impossible to describe the effect of her song and ex- 
pression. Time flits by all too quickly, and almost ere 
one has had a chance to appreciate fully her splendid 
effort, the curtain has separated the audience from the 
finest entertainment that ever struck France." 

This is straight-from-the-shoulder doughboy criticism. 
And the fact that it deals with superlatives is no reason 
why it should not be applied to many another show, for 



124 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

in the generous atmosphere of France every show that 
really made a hit was "the best that ever came over." 

Like their teammates, Miss Francis and Mr. Hunting 
gave an informal and extremely adaptable vaudeville show, 
in which either partner could do almost anything people 
generally do in vaudeville, from playing musical instru- 
ments to dancing and singing. Hunting and Francis so 
fell in love with the work that they decided to stay over 
as long as there was any work to do; and as they gradually 
became veterans they accumulated in an unusual degree 
the store of experience which was Hfe's greatest compensa- 
tion overseas. 

Perhaps their most unique show, best illustrating their 
exuberant generosity and good will, was given one day 
when their car overtook an ammunition train of fifty- 
eight motor trucks. These had pulled up by the side of 
the road for a few minutes' rest and overhauling. About 
four hundred men were in the convoy, and a lot of them 
were in bathing as the entertainers came by. The boys 
spotted Hunting and Francis at once as entertainers. 
There were cheerful greetings, then somebody shouted, 
"Can't you give us a show?" And Corinne Francis replied, 
"Sure, let's give it right here." So the grimy motor drivers 
who hadn't been in bathing, and the clean ones who had, 
all gathered around in a large circle. Hunting and Francis, 
vaudeville headliners and distinguished comedy artists, 
got down in the chalky-dusty road and gave their show 
for all it was worth. Ear-splitting yells greeted their sallies 
and songs. With the shouts of the doughboys echoing their 
choruses to the horizon, they got back into their machine 
with tired lungs and voices but full hearts and drove away. 

At another time in the Argonne they gave a show on a 
little homemade stage down in the valley, with 3,100 
doughboys looking down from the hillside. This time, as 
on many other occasions, they had no piano. Miss Francis 
strummed the guitar. After the show was over she went 




Doughboy Masqueraders at Coblenz 




Rehearsing the Heavy Villain 




At Versailles 





— f- 


^ 


^ — '*"~^-*-^ ^ ^'^ 


mm. m 


1 


^giw 


B^B 


^H 


i 



Counted Out 



PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 125 

out among the groups of men and sat down on the steps, 
wherever there were any, and played whatever the boys 
called for — proving a veritable angel of music to the men 
who were, within a few hours, to go back into battle. 

A very exceptional performance was in a French foyer 
about five kilometers behind the line, where they were 
billed to give two shows. The first show went off all right, 
but in the midst of the second there came a blistering air 
raid. Bombs actually dropped all around the hut. Miss 
Francis was singing and playing the guitar when the raid 
started. She never turned a hair, but continued to sing 
and play, calmly passing from one song to another. The 
French poilus, who were fond of American songs under 
all conditions, caught the spirit of the American girl. Their 
voices rang out in the choruses of "Smiles, '^ "You'll Never 
BeUeve Me," and the always infectious "Pack Up Your 
Troubles," until the air raid was finished and Miss Francis 
declared both shows over. A young French captain who 
was present said it was the finest example of American 
nerve he had seen in the War, and declared that he would 
put in a claim for a decoration for Miss Francis at once. 
The organization soon afterward went back into the battle 
lines, however, and the great veil of the War dropped over 
their lives again forever. 

"The Broadway Bunch" made a specialty of "girly" 
dresses. This made them welcome even before they spoke 
a word or tuned their instruments. It must be added that 
it was not only the doughboys who were glad to see these 
pretty dresses. Nobody ever gave "The Broadway Bunch" 
a more enthusiastic hand than the nurses, those stout- 
hearted American girls who braved the privations of the 
front and the deprivation of feminine clothes for many 
long months. All they could wear for variety was a colored 
sweater, and they cheered heartily whenever their eyes 
were filled with the delight of real clothes worn by the 
women entertainers. 



126 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Hunting and Francis played at Verdun and St. Mihiel, 
at Dun-sur-Meuse, one of the last towns captured by 
the Americans, and at the Verdun citadel. Immediately 
after the War they undertook the very heartening work 
of playing to the returning prisoners. They made a spe- 
cialty of this at Verdun, and many a group of ragged, 
footsore, soul-weary Britishers, who had been confined in 
German prison camps for two, three, and four years, got 
their first welcome into their own world through this fun- 
radiating pair at the shows in the old Verdun citadel. 

'The Broadway Bunch^' was recruited up to strength 
again by the addition of Edgar H. LeVan, and, at differ- 
ent times, Tsianina and Marguerite Perry Bailey. In 
December, the long triumphal visit to Germany began, 
which lasted for six months. 

There Miss Francis created a record. She and her 
partner arrived there in the middle of December, 1918, 
among the very first of the troops of occupation. How 
they did it is still more or less of a state secret, but, like 
the great example of the Americans in the War, they got 
there in time. On December 13th the American Army 
crossed the Rhine; and on December 15th Coriime Francis 
sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Coblenz. This was 
the first time that song had been heard in Germany since 
1914. With this send-off. Hunting and Francis played 
the entire Army of Occupation circuit and in time were 
given charge of the booking office of the Coblenz Area. 
Here they came to manage the numerous theatres and 
entertainment huts in the great leave and administration 
center around Coblenz. They sang in Luxemburg and 
Lorraine, along the Saar and the Moselle, and in royal 
castles under the ancient arms of Rhenish robber barons. 

Corinne Francis again showed the spirit she had mani- 
fested in action when, under the strain of continuous 
entertainments and vindictive weather, she found that 
she still had the will to sing but with a comparatively 



PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 127 

evaporated voice. She might have justly taken six weeks 
or two months^ leave to safeguard those vocal cords on 
which depended not only all her joy in life but her liveli- 
hood. Mr. Steele offered her a leave, but it was returned 
with thanks. "I can't sing a note," she said to Mr. Steele, 
^'but just try me in the soldier show development section 
as a coach. If I can't put on a show, let me help the boys 
who can. That's where the need is and I want to be in it.'* 
Miss Francis was in it for a month or more, during which 
she carefully nursed her voice back into health again, 
but gave all her intelligence and skill to the continuous 
dress rehearsals of the soldier entertainers. When she 
came back to Coblenz and sang again, tuneful, fresh, and 
irresistible, she got a reception the like of which was seen 
on only a few other occasions in the Army. 



Any show that contained Leo Donnelly, Will J. Kennedy, 
and James F. Kelly just had to be called "The Shamrock 
Show." Leo Donnelly is one of the best comedians. Will 
Kennedy is one of the best known funny men on the pop- 
ular-priced vaudeville circuit known as the Columbia 
Wheel. James F. Kelly and Emma Pollock, who have 
toured together for many years in a comedy singing and 
dancing act, have never failed to captivate the strong 
Irish and Irish-admiring public wherever they went; Miss 
Pollock especially has a reputation of long standing in this 
field as a soubrette entertainer in the good old Irish plays 
of the Harrigan and Hart management. Helen Goff, the 
fifth member of the show, has played to Al Jolson and 
supported Kitty Gordon. 

'The Shamrock Show" arrived in France on August 
12th, and, controlled by home contracts, stayed abroad 
during the four crucial months of the emergency period. 
During that time, however, they accomplished great results. 
The enthusiasm of the troupe was kept at fighting pitch 



128 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

by its inspiring and hard working leader, Leo Donnelly, 
who wrote home from the thick of things: ^'I never was 
so dirty, tired, and happy in my life. I wouldn^t change 
places with any actor in America for the biggest salary 
ever paid. I am having the time of my life. It is the 
greatest real work that I have ever done, and believe me, 
I sure am happy." Donnelly spread a good deal of this 
happiness about France. 

Will Kennedy had an extraordinary knowledge of the 
outside appearance and the particular individual quality 
of every large city in the home country. After a show, 
the boys would flock aroimd Kennedy just to ask him 
questions about what the latest news was from Oshkosh, 
or Little Rock, or Los Angeles, or Portland, wherever they 
happened to come from. Kennedy would come back with 
gossip about the folks, the elections, and the record of the 
local baseball team. As a traveling purveyor of home town 
gossip, Kennedy was a walking wonder. He could remem- 
ber the exact situation of the best lunchcart in town; he 
could describe the local grill room which the real people 
always patronized; he could discuss the flavor of chile 
con carne or frijoles or the aroma of the immortal baked 
bean with equal felicity, and in those days when home- 
cooked food was the ultimate of all earthly bliss, his after- 
the-show reminiscence act was a most enduring winner. 

Helen Goff's songs were memorable. ^ 'Helen is a riot 
with the boys,'^ writes a member of the League, ' 'because 
she knows how to handle them. Her songs go with a bang. 
Above all, she is typically American and the boys just 
love her and her work." And then after this little come- 
dienne had finished her jazz music, Emma Pollock stepped 
forward and sang ''Maggie Murphy's Home," with Jimmie 
Kelly acting as a whimsical foil to this uproarious old 
melody. 

"The Shamrock Show" got up to the front in the days 
of the great advance, and started on a tour which the 



PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 129 

Seventy-Seventh Division, the New York National Army 
Unit, at any rate, will never forget. They played in the 
Argonne and the Woevre, and they went out on the great 
circuit from Verdun. In the areas where German bombs 
and long range artillery — and an occasional leakage of gas 
— penetrated, 'The Shamrock Show" continued its work, 
as vital to the success of the division, as one staff captain 
put it, ''as a regiment of infantry." The armistice period 
found them "mopping up" in the leave areas; and the 
beginning of January, 1919, found them embarking at last 
for the homeland, veterans who had fought a good fight 
and had added their bit to the war prestige of their pro- 
fession's honor. 



From the wealth of the war experience of these Over 
There Theatre Leaguers it is possible, because of space 
limitations, to give the merest suggestion of what was 
accomplished with the American Army throughout the 
area of the War. Take the unit, for instance, called so 
modestly "A Little Cheer from Home." It set sail from 
America, August 9, 1918, and was composed of Inez Wilson, 
famous during the past few years on the Canadian stage; 
Henry Souvaine, a concert pianist who has accompanied 
Caruso and Galh-Curci; Eleanor Whittemore, a violinist; 
and Ethel Hinton, monologuist and reader. 

Their program opened with an ensemble number, fol- 
lowed by snappy songs by Inez Wilson, violin solos by Miss 
Whittemore, and monologues and impersonations by Miss 
Hinton. Mr. Souvaine played the accompaniments. The 
party got into St. Mihiel ten days after the Germans had 
been driven out. Here they gave a show in the old Roman 
fort. Fort du Camp des Romains, to thousands of French 
soldiers. Miss Wilson sang in French, and the piano was 
an abandoned Boche instrument. They found meat in the 
icebox, soup on the stove, and bags of potatoes on the 



130 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

floor— real food, which was the surest evidence that the 
Hun had been caught unawares. During one show a shell 
dropped 200 yards away; they kept on without a hitch. 
They entertained on another occasion 8,000 Polish Amer- 
ican soldiers. The Poles sang their national anthems with 
heads bared, the most impressive sight the troupe saw 
during the War. On some nights the whole sky was illumi- 
nated with fire, and the shelling became so heavy that the 
Commanding Officer ordered them back. 

The most protected place in the Ford, even in the drench- 
ing rain, was always given to the old piano. They trav- 
eled in ambulances and on foot, in trucks, narrow gauge 
railway cars, and flat cars; and they gave shows in camps 
which had not seen an American girl in thirteen months. 
They gave one historic performance on the inmiortal 
Dead Men^s Hill at Verdun. On another occasion they 
had a thrilling experience in an advanced American artillery 
position a few kilometers from the front. 

"The Americans were brigaded with the French,'' Mr. 
Souvaine writes, "and we had a few hundred Americans 
sitting around the piano, the French forming a fringe on 
the outside and hanging all over the roofs of the adjoining 
huts. All during the show the Boche and French artillery 
near by gave me a real symphonic accompaniment, which 
sounded just Hke 'old times' Wagner recitals. Three Boche 
planes came over to see the show after we had started, but 
the boys were very poor hosts and sent them home with 
a barrage of air shells." 

Frequently, when the crowd was too big to get into the 
hut, Mr. Souvaine took the piano outside and played to 
the crowd that couldn't get in; he put on this feature at 
a great Polish American camp where 7,000 men climbed 
on trees and houses in a vast crowd around him. 

This unit was one of the few parties chosen to tour Italy. 
During the final stages of the Italians' last great offensive, 
they followed the Italian Army into Austria. Here they 



PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 131 

rendered magnificent service to the American regiment 
attached to the Italian /^my and to the ambulance drivers 
and aviators whom America loaned so liberally to the 
Italian front. 

January, 1919, found "A Little Cheer from Home'' 
being dispensed in Germany. They were assigned for a 
good part of their stay with the Thirty-Second Division, 
the Ohio National Guard unit — the Red Arrows, as the 
world has come to know them. Here they circulated 
throughout the region around Rengsdorf. When they 
left in February, Major General Lassiter, commanding 
the Thirty-Second, sat down and wrote this straightfor- 
ward little tribute, which expresses in its way the finest 
and most characteristic type of appreciation, such as a 
real entertainment group unfailingly got from the high 
American command: 

"I should like you to know," writes General Lassiter, 
"how much this group of talented people has done in 
maintaining the cheerfulness and contentment of the 
officers and men of the Division. They have put up with 
all sorts of hardships without murmur; they have enter- 
tained the men of all the little garrisons we maintain through- 
out the Coblenz Bridgehead; and always they have made 
light of the difficulties in the way and have won the hearts 
of our men. The entertainment which they have given 
has always been of a high class, never appealing to anything 
but the better instincts of the men, and I think it has been 
very interesting to observe that this has been the type 
of entertainment most enjoyed and appreciated by the 
soldier men. Everyone in the Division hates to see them 
go. I feel that they have shown a spirit in carrying out 
their part in this war worthy of the best type of soldier, 
and I cannot too much thank you and the Y M C A for 
putting their services at the disposal of the Thirty-Second 
Division." 



D. C. Mclver was what they called in the British Army 



132 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

a "dugout." It took the War to bring him out of the quiet 
of a new profession and thrust him back behind the foot- 
lights. For many years Mclver had been an illusionist 
and magician in vaudeville, but some five years before the 
War he retired from the stage and went into mining in 
Arizona. When the War broke out, he figured that he was 
worth more to the soldiers as a magician than as a mine 
operator. Abandoning his mining, he assembled a little 
company called "Magic, Melody, and Music.'' Mclver 
took over with him his former accompanist. Miss Madeline 
L. Glynn, and rounded out the quartet with Alfred Armand, 
the tenor, Hal Pierson, the bass, and Louise Carlyle, of that 
famous vaudeville organization, the Manhattan Trio. They 
sailed on August 5, 1918. Mr. Mclver reports early in 
September: 

"In the seven days since our landing, August 25th, 
the Magic Unit has given twenty shows, five of which were 
under shell fire, some with piano and some without. We 
have given them with fully equipped stages and also on 
truck bodies, in airplane hangars, hospitals, and stables. 
Miss Glynn is one of the best soldiers in the world. She 
goes everywhere we go and undergoes all the inconveniences 
without a miu-mur. The two boys, Hal Pierson and Alfred 
Armand, are great, and my own work is going very nicely 
with the boys. We leave today for the front, with full 
equipment — tin hats, gas masks, knapsacks, and blankets. 
No baggage except the egg bag and music rolls." 

In Troyes, about half way between Paris and the front, 
the Mclver Unit found a wounded American aviator alone 
in a local hospital. They loaded him into a truck and 
took him to town to see a real show on a stage, with foot- 
Ughts and piano. It was the first show he had seen in 
France. "He was so happy that he cried," reports Mclver. 



Amparito Farrar was a picturesque artist who went 
over in what afterward came to be known as the second 



PUSHING UP TO THE FRONT 133 

wave of entertainers. She sailed August 9, 1918. Miss 
Farrar is an Oregon girl who spent most of her early life 
in California; she studied in Paris, Berlin, and London, 
and became a noted Ijrric soprano. She was of immense 
service abroad not only because of her beautiful voice — 
she had sung in grand opera at the Royal Opera in Vienna, 
and in light opera in New York — but also because of her 
remarkable fluency in languages. She spoke with equal 
facility English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. 
She was accompanied on her trip by her mother, Mrs. 
Guadalupa Farrar, who is an accomplished pianist. 

Miss Farrar gave a very successful series of Franco- 
American concerts, specializing in the American troops 
brigaded with the French, where the mixed audiences 
welcomed her and fell in love with her on about even terms. 
"I have sung," she writes home, "in motor camps, huts, 
bakeries, hospitals, and even at the bedsides of the boys, 
one at a time; everything from grand opera to 'Tickle Toe.' 
I even dance a little. Such a spirit! They want to get 
right out of bed and go back at the Boches. And they 
want the best you can give them — nothing is too good 
for them." 

Miss Farrar also sang in municipal theatres, where her 
European reputation secured her a constant welcome 
among the French and other Allied soldiers along her 
itinerary; but always dearest to her heart were the audi- 
ences of doughboys on whom she centered her efforts as 
far as possible. "They seem to love us," she writes, "and 
I know I love them. It never fails to bring a throb to my 
heart to hear Americans on the street when they catch 
sight of us as we go by. They always say 'American girls! 
Gee, those American girls look good to me!' Well, I am 
certainly glad I am an American girl, and I never was so 
glad of it before." 



i 



CHAPTER XVII 

KNIGHTS AND LADIES 

*'The expectancy and rose of the fair state 
The glass of fashion and the mould of form, 
The observed of all observers!" 

Hamlet. 

Many an American girl discovered that there was no 
place in the world where she was safer than in the Amer- 
ican Army. It is not to be wondered at that some of the 
most successful of all the entertainment troupes were those 
which were composed of women only. These traveled 
about France with no escort, manager, or male protector 
whatsoever. 

The experience of these American girls is one of the 
finest tributes that can be given to the soldiers. More- 
over, it forms the basis for a psychological study into the 
character of American youth as it expressed itself under 
the strain and stress of war. One of the hundreds of Amer- 
ican girls who could bear such witness is Vera Barstow, 
who ran the gamut of the A. E. F. up to the firing line; 
and she declares: "The American doughboy was the truest 
gentleman I ever met. First, last, and all the time he 
was a gentleman wherever he met an American girl." 

The unit known as "The Musical Foursome" sailed from 
New York on the transport Lapland on September 16, 
1918. It was composed of Miss Barstow, violinist; Maude 
Allen, soprano; Lucie Babcock, accompanist; and Mildred 
Evans, reader. Hardly had they passed the Statue of 
Liberty when, with another unit aboard, they began to 
entertain the soldiers on deck, most of whom were marines 
from a camp in Florida. An epidemic of flu broke out, 
which resulted in much sickness and a number of deaths. 

134 



KNIGHTS AND LADIES 135 

Miss Barstow, too, got the flu. In Liverpool the unit gave 
its first overseas entertainment for American soldiers. 
From there they went to Paris for two weeks and enter- 
tained at the hospitals and the near-by camps. 

^The first day we played/' says Miss Barstow, "was in 
the hospital at St. Denis; there were two thousand badly 
wounded cases. We played for the boys three hours and 
I never can forget how grateful they were, and how their 
faces lit up. In the evening we went to an anti-aircraft 
station and played for the men. They had been there 
six months and had not seen an American woman; in 
fact, they had seen nothing in the way of entertainment. 
These boys were so excited over the fact of our being there 
that they didn't know what kind of an entertainment 
they wanted — the chief thing to them was that there were 
four American girls there. When Miss Mildred went on 
to tell her funny stories they were shouting before the 
point came out. We shook hands with all the boys. We 
always made it a point to do that wherever we were. One 
night while we were in Paris we went out with about fifty 
other ^Y' girls to dance with an outfit in a near-by camp 
— and they treated us like long lost sisters. 

'Tn the Argonne Forest we were attached to the Army. 
The Army had to billet us, feed us, and look after us in 
every way. When we joined the division we were per- 
mitted to take with us only one suitcase apiece. We also 
had an army cot, blankets, and a gas mask. Water was 
terribly scarce and we didn't have a bath until we got 
back to Bar-le-Duc — three weeks later. We had very 
little to drink and occasionally it was a toss-up as to whether 
we should scrub our teeth or drink the good water that 
we happened to get. Usually we got up too late for break- 
fast. We would go straggling along the road until we 
came to an army kitchen and then make friends with the 
cooks. In that way we fared very well. Incidentally, 
this was a good way to become acquainted with the dough- 
boys, which was part of our duty as entertainers. We 
had instructions before we left Paris not to favor the officers 
and we always made it a point from the very beginning 
to mix with the doughboys. 

''Once, when we were with the Eightieth Division, there 



136 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

was a bunch of men — they were muleteers — who never 
seemed to be able to hear the entertainment. We told 
them we would entertain them during their lunch hour 
and promised there should not be one officer present. 
Several officers appeared on the scene and we shooed them 
away, very much to the delight of the men. The buck 
privates enjoyed immensely our jokes on the officers, 
especially when the officers were present. 

'^Leaving the Eightieth, we penetrated deeper into the 
Forest to join the Seventy-Seventh. This was right in 
the heart of the Argonne. Here we were billeted in German 
dugouts. We could hardly tell from day to day where we 
were or what we were doing. The first night we were 
nearer the front than we realized. We had no cots, but 
I was completely exhausted and slept all night long and 
didn't hear a thing. The girls did not sleep at all. 

^^Our first German dugout was an underground theatre 
which seated about three hundred people. The walls were 
whitewashed. They put us in the dressing room. We 
had a stove and were quite comfortable. This was after 
we had gone to join the Seventy-Seventh Division; the 

^ men were all in the line. The Colonel told us he would 
try to get permission to take us into the field hospitals. 
They didn't allow women in these hospitals; they did not 
even have women nurses. We went up there and gave 
an entertainment. The wounded men seemed to like the 
violin music. It was quiet and helped to distract their 
minds from the pain. We played in the treating 'rooms' 
— it was just a tent, of course. The wounded were brought 
in on stretchers and the stretchers laid right down in the 
mud. We took turns going into the shock 'rooms' to write 
letters and take messages from the dying men. We played 
three days in succession at this hospital; the second day 
they brought in the wounded men from the Eightieth 
Division, and the third day they commenced bringing 
in German wounded. Most of them were just young boys 

! and they were very thinly clad. The material in their 
clothes seemed like fiber. It was bitter cold weather. 
They wore just a uniform of this fiber-like material and 
their top coat, neither of which was heavy. I remember 
one boy with a shattered leg; they ripped open his uni- 

i form and I saw that he had neither socks nor underwear." 



KNIGHTS AND LADIES 137 

Many are the stories of their experiences that these 
girls could tell. One day, while the boys are fighting their 
way step by step, driving the German invaders before 
them, we find Miss Sarah Willmer, a Chicago girl, riding 
ten miles in a terrific storm that was almost a cloudburst 
to a camp of soldiers where there were to be 5,000 men in 
her audience. She arrived with her pretty white frock 
soaked. When she mounted the platform it looked, as a 
soldier said, "more like a last year's nightdress left out in 
the rain'' than an evening gown. But there was no time 
to change, and she gave her show with the abandon and 
enthusiasm which come when you feel that nothing worse 
can happen whatever you do. Months afterwards, when 
she was giving out cigarettes in a hospital back of the 
lines to the boys who were being unloaded from a fleet 
of ambulances, an lUinois boy, noticing her uniform, said: 

''The last 'Y' girl I saw was up in the night before 

the St. Mihiel drive. Her name was Sarah Willmer — I re- 
member her because she came from my state. I shall 
never forget as long as I live the blessed white dress she had 
on the night she recited to us. We had not seen a white 
dress, it seemed to us, in years. There we were with all 
our gas masks at alert, all ready to go into the line, and 
there she was talking to us just like a girl from home. 
It sure was a great sight, you bet; and don't forget to tell 
her if you ever see her." 



There was one ward in a big hospital where no enter- 
tainers had been allowed to go. Many of the men who had 
been brooding, or muttering, or simply lying despondently 
on their backs ever since they had been brought out of 
action were perilously near losing their reason. One day 
a young singer. Miss Paula Lind Ayers, asked the surgeon 
if she could sing them some lullabies just to see what they 
would do. She sat outside the ward and sang the most 



138 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

familiar song she knew, 'The Little Grey Home in the 
West." There was absolute silence inside. Then came 
another, ''Just a Baby^s Prayer at Twilight." Then she 
sang old Southern lullabies and Negro melodies which 
every American knows by heart— "My Old Kentucky 
Home," "Way Down upon the S'wanee River," "Old 
Black Joe," and finally "Abide with Me." Before she had 
finished this wonderful group of heart songs — all of them 
crooned rather than sung — almost the whole ward was 
joining in the words. Men who had not spoken since they 
had been stricken at the front were singing. There were 
no more incoherent yelling or nerve-racking mutterings 
for the rest of the day. The doctors had her come back 
again and again, until the "lullaby cure" came to be one 
of the most successful medical discoveries of the War. 
No ragtime or catchy Broadway melodies could have done 
this. When the boys did want something livelier, the 
doctors said they were cured, and put them in the evacua- 
tion ward. 



The work of Miss Ayers was duplicated by scores of others 
in the big hospitals and constituted one of the great spiritual 
services of the War. Miss Alice Woodfin, one of the pioneers 
who came over early in the spring of 1918, gave many 
song recitals at* hospitals, and used as one of her chief 
specifics the teaching of dancing to ambitious convalescents 
who possessed both feet. At the end of one successful 
evening^s singing. Miss Woodfin sat down at the piano 
and began to play an enticing air that made everyone 
want to get up and hop around. 

"This," she said, "is one of the best dance tunes ever 
written, boys. I am going to teach it to you right on the 
spot — the music as well as the dance steps that go with 
it. It is called the 'Tickle Toe.' " 

There was a snicker, then a gale of laughter. Miss 



KNIGHTS AND LADIES 139 

Woodfin hesitated, but her audience applauded uproari- 
ously, so she went on, thinking they were laughing with 
pleasure at the prospect before them. But the snickers 
and giggles kept breaking out, and at last, after the lesson 
was over, Miss Woodfin turned around and said to her 
accompanist, ''Now tell me what the matter is." 

So they told her she had taught "Tickle Toe" to the 
Fiat-Foot Camp. 

j 
Another ''woman party" which upheld • the banner of \ 

self-reliant womanhood was the little unit composed of j 
Marian Chase Schaeffer and Marian Dana, of Chicago, 
and Hazel Bartlett of St. Paul. They went over on Sep- 
tember 24, 1918, on an unwieldy old ship that hit the 
autumn seas heavy and hard and sprang a leak a few days 
out. For six days there was water on the lower decks, 
which finally reached a stable depth well above the ankles. 
The boys in the bunks below figured that heavy seas and 
decks awash would keep silk-stockinged entertainers up 
in their proper places in the passengers' cabins, but these 
plucky Middle Western girls took off their shoes and stock- 
ings and went right down. They went down every day, 
and with their feet covered with brine sang, "If He Can 
Fight Like He Can Love, Then Good-By, Germany," 
splashing about in the water to the tune of that rollicking 
chorus as if they did that sort of thing every day. 



There sailed from New York in October, 1918, a group 
of four girls, "Just Girls" — Garda Kova, a classic and 
esthetic dancer who undertook the management; Margaret 
Coleman, soprano soloist at St. Matthew's, New York; 
Marguerite Sumner, singer and story-teller; and Diana 
Kasner, pianist. They landed in England, dividing their 
time between London and King Llynn. They then went 



140 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

to France and were in Paris when the Armistice was signed 
They entertained the Twenty-Sixth, Seventy-Seventh, and 
Eighty-First Divisions around Chaumont, then went to 
the Riviera and Marseilles, back to Paris, and to all the 
larger camps again. All this was in midwinter. 

If a single group were to be selected for mention as 
typifying the spirit which sent the entertainers over dan- 
gerous seas and through sunless days in cheerless billets, 
none would be more surely representative than ''Just Girls.'' 
Their engagements were so continuous and so exactly 
met that the unit was finally destroyed by the illness of 
two of its members. Margaret Coleman returned to Amer- 
ica, her health seriously impaired. The unit was later 
revived by Diana Kasner, with three new members, and 
it followed the Third Army to Coblenz and played three 
months in Germany. 



Out of all the companies which remain, let us take a 
final glance at the unassuming but eventful record of one 
of the most tireless little units of all, 'The Electric Sparks." 
Headed by Harry Israel, its membership included Annie 
Abbott, the Georgia Magnet, who had a jiu jitsu act in 
which she guaranteed to lift or throw the largest sergeant 
in the audience (and invariably made good) ; Doris Thayer, 
a New England girl who did character singing and mono- 
logue and made the song "Oui, Oui, Marie" universally 
known throughout the American Army; and Gladys Sears, 
who did almost any kind of dialogue from Swedish to 
Italian, but fixed her principal attention on Irish songs, 
and rose to universal appreciation by the manner in which 
she rendered the classic lines of "Knox 'Em Down, 
McCluskey." 

''The Electric Sparks" went over on October 26, 1918, 
and Armistice Day found them the big feature on the 
bill at the gala performance at the Eagle Hut in London. 




Y Minstrels in Action 




A Royal Stairway 




The Famous Palais de Glace 



KNIGHTS AND LADIES 141 

They entered France by means of the much traveled Brest 
route, and for many weeks played the lonely towns in 
Brittany surrounding the great Brest embarkation camp. 
Here they put a new breath of life into the thousands who 
were chafing under the first disillusion of the long delay 
in getting transportation home. Brittany was primitive 
enough for any American quartered there, so ^The Elec- 
tric Sparks" soon become accustomed to playing on a 
dirt floor, in bams having no windows and with what the 
doughboys called 'Ventilated" roofs, to let the Brittany 
rain in. The pianos universally suffered from that richness 
of tone which the Brittany sea air and seven days of rain 
a week gave to mediocre instruments which were never 
tuned. 

Their long spell of unremitting work took its usual toll. 
Miss Abbott was forced to remain at Brest to recover 
from an influenza-threatening cold, while Miss Thayer 
was operated upon at the same time for an eye affliction. 
This necessitated the regrouping of the company, but 
while in Paris Mr. Israel was fortunate enough to enlist 
in his company the services of Robert WooUey, a Y M C A 
Secretary from Schenectady, N. Y., who had come over 
in September as a religious worker and had been through 
the thick of the War as one of the best known vocalists 
and song leaders in the battle of the Argonne. 

The show had a lively final number composed of a medley 
of catchy song hits, working up to a climax in which the 
whole company, and the whole audience usually, joined 
in "The Darktown Strutters' Ball." At first Mr. 
Woolley was off the stage when this great number was 
put on, but one day he asked if he might not take part 
in it. So "The Electric Sparks" taught him some dance 
steps, lively ones but with due regard to his professional 
restraint, and at the next show Woolley appeared in the 
center of the stage and danced his steps in the finale. The 
result was a crashing, smashing hit, and the show closed 



142 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

amid the stormiest doughboy approval they had yet seen. 
Thus did the Church and stage cooperate to the profit 
and edification of the friendliest critic either of them ever 
had — the American doughboy. It was a partnership multi- 
plied in many other sectors, in the give-and-take fraternity 
of the World War — and many a doughboy got a religious 
message from a loyal old stage veteran like Will Cressy, 
and learned what a good laugh really was after seeing 
Robert WooUey on an A. E. F. stage. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

TWO MAKERS OF ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 

"// this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it 

as an impossible fiction. ^^ 

Twelfth Night. 

Two events occurred in the autumn of 1918, while the 
American Army was engaged in the great offensive, which 
carried the troupers to new conquests. The first event 
was the arrival direct from America of a dynamic per- 
sonaUty, a man so charged with magnetism that he be- 
came loved not only by every entertainer in France, but 
by every soldier with whom he came in contact. The 
second event was the arrival in France of a woman who 
was to "conquer" the Army of Occupation, after it con- 
quered the Germans. A. M. Beatty arrived in France 
early in September, 1918; and Dorothy Donnelly, vice- 
president of the Women's Stage Relief Society, arrived 
toward the last of September. Both immediately began 
to make history. 

Beatty is intimately known, perhaps, by more actors 
than any other man who went to France. Because of 
this important qualification, and his ability to make new 
friends, he was placed in charge of the Personnel Section 
at Entertainment Headquarters in Paris from the time of 
his arrival until June, 1919, when, at the request of Walter 
H. Johnson, Jr., who then returned to America, he was 
appointed his successor as chief of the whole entertain- 
ment organization. 

Familiarly known everywhere as "A. M.," Albert M. 
Beatty — theatrical manager by profession, diplomat by 
training, and a regular fellow, whose friends early dis- 

143 



144 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

covered his inexhaustible vein of golden humor — sat on 
the lid in the entertainment department during all this 
period. Sometimes the lid rocked, often it was shaken, 
and there were many rumblings underneath. But when 
you saw Beatty you knew at least ''one reason'^ why it 
was held down, and why the energies of hundreds of stage 
people were so well directed that the whole enterprise came 
out of the War with the imiversal approval and gratitude 
of the American Army. 

Beatty 's job was to direct the personnel. These are 
simple words, but they express a complex maze of duties 
far too numerous to recapitulate. One can only appeal 
to the imagination and endeavor to grasp the job of a man 
who had to fit the tempestuous moods and artistic tem- 
peraments of actors into a program for entertaining a 
fluctuating army in a country where transportation and 
accommodations were the most uncertain quantities in 
the whole uncertain war. Beatty had to do this, and he 
had to do it patiently, firmly, uncomplainingly, and suc- 
cessfully. The fact that he did it, and that everybody 
in any way connected with the operation acknowledges 
that he did it wonderfully well, is as great a tribute as 
can be paid to any man in a responsible position. Beatty^s 
personal qualifications for his job included a physical frame 
which should not be omitted in setting before the reader 
this picture of the man and his work. It was a combina- 
tion of John Bunny and Irvin Cobb — big, but none too 
big to contain Beatty's heart, and that is the main point 
in this story. 

When Beatty first arrived in France, the performers 
were being sent out on regular schedules and were being 
capably and methodically handled, but there was no one 
who really ''belonged" to the actors, who talked their 
own language, and provided a shoulder broad enough for 
them to weep out their troubles on. Beatty stepped into 
this gap and filled it completely. He also attended at 



TWO MAKERS OF ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 145 

once to some very vital details. He found that the enter- 
tainment troupes consisted mostly of parties too large 
to be taken in one car on tour. These he broke up into 
mobile units of not more than five persons. The total 
number could cover a wider field and entertain more men, 
and yet the units were big enough to put over something 
good "even with one member sick." 

Now matching up actors for units is no easy matter. 
One ship would bring over theatrical recruits with a pre- 
ponderance of piano players; another would land thirty 
artists, of whom twenty would be singers, and in Paris 
getting balanced parties ready for the road was a task to 
turn a man gray. But Beatty neither grew gray nor lost 
his avoirdupois. He insisted on keeping his smile. He 
made it a rule that anyone who couldn't smile at the close 
of the day's work in the office needed either a rest or a 
release — and they got one or the other. The units were 
first sent around the circuit near Paris for a few days, 
where Beatty could ''dash out of an evening and get a 
look at their work with the boys." This also gave the 
players time to quarrel, which, being human, they some- 
times did, and that called for readjustments. After the 
try-out was over, and the readjustments had been made, 
the units were booked for the big circuits and sent forth. 

Expense accoimts are fearful and wonderful things in 
the hands of theatrical folks. ''They simply don't know 
and can't understand them," explains Beatty, "and I 
couldn't deal with that phase of the work at all. But 
fortunately we had two ' Y' girls who could, and these women 
handled all our actors' expenses with a finesse that was 
another modern miracle. They conserved the funds and 
yet hurt no one's feelings, which was a delicate task. An- 
other 'Y' girl ran our complex card-indexing system, by 
means of which we knew the movements of every unit 
and the records and affairs of every individual actor." 

Let us observe the imperturbable chief awaiting the 



146 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

entrance of a typical "actress with a grievance" during 
the big days of the final drive in October, 1918. She has 
just come back from a tour in the Argonne, giving four or 
five shows a day; she is physically worn out and has a 
long list of grievances of which she says, "I want nothing 
more than justice, but the moment anybody starts to argue 
with me there will surely be an eruption." After a few 
moments' wait in the anteroom enter wornout actress 
through door at left, determined to blow up the manager, 
resign, and go home. Business of hand shaking and sitting 
down for talk. Then Beatty gets in his deadly work. 

"Well, well, I'm mighty glad to see you, but you look 
tired, and I know you are, because IVe been following 
you through every mile of that nasty mud. IVe known 
all about those awful billets. I know the food isn't what 
you ought to have, and yet they wire me youVe put it over 
in spite of everything and that you go strong. Now, youVe 
had a wretched time, but how those boys have laughed! 
IVe heard about it, and it did my heart good! We're all 
tickled to know what youVe put up with without a grum- 
ble and we're going to book you for a run into the S. O. S., 
w^here you can get a little rest and sleep in a real, honest- 
to-goodness hotel with a bed in the room and warm water, 
and have coffee with real sugar in it. Now I can see you're 
not yourself after this tour at the front, so just go to your 
hotel, and take twenty-foiu* hours of complete rest. I'd 
have my meals served in the room. Just lie around and 
read and rest and have your clothes cleaned and pressed, 
and then tomorrow, say in the afternoon at two, after a 
good luncheon, come in and we'll talk things over." 

She had been trying desperately to slip in her kick, but 
Beatty beat her to it on one long breath. Before she knew 
it Beatty was shaking her by the hand and patting her on 
the back, and she was saying: "Mr. Beatty, I wouldn't 
take a million dollars for my experience. It was too won- 
derful for anything. I did have a horrid time getting 
about, but I didn't suppose you knew how awful it was. 



TWO MAKERS OP ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 147 

and I didn't know you were keeping such a sympathetic 
watch over me. You're a perfect dear, and I'm going back 
just as soon as you'll let me to give those boys all the songs 
and dances I can crowd in. Please let me go back as soon 
as you can." 

Nobody could have blamed these actresses, for, though 
deep in their hearts they held an unswerving loyalty to 
the cause they had come to serve, surely this was no easy 
life for them. The reader who does not know the life of 
the stage cannot imagine how difficult it was for theatri- 
cal people suddenly to adapt themselves to the system of 
booking and traveling which necessarily prevailed in France. 

''In America, we managers do everything for the actress. 
They are told to have their trunks packed at five in the 
afternoon," said Beatty in discussing this problem, "and 
to be at the station at six. The porter takes the trunk 
from the hotel room to the sidewalk. The property man 
takes it to the station. There the manager checks it. 
He stands on the platform and says, 'Your berth number 
is 19.' In the morning he furnishes a list of hotels and 
tells how to reach them, while the property man sees that 
the right trunks go to the right hotels and rooms. The 
manager has informed them of the hour of the rehearsal 
or the curtain raising. The same thing goes on in endless 
succession. But 'over there' it was different. The actress 
had to be her own property man and she had to worry 
about her own transportation — generally in a Ford. No- 
body had time to worry for her. She studied her own time 
tables, and they were written in French; she got her meals 
where she could and more often went without them, and 
made the circuit on her own luck and initiative, but was 
held to the schedule. It was all very new and difficult 
for theatrical people." 

But there was another side to the experience, and Beatty 
saw this too. He acted on the principle that a good per- 
sonnel officer should get out into the field to see the con- 
ditions which his personnel was up against. And so we 
find Beatty getting away from Paris for a time in the thick 



148 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

of the fight, seeing his entertainers at work, watching 
the last shows given to the boys about to go into the Hne, 
and meanwhile writing inimitable Httle accounts of his 
impressions. 

'^One afternoon in the Argonne, I had one of our finest 
women violinists and a splendid contralto soloist sing and 
play for the boys of a machine gun battalion. It was in 
a natural amphitheater, with the women on the bottom 
of an overturned wagon on the hillside. The lads with 
their fighting equipment by their sides were pressing close 
around us — a thousand or more. We knew, and they 
knew, that at dusk they were going forward, and that in 
the early hours of the morning they would jump off for 
the great adventure. Part of the outfit had just come in 
as replacements and faced their first action. They knew 
they had taken the places of casuals. The veterans had 
in mind the fact that a man may go through one or two 
scraps imscathed, but with every additional zero hour his 
chances of not being hit grow less. We could hear the 
rattle of machine guns. Shells were dropping occasionally 
not far away. Overhead our aviators were patroUng the 
sky to keep the German observation planes from coming 
over into our rear. The boys didn't want jazz music then, 
they didn't want coon songs. The girls gave them the old 
tender ballads, things the mothers of these boys had loved. 
Finally the soloist said: ^Boys, I'll sing one more. What 
shall it be?' And what do you think they wanted? 'The 
End of a Perfect Day.' 

"I thought that girl would never carry on. I couldn't 
look at her myself, for fear I'd let her see a quiver of my 
lip. But she just nodded and to the sweet accompani- 
ment of the violin sang it as splendidly as if it were at a 
concert in Carnegie Hall. I knew she was using every 
ounce of her physical and nervous powers to hold her 
woman's heart strings from snapping. Then an officer of 
high conmiand stepped out and said, ^Miss, would you sing 
just one more? We want awfully to hear ^^The Rosary." ' 
And then she sang that. It was too much for me, and I 
went over and got very busy fixing things in the bottom 
of the automobile." 



TWO MAKERS OF ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 149 

One of the outstanding sentences in Walter Johnson's 
report in March, 1919, on the whole entertainment organ- 
ization under his command reads: *'As a result of his 
(Beatty's) lovable personality and tactful management, 
he has held a great many entertainers in France whose 
contracts would otherwise have expired.'' Mr. Steele 
also goes out of his way in his final report to say: "A. M. 
Beatty rendered invaluable service both during my tenure 
of office and that of Mr. Johnson as head of what we might 
call our Entertainment Personnel Division, receiving the 
incoming entertainers, grouping them into units, regroup- 
ing them when necessary, adjusting difficulties, straight- 
ening out tangles, and acting as a father confessor to many 
of the temperamental performers. Being a professional 
theatrical man himself, Mr. Beatty was admirably qualified 
for this work." 

Consequently, when Mr. Johnson returned to America 
at the end of June, 1919, A. M. Beatty was the logical 
choice as the new head of the entertainment organization 
overseas. At that time the entertainment section had 
grown to an organization possessing 850 theatres and huts, 
with a total seating capacity of more than 750,000, 
181 of which were first class, fully equipped, full-sized 
theatres. 

It was Beatty who maintained this organization at its 
highest pitch until the time came to ease off its activities 
with the rapid demobilization of the American Army. 
Even then, especially in the Paris and Le Mans areas, 
new demands for entertainment arose here and there, 
and the entertainment section was not able to finish its 
official work until August 16, 1919, remaining to the end 
as one of the last units of the whole American Army to be 
demobilized and sent home. It was with a full heart that 
Mr. Beatty closed the final report on August 30, 1919, 
with these words of just and proper pride: "We have a 
sense of having been of real benefit to the personnel of 



150 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

the Army and a feeling that our time has been well spent 
and that we can, in honor, write Finis,' ^ 



Now to our '^second event" — the achievement of Dorothy 
Donnelly. Of all that army of fine dramatic artists who 
went to France, it is fair to say that no one labored more 
diligently and self-sacrificingly, or accomplished greater 
results than Miss Donnelly, authoress, play collaborator, 
and one of the real personalities of the American stage. 

Dorothy Donnelly is best known to the American play- 
going public for her performance a few seasons ago in the 
title role of "Madame X." Long one of the organizers 
and leaders of the Stage Women's War Rehef, Miss Don- 
nelly was slated to go overseas as a dramatic coach and 
organizer of soldier drama activity as soon as war condi- 
tions permitted. Unfortunately her plans were subject 
to the same delays that unavoidably deterred the Over 
There Theatre League, but Miss Donnelly left on Sep- 
tember 17, 1918, and spent in France and Germany almost 
a year of untiring effort which made her one of the best 
known and best loved figures in the American Army. She 
took with her as collaborator and confrere, Mrs. Patricia 
Henshaw, a California girl who was a concert singer, pianist, 
and ingenue actress of ability and charm, and who became 
known and adored as Patsy throughout the ranks of the 
A. E. F. 

Miss Donnelly's activities up to the close of the War 
chiefly centered aroimd Chaumont, where the General 
Staff was located. Here she and Mrs. Henshaw originated 
and put together the first and one of the best soldier shows, 
known by the irresponsible title of "Ah, Oui, or Y Not?" 
This production was inspected by General Pershing, who 
thought so favorably of it that he invited the King of the 
Belgians and the Prince of Wales and other privileged 
persons to special performances in their honor, but most 



TWO MAKERS OF ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 151 

of all he recommended his oldest and best friend, the dough- 
boy, to go and see it. So ''Ah, Oui," had to make a tri- 
umphal trip to Paris and spent a happy week at the Champs- 
Elys^es Theatre. It then embarked on a tour of 
France. 

The most touching performance of "Ah, Oui" was given 
at Chaumont itself, however, not for General Pershing 
or for any other American, but as a Christmas ''jazzerina^' 
— a word patented by the "Ah Oui" company itself — for 
the kiddies of that little French provincial town. When 
they arrived they found, not strange American ragtime 
antics, but a beautiful little Christmas play in French, 
written for them by Captain Joseph Hanson of the American 
Army and acted by Dorothy Donnelly herself. At the 
close of the performance, which had to be put on several 
times so that all the children could see it, Miss Donnelly 
presided, also in French, in giving out the presents. 

Her own soldier actors, by now her fast friends, all 
pitched in and helped her, and formed an awed group of 
auditors for the little show in French. By this time they 
regarded Miss Donnelly as their own personal property 
and James Forbes, who was in the audience, just arrived 
from America, heard one of them say in a breathless under- 
tone: "Gee, listen to the way our Dorothy spills that stuff. '^ 
"It was the best instance I saw while in France," said 
Mr. Forbes afterward, "of the absolute identity of interest 
and of 'belonging' to the Army achieved by a member 
of the Over There Theatre League." 

Besides coaching and staging "Ah, Oui," and providing 
innumerable dresses, costumes, and lighting effects which 
helped to make that performance memorable. Miss Don- 
nelly and Mrs. Henshaw found time to give a series of 
shows in the camps and army centers which clustered 
thickly around Chaumont during the closing days of the 
War. In spite of all their other prepossessions. Miss Don- 
nelly and Mrs. Henshaw kept up almost a full-time program 



152 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

day by day, not excluding Sundays, always entirely sym- 
pathetic to the audiences they knew so well. 

Mrs. Henshaw had her own approach, which was none 
the less sure and triumphant. Not only was she one of those 
rare persons who can sing almost any song that ever has 
been written, but at one time or another during her stage 
and concert career she had packed away its words in her 
memory. Patsy Henshaw would sit down at the piano 
and play and sing the song you asked for just as the person 
you had in mind used to sing it on that romantic occasion 
you never could forget. 

On one occasion there was a crossroads service for a 
regiment of Negro troops, the last before they went into 
the line. A Negro chaplain had moved the hearts of his 
hearers with a stirring war sermon which ended with this 
fine appeal: "So now you colored soldiers, free citizens 
of America, at last have the opportunity to justify that 
freedom which white soldiers fought for and won for you 
sixty years ago. They are now watching to see if you, 
too, are worthy of the fight to keep that freedom alive in 
the world. Go in and win honor for yourselves and vic- 
tory for America, and God be with you.'' 

Then he announced in the most perfect stillness that 
"this little lady" was going to sing some of the songs which 
they had heard at their mothers' knees, their own songs 
that they could remember as they went into the ordeal 
ahead of them. Under the spell of this emotion-charged 
introduction, Mrs. Henshaw stepped forward and sang 
one after another of the Negro spirituals, arranged by 
the great Negro composer, Burleigh— "Going to Jerusalem, 
Just Like John," "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless 
Child," "Deep River," and the finest of all these primitive 
melodies, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Little by little, 
as she sang these beautiful harmonies, other voices stole 
into the refrain and as she concluded "Swing Low, Sweet 
Chariot," a choir was following her, singing the eight bar 



TWO MAKERS OF ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 153 

harmony in accurately placed male voices, swelling the 
melody to a beauty which no one who heard it could ever 
forget. The auditors stood silent after the song was over, 
many of them with the tears rolling down their dusky 
cheeks, but in the yell which arose as the little automobile 
drove away there was no weakness. It was a real war cry, 
and it will ring in the little singer's ears forever. 



The American Army was not an army of men alone. 
There were the army nurses who were fighting a battle 
of their own, none the less glorious, under conditions where 
an evening's relaxation and a little unadulterated fun 
might set up again the tone of the whole hospital personnel. 
The Roosevelt Hospital Unit from New York, which made 
up the bulk of the nurses of Base Hospital 15, just out- 
side of Chaumont, was the first large group of nurses to 
arrive in France. By Christmas, 1918, it had been in 
active service for eighteen months and was proudly dis- 
playing three service stripes among an Army most of 
whose members could still boast of only one. So when these 
nurses of Base Hospital 15 wanted to get up a show all 
their own and turned to Miss Donnelly for assistance, 
she let everything slip for the time being to help them 
do it. The nurses' 'Tollies" ensued. It opened with a 
rousing chorus of ''Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here," com- 
ing out strong on the second line, much to the joy of the 
patients and the doctors who crowded the hospital con- 
cert hall to suffocation. Miss Huntington, a plucky little 
nurse who had served in the advance dressing station 
along the Mame, wrote the show, and a wounded lieutenant 
arranged the music; so it was exclusively a home product. 
The chorus, diligently coached by Miss Donnelly, grouped 
itself attractively behind Miss Huntington as she sang, in 
a natty lieutenant's uniform, "They Go Wild, Simply 
Wild Over Me." But the most telling number of the 



154 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

evening was that of the nurse who dressed up ' 'eagles, 
mustache, and all/' to look exactly like the Colonel. 
She rode a bicycle across the stage and called down recreant 
nurses in a manner exactly like the original, who sat in the 
audience beneath. It only showed how much ''lady sol- 
diers" can get away with in war. The show was so funny 
and so admirably arranged and staged by Miss Donnelly, 
however, that there was no official aftermath save good- 
natiu-ed congratulations. 



In January, 1919, after a short rest in Paris, Miss Don- 
nelly and Mrs. Henshaw went up to Coblenz to under- 
take the second and last chapter of their service to the 
American Army. There Miss Donnelly directed for five 
months the soldier shows of the great Third Army. To 
say that she directed the theatricals of the Army of Occu- 
pation, however, is only to suggest the bare outline of 
the immense work she accomplished during this period 
which was so trying for all. Miss Donnelly deserves a 
substantial share of the credit for the sportsmanlike be- 
havior of the American Army in Germany; for not only 
did her little stock companies, led by her own Third Army 
Stock Company of Coblenz, put on a series of plays, but 
the entertainment program with which the Third Army, 
largely on Miss Donnelly's initiative, was fairly deluged, 
had a potent effect in every town in keeping the Amer- 
icans, figuratively speaking, in step and with their heads up. 

The danger that the Americans in Germany might have 
to rely on German music and German theatrical com- 
panies for their entertainment was averted, and the tide 
of German artists who thought they were going to reap 
a harvest was successfully rolled back before the widely 
enlisted array of American stage ability that Miss Don- 
nelly drew from the Third Army. The boys put on every- 
thing from "Box and Cox" to "Hamlet," and their own 



TWO MAKERS OF ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY 155 

orchestras played everything from ^'Just a Baby's Prayer 
at Twilight" to chamber music of the highest class. In 
fact, the little units of the American Army which are still 
left in Germany continue to reap the benefit from the 
entertainment program so competently carried on by 
Dorothy Donnelly. There were many able administrative 
heads whose cooperative effort made this achievement 
possible, but the genius, the inspiration, which brought 
forth the spontaneous response of the great American 
doughboy, belonged unforgettably to Dorothy Donnelly 
herself. 



CHAPTER XIX 
SPREADING JOY ALONG THE LINE 

"/^ would be argument for a week, laughter for a 

month f and a good jest forever.'' 

King Henry IV. 

The examples of endurance along the front would re- 
quire a Hall of Fame to perpetuate them. Every one 
of the entertainers faced deprivations and hardships that 
under ordinary conditions would have interrupted their 
bookings. There is the "Some Pep^^ Unit, for instance — 
it went "over'^ in this same autumn of 1918, headed by 
two of the best known acts on the vaudeville stage, Rita 
Walker, the dancer, and her partner-husband, Johnnie 
Cantwell. Traveling with them in this unit were Bessie 
Carrette of the Hippodrome, "High Jinks" and "The 
Pink Lady'' and George Botsford, one of the greatest jazz 
pianists in America. 

The "Some Pep" Unit put on real jazz vaudeville stuff 
all along the lines. They were waiting one day to catch 
their train at a big junction on the American line of com- 
munication. A long freight train came in, full of dough- 
boys en route for the front. The entertainers on the plat- 
form were not hard to spot. The boys yelled for an enter- 
tainment. They got not one, but a series of shows all 
along the train. Johnnie Cantwell and George Botsford 
sang all their songs half a dozen times. Bessie Carrette 
sang and danced, and little Rita Walker danced her jazz 
from one end of the train to the other. 

Johnnie Cantwell gives an alluring picture in real actor 
language of the way in which the troupe left for the front 
early in October, 1918: 

"We left for the field today loaded down with equip- 

156 




This is that so famous scene "over there." Arriving in 
a strange town, preferably late at night, and finding nary 
a "Y" representative or an army man to meet us — and 
asking in our best ousjht-to-be French, "Ou est la Amer- 
ican *Egreck M. C. Ah headquarter i?" 




On a Sight-Seeing Trip 




A Few Stadium Champions 



SPREADING JOY ALONG THE LINE 157 

ment/^ he says. "Can you imagine Rita Walker loaded 
down with a blanket roll, five blankets, a grip, banjo, 
musette bag, canteen, tin kelly, and a gas mask? And 
she insisted on carrying them all. As she started to walk 
down the platform to get into one of those trick railway 
coaches the sight of that blond apparition loaded for bear 
was too much for the French audience watching her, and 
the French people as a rule don't pay any attention to 
you no matter how you are made up. Soon two American 
doughboys tripped over each other and relieved her of 
most of her bundles. You will wonder why we did not 
help her, but the fact of the matter is that we were all 
loaded down, and if you didn't know George Botsford 
you would think that he was carrying equipment for a 
squad of doughboys minus the rifles. Well, we finally 
got into our compartment, after tripping over a couple 
of French generals." 

They finally arrived at their destination. To go on with 
Mr. Cantwell's story: 

"I was standing in the lobby of the hotel while Felix, 
the porter (by the way, all the porters in France are named 
Felix for no reason at all) was telling me the history of 
the War, and I called his attention to some of the shell 
marks in the lobby. He told me that right where I was 
standing three people were killed by a bursting shell. 
Bessie Carrette said, 'Let's get the air,' so we left Felix 
flat on the spot, before he had a chance to relate some 
horrible details of the War and spoil our whole day." 

The "Some Pep" Unit fixed up their show so that they 
could give it on the road, or on top of a box car, or on 
any sort of trick stage which turned up. This adaptability, 
backed by their physical exuberance and endurance, cer- 
tainly served them well, especially in their tours through 

the hospitals. On one occasion, Mr. Cantwell wrote home: 

• 

"We played a big hospital up near the front in the after- 
noon. It was quite a large place and when we made our 
entrance into one of the large wards and they realized 
that we were American vaudeville artists, well, I wish that 



158 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

you could have heard the cheering. For a moment, I forgot 
that I was in a hospital. We put on the show and put 
all the 'zizz' on, too. After we had gone all through the 
place, and had counted up the house in every ward, we 
found that our company in an hour and a half had sung 
a hundred and twelve songs, and Rita had done her dance 
twenty-seven times, and when I got through I found out 
that I had tm-ned into a beautiful tenor.'' 

When they got back to the officers' quarters after giving 
their show, they heard one of the officers say, ''Well, Sam- 
mie would certainly have enjoyed this." It turned out 
that Sammie was an aviator who had started on a dan- 
gerous mission that morning and had not returned. Just 
as the entertainers were finishing their sandwiches and 
coffee preparing to go back to their barracks, a pale face 
was thrust through the door and a voice said, ''Well, boys, 
what have we here?" It was Sammie! He had crashed, 
and come back in a friendly ambulance unhurt save for 
a few scratches. The returned aviator heard so much 
about the "Some Pep" show that there was nothing to do 
but to stage the whole performance all over again just 
for Sammie. Then the tired quartet went back at last 
to their hotel to prepare for more shows in the evening. 

"Talking about the morale of the Army," says Mr. Cant- 
well, "and how our shows affect the boys — we played in 
a camp where the boys had not seen an American show 
since their arrival in France. There were about three 
thousand in the audience, and they were hanging all over 
the rafters, and looking in the windows. The lights were 
not working that night and the best we could do was a 
row of candles for footlights and two lanterns for 'borders' ; 
then they rigged up an auto lamp for a spot light and 
away we went after them — and those boys thought that 
'theatre' was lit up like the Hippodrome. I have never 
in my life heard such cheers as we all received that night. 
I happened to meet the colonel who was in charge of that 
camp in Paris a few days later and he told me almost 
with tears in his eyes that he would never be able to repay 



SPREADING JOY ALONG THE LINE 159 

US for that entertainment we had given the boys; that they 
were all like new men, happy and contented, and that 
their efficiency had gone up a hundred per cent, and they 
were all telling our jokes over again.'' 



When the roll for ''endurance" is called, there is one 
pair of mere men who should be allotted a substantial 
share of credit for the extraordinary nerve and pluck they 
added to an unusually successful and picturesque act 
overseas. These are Harry H. Perry and Frank A. Vardon, 
two Denver boys, who went over in October, 1918, and in 
175 days of practically continuous entertaining gave 335 
performances, each packed full of an hour of live-wire 
music and singing. Vardon and Perry were true trouba- 
dours — wandering minstrels. They produced the music 
by means of two instruments slung over their backs, a 
little guitar and a big bull guitar, but every boy will testify 
that those instriunents certainly did create harmony. 
Vardon and Perry played to the American troops in England, 
France, Luxemburg, Germany, Belgium, and even in 
Holland. Their enthusiasm was so great that the strain 
and hardships were too much for Harry Perry. He de- 
veloped a very serious throat disorder on his way home, 
and the ship's surgeon declared that only by means of an 
immediate operation could his voice be saved. The opera- 
tion was successful, and Perry and Vardon came home 
in June, 1919, a tired but thoroughly rewarded pair of 
full-time entertainers. 

The unit which went with them through the war zone 
was known as 'The Live Wires." It included Helen Colley 
as accompanist, who had accompanied the well-known 
baritone, Henri Scott; Dora Robeni, vaudeville and stock 
company actress in the Middle West; and the charming 
Uttle Kentuckian, Margot Williams, whose over-night 
success in the first production of "Experience" established 
her on Broadway some years ago. 



160 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Miss Williams gives a little picture of the audiences 
they played to, in one of her letters home: 

"They told us/' she said, "that one show of the Y M C A 
was worth a week's leave of absence to the boys, and I 
can readily understand it when I remember how the boys 
after each performance had begged us to send some other 
shows to them as soon as we got back to Paris. The most 
satisfactory work we ever did was with the sick and wounded. 
We would go to hospitals and give a performance on each 
floor and sometimes in each ward. Wounded soldiers 
would take me by the arm and beg me not to leave with- 
out singing again. One I remember particularly; he was 
blind, and our singing, his friends told me, had been the 
first thing that had interested him in months." 



Another of these original joy spreaders in the Army 
at this time was Burr Mcintosh — actor, lecturer, raconteur, 
war correspondent. He went over to France early in 
November, 1918, just in time to go straight up into Ger- 
many and become one of the veteran entertainers in that 
entertainment-hungry sector. A writer who was touring 
the American Army shortly after it moved into Germany 
gives this graphic description of the type of entertainment 
Burr Mcintosh selected from among his talents to give 
the doughboys: 

"Picture, then, a big room, probably once the dining- 
room of a hotel where rich Germans and foreigners came 
as tourists to take a ^cure.' This high, square place is 
crowded with boys in khaki, sitting on the benches and the 
window sills, and standing against the wall. 

"Up there on the platform is big Burr Mcintosh and 
behind him a knot of amateur performers. Big Burr is 
just talking — ^just rippling along, with here a story full 
of laughs, there a bit of homely advice which received the 
tribute of silent attention, then a question about what 
those boys are going to do with their future which stirs 
the hearts and ambitions of his listeners. Perhaps he 
rises up and teaches the audience, 'Will yez all be wid 



SPREADING JOY ALONG THE LINE 161 

me when I tackle Paddy Flynn?' Perhaps he shows some 
of those marvelous card tricks of his which used to im- 
press King Edward.'* 

Burr Mcintosh varied his program with a lecture which 
he called *'The Beast Hunters/' a straight-from-the-shoulder 
warning against anarchy and Bolshevism, which was a 
serious interlude in the midst of his funny stories. One 
of his most frequent hits was a little poem he wrote himself 
called ''The Doughboy." He lectured constantly, never 
missing a night, and would have been at it all the time 
if rheumatism had not gotten hold of him. He was ill with 
rheumatism in Coblenz for five weeks and a half and later 
in Paris for three weeks and a half. But during the time 
he was able to be on the road he was an inspiration to the 
boys, who never failed to admire his type of upstanding 
adventurous American. 



No reminiscence of this period would be complete with- 
out a tribute to 'The Laugh Barrage." Here we find 
Kate Condon as the leading spirit, one of the finest Gil- 
bert and Sullivan actresses of the American stage. She 
is ably supported by Amy Horton, formerly pianist at 
Oscar Duryea's celebrated dancing school; Harry Adler, 
the vaudeville ventriloquist; Florence Nelson, whom every- 
body remembers as the "banjo girl"; David Lemer and 
Paula Sherman. 

Here, too, we meet on the roads of France "The Gloom 
Chasers," a gallant sextette composed of Ray Walker, 
Ida Van Tine, Olive Palmer, Hinda Hand, Bonnie Murray, 
Eddie Fredericks, and Dunbar Averitt, one of the greatest 
encouragers of sunshine the gloom-infested area of Le Mans 
ever had. 

Here we greet "The Quaint Quintette," including the 
twins, Mary and Marie McFarland, who had a splendid 
interchanging vaudeville act; Jack Cook, one of the best 



162 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

chalkologists in vaudeville; and an anonymous (as far as 
the records go) accompanist. And here, too, we listen to 
'Tricks and Tunes," which includes the lyric soprano, 
Nella Allen; the pianologist and magician, Henry Markus; 
and his charming partner in vaudeville, Erminie Whittell. 



While chronicling, we must follow for a moment one of 
the breeziest of all the companies that came over — 'The 
Manhattan Four," headed by Carol McComas, the Broad- 
way actress who graduated from musical comedy to dra- 
matic eminence. Walter Dale, formerly one of the ablest 
juvenile actors on the American stage, supported her, and 
the two other members of the company were Jane Tuttle, 
soloist at the Flatbush Congregational Church and Calvary 
Baptist Church in New York, and Eleanore Rogers, from 
the Society of American Singers' revivals of Gilbert and 
Sullivan at the Park Theatre in New York. 

'The Manhattan Four" upon their arrival in France 
were given the privilege of going straight to Verdun. Here 
they entertained the many units of the American Army 
that were in radiating distance of that famous citadel. 
The most genuine approval of their performance comes 
from a detachment of the Fourteenth Engineers, who ad- 
dressed the following little panegyric on the Manhattan 
Four 'To the Whole World": 

"Never in our experience on this western front has 
anything pleased us as did the Manhattan Four last evening. 
Eighteen months' absence from the theatre and entertain- 
ment may sound like a short time to the average man, 
but only those who have done without amusement as we 
have can describe the yearning that comes over one to see, 
hear, and be thrilled by the songs and patter of clever 
entertainers. And so we looked forward to the Manhattan 
Four — and we judged them long before we ever saw them. 
'Let's go,' we said. 'It will be good just to see American 
talent but, of course, we cannot look forward to the stuff 
we had at home.' Well, sir, we take it all back. 



SPREADING JOY ALONG THE LINE 163 

'That entertainment was the stuff to give the troops, 
and it was the stuff that cut the distance from here to the 
U. S. A. from three thousand miles to zero. Miss Jane 
Tuttle's songs were rendered with a tone that was as smooth 
and mellow as that hammock scene she described. Could 
we hear better at home? We could not! Miss Eleanore 
Gala Rogers also was very charming, and it will be many, 
many days before her beautiful voice and those songs, 
which made such a hit with us, are forgotten. Miss Carol 
McComas and Walter Dale? Oh, Boy! More action than 
the British artillery, and if they didn't remind us of the 
good old days back home, I'll hope something! 

'^Gentle Reader, our words are weak — yes, they are 
weaker than army coffee — in trying to express our appre- 
ciation of the Manhattan Four. We are modest and all 
that, but, outside of boasting of our third gold stripe, the 
thing we are the most proud of is the fact that we saw the 
Manhattan Four." 



CHAPTER XX 

SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 

^^This is the very coinage of your brain: 

This bodiless creation ecstasy 

Is very cunning in." 

Hamlet. 

November 11, 1918, brought to men and women of all 
races and religions release from the tension and horror of 
war. The effect on the soldiers was more indirect, more 
subtle, but no less positive than had been the dangers 
of war. 

The American Army, with the rest of the world, dropped 
down into the long wait before the home-going — the months 
that dragged on and on before the victorious soldiers be- 
gan their last, long journey home. The motives which 
had dominated the lives of officers and men had, in large 
measure, been removed. All joined in the most popular 
and appealing refrain of the War, ^'We want to go home." 
Officers were to be demoted or permitted to resign, men 
were to be demobilized. The War was over, the motive 
for training and discipline was gone, but the courage of 
3,000,000 homesick men had to be maintained 3,000 miles 
from the homes which some of them were not to see for 
months to come. 

During these dangerous months of waiting the enter- 
tainers entered upon their last and greatest campaign. 
While the days of adventure and danger at the front were 
over, there was a new enemy to fight — the most dangerous 
of all — homesickness. "Your work has only just begun," 
was the order that ran along the lines of the entertain^^. 
''You helped to win the War — now help to keep the boys 

164 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 165 

happy and fit until the great day of the movement home^ 
ward." 

It was at this crucial moment that the campaign for 
soldier shows was set in operation — and the whole Army 
either became players or the willing prisoners of the play- 
ers to whom they surrendered. There was talent enough 
in the A. E. F. to furnish an imlimited number of shows. 
The problem was to discover and assemble that talent, 
coach and costume the acts, and furnish theatres as soon 
as the companies were ready to appear behind the foot- 
lights. So Uncle Sam became the senior partner in "the 
greatest theatrical business in the world." 

Carl J. Balliet of Buffalo, New York, had first gone 
overseas in December, 1917, as a Hut Secretary. He was 
called back to France in November, 1918, and became 
Entertainment Secretary at Base Hospital No. 1, at St. 
Nazaire, where he started in organizing soldier shows. 
General Orders 241, by conmiand of General Pershing, 
directed "the attention of all concerned to the importance 
of encouraging the development of all kinds of appro- 
priate talent." Not only did the order provide for the 
detailing of an officer from the General Staiff as Army 
Entertainment Officer, but specified that such officers 
should be detailed in "each corps and division." It further 
ordered : 

"Commanders of regiments and other similar units 
will also detail suitable officers to supervise the entertain- 
ment activities of their units. All commanders will give 
every encouragement, consistent with military require- 
ments, to the development of soldier talent within their 
commands: First, in the production of theatrical shows 
within the division or other unit, and second, for the train- 
ing of small groups of entertainers suitable for giving 
entertainment in the neighboring units and for touring 
the A. E. F." 

This order appeared December 29, 1918, and was sup- 



166 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

plemented by Bulletin No. 1, January 28, 1919. So prompt 
was the response that within thirty days 1,000 members 
of the A. E. F. who had been professional actors had been 
card indexed and sixty soldier actor units had begun tour- 
ing France and occupied Germany. 

Here let us give credit where it is due. The notable 
success of this entertainment campaign is due to the out- 
standing ability and tireless labors of Colonel John R. 
Kelly, Army Entertainment Officer, and Lt. Col. R. B. 
Gamble, Entertainment Officer of the services of supplies. 
There were no men in the Army better qualified for these 
responsibilities — and their achievement is one of the finest 
records in the World War. 

This soldier talent movement had started from a very 
small beginning. Before the Armistice ''The Crimson 
Cocoanut," a play by Ian Hay, had been produced by 
two Englishmen attached to Base Hospital No. 1 in St. 
Nazaire. Carl J. Balliet had used "The Crimson Cocoanut'^ 
as the nucleus of a vaudeville show with soldier actors, 
which gradually worked itself into a musical comedy 
bearing little resemblance to the original drama. Mr. 
Balliet's continued utilization of army talent for enter- 
tainment in the St. Nazaire region provided a model for 
the entertainment directors of the rest of the areas of 
France. 

In the fighting days before the Armistice Clarke Silver- 
nail, who was an actor before he became a soldier, presented 
the Cohan and Harris show "What Happened to Jones" 
with soldier talent. This play was a milestone, for it 
proved that the boys at the front wanted to see shows 
with "women" in them, even though the "chorus girls" 
had masculine voices and wore hobnailed shoes. The 
idea soon spread, until every soldier show had its heroine 
and some even had pony ballets. Under Army Order 241, 
not only soldiers and Y M C A girls but Red Cross nurses 
and Knights of Columbus and Salvation Army workers 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 167 

could be detailed for entertainment duty, so that real 
girls were finally secured from these organizations to act 
in soldier shows, as well as the professional actresses brought 
over from America. 

The development of dormant talent in the A. E. F. 
had started during hostilities, but after the Armistice work 
on a big scale really began. In transforming 15,000 dough- 
boys and sailors, with now and then an officer, into singers, 
dancers, and spotlight favorites, George W. Doyle, assistant 
and successor to Carl J. Balliet, played a prominent part. 
Under his direction men fresh from the lines, motor me- 
chanics, marines — in fact, men in every branch of the 
service — were recruited to play before doughboy audi- 
ences. The old-fashioned amateur night proved the best 
means of discovering talent in the Army, not only the 
professional but the undeveloped talent. 

Under the direction of Colonel John R. Kelly and 
Lt. Col. R. B. Gamble, all the army entertainment officers 
in divisions and regiments effected liaison with "Y" secre- 
taries, having their desks in the same offices wherever 
that was possible. Through them, under plans developed 
by Mr. Doyle, announcement was made in every company 
that there would be a try-out in the local hut, that prizes 
would be given, and that the men who made good would 
be chosen for army shows. 

No one was quicker to appreciate and encourage the 
efforts of a comrade in these try-outs than the soldier, but 
it was hard to ^'put anything over^* on him. For instance, 
in one camp a would-be monologuist, whose ancient jokes 
were received in silence, tried to rally his auditors. 

''What's the matter?" he said. "Can't you guys fol- 
low me?" 

''Speed up, bo, we're fifty years ahead of you," was 
the prompt retort from a man in the third row. 

Those soldier audiences were competent judges, too, 
for a large number of able-bodied men of fighting age 



168 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

were on the American stage when America entered tlie 
War. These were not slow about volmiteering, and many 
of these soldier-actors were men who would not have been 
in the draft. In nearly every regiment there was at least 
one man with stage experience and they were eager to 
get into the work. 

The best talent brought out in a company show went 
into a regimental show, where it was given professional 
coaching. When the coach considered the troupe ^'good 
enough'' it was tried out all through the division. Then 
if it seemed good enough for the A. E .F. circuit it was 
outfitted, costumed, and given its traveling orders. The 
army entertainment officer took the men selected and or- 
dered them detailed for entertainment duty, supervising 
their transportation, discipline, and all military matters. 
The "Y" furnished coaches, costumes, stage sets, musical 
instruments, plays and parts where they were not written 
by the soldiers, sheet music, and expense money. 

At the Play Factory at Tours soldier shows were manu- 
factured almost while you waited. Here, on the side door 
of one of the buildings which forms the big square of bar- 
racks and headquarters offices of the Services of Supply, 
was a sign reading: "Entertaining Training Studios, 
A. E. F.— Y M C A.'' 

The sign was not misleading. Those studios certainly 
were entertaining, apparently a riotous scene of turmoil, 
and a pandemonium of pianists, pirates, dancers, and 
acrobats. The real name of the place, however, by which 
it became known to all the A. E. F. entertainment workers, 
was "The Play Factory." For there, plays for the enter- 
tainment of all the soldiers in France were originated, 
written, cast, equipped, rehearsed, and staged, with a 
speed and effectiveness which would make Belasco or the 
Shuberts open their eyes in admiration. 

Lt. Col. R. B. Gamble and his staff occupied half the 
office. In the other half were Howard L. Acton, of New York, 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 169 

''Y" Entertainment Director for the Services of Supply, 
and his assistants. Colonel Gamble and Mr. Acton worked 
out all the general plans for soldier entertainment in France. 
With Colonel Gamble's approval, Mr. Acton suggested 
and created the Play Factory. The soldier talent here 
was taken in charge by two professional coaches. George 
Spink, of East Providence, Rhode Island, who used to 
write sketches for Jesse Lasky and is also a popular song 
writer, sitting at the piano fired a continual stream of 
directions, criticisms, and encouragement, and never missed 
a note. Miss Isabel Kennedy coached not only doughboys 
but ''Y'' girls, Red Cross nurses, and occasionally French 
girls. Though the Army was proud of the A. E. F. ^ ^chorus 
girls" and every regiment was sure it had the greatest 
boy-girl in the world, yet there was a crying, sometimes a 
swearing, need of real girls. 

Much of the coaching was done by a twenty-three year 
old sergeant, Teddy Symans, who before the War turned 
out vaudeville sketches for the Western circuits. At nine 
o'clock he would be rehearsing a trio of dancing and sing- 
ing artists in the ways of jazz; at ten he would be rehearsing 
a skit on the Russian Bolsheviki written by him the night 
before; in the afternoon he might train A. E. F. ^ ^chorus 
girls"; and from seven to ten he rehearsed ''The Black 
Babies" in a revue written by him on Southern plantation 
life. "The Black Babies" had offered their own contribu- 
tion, an original skit entitled "Your Man Friend," but 
since this plot was hung too lightly on the familiar tri- 
angle situation, Symans had to rewrite the show. The 
result was "The Black Babies" in a two-hour revue — cake- 
walk, jazz, buck and wing, and everything — which prom- 
ised to be sent forth on the road in a week's time if the 
piano jazz artist could be released for art and service. 
For he, it must be stated, was kept from rehearsal by the 
harsh confines of the headquarters guardhouse. He could 
play the piano, but he would also fight. "As soon as Henry 



170 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

gets out of the guardhouse," explained Symans, "you 
fellows go on the road.'^ 

Nine complete original soldier shows were produced in 
the last three months of the Play Factory's existence, and 
in addition several times that number were reconstructed 
and freshened with new songs and dialogue. Hundreds 
of individual acts were tried out. Captain Sadler wrote 
three librettos — "The Hindustan" produced by the Eleventh 
Infantry, Twenty-Eighth Division; "One for You and One 
for Me," produced as the official show of the Services of 
Supply, and the major part of "She Should Worry," the 
Twenty-Eighth Division show. Spink was the author of 
"Home Again," produced by the Thirty-Third Engineers, 
and "The Moppers Up." The Tours Players, who so 
pleased General Pershing that he aided the soldier actors 
in the show to obtain transfer from the Army to the 
Y M C A, were organized and coached there. The Le Mans 
Company, famed for its "Wild Fire" production, was also 
coached there. Both of these organizations were made up 
entirely of professional players, the men being from the 
Army and the women from the Over There Theatre League. 
For the try-outs of shows before soldier audiences, the 
Trianon Theatre was operated, the largest playhouse in 
the city. The Play Factory was so successful in raising 
the standard and increasing the number of army shows, 
that the idea was expanded and Paris, Bordeaux, and 
St. Nazaire had similar "factories," all clearing through the 
head offices in Tours. 



In this vast cooperative theatrical business, there was 
so great a demand for coaches that a special class at the 
Carnegie Institute of Technology, in Pittsburgh, gave 
intensive training to prepare soldier talent directors. When 
the specially trained coach arrived in France he was sent 
to a division, taking with him an assortment of costumes 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 171 

and stage properties suited to the needs of that division. 
He would then organize a dramatic club, using soldier 
talent almost exclusively. These shows would visit near-by 
divisions, which would repeat their performance one after 
another in turn. And there were "Y'^ girl dramatic coaches, 
too. In Finisterre Mary Sedgwick and Rose Glass trained 
the bluejackets of that region for vaudeville and min- 
strel shows. 

Keen competition was encouraged and many soldier- 
actor plays were produced. U. S. ambulance sections 
with the French Army organized jazz bands, and various 
regiments and divisions put on musical shows and vaude- 
ville skits. Soon the Soldier- Actor Division had 500 special 
theatrical units, ranging in size from ten to one hundred, 
touring the A. E. F. circuit. Each theatrical unit of im- 
portance went through the Play Factory at Tours, where 
the finishing touches were given before the road trips 
began. 

When a show was hammered into shape by the coaches 
and had gone through some one of the play factories, it 
was costumed and outfitted. This was a vast business 
in itself. From March, 1918, to May 1, 1919, 23,138 cos- 
tumes were provided; musical instruments and accessories 
18,136, including 1,590 obtained by the Third Army; 
sheet music 447,908 copies, including 350,000 published 
by the Third Army; orchestrations 18,100, including 
8,000 from the Third Army; music books 11,124; and 
plays 4,205. 

Before the Armistice Orlin Mallory Williams, formerly 
of Westminster, Colorado, had the always strenuous and 
often unenviable job in Paris of Y M C A costumer to 
the khaki troupes. It was his task to see that there were 
frills for the Elsie Janises of the Army and wigs for the 
martial chorus girls. Many of these garments were con- 
tributed by actors and actresses back in the States. Win- 
throp Ames sent over twenty-six trunks of costumes in 



172 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

June, 1918. Here were Indian outfits, period robes. Uncle 
Sam suits, cowboy rigs, hoopskirts — everything that a 
khaki actor might require. 

The soldiers had their own wardrobe mistresses, too. 
A staff of French seamstresses renovated the costumes 
and other properties, and their task was far from being an 
easy one. "Ten inches bigger at the waistline this has 
to be made!" you could hear one of them groaning as she 
held up the ball gown of a well-known actress back home. 
"They simply can't learn not to step on their trains," 
another would say, exhibiting a rent that at first glance 
looks beyond hiunan skill. "My boys are the finest actors 
of their kind in the world," asserted Mr. Williams, "But 1 
have to admit that chiffon floimces don't last very long 
with them! They forget that they are ladies and take 
long steps when they have them on!" 

Appeals for supplies were varied. Negro wigs were 
unknown in France imtil the doughboy came, and thou- 
sands had to be brought over, enough to camouflage an 
army corps. Letters like this would come in: 

"The Machine Gim Company wants six ukuleles, 

three bass viols, twenty wigs, lots of grease paint, and 
six pairs of bones, and the Colonel says the 'Y' will send 
them. WeVe got the greatest nigger show on earth! Now 
shoot, Mr. ^Y' man and we'll show you the real thing! 
(Signed) Private John Henry." 

Then there was the call for gowns for the A. E. F. "chorus 
girls" — that grew to be a big business. Some of the gowns 
were creations by the most famous dressmakers — Lucille, 
Paquin, or Worth. Dimng one month alone (March, 1919) 
36,118 men were costumed for 4,000 productions, divided 
into 134 units that played in 281 different theatres. These 
costumes ranged all the way from poUcemen's uniforms to 
debutantes' ball gowns. In fact, the A. E. F. debutante 
of the 1919 model was especially successful. "She" may 
have fought in the Argonne or Chateau-Thierry as train- 




>iJ-?'-i tJ CO 03 

j3 3 ^ ^ K_g 

02 O fl 2 ^ 

^ ^ >■ ia 



oc 






O 0) •'S 






•-^ 13 O S S 03 a, 



.>^^ 

C"^'^ 



<=> ai^ >^c3 ^t3 
^ ^ ^ bc.S ^ o 

a ^ > '^ f-i ^ 



bC . 

fl ^ 02 



Ci^ci 5^ S'o S 



a fl 



^ 



b 03 o 



5Po = ggg.« 

O GQ 02 O 




+^ O O -, 50 

§^ o ^ o 



fac S P a; 
03 03 ^ C! 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 173 

ing for her ''maiden effort," but her back-of-the-footlights 
manner retained nothing of the offensive. 

''Are you a lady?'^ inquires the beautiful young gentle- 
man in the dress suit. "Gawd, I try to be," she answers 
in perfect New York. 

"I want a costume for a lady," said the entertainment 
officer of the 316 F. A. of the Wild Cat Division. "What 
size?" asked the "Y" costumer. "About a perfect forty- 
two," he ventured. 

Two "gobs" chorus ladies were sent up to Paris to select 
their own costumes. They fared very nicely until it came 
to the choice of the shoes. "Des shoes pour moi," the 
younger and fairer urged of the shopkeeper. A sturdy 
pair of hobnailed buckskins were presented. "Non, non, 
comme ga," he pointed to a pair of high heelers. Then 
followed an argument in which the sanity of the sailor 
was openly questioned by the shopkeeper. The chorus 
ladies departed sans slippers. "Gee, they're a race with- 
out imagination," he maligned, "they can't even recognize 
a blushing heroine when she admits it." 

At Nantes, one of the most famous costiuning establish- 
ments in France worked exclusively for the soldier actor 
section and at Coblenz a complete German costume house 
was taken over. Scenery departments were established in 
every area. In St. Nazaire German prisoners painted 
scenery for doughboy shows. 



Music was an inseparable part of these soldier shows. 
Many of them were musical revues, and dancing skits that 
made music absolutely necessary. There was plenty of 
musical talent in the Army, but the crying need was for 
instruments. Because of an army regulation, the boys 
in general could not take their instruments to France. 
Instruments were very expensive there, because their 
manufacture had been suspended during the War, so the 



174 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

boys^ pay would not permit their buying them. In the 
Army of Occupation sheet music was put out in bulk by 
a photographic process. German composers were hired 
to make orchestral compositions, which were also photo- 
graphed and put out in enormous quantities. 

After the Armistice a number of army show units were 
taken over into the "Y*' service. The American Ambulance 
Jazz Band saw six months of active service with the Italian 
Army. It also gave special concerts under the auspices 
of Ambassador Page and Princess Yolando, appearing in 
Florence, Rome, Bologna, Naples, and Venice, where it 
gave a gondola jazz concert on the Grand Canal. Its 
concerts so amazed and delighted the Italians that the 
biggest phonograph concern in Italy offered to pay a high 
price for records. Owing to army regulations, however, 
the contract was declined, but the band played for fifteen 
records, which are immensely popular in Italy. Later, 
they were granted several months of additional time in 
France to tour the leave areas and base ports. Their fine 
war record and their ability to put pep into the Yankee 
troops made them a great attraction. 

General Pershing's "Own Band" of 105 musicians 
selected from all the combatant divisions, which was at 
Chaumont for five months under the directorship of Lieu- 
tenant Fisher, represented the best musical talent in the 
A. E. F. It delighted many Parisian audiences at the 
Cirque de Paris, and at concerts for the French Homes 
Association. It played for the soldier athletes of twenty- 
two different nations competing at the International Games 
at the Pershing Stadium near Paris. It made its final 
appearance in France in the Victory Parade on Bastille 
Day, marching under the Arch of Triumph with the vic- 
torious Allied Armies. Later it appeared in triumphal 
parades in America. 

The famous Scrap Iron Jazz Band, with each member 
a real artist in jazz, which was composed of members of 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 175 

Washington University, St. Louis, and Western Reserve 
University, Cleveland, after being attached for nearly 
two years to the British forces toured the American camps 
and leave centers of France for several months. These 
were only a few of the organizations, large and small, 
which made American marches and American jazz known 
and popular throughout France. 

Many of the soldier shows, as we have seen, had former 
professional stage men in them — actors from the trenches — 
as well as amateurs; others made much of the fact that 
not one of the cast had ever been on the professional stage, 
such as the "O. U. Wild Cats," the Eighty-First Division 
show which became one of the most popular in the A. E. F. 
One of the earliest soldier shows was the Argonne Players 
of the Seventy-Seventh Division. They staged their first 
performance in the Argonne Forest in a German built 
theatre, twenty-four hours after it had been wrested from 
the enemy. Their show, "The Amex Revue, '^ written 
by Lieutenant Warren E. Diefendorf, was put on by a 
troupe of thirty soldiers who had had theatrical experience 
before entering the War. On their first divisional tour 
the Argonne Players actually performed under shell-fire. 
In spite of this not a performance was postponed. After 
its first performance, the revue was presented in ruined 
cathedrals, tents, underground theatres, chateaux, huts, 
and on open-air platforms. President and Mrs. Wilson 
and the members of the Peace Commission attended the 
performance of the Argonne Players in the Champs Elys^es 
Theatre, Paris. The boys of the division think that the 
President hastened their sailing date when he heard their 
song, "We Would Like to Know Just How Soon Before 
It's Over, Over Here" — for they sailed soon after appear- 
ing before him. 



There was plenty of pathos, too, that was inseparable 



176 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

from France in those days. In a hospital near Tours, 
for instance, a show was given ^Tor men on crutches only." 
The stage was on operating tables. Wings and curtains 
and scenery were made of sheets. There was no music, 
lest it disturb other patients. Yet the performance made 
such a hit that the one-legged men passed their crutches 
out of the windows so that the soldiers not ''fortunate" 
enough to have had their legs shot off could get in. 

Then there were "The Convalescent Entertainers," a 
group of eleven privates organized while all its members 
were patients in Base Hospital No. 46 at Bazoilles. The 
men were strangers before they met in the hospital, though 
all were professionals before their enlistment. One drizzling 
day, one of the men sat up in bed and asked for an ac- 
cordeon. When he began to play another man sat up 
and stared. 

"I may be crazy," he said, ''but you sound a lot like 
Val Marconi of Marconi's Wireless Orchestra." 

"Discovered," admitted the accordeonist. "And haven't 
I seen your face on the screen?" 

"I did juveniles for Keystone Comedies a couple of 
years," confessed the other. "I'm 'Sunshine Hall.' " 

In a few minutes nine others of the listening patients 
who had been stage professionals introduced themselves, 
and before they left the hospital they had evolved a show 
of their own and produced it for the other patients. It 
made such a hit that, after touring France, they spent a 
week entertaining at the Palais de Glace and in other 
Paris centers and hospitals. 

A soldier show contest was held at Is-sur-Tille among 
all the companies in that camp to determine the best show. 
More than 150,000 men saw the contests. The choice was 
made on a percentage basis, taking scenery, costumes, 
music, and pep into consideration. The winners were 
Supply Company 321 and A. S. O. No. 1, for the show "A 
Day in School at Hicksville." They were awarded the 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 177 

prize which was a dance at the Officers' Headquarters, 
where all officers were excluded and plenty of American 
girls were furnished. 

In New York, theatres have been built for stars, but in 
France one theatre was built for the first presentation of 
the soldier play, ^'Ah, Oui." "It is apparently much sim- 
pler to build a whole new theatre than it is to rehearse 
one play/' observed the coach, Miss Dorothy Donnelly. 
The auditorium was started on Monday morning and 
Friday evening it opened its box office. The morning of 
the performance of the "Ah, Oui," the orchestra looked 
over the new theatre and revolted. "We have no orchestra 
pit," they objected. "Then build one," suggested Miss 
Donnelly. Ten hours is, after all, a long time. Accord- 
ingly, they dug a pit, cemented it, and when the curtain 
rose at 8.15 that evening. Lieutenant Fisher rapped for 
attention in one of the best appointed orchestra pits east 
of the Mame. 

"Liberty Bells" was the Thirty-Third Division show, 
which had the distinction of being the first American 
soldier show to play in Belgium and Luxemburg before 
French as well as doughboy audiences. A Luxemburg 
paper said of this musical comedy: "The performance was 
perfect in every way. The management was that of a 
field officer. Fifty per cent of the audience stood for an 
hour and a half, shoulder to shoulder, with stretched 
necks. . . . And the orchestra was a revelation with its 
accompaniments; the rhythm was clean cut. I had but 
one fear — that the head of the orchestra director might 
drop off from his exertions while leading the music." Evi- 
dently their American jazz pleased the dramatic critic of 
Luxemburg's leading paper. 



Largest of all the soldier shows, with its cast of 160, 
was the Eighty-Eighth Division play, "Who Can Tell?" 



178 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

The dialogue was written by Dinnie McDonald and Elbert 
Moore of the Over There Theatre League, but many of 
the lines could probably be traced to the uncensored con- 
versations of one buck with another. 

"Where did you get your training to be a detective?" 
asks Mrs. Gondrecourt of the would-be searcher for her 
jewels. 

"I was six weeks with the Salvage Corps/' he replies. 

"Are you from Scotland Yard?" demands the English- 
man of the detective. 

"Scotland Yard, where?" 

"England." 

"I don't know anything about Scotland Yard in Eng- 
land," admits the detective, "but IVe slept in every barn- 
yard in France." 

"I never have any trouble with my French," boasts Mrs. 
Gondrecoiu-t. 

"No, but the French people do." 

The costume effects of "Who Can Tell?" were of un- 
usual beauty. The Jewish Welfare Board donated 75,000 
francs to the show. This was spent entirely on costumes. 
They played a week's rim at the Champs-Elysees Theatre. 
President Wilson, General Pershing, and representatives 
of fifteen nations at the Peace Conference attended. 



As the A. E. F. extended into Germany, the theatrical 
circuit widened. Soldier units were likewise sent into 
leave areas and the smallest organization in the A. E. F. 
had an opportunity to see the soldier actors at work. It 
was the ambition of every soldier show to play in Paris. 
This was a leave area for thousands. Here the Palais de 
Glace, the Theatre Albert Premier, and the Champs-Elysees 
Theatre, all under lease to the "Y," with a combined seating 
capacity of 15,000, were turned over on certain nights 
to the soldier actors and here musical comedies, minstrel 



SOLDIER SHOWS AFTER THE ARMISTICE 179 

shows, and vaudeville were given. ^'A Buck on Leave," 
'^O. U. Wild Cats," the ^'Mo-Kan Minstrels," 'Tet's Go," 
and hundreds of others were among the attractions, each 
a complete show, staged, written, and produced by sol- 
diers. No tickets were issued. The posters announced, 
''Your uniform is your pass." 

As a result of this joint entertainment project outlined 
in General Order 241, nearly 700 soldier shows were organ- 
ized, ranging all the way from small regimental affairs 
to such high grade productions as ''Who Can Tell?" and 
"Liberty Bells." The soldier actors who did duty in these 
shows numbered over 15,000. In March, 1919, the S. O. S. 
shows had an attendance of 7,350,000 for 10,158 shows. 
It would have taken one company five years, giving one 
show a day and two on Saturday, to have appeared before 
every audience on the army circuit when it was most ex- 
tended. Despite the rather cynical observation of a middle- 
aged and somewhat severe colonel, who remarked that 
the entire A. E. F. seemed to be made up of masquerading 
soubrettes, there is no one who would hesitate to affirm 
that the job of entertainment was the biggest factor in 
creating contentment in the life of the Army. Let us 
turn now to the stock companies, the real Broadway suc- 
cesses that played to the A. E. F. 



CHAPTER XXI 

BROADWAY SUCCESSES ON THE BIG CIRCUIT 

^^For it so falls out 
That what we have we prize not to the worth 
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost, 
Why then we rack the value.*' 

Much Ado about Nothing. 

When the Armistice was signed the Over There Theatre 
League only began to fight the harder. ^'Extensive as the 
entertainment service had been/^ reports no less an authority 
than Mr. Carter, ''it was speeded up after the Armistice." 

The vast organization of soldier shows described in the 
preceding chapter was soon supplemented by a syndicate 
of first-class stock companies with star castes, including 
some of the ablest stock actors in America. Many of the 
most famous shows from old Broadway were taken right 
into the ranks. If the soldiers could not go home, they 
could have something of Broadway of their own. 

The legitimate phase of the stock company work began 
with the John Craig players. Then came John Alexander 
McKesson, known to Broadway as John Alexander, who 
organized what was known as "The Hut Players" from the 
men at Neufchateau. They produced Lord Dimsany's 
"A Night at the Inn," which was most enthusiastically 
received, also musical comedy adaptations and one-act plays 
written by the soldiers themselves. Later he organized 
a group called ''The American Players," consisting of 
Theresa Dale, John Rowe, and Rose Saltonstall, who put 
on sketches to entertain the men in the front areas in the 
summer of 1918. They were followed by the Margaret 
Mayo Company, in August, 1918, as already described. 

A star stock company was recruited in New York and 

180 



BROADWAY SUCCESSES ON THE BIG CIRCUIT 181 

brought to France by James Forbes, direct from the Over 
There Theatre League. It included professional actors 
and actresses headed by Mary Boland. Known through- 
out the A. E. F. as the James Forbes Stock Company, 
they presented ^'Kick In," "TraveUng Salesman," and "A 
Pair of Sixes" at Paris during the latter part of 1918. The 
company contained many prominent members of the 
profession — Leo Cutley, Mary Hampton, H. B. Kennedy, 
Madge West, Homer Miles, Albert Perry, Jack Raymond, 
Sidney Shields, Walter Yoimg, Howard C. Bliss, and others. 
They were booked in the larger regions. E. P. Daniels 
worked ahead of the unit as advance agent and arranged 
a route in the S. O. S., playing places such as Marseilles, 
St. Malo, Antwerp, and Brest. They gave a Dramatic 
Special in Paris on December 21, 1918, at the Th^dtre 
des Champs-Elys6es with "Kick In" as the play of the 
occasion. 

Two of the ablest figures in the whole overseas theatrical 
enterprise appear here in the organization and operation 
of these stock companies — A. M. Beatty, whom we have 
already met; and after the Armistice, Oswald Yorke, the 
well known actor, who built dramatic units in the form 
of stock companies. Mr. Yorke organized and directed 
his work from the Paris Headquarters. It took considerable 
ingenuity to select plays for this purpose. He had to keep 
in the field as many traveling stock companies as the supply 
of talent would permit. Often Mr. Yorke was compelled 
to oversee personally the work these companies were 
doing in the field and to adjust whatever difficulties menaced 
the stabiUty of such units. He was aided by a corps of 
assistants and coaches. Mr. Yorke organized and operated 
seven stock companies. These companies made their 
headquarters mostly at St. Nazaire, Brest, Bourges, and 
Tours. They played "Kick In," "Wild Fire," "Twin 
Beds," "A Pah" of Sixes," "Stop Thief," and many other 
Broadway successes. 



182 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

One of the most popular stock companies organized by 
Mr. Yorke was the Brest Stock Company, every soldier 
in which had seen active service on the front. They offered 
Eugene Walters's 'Taid in Full," along with their biggest 
hit, "His Majesty Bunker Bean." The production and 
staging of the weekly plays of this company were under 
the direction of Corporal Howard Lindsay, who before 
the War was stage manager with Margaret Anglin. The 
cast included three girl entertainers sent over by the Over 
There Theatre League, the Misses Betty Barnicoat, formerly 
with Castle Square Theatre in Boston; Irene Timmons 
of New York, who played with Charlotte Walker in the 
"Plain Woman," and was the heroine in "When We Were 
Twenty-One"; and Phyllis Carrington of New York City. 
Then there were Ruth Garland, Alice Guthrie, and others. 
From the various branches of the A. E. F. came Sergeant 
Bernard Nedell, John Alexander, Sergeant Tod Brown, 
and Private Arthur Kohl. The Municipal Theatre at 
Brest burned down and they continued their performances 
on the stage in one of the largest huts. They also appeared 
at the Champs-Elysees Theatre in Paris. This theatre 
was reserved for divisional and regimental shows and most 
of the stock companies appeared at the Albert Premier. 

From the Play Factory which we have described came 
the Tours Dramatic Theatre at Tours. Maida Davis, a 
canteen worker, changed her career in France and be- 
came an actress with this company. Their other offering 
was "Officer 666." Hugh E. Wallace, Marie Falls, AUce 
Baxter, Howard Hall, George Leary, Ethel Martin, W. J. 
Roe, H. B. Turnbull, Mary Lena Wilson, and Howard 
Wysong were the professional members of this company. 

In the Le Mans region, Madison Corey, New York 
producer of such successes as Mrs. Fiske in "Erstwhile 
Susan" and John Barrymore in "Justice," recruited and 
directed talent for soldier shows and stock companies. 
Under his direction the Le Mans Stock Company presented 



BROADWAY SUCCESSES ON THE BIG CIRCUIT 183 

big successes with a professional caste and soldier talent. 
This company included Dallas Tyler Fairchild, leading 
woman and playwright. They also played ^ 'Under Cover^' 
in various points in the field and gave one week's per- 
formance at Paris. Walter Bull, F. Esmelton, Frances 
Golden, Marian Tanner, Elizabeth Paige, Pauline Whitson, 
and Bertha Alice Wyatt were the professional members. 

The Paris Stock Company was the outcome of the ' 'Play- 
let Players. '' It was assigned to produce plays such as 
'The Bishop's Candlesticks" and "Words Mean Nothing." 
They gave two weeks of performances in Paris in the 
Palais de Glace before 20,000 soldiers. They played at 
Aignan, Le Mans, and Coblenz. Annette Tyler, Frances 
Golden, Harry J. Mates, George P. Smith, Jack Storey, 
Louise Hamilton, and Jeannette Grant were members 
of the company. 

The American Players, made up of some of the members 
of the Craig Stock Company, were sent to the fifth region 
and played at the leave areas. They were in charge of 
Frederick Cowley. The company included Ivy Troutman, 
Rose Saltonstall, Theresa Dale, Rawn Rapsher and W. C. 
Swain. They presented one act plays such as "Strenuous 
Rehearsal" by Claude Gillingwater, "Bills" by William 
Francis, and "After the War" by J. W. Stevens. They 
were booked at Nice, Nimes, Lamalou-les-Bains, Val-les- 
Bain, Grenoble, and Aix-les-Bains. 

Dorothy Donnelly organized and rehearsed the Third 
Army Stock Company composed of professional soldier 
actors and actresses, which played "Seven Keys to Bald- 
pate." Harrington Reynolds was the stage manager. 
Rosalind Fuller, Helen Scott, Patricia O'Connor, and 
Harriet Sterling were members. 

About April, 1919, Charles Silvernail, an actor, secured 
permission from Cohan and Harris to present "What 
Happened to Jones," with soldiers to be used as talent 
in the cast. They were known as the Paris Players and 



184 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

they added to their repertoke such plays as ''Under Cover," 
''Officer 666," "ffick In," "A Pair of Sixes," "Hit the 
Trail Holiday," "The Miss Leading Lady," and "Beverly's 
Balance," playing before 45,000 soldier spectators at Paris. 
Frederick Truesdell, Beverly Sitgreaves, and Garda Kova 
were professional members of the cast. They toured 
Toul, Marseilles, and Tours, giving one week's performance 
at each place. Marlyn Brown, Maurice B. Du Marais, 
J. G. 0. LeClevcy, H. L. Jones, Joseph Diffendal, J. R. 
Mackay, Guy Bollinger, Gerald Sullivan, Read Rocas, D. 
Fullam, Harold Grigg, and Paul Sorg were the soldier 
members. 

Then there was the Caserne-Carnot Stock Company, 
organized by Clara Blandick, a professional with an Over 
There Theatre League contract. Miss Blandick had been 
with May Irwin and under David Belasco's management. 
This company was formed of enlisted men, two professional 
entertainers, and members of the Women's Auxiliary 
Army Corps. They played American plays by well-known 
American playwrights — real Broadway successes. Cap- 
tain E. A. Butterfield secured Clara Blandick from Nevers; 
the American actress was reassigned through the enter- 
tainment headquarters to Boin-ges to act as stage manager. 
On February 24, 1919, rehearsals were begim for the first 
production of "Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway." 
This stock company opened in the Municipal Theatre. 
Dorothy Chesmond was reassigned to appear in this play 
and in the second production entitled "Believe Me, 
Xantippe." 

The vast cooperative entertainment schedule promul- 
gated by Order 241 not only organized these well-known 
actors and actresses from America, but developed the 
plan originated by Carl Balhet for producing shows written 
— both lines and music — produced, and acted by soldiers, 
which the preceding chapter has described. 



CHAPTER XXII 

FAMOUS CASINOS IN A NEW ROLE 

"Tte castle hath a pleasant seat; the air 

Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself 

Unto our gentle senses.^* 

Macbeth. 

The gigantic task of entertaining our Army in the World 
War expanded to such proportions that it soon became 
"the greatest enterprise of its kind that the world has 
ever witnessed.'^ When the Red Triangle went to France 
it was for but a single purpose — to serve the soldiers wher- 
ever, whenever, and however the service could be best 
utilized by the Government and the Army. It was ready 
and willing to do for the soldiers anything and everything 
it found to do and to the best of its ability. It never ex- 
pected, however, to become the Shuberts or the Klaw and 
Erlangers of Europe and corner the management of all 
the leading theatres — any more than it ever expected to 
take over the leave areas for the Army, assume the can- 
teen burden for the Army, inaugurate the educational 
system for the Army, institute the unprecedented system of 
athletic contests which cidminated in the Inter- Allied Games, 
or conduct a soldiers' remittance and banking business. It 
assumed the unparalleled task of all these and many more 
duties whenever the Army called upon it for service, even 
though it knowingly and willingly undertook the "impossible.'' 

The incomparable record of the leave areas, while a 
great story in itself, is so interwoven with the entertain- 
ment service that the two are here inseparable, for it was 
in the theatres and casinos where the Americans were on 
leave that the actors played before then- biggest houses. 

It was a glimpse of the Grand Cercle, the big casino at 

185 



186 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Aix-les-Bains, while searching for a suitable spot for a 
leave area, that first started this great syndicate. Imme- 
diate grasp of its recreational possibilities determined the 
selection of the place, whose name practically became a 
synonym for the word furlough throughout the A. E. F., 
and began the enterprise which proved to be the most 
successful of all the American undertakings in France. 
It was a strange fate that this magnificent temple of chance 
with its splendid theatre should, through the exigencies 
of war, come under control of the Y M C A, with the 
result that some of the biggest playhouses in France and 
Germany were later taken over. 

The night of its formal opening was an auspicious one. 
E. H. Sothern was there and consented to read Hamlet's 
soliloquy and a poem from ''If I Were King.'' Among 
the permissionnaires attending was an artilleryman who 
was a member of the company which fired the first Amer- 
ican gun at the Boches. In private life he had been an 
actor and a member once of Mr. Sothern's companies. 
He was selected to introduce his former chief. Although 
he had written out his speech and memorized it, when 
the time actually came to present Mr. Sothern the young 
man was seized with stage fright. However, while the 
audience held its breath, he did manage to declare it was 
the ''proudest moment of his life" and bow to Mr. Sothern, 
making probably the hastiest exit of his artistic career. 
Later there was dancing in the ballrooms, with music by 
the military band and local French orchestra. 

When owners of rival institutions at other resorts heard 
of the war-time use of the Aix casino they all seemed eager 
to have their own serving the cause in similar manner. 
Many visited this noted watering place to see for them- 
selves. They were so favorably impressed with the ex- 
cellent care and management, under the supervision of 
Mr. Franklin S. Edmonds of Philadelphia, assisted by 
Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., that nearly all of them 



FAMOUS CASINOS IN A NEW ROLE 187 

offered their own casinos to the Association. When the 
Prince of Monaco saw the Grand Cercle during the Amer- 
ican occupation of Aix he was convinced that the "Y'' was 
a good tenant, and expressed a desire to have the famous 
resorts of his own domain — Monaco, Monte Carlo, and 
Condamine — leased in similar fashion. But there were 
international precautions regarding neutral boundaries which 
prevented any immediate step in accepting the Prince's 
invitation. The time finally came after the Armistice 
when Monte Carlo could be taken on; needless to state, 
it became one of the most popular retreats of the Americans. 
France has nearly as many casinos as it has watering 
places. Almost every resort, whether by the seaside or 
in the mountains, has its amusement center where gambling 
is a hcensed pastime and theatrical attractions ranging 
from opera-bouff6 to vaudeville provide continual diversion 
throughout the season. Thirty-nine such places were 
taken over for leave centers and entertainment, and the 
casinos were converted into soldiers' clubs where the little 
army of entertainers came and went in endless procession. 
Most of the casino owners and lessees were pleased with 
the idea, offering their properties without any profit on 
the same patriotic terms as did the proprietors at Aix. 
A few were found to be grasping, as is always the case, 
demanding such high rentals that the French Government 
stepped in and settled matters. Besides the noted Riviera 
casinos, the ''Y" conducted the famous St. Malo Casino, the 
High Life Casino at Dinard, that glittering spot far-famed 
as the "Nice of the North," and the casino at Bagneres- 
de-Luchon, the finest in the Pyrenees. Others leased were 
at Challes-les-Eaux, Lamalou-les-Bains, Eaux Bonnes, Gre- 
noble, La Bourboule, and Cauterets. At Cauterets the 
capacity of the big casino was so taxed by the large number 
of permissionnaires sent on leave to the Pyrenees that it 
was augmented by the rental of a smaller place near by — 
the Casino des Oeufs. 



188 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

In the resorts of lesser magnitude where there were no 
casinos, the theatres afforded the principal amusement. 
These the ''Y" rented, as at Nimes, where the Grand Munic- 
ipal Theatre, and at Annecy where the Theatre Municipal 
were taken over in lieu of casinos. And here the American 
actors were hailed by the crowds. When the Brittany 
coast area was opened at St. Malo, its famous casino was 
in use as a French military hospital. Until the French 
Medical Corps could find other quarters for its patients in 
order to accommodate its American allies, the mimicipal 
theatre was rented for soldier entertainments. Of course 
the great St. Malo Casino was vastly preferable to any 
theatre, because of the unusual combination it offered in 
recreational facilities. Under its roof were a beautiful 
theatre, dining rooms, and dancing halls, besides the big 
bath house on the beach, the Hotel Jacques Cartier, and 
other hostelries which went with the lease. 

At some resorts there were hotels with small concert 
halls or there were storage buildings in which a proscenium 
arch could be improvised. When Biarritz was opened in 
February, 1919, the casino owners were fearful lest any 
lease might cut into their profits of the approaching season. 
So at much pains and no little expense the building of the 
Syndicated Initiative, an exhibition building, was taken 
over. An ample stage was erected to suit the require- 
ments of almost all the shows and movies routed through 
the place. 

At Chambery, the Apartement du Boigne was the oniy 
available place in town besides the Chambery Club. So 
the entertainment program there was largely confined to 
the screen and smaller productions. The ground floor of 
the Hotel Majestic at Chamonix was made to fill all needs. 
Cinema halls and concert rooms with small stages and 
limited seating capacities were equipped in the OflScers' 
and Enlisted Men's Clubs at Nancy and in the building of 
the famous Nancy Thermal Baths. 







e^^o 




@ j^^^-^^,^ r. 



"S ui •-* *^ 
§ I «^1I 

<D O 



FAMOUS CASINOS IN A NEW ROLE 189 

When the Stars and Stripes crossed the Rhine in Decem- 
ber, 1918, the Red Triangle went along — or, rather, tried 
to be there in advance to receive the troops. In response 
to a request from General Dickman, sent through W. W. 
Gethmann, the chief secretary with the Third Army, 
Mr. Edmonds and the late George W. Perkins hastened 
to Coblenz for a conference regarding the establishment 
of leave centers and entertainment at five of the principal 
points in the zone of American occupation. 

Nine complete divisions comprised the United States 
forces in Germany. Having just finished a strenuous 
campaign which closed the War, General Dickman and 
his commanding officers felt that the men were in real 
need of relaxation of the proper sort. An universal opinion 
prevailed that inasmuch as these were all combat divisions, 
the best was none too good for them. The officers, too, 
felt concern for their men lest if proper diversion was not 
provided the enemy might make insidious overtures to 
fraternize. Entertainment was vitally important. 

At once the great Fest Halle and the Leseverein Theatre 
at Coblenz and the big Kurhaus at Neuenahr were taken 
over. The Casino at Andemach was converted into a 
soldiers' club, and to entertain its overflow two movies 
a day were run at the Hotel Dahlmann. At Neuwied, 
the Hotel HohenzoUern was turned into a cinema hall, 
patronized by the crowds that poured into that center on 
leave. All these amusement places seated great numbers. 
The Neuenahr Kurhaus easily accommodated 2,500, while 
the Coblenz Fest Halle was much larger. On its first floor 
was a small stage for concerts and there was a large con- 
cert hall with a splendid organ on the second, where evening 
gatherings were held. It was soon found that this stage 
was too small for both professional and soldier talent 
troupes, so under Tony Hunting a large, finely equipped 
stage was erected which accommodated the biggest pro- 
ductions. The Gemeinde Haus, renamed the Little Play- 



190 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

house, was rented later for rehearsals of soldier shows 
during the day and professional vaudeville at night. 



Paris became after the Armistice the American's Mecca. 
It was a herculean task to keep the boys properly enter- 
tained during this American invasion. Many thousands 
pressed in to the city daily. Extensive plans were launched 
forthwith for their diversion. The Theatre Albert Premier, 
with only a seating capacity of 700, which had been used 
for various theatrical productions, was now found entirely 
too small for growing demands. So the Palais de Glace 
was taken over. This was one of the biggest single ven- 
tures. In addition to its theatre, accommodating 4,000 
seated and 1,000 more standing, it served as a clubhouse 
and canteen for men and women in any of the uniforms 
of the Allied nations. Over 1,000,000 persons, mostly 
soldiers, were entertained here. There was a constant 
stream of distinguished guests — among them were Pres- 
ident Wilson, Ambassador Sharp, General Pershing, Premier 
Lloyd George, Secretary Daniels, and Samuel Gompers. 
During its period of operation, from March 31 to June 30, 
1919, its wet canteen served more than 675,000. Over 
200 theatrical performances were given during the time, 
and thirteen cinema shows were run every week. Noted 
actors and A. E. F. boxing champions appeared on its 
stage. Homer Rodeheaver and other religious leaders 
conducted services on Sundays. Its closing program on 
the night of June 30, 1919, was an all-star vaudeville bill. 
The feature number was the song "America to France" 
dedicated to Marshal Foch. It was written by Henry 
Hadley, with words by Louise Ayers Garnett, and sung 
by Ida Brooks Hunt who had sung ''My Hero" in the 
original production of "The Chocolate Soldier." 

Another of the mammoth Parisian playhouses conducted 
by the Entertainment Department was the Theatre des 



FAMOUS CASINOS IN A NEW ROLE 191 

Champs-Elysees, one of the most elegant in appointments 
on the Continent. New, spacious, and elaborate, it was 
richly decorated and upholstered and had a comfortable 
seating capacity of 4,000. The stage was so large that 
an ordinary company was obliged to bring its settings 
away ''down stage." For the large musical show it was 
ideal, and for general equipment it was unsurpassed. It 
delighted the A. E. F. chorus "girls" who complained that 
other surroundings cramped their style. The opening per- 
formance was a gala night — "A Buck on Leave" earning 
the sobriquet of "the big Winter Garden Show of France," 
with seventy-five American soldiers in the company, fifty 
in the band, and an orchestra of thirty. It was put on 
by the Motor Transport Reconstruction Park of Vemeuil. 
The next attractions were "The G. H. Q. Players of Chau- 
mont," "The Merry Makers" and "The Ordnance Review." 

The Cirque de Paris capped the climax so far as accom- 
modations were concerned. Its seating capacity of 6,000 
was increased to 8,000, entertaining in two performances 
15,000 men a day. The stage was equipped with facilities 
for large and small productions. There was also a regu- 
lation boxing ring besides many rest rooms. With the 
seating capacities of all the amusement places under the 
management in Paris, including the Hotel Pavilion with 
its 450 chairs in its concert hall, about 25,000 soldiers were 
entertained every day between March 31 and June 30, 1919. 

At various other points theatres were taken over, espe- 
cially at Chaumont, Tours, Le Mans, and Treves. All were 
fairly well equipped with curtains, lights, scenery, and 
commodious auditoriums. At Toul the municipal theatre 
was engaged and outfitted and it made a splendid show 
house for the Second Army productions. The Trianon 
Theatre at Tours gave long and valuable service, housing 
at different times every important A. E. F. attraction. 

The largest theatre in France under the control of the 
Young Men's Christian Association was one it constructed 



192 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

itself, the Victory Theatre, at Bordeaux. It covered three 
acres of ground in the Embarkation Camp and could be 
seen for miles. Besides a large stage and auditorium with 
boxes and graduated seats, there was a huge dancing floor. 
The equipment included eleven dressing rooms, four flood- 
lights, two spotlights, numerous ''sets," and a curtain on 
which was painted the most colossal eagle in France, the 
work of Lieutenant Robinson. Franklin Hall was another 
theatre in Bordeaux. 

The large municipal theatre at Le Mans was secured 
whenever there were no French shows billed. There were 
regular performances there, too, at the Salle des Concerts. 
At Antwerp, the Theatre des Variet^s was transformed 
into an American amusement place, which was operated 
under the supervision of Captain Donovan, entertainment 
officer for the area embracing Antwerp, Brussels, the Hague, 
Rotterdam, and Apa. Here the Knights of Columbus 
furnished the theatre, the Y M C A the entertainment and 
costuming, and the Jewish Welfare Board the orchestra. 

The greater part of the entertainment work in Italy was 
carried on in hospitals. A few theatres were rented such 
as the playhouse at Treviso, the Teatro Sociale di Palazzola 
sull 'Oglio, the Teatro Politeama di Como, the Teatro 
Politeama di Monza, and the Teatro Lirico — all in Milan. 
A medieval palace in Florence containing a private theatre 
was probably the most pretentious place taken in Italy. 
Near Bologna, Castel Maggiore was rented for enter- 
tainments. 



The actor in the World War was always on duty: his 
''cue" was twenty-four hours a day wherever the dough- 
boy "called" him; and his theatre was wherever he could 
find an audience from front line trench and dugout to 
some of the finest houses in Europe. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

ENTERTAINMENT IN CAMPS AT HOME 

*'You shall have better cheer 
Ere you depart; and thanks to stay and eat itJ^ 

Cymbeline. 

Let us now review the reserve army of entertainers who 
were holding the ''fort" back home in America. 

More than half the American soldiers called to the 
colors never left our shores. Nearly 3,000,000 men, whose 
service stripes are of silver, share the honor in which America 
holds all who donned the olive drab. So among the enter- 
tainers it is estimated that more than 20,000 actors, pro- 
fessional and semi-professional, with lyceum workers, sing- 
ers, and amateur entertainers, appeared before the soldiers 
in American camps. 

The need of entertaining the Army at home was almost 
equal to that in France — and the American stage rallied 
to the home service. It must be remembered that every 
soldier, whether he went across or not, spent some time 
in one of the thirty-two cantonments. The whole Army, 
5,000,000 strong, passed through these camps. This called 
for a volume of entertainment — an army of artists, singers, 
and actors — exceeding the numbers needed overseas. If 
there was drudgery in France, there was also novelty; 
if there was discomfort and danger, there was also excite- 
ment and activity. It may be doubted if any man was 
ever more homesick in France than he was in those first 
days when, fresh from the comfort of home, he was thrown 
into the roughness of training camp life. The process of 
reshaping American individualism into a harmonious unit, 
of adjusting widely differing personalities into a disciplined, 
smoothly working machine, was not accomplished without 

193 



194 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

painful experiences. The best medicine was a good laugh, 
a clean hour of distraction and forgetfulness. 

In these American camps we find thousands who volun- 
teered at the historic Palace Theatre meeting when the 
Over There Theatre League was organized and who, un- 
able to get overseas because of restrictions, limitations, 
contractual obligations, or other obstructions, literally 
invaded the American camps — still eagerly waiting for the 
opportunity to go abroad with the soldiers. 
"Come and hear Madam Schumann-Heink.'' 
"Madam Louise Homer will sing at the Big Y tonight." 
"Free concert by the New York Clef Club Orchestra." 
That was the sort of invitation extended night after 
night to the boys in the home camps. It was possible be- 
cause the greatest artists of the American stage and con- 
cert would give their time and talents freely for the enter- 
tainment of the Army. The roll would fill this volume 
and make of it a catalogue and directory of the profession. 
Think of any form of entertainment you like — it was 
given by its foremost exponents before soldier audiences. 
Vaudeville, in all its variety of monologue, dance, sketch, 
acrobatics, juggling, tight and slack rope dancing; opera 
and concert; musical comedy and farce; instrumental 
music of every sort from the soloists to the greatest bands 
and orchestras — whatever the American public has stamped 
with its approval by crowding the theatres of America, 
that the soldiers of America saw in the great auditoriums 
or in the huts of the welfare societies scattered through 
the camps. 

The list is endless. Nothing wa.s too good to show be- 
fore the soldiers. Mischa Elman and his magic violin, 
Harry Lauder, David Bispham, Evan Williams, Reinald 
Werrenrath, Freda Hempel, Nora Bayes, Irving Fisher, 
Richard Carle, Grace Van Studdiford, Maud Powell, Andrew 
Mack, Maude Adams, Jefferson de Angelis, are only a few 
of the names which come to mind. The Coburn Players, 



ENTERTAINMENT IN CAMPS AT HOME 19g 

the New York Symphony Orchestra, and the New York 
Philharmonic Orchestra were some of the organizations 
whose names are famihar. The French Veterans' Band, 
every one of whom had seen active service and most of 
whom had been wounded and decorated, was brought to 
America and toured the cantonments, financed and routed 
by the ''Yr 

The places for entertainment comprised an immense 
variety of buildings and improvised stages out of doors. 
There were the great Liberty Theatres, thirty-two of them, 
erected by the Commission on Training Camp Activities. 
In these, metropolitan successes were booked. Bookings for 
the Liberty Theatre at Camp Dix during the month of 
February, 1918, included William Courtenay and Thomas 
A. Wise in "General Post" from the Gaiety Theatre, New 
York; the Liberty Comedy Company in "Baby Mine," 
and "Kick In," "Flora Bella," "The Beauty Shop," "Fair 
and Warmer," "Turn to the Right," "Princess Pat," 
"Daddy Longlegs," "Prince of Pilsen," and "Mary's 
Ankle." For these shows the Commission fixed a nom- 
inal charge of twenty-five and fifty cents. 

Then there were the big "Y" auditoriums seating several 
thousands, designed like the Liberty Theatres, for audi- 
ences drawn from the whole camp. Here great concerts 
were given by artists of international fame. The Phila- 
delphia Orchestra, the New York Clef Club Orchestra, 
The Elsa Fischer String Quartet, and the Edna White 
Trumpet Quartet were among the organizations which 
were thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated, while a number 
of university glee clubs, and such organizations as the 
Tuskegee Singers and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers 
gave their always popular programs. 

In many camps what was called "the outdoor Y" was 
added to the big auditorium. This was usually a stage 
so arranged that thousands of men could gather about 
it on all sides. It served equally well for a boxing match. 



196 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

an acrobatic exhibition, a speech, or a concert. With a 
booth erected for the movie machine, and with a screen 
of boughs and flags along one side for a background, it 
enabled larger audiences to watch the pictures or a vaude- 
ville program than could be gathered in any building. 

At Camp Sheridan, an old state fair ground auditorium 
known as the Buckeye Coliseum was repaired and used 
for entertainment. This was capable of accommodating 
12,000 men, and ex-President Taft addressed there a crowd 
that filled the building. This is but a sample of the audi- 
diences that were addressed by Mr. Taft at other canton- 
ments. Under the auspices of the ^^Y" he visited all but 
two of the cantonments in America, addressing a total of 
over 300,000 men. He presented before his soldier audi- 
ences the case of America vs. Germany from the standpoint 
of an international lawyer, presenting both sides of the 
case and drawing his conclusion so that there could be no 
possible doubt in the minds of his audience of the justice 
of their cause. 

Just as space does not permit mention of all who enter- 
tained in the camps, so the names of the many organiza- 
tions and individuals who arranged bookings, got together 
troupes, and conducted parties of entertainers to the 
camps far outrun the possibility of adequate record. Mr. 
John D. Sullivan of the United Booking Office, New York, 
the manager of the Keith Orpheum Circuit, Mother Davison, 
Amelia Bingham, Sophie Tucker, The Stage Women's 
War Relief, the New York Mayor's Committee of Women, 
and many others in every part of the country will be long 
remembered for such services. Mr. Charles D. Isaacson, 
of the New York Globe, served faithfully and persistently 
in providing concert parties of the highest quality, and 
what he saw of the response of the men as he went from 
camp to camp led him to predict again and again that the 
War would develop an appreciation of music such as Amer- 
ica had never known. 



ENTERTAINMENT IN CAMPS AT HOME 197 

The Stage Women's War Relief extended a service that 
will never be forgotten by the soldiers. Here we find serving 
the Army such distinguished artists as Rachel Crothers, 
Elizabeth Tyree Metcalf, Louise Closser Hale, Dorothy 
Donnelly, May Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Shelley Hull, and Minnie 
Dupree. Here, too, in our American war relief we find 
Blanche Bates, Jessie Bonstelle, May Buckley, Bijou 
Fernandez, Mrs. Joseph Grismer, Gladys Hanson, Florence 
Nash, Mrs. Chauncey Olcott. There are also Mrs. Otis 
Skinner, traveling from camp to camp; Chrystal Heme 
directing the work in New York; Mrs. Walter Vincent 
recruiting the vaudeville world; Mrs. William Famimi 
recruiting the cinema stars; Fanny Cannon in charge of 
soldiers' welfare; Mrs. Daisy Humphreys directing pub- 
licity; Felice Morris as executive secretary; Anna L. Faller 
as auditor; and Mrs. Eula S. Garrison as manager of all 
camp entertainments. Here, also, we greet Mary Boland 
and Carol McComas, Florence Gerrish, Virginia Fox 
Brooks, Lillian Albertson, Margaret Dale, Georgia Caine 
Hudson, and Hope Latham Keniper — every name men- 
tioned being an officer of this vast organization, the rank 
and file of which enrolled practically every stage woman 
in America. 

''We gave 1,430 shows and entertained in more than 1,000 
wards in hospitals," says Mrs. Garrison. "We played in 
61 different hospitals, 58 camps and training stations, 
67 clubs and service houses, and on 14 battleships. We 
cooperated with the Y M C A and every organization — 
the Red Cross, Knights of Columbus, Jewish Welfare, 
War Camp Community Service, and Salvation Army — 
and with individuals." 



No profession was more largely represented in the Army 
itself than the theatrical. In the very first days, when 
entertainment was wholly impromptu, men would be dis- 



198 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

covered in almost every audience who could do ji song, 
dance, or monologue with all the finish of the experienced 
performer. As one entertainment director described it: 
"The hall would fill up after the evening mess and some- 
thing had to be done to entertain the boys. We would 
get a pianist somewhere, I would usually start with a few 
songs, and then the performers would be dragged, pushed, 
or lifted on to the stage by their buddies. Everybody 
was goodnatured and all seemed to enjoy the evening 
whether the show was good or not, and usually it was 
surprisingly good.'' 

Men were found who were experiencied in producing 
plays, canvasses were made to discover soldiers who had 
dramatic talent or experience, and elaborate plays were 
written, staged, and produced before enthusiastic audiences. 
At Camp Dix Mr. Leopold Lane, legitimate and movie 
actor, had charge of entertainment. The first play was 
a one-act comedy "One Hundred Dollars Reward,'' written 
by Private Roland Southerland, 1st N. Y. Field Artillery 
and presented by Company A. 311 Infantry, October 29, 
1918. This was quickly followed by "My Turn Next" 
presented by Company E of the 311th. Numerous others 
followed, among them "You'll Like It," with a cast in- 
cluding Private William Sully formerly of the Ziegfeld 
Follies, Jack de Graff well known in musical comedy, 
Eddie Flynn from the vaudeville stage, and several others 
familiar to Broadway. 

At Camp Upton, the well-known song writer Sergeant 
Irving Berlin produced "Yip Yip Yaphank," which not 
only scored a hit in camp, but was eventually produced on 
Broadway with great success by its soldier cast. At Camp 
Zachary Taylor, Foxall Daingerfield organized and trained 
the "Soldier Players," who not only toured the huts of 
the camp, but were sent on tours through several states 
by the Government, in connection with the Liberty Loan 
drives. At Camp Shelby the "Thirty-Eighth Division 



ENTERTAINMENT IN CAMPS AT HOME 199 

Players" were organized and directed by Marston Allen, 
and at Camp Gordon the ''Army Entertainers' Ijeague," 
at one time numbering more than 150 men, gave high class 
vaudeville in all parts of the camp. At Camp Sherman, 
for four months, the Ohio Federation of Musical Clubs 
furnished the entertainment. Chambers of Commerce, 
Rotary Clubs, and other organizations did their part, 
and hardly a city or town within a half day's journey of 
one of the big cantonments or smaller camps could be 
found without some organization or individual who had 
assumed responsibility for securing talent for shows or 
concerts. 

This is not to say that there were no difficulties. It 
took strenuous days and nights on the part of those re- 
sponsible to keep the stream flowing smoothly so that 
every point would be regularly served. Many a cold ride 
in street car or automobile was taken by performers, to 
keep engagements in out-of-the-way places. Sometimes 
the eagerness of soldiers for more, and ever more, put a 
severe strain upon endurance. During the quarantine at 
Camp Dix, on a single evening one group of vaudevillians 
repeated their thirty-minute sketch seven times at different 
barracks, and the Orpheus Quartet sang more than 
eighty selections. This record was soon passed by another 
group of singers who gave ninety songs in one day. 

Opportunities for heroism, mounting even to the last 
full measure of devotion, presented themselves. At Camp 
Lewis, two members of the Metropolitan Opera Quartet, 
Misses Linnie Love and Lorna Lea, arrived for a return 
engagement just as the camp was going under quarantine 
for influenza. Both girls volunteered to remain and undergo 
quarantine for the sake of entertaining the men. As a 
result of overwork and exposure, both were stricken with 
the disease and taken to the hospital. Miss Lea recovered, 
but Miss Love was so exhausted by her untiring efforts 
that she rapidly failed and died in the hospital, the only 



200 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

worker with the Y M C A who died as a result of the epi- 
demic in that camp. No braver or more loyal heart ever 
went over the top in France. 

There was an informality and personal exchange be- 
tween artist and audience such as never could be possible 
under other conditions. Again and again the entertainers 
stayed for greetings after the show, and the shout would 
rise, "No seconds, boys. You can't shake hands but once,'' 
as enthusiasts tried to slip into the line for a second greet- 
ing. When Sue Harvard, singing for the first time ''Have 
You Seen Them in France?" ended by throwing copies of 
the song, with a package of Bull Durham attached to 
each, among the audience, there was a small riot. Often 
the camp songleader would spring to the platform at the 
end of a concert and say, ''Shall we sing a couple of songs 
to entertain our entertainer?" Choruses would rise in 
"The Long Trail" and "Over There," until the artist 
whose voice had held thousands spellbound confessed that 
she had received more than she had given. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

SINGING THEIR WAY TO VICTORY 

^'The man that hath no music in himself 
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds j 
Is Jit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils J' 

The Merchant of Venice. 

America has never been a singing nation, yet in each 
great national emergency songs have appeared that in 
words, melody, and rhythm expressed the emotion of the 
time. No one who has heard the veterans of the Grand 
Army of the Republic sing their songs has failed to realize 
what those songs meant to another generation. The great 
drawback in those songs was that they were sectional 
and tended to sharpen memories which should be softened 
with the passing of time. 

The Spanish-American War was too short to develop 
a mass of songs, as true folk songs are the product of time. 
"Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here," and "There'll Be a Hot 
Time in the Old Town Tonight" had all the care-free 
enthusiasm of American youth volunteering for an adven- 
ture. "The Blue and the Gray" indicated the end of 
sectionalism for a new generation. The one song which 
came out of the Spanish-American War as a national 
song was old when that war began, but "Dixie" is un- 
questionably the most popular song in America today. 
The interim between the Spanish-American War and the 
Great War did not produce a single addition to our folk songs. 

While the Anglo-Saxon stock and traditions are pre- 
dominant with us, the growth of our great cities, with their 
colonies of foreign blood not fully Americanized, has hin- 
dered the development of an art form so dependent on 

201 



202 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

common standards as the folk song and folk singing. Be- 
fore the Great War this was recognized by a few musicians 
and attempts had been made to promote block parties and 
commmiity singing. Tentative efforts had also been made 
at sing-songs in the Plattsburg camps organized before 
we went into the War. It was here that the first new song 
appeared — 'The Last Long Mile'' — of all those which 
came to express the various feelings and emotions of Amer- 
ica's soldiers in the camps at home and overseas. George 
M. Cohan's vigorous march song, ''Over There," was 
even more popular with the public outside the canton- 
ments, and both were constantly used by the soldiers at 
home and overseas. 

The French had a single song, the melody of which was 
so inflammatory that prior to the Great War it had become 
the song of insurrection and anarchy all over Europe. 
It was then known as "The International" but the essen- 
tial part, the fiery melody, had a century before been sung 
by "Marseillaise Battalion" when it toiled northward toward 
Paris to hearten the sinking spirits of those who were 
struggling for a new repubUc. The Marseillaise has always 
been dangerous to the enemies of freedom and liberty. 
It was sung by all the AlUed Armies in France more 
generally than any other song. 

There were other songs, not so powerful, which were 
heard by all Americans overseas. The whole French 
nation sang the fine old song, "Chant de Depart," the 
greatest bond between the glorious men of France who 
went to the front and the bereaved country which sent 
them. Then there was the most romantic of all the Na- 
poleonic marching songs, "Le Reve Passee," and the present- 
day song "Verdun," which sets the phrase "They shall 
not pass" to music for generations of French to come. 
One new song our overseas Army brought back as charac- 
teristic of the France they knew. Naughty and philander- 
ing, brave and sacrificial, with a rush of wondrous marching 



SINGING THEIR WAY TO VICTORY 203 

meter, ^^Madelon" was the most generally popular of 
all the new war songs. With its French words and a half 
dozen English versions, "Madelon" became as familiar to 
the Americans as any of their own songs. 

The Americans had little chance to hear or learn the 
British songs aside from 'Tipperary," which had become 
well known long before we went into the War and went 
straight to the heart of every city man whether he had 
ever before heard of Piccadilly or Leicester Square or not. 
Later, the Americans took up ^^Blighty,'^ "I Want to Go 
Home,^' and "Keep Your Head Down, Fritzy Boy." 



When the great training camps began to be organized, 
it was decided to have a singing member on each of the 
''Y" staffs, a policy which was adopted after careful investi- 
gation and in accord with the wishes of Mr. Lee F. Hamner 
of the Fosdick Commission on Training Camp Activities. 
The early song leaders were highly trained musicians, 
whose professional efficiency made unnecessary any special 
training for their new work. The intention was to send 
a singing army to France and keep it a singing army. Mr. 
Marshall Bartholomew, a trained musician, who had been 
in prisoner-of-war work overseas, was placed in charge at 
New York Headquarters. Professor Harold C. Knapp of 
Northwestern University prepared a list of songs and 
music to be used by the American Army. Mr. Robert 
Lawrence was at the head of the classes for musical leader- 
ship at the Columbia University conferences held in New 
^ York during the summer and fall of 1918 and all prospec- 
tive overseas workers were given daily drills in singing. 
The methods developed at New York Headquarters were 
used in the five other training schools, the intention being 
to produce a standardized method of song leadership for 
a limited list of the best known hymns, patriotic and senti- 
mental songs. 



204 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

General Pershing, in speaking of the most inspiring 
moments in the War, once remarked: ''I think they were 
when I heard my Army singing/' From that historic mo- 
ment when General Pershing, with his First American 
Expeditionary Forces, stepped on French soil, and the 
strains of 'The Star-Spangled Banner" greeted them, 
throughout their months in France until they embarked 
for home a victorious army, the Americans sang their way 
through the War. 

"Keep the Army singing!" This was the constant order, 
not only from General Pershing in France but from Gen- 
eral March throughout the army camps in America. It 
is recognized by the ablest military minds that song is 
one of the most potent factors in warfare; and how they 
did keep the men singing! More than 200 song leaders 
were sent overseas, more than 1,000 athletic directors 
were trained as song leaders, and every one of the 25,000 
workers ''got the boys to singing" whenever the oppor- 
tunity occurred. These song leaders followed the Army 
into Italy, Germany, Russia, Siberia — they actually fol- 
lowed the Stars and Stripes around the world. 

So great was this sing-song campaign that printing 
presses in America, England, France, and wherever they 
could be secured in Europe, were humming off songbooks 
and song leaflets by the millions for distribution to the 
Army. It would probably be difficult to find a doughboy 
who did not at sometime carry one of these songbooks in 
his khaki pocket. A bag of "makings" and a soiled copy of 
the paper-covered "Popular Songs of the A. E. F." bearing 
the slogan, "Give me the man who goes into battle 
with a song in his heart," were like Captain Kidd's 
treasures to the doughboy. This songbook, sent out along 
the front by the A. E. F.-Y MCA, carried the words of 
143 popular songs with the message: "It's the songs 
we sing and the smiles we wear that make the sunshine 
everywhere." 



--A 



vl- 



^NTg:i;)TAiNF:\x5 




When for weeks you've had performances morning, noon, and night, and 
at last comes an afternoon with nothing to do but three weeks' laundry, a few 
letters, a bit of mending, some socks to darn and maybe wash your hair and file 
a nail or two — and along comes Jimmy something-or-other, aged nineteen, from 
Tulamasoo, Idaho, to pay you a call (knowing you must be lonesome!), and he 
stays and stays and stays and tells you of all his love affairs (oh what a devil with 
the ladies he is!) of the last sixteen years, but vows no girl holds a candle to 
you! — wouldn't you just like to forget you're a nice '"Y" lady and say some- 
hing in "shavetail" language? 




0) o . 



SINGING THEIR WAY TO VICTORY 205 

A transport, crowded with soldiers, is on the ^'road to 
France." The shores of America have faded from the 
vision and the ship is plunging on its way toward mid- 
ocean and the submarine danger zone. We hear the rhyth- 
mic echo of voices — thousands of voices: 

^'Good-by Broadway, hello France — 
WeVe ten million strong — 
Good-by sweethearts, wives, and mothers. 
It won't take us long — 
Don't you worry while we're there — 
It's for you we're fighting, too — 
So good-by Broadwaj^, hello France — 
We're going to square our debt to you!" 

And on that memorable morning when the shores of 
France first loom into view — what an outburst of song: 
''Hail! Hail! the Gang's All Here!" ^^It's a Long Way 
to Berlin, but We'll Get There." "When We Wmd Up 
the Watch on the Rhine." 

The great job finally became to prevent the soldiers 
from singing at a critical point or to stop them once they 
got started. The song leaders who went over to France 
found lots of work to do, but on the whole they found 
that the intensive work done in America in teaching the 
soldiers the words of the real songs they wanted to sing, 
and impregnating them with confidence and the love of 
real singing, resulted in much singing and some new songs. 

The songs will not always bear textual repetition, but 
their melodies, even those which sprang spontaneously 
out of war conditions, were pure music. Over and over 
again on going up to the line in the cold dawn, or in the 
equally wretched hours just after midnight, officers would 

frequently have to call out, "Cut out that d singing!" 

For the American doughboy had that type of buoyant 
courage which can be properly expressed only in a chorus. 

Coming back from the lines it was often one continuous 
sing-song all the way. In the huts, where men would 



206 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

occupy the seats hours before the performance began so 
as to make sure of getting their share in these always 
crowded show-houses, the natural thing was to sing. Some- 
body would start, and ofif they would go. Far and away 
the most frequently sung of all the American tunes, a 
song that hypnotized the American doughboy in his leisure 
moments, was that languorous ditty: 

"I'm sorry, dear — so sorry, dear — 
I'm sorry I made you cry! — 
Won't you forget, won't you forgive? 
Don't let us say good-by! 
One little word — one little smile — 
One little kiss — won't you try? 
It breaks my heart to hear you sigh — 
I'm sorry I made you cry!" 

An entertainer who could start this song was as sure 
of her house in the rain-soaked, primitive conditions of 
wartime France, as was George Cohan in a patriotic flag- 
waving on Broadway. They would go on to 'Toor Butter- 
fly," "The Broken Doll," "Ireland Must Be Heaven" and 
"Oh, You Beautiful Doll." 

Then there was that other splendid group of songs, 
the home sentiment songs: "There's a Long Long Trail 
Awinding" — it lifted the soldiers' hearts as clearly as the 
inspiration of any victory. "Hark! Hear the Soldiers 
Singing," "The Rose of No Man's Land," "My Belgian 
Rose," "Lorraine," "Keep the Home Fires Burning," 
"The Little Gray Home in the West," and "The End of 
a Perfect Day" — what visions arose before their eyes, 
what irresistible repose and confidence the music brought! 

And how these memories in melody started the hearts 
of thousands of boys beating — how the eyes moistened 
as they fell into the melody of 

"It's a long way to dear old Broadway — 
But we're coming back to you!" 



SINGING THEIR WAY TO VICTORY 207 

How the feet began to beat time with the heart, and 
bodies swung into the rhythm of ''I Want to Go Back to 
Michigan — I Want to Go Back to the Farm," or ''Back 
Home in Tennessee," ''My Old Kentucky Home," "Carry 
Me Back to Old Virginny." But how those voices rose 
and the starlit skies of France threw back the echoes when 
they sang 

"I wish I was in de land of cotton. 
Old times dar will never be forgotten, 
Look-a-way! Look-a-way! Look-a-way! Dixie Land! . . . 

Den I wish I was in Dixie, Hoo-ray! Hoo-ray! 

In Dixie Land 1^11 take my stand 

To lib and die in Dixie — 

Away, away, away down South in Dixie — 

Away, away, away down South in Dixie!" 

In all this spontaneous singing the entertainers, espe- 
cially the trained professional singers, who "put over" 
songs with the zest and in the atmosphere that one gets 
only through a lifetime of practice, should be given their 
tribute. Elsie Janis's singing of "Over Here," and "When 
Yankee Doodle Learns to Parlez-Vous Francais," a song 
that was tremblingly laid before her by a doughboy with 
the faint hope that she might "give it a try," went like 
wildfire throughout the Army. The records will never 
tell how many a little entertainer came to be known among 
their chosen units as the "Smiles" girl just because she 
popularized and connected unforgettably with her own 
personal charm that Ulting ditty, "Pack up Your Troubles 
in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!" There 
were others who created a saucy atmosphere with "N' 
Everything," or built up a fine heroic mood around a song 
which Margaret Wilson did most to popularize, "The 
Americans Have Come." Irving Berlin covered himself 
with glory by launching upon the world, "Oh, How I 
Hate to Get Up in the Morning," and "How You Going 
to Keep Them Down on the Farm?" 



208 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

But the doughboys' greatest joy was to sing those spon- 
taneous authorless songs that rose in the unique atmos- 
phere of the A. E. F. itself. Most famous of all these was 
that classic which served through the War and is still 
going strong wherever A. E. F. men get together, ^'Hinky 
Dinky Parlez-Vous." It had an infinite number of verses, 
but it always started out with this one, which gives the 
full flavor of a real doughboy ditty: 

*'The General got the croix de guerre, parlez-vous, 
The General got the croix de guerre, parlez vous, 
The General got the croix de guerre. 
But the son of a gun, he was never there, 
Hinkyy Dinky ^ Parlez-Vous.^' 

Then there was that self-indulgent privates' chanson 
entitled "I Know Where They Are/' which, after describing 
in various stanzas that the officers were ^^down in Rosie's 
bar"; the sergeants were ' 'eating the soldiers' grub"; the 
corporals were ' 'mending the old barbed wire"; ended with 
this glorious tribute to the privates, with all voices at 
top pitch: 

"If you want to know where the privates are, 

I know where they are, 
I know where they are, I know where they are, 
If you want to know where the privates are, 

I know where they are — 
Up to their necks in micdy I saw them, I saw them, 
Up to their necks in mvd^ I saw them, 
Up to their necks in rmidJ^ 

Of course, the characteristic quality of these songs is 
absent unless you were there to hear the spanking music 
that linked up with the words and made them the most 
tuneful marching songs that ever were sung. 

The Army was just as rich in parodies. Of these, ''Do 
We Go Home or Do We Hesitate?" probably evoked the 
most hearty and general approval of all. The most ironic 
lines of this song ran, 



SINGING THEIR WAY TO VICTORY 209 

"Twenty years from now General Pershing, he'll say, ^Gee! 
I forgot about those boys in Germanee/ 
Do We Go Home—Or Do We Hesitated 

The Alabama boys, who provided the wildest contingent 
of the Forty-Second Division, just naturally had a song 
all their own, the full effect of which unfortunately cannot 
be given here, but which struck a touching ironic note at 
the end of each stanza, '^Oh, This Beautiful War!" This 
song, like many others of the great popular songs of the 
War, never has been and probably never will be com- 
mitted to paper. In fact, many of the best known dough- 
boy songs cannot be bought and perhaps have not been 
seen in their written form by most of those who know 
them and sing them on every provocation at their reunions. 
Anyhow, this is as good a time as any to include the words, 
to the tune of "The Ole Gray Mare,'' of the best known 
parody of them all, "Good-by Kaiser Bill." They went: 

"Uncle Sammy he's got the infantry, 
He's got the cavalry. 
He's got the artillery. 
And so by gosh we'll all go to Germany 
Good-hy Kaiser Bill, 

"Good-by Kaiser Bill, good-by. Kaiser Bill, 
For Uncle Sammy, he's got the infantry. 

He's got the cavalry. 

He's got the artillery, 
And so by gosh we'll all go to Germany, 

And good-by Kaiser BiUJ^ 



For over a year in America Marshall Bartholomew had 
charge of the Music Department. He went to Paris about 
the middle of January, 1919, but it was necessary for him 
to leave for America early in March, 1919, as there were 
problems to be solved in the cantonments at home. It 
was at Mr. Bartholomew's request that Ernest B. Cham- 



210 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

berlain wa^ urged to return to France. He was previously 
an instructor in music at the University of Wisconsin. 
On February 1, 1919, the Song Leaders' Bureau of the 
Entertainment Department A. E. F.-Y MCA was for- 
mally inaugurated by Mr. Chamberlain as director. 

Louis N. Cushman appeared in the Le Mans Area in 
the latter part of February, 1919, to do sing-song work 
as a song leader in the camps. There he organized teams, 
with a song leader and accompanist. One team went into 
Tonnerre, where it spent a month with the Thirty-Sixth 
Division. Mr. Cushman had the hearty support of Colonel 
James, through whose interest singing classes were ar- 
ranged among the soldiers. Men were chosen from the 
Army and sent to the classes one hour a day for eight 
days. The Lawrence Course for Song Leaders used at 
Columbia was curtailed to meet the necessity for a short 
course. These soldier song leaders of chosen ability took 
a deep interest in the work. Nightly a song leader would 
go out to different towns in the surrounding territory, 
accompanied by a folding organ to work the singing up to 
its proper pitch. At La Suze, Mr. Cushman recalls one 
evening when he managed to coax eight or nine men about 
him to sing songs of a popular style. It was not long before 
this small group grew to about 800 soldiers, and sprinkled 
among them were French children and civilians. He 
asked the French to sing ''Madelon^' and then the ''Mar- 
seillaise.'' When they had finished the soldiers cheered. 
The soldiers were eager to return the compliment and sang 
a number of American popular songs. The French ap- 
plauded them in their usual manner. In this way, through 
sing-songs, the Entente Cordiale was promoted and it 
had a great deal to do in strengthening the relations among 
the American soldiers and the French people. 

One interesting experience is that of a song leader on a 
motor truck, accompanied by a rolling canteen in the 
Twenty-Ninth Division at Le Mans. Pauline Hayes was 



SINGING THEIR WAY TO VICTORY 211 

assigned to begin at Tours, where she reported to Mr. 
Hazenburg, song leader. Together they had sing-songs 
until the army division moved from J ussy to Le Mans 
concentration camp on March 26, 1919. Here it was that 
Miss Hayes had her happy thought. She asked permis- 
sion to have a piano placed on an army motor truck. A 
canteen worker was asked to join them, a rolling canteen 
was enlisted, and these combined forces went out into the 
camps. There they served lemonade and cookies — and 
started the whole camp on an orgy of song. 

The song leaders began to invade all sectors of the Army. 
There was Fred H. Balmond at Le Mans; Frances Black- 
ney, who was at Semur as assistant song leader; 'Louise 
Robins Curry, who went from Semur to St. Gervais; Charles 
M. Clear who was sent to Coblenz, and later on to Biarritz 
and Luchon Cauterets; Leo Charles Demack, choir leader 
at St. Peter's Church, Beverly, Mass., who was with the 
Third Army at Coblenz and then went to Bordeaux; Flor- 
ence Eis at Semur; C. C. Gleason at Le Mans; Robert 
Good; Ira M. Grey, song leader with the Religious Work 
Department; C. F. Lamb, an entertainment secretary in 
the Eighth Region, at Dijon, who later joined Mr. Thrush 
at Coblenz; Edward Havens at Mentone; Milford Witts, 
entertainment director at Dijon; J. L. Newhall at St. 
Nazaire, one of the great successes as a song leader; W. Stan- 
ley Hawkins who after January 1, 1919, was sent to Coblenz 
to take charge of the Music Department in the Third Army; 
Eugene Foulke; Arthur K. Wyatt of the Kirk Entertain- 
ment Unit; A. W. Ely at St. Nazaire; and G. J. Edwards, 
who was sent to the Leave Areas. These are but a few of 
the song leaders in the field. 

The experience of Hope G. Carrell is typical of the 
service. Transferred from the Women's Bureau she became 
a lecturer, soloist, and violinist. She interspersed the 
entertainment program with sing-songs, leading the audi- 
ence of soldiers by starting the song. She started the work 



212 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

around Bordeaux, where she was assigned for two weeks 
and then went to Le Mans. Here the soldiers were usually 
encamped in their tents in the large fields. On a motor 
truck or a Ford, equipped with a folding organ, she led 
the sing-songs right there in the field. 

In view of the rapid movement of the American troops 
for home, the assignment of song leaders to the field was 
discontinued at the end of May, 1919. The singing of 
these songs will continue at camp fires and reunions for 
fifty years to come, and some of the songs will remain 
when the Great War has become a part of America's tra- 
dition of humor and buoyancy under danger and difficulty. 



CHAPTER XXV 

ENLISTING EMINENT LECTURERS 

^ 'Charm ache with air and agony with words J^ 
Much Ado about Nothing. 

Not only did the actors and song leaders follow the 
armies — there were still others. Famous American au- 
thors, travelers, jurists, psychologists, clergymen, his- 
torians, journalists, lawyers, publicists, educators, play- 
wrights — more than 500 of them, 200 of whom were in 
regular service — became lecturers to the American soldier. 
They, too, were equipped with gas masks and the para- 
phernalia of campaigning along the lines behind the front. 
It was their duty to instruct the doughboys in the prin- 
ciples for which they were fighting; to keep them posted 
on affairs ''back home''; and to take advantage of this 
opportunity to instill the value of knowledge and self- 
development into the youth of the nation. Their first duty, 
however, was to entertain; and it is from this viewpoint 
that their service is here recorded. 

American celebrities of the platform and pulpit were 
not the only ones offered to the American doughboy. 
There were famous men of letters and science from England, 
who crossed the Channel to speak; a few from France, 
whose mastery of English was sufficient to carry the in- 
terest of an American boy through an evening; and such 
personages as might possibly be recruited from other 
countries, such as Dr. Wellington Koo, Minister from 
China to the United States, head of the Chinese delegation 
at the Peace Conference, himself a Columbia graduate. 

Early in December, 1917, Mr. Carter had proposed a 
plan to General Pershing to exchange the best American 
speakers with the British, in order to strengthen the mu- 

213 



214 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

tual interests of the two countries. The suggestion won 
immediate approval and in this way the United States 
troops gained the opportunity of Hstening to some of the 
foremost figures in Great Britain's pubHc hfe. There were 
Lord Bryce, Former British Ambassador at Washington, 
Viscount Northcliffe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Johnston 
Forbes Robertson and Lady Robertson, H. G. W^ells of 
''Mr. Britling'' fame, Ian Hay (Major Beith), author of 
the 'The First Hundred Thousand,'' John Masefield, the 
poet. Rev. Sidney Berry, Rev. B. T. Butcher, Professor 
C. S. Terry, Professor F. Morse Simpson, Professor H. F. 
Stewart, Ben Greet, Louis Casson, Sylvia Thorndike, 
Professor W. P. Paterson of Edinburgh University, Dr. 
MacMillan, Glasgow's noted Presbyterian divine, and 
Rev. Mr. Ferguson, one of the greatest lecturers on polit- 
ical subjects in the British Empire. Rudyard Kipling 
addressed American troops at Winchester and in other 
British camps. In exchange for this galaxy of stars some 
of the American speakers sent into the British lines were 
Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation 
of Labor, Edward Bok, for many years editor of the Ladies^ 
Home Journal, Dr. Albert Shaw, long noted as the editor 
of the American Review of Reviews, Professor J. A. Field 
of the University of Chicago faculty, and Ernest Hamilton 
Abbott, correspondent for The Outlook. 

This service was first instituted by Arthur Gleason, 
the magazine writer, early in September, 1917. The first 
American lecturer to appear in France — three days after 
the arrival of General Pershing — was Norman Hapgood, 
later sent by President Wilson as Minister to Denmark. 
He lectured in Paris as early as July 7, 1917, before the 
lecture service was organized. James Hazen Hyde, long 
an American resident of France, was another of the early 
speakers, addressing about 300 American soldiers stationed 
in Paris in July, 1917, on "Franco- American Relations 
Since 1776." 



ENLISTING EMINENT LECTURERS 215 

From the arrival of the first American troops on foreign 
soil the demand for lecturei's was continuous. Due to the 
dearth of American speakers in France at that date, it 
was necessary for a while to utilize soldier talent. Many 
a soldier was an accomplished orator and entertained his 
comrades in the huts with convincing speeches on the 
superior merits of his home city or his home state, rising 
to glowing eulogies of the greatness of America. This was 
the kind of spirit which laid the germ that created the 
lecture service. It became so popular with the boys that 
it was found necessary to place it in a department of its 
own. Already Mr. Gleason was burdened with so many 
duties that he found it difficult to devote the time required 
by the increasing needs of this newer field. This important 
service was committed to the guidance of Dr. John Gay- 
lord Coulter, a Chicago editor and lecturer. 

The cry for facts about the War — the all-absorbing topic 
of the moment — its underlying causes, its political effect 
upon the future, was so great among the American soldiers 
arriving on the scene of conflict that when Dr. Coulter 
became Director of the Department of Entertainment and 
Lectures, he set about at once to recruit speakers who 
could talk convincingly on these matters. Thus began the 
long '4ine" of celebrities in American public life which 
stretched out into various divisions of the Army to imbed 
deeply in the minds of the soldiers all the things for which 
they had gone to war, and to promote the American point 
of view and the fighting spirit of the men. 

Dr. Coulter scoured the city of Paris for Americans of 
note, engaged in some other form of war service, who 
might be willing to address the soldiers. He was fortunate 
in finding a number who proved of inestimable value during 
those early days. Dr. Paul van Dyke, professor of English 
Literature at Princeton, was in Paris as head of the Prince- 
ton Division of the American University Union. George 
Henry Nettleton, professor of English at Yale, was pre- 



216 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

siding as chairman of the University Union's executive 
board. Charles W. Veditz, the economist and sociologist, 
was attache of the Department of Commerce at the Amer- 
ican Embassy. These and many others willingly con- 
tributed their time and talent to the cause, speaking when- 
ever called upon. 

A trio of French notables in the persons of the Comtesse 
de St. Maurice, Mme. Gilles Darmyl, the writer, and 
Hughes le Roux, all with a perfect command of English, 
joined the lecture forces. The Comtesse related the expe- 
riences of the French during the German invasion of 1914. 
Dr. Woods Hutchinson, the American medical authority, 
extended advice to the soldiers. Other able American 
speakers in this original volunteer group were Will Irwin, 
the writer, Professor Mark Baldwin, Professor John Hunter 
Sedgwick, and Charles A. Prince, a conspicuous member 
of the Boston bar. Mr. Prince's lecture on ''What the 
Boche Really Is," was very effective during the dark days 
of 1917 and 1918. 

Dr. Coulter soon was able to add other speakers arriv- 
ing from America. Among them were Professor Arthur 
H. Norton, Vice-President of Elmira College; Dr. Wilson 
S. Naylor of the Lawrence University faculty at Appleton, 
Wisconsin; George Palmer of Superior, Wisconsin; Harry 
C. Evans, a Des Moines editor and Chautauqua lecturer; 
and Robert P. Shepherd of Grand Rapids, well known 
to the Chautauquas. 

The cordial reception accorded to all these early speak- 
ers by the soldiers wherever a lecture was given proved 
how hungry the American fighting force was for knowledge 
of European affairs and the background of the struggle. 
Winthrop Ames had noted this, too, on his tour of inspec- 
tion among the camps and reported it to Paris. Dr. Coulter 
requested the headquarters officials to assign him every 
arriving secretary who could address an audience, whether 
professional lecturer, pulpit orator, educator, psychologist. 



ENLISTING EMINENT LECTURERS 217 

scientist, statesman, politician, historian, dramatist, or 
actor — all who were accustomed to appearing in public 
and addressing audiences. Men who had been college 
presidents, clergymen, editors, authors, judges, platform 
orators went out into the camps, dotted like points on a 
spider's web, appearing before their soldier audiences un- 
heralded, with no reference whatever to their positions 
in life — each delivering a vigorous message of patriotism 
and purpose. 

As soon as it was learned that Anson Phelps Stokes of 
Yale had arrived in Paris, early in January, 1918, with a 
view to drafting an educational program for the Y M C A, 
Dr. Coulter pressed him into service in the lecture depart- 
ment. Choosing the subject of ^'America and France," 
he probably was the first speaker to give an illustrated 
lecture along the American front. A tour was arranged for 
Paris, Chaumont, Langres, Bourmont, Neufchateau, 
Chalons, and Gondrecourt. 

Dr. Coulter himself was a speaker of ability, and his 
powers of entertainment were proved on frequent occa- 
sions when substituting for others who at the last minute 
could not appear. Moreover, he was anxious to get out 
into the field where he felt a more intimate association 
with the soldiers awaited him. Mr. Carter accordingly 
released him to serve in his desired field. To fill his place 
was a perplexing problem. Happily, however, he remem- 
bered reading the reports of some clever impromptu enter- 
tainments which had been staged out at Beaumont, a 
battered French village standing right on the edge of No 
Man's Land. He felt that the man who was capable of 
arranging such good programs under those trying condi- 
tions ought to make the new department "go." So he sent 
for him — Charles Steele, who achieved the notable success 
related in a preceding chapter. Mr. Steele was a true 
American; he was willing to serve his country in any capac- 
ity, so he left the field where it was all excitement, and 



218 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

came into Paris, where for a year he ran the entertainment 
service. 

It was not long before Mr. Steele had a line of lecturers 
moving regularly about his war camp Chatauqua circuit. 
There were Harry Emerson Fosdick the author-clergyman, 
President William H. Crawford of Allegheny College, 
Rheta Childs Dorr the author. Judge John Garland Pollard 
of Richmond, Bishop Rogers Israel of Erie, Rev. Chester 
Emerson of Detroit, Judge Tod B. Galloway of Columbus, 
President Carl G. Doney of Willamette University, former 
Senator Le Roy Percy of Mississippi, Dan Poling, Robert 
George Paterson, Captain Beekman, Chaplain Monod, 
Eunice Tietjens, and Burges Johnson, professor of English 
at Vassar College, who gave his lecture ''American as It 
Is Spoken in Forty-Two Different States." Each one 
met with overwhelming success, proving the truth of 
Winthrop Ames's statement that the men were hungry 
for serious and educational talks. 

Great crowds gathered nightly to hear these speakers 
at such large troop centers as Rimaucourt, St. Blin, Treveray, 
Givrauval, Boucq, Minil-le-Tour — the last place on the 
Toul front where one could go without a gas mask — and 
at Colombey-les-Belles. Here the boys were so hungry 
for an American speaker that when Mr. Paterson appeared 
there on the night the big offensive began he was greeted 
by an enormous audience which packed the place, standing 
and squatting in the aisles, and was introduced by Major 
Frank Copeland Page, son of Walter Hines Page, late 
ambassador to Great Britain. Later, on the night of April 
10, 1918, Mr. Paterson was in a gas attack at Beaumont, 
beyond Dead Man's Curve, and could lecture but little 
in France after that. Dr. Crawford followed into this 
region and met with overwhelming success. Rheta Childs 
Dorr, on her way back to the United States from Russia, 
spoke in many huts in French Lorraine, venturing as far 
toward the firing line as a woman was permitted. Bishop 



ENLISTING EMINENT LECTURERS 219 

Israel did most effective work along the Toul front in the 
early spring of 1918, when the Germans were making 
their terrific drives. Dr. Doney, of Oregon, offered his 
audiences a variety of good subjects: "German Kultur vs. 
CiviHzation," "What We Shall Get out of the War," and 
"The French and Anglo-Saxon Mind." Senator Percy, 
a member of the special Harbison Commission investigating 
the Y M C A in France, was always called upon in the 
huts visited by Mr. Harbison and his other associates. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox went to France in the spring of 
1918, to work in the canteens and render what assistance 
she could. Immediately she was pressed into lecture 
service and consented to read her own poems to the sol- 
diers in the base hospitals, who received her with great 
enthusiasm. As was revealed by her untimely death not 
long after, her health broke down in the service and com- 
pelled her return to America long before she could make 
the rounds of the camps that were clamoring for her ap- 
pearance. 

John Kendrick Bangs and Irvin Cobb were two big 
drawing cards for the lecture bureau. Both kept their 
audiences convulsed. Unfortunately Mr. Cobb's time was 
too limited to spare many days to the lecture department, 
though he devoted every evening possible to some soldier 
audience in Paris. Mr. Bangs always was ready whenever 
he was called upon, taking several extensive trips to the 
front. 

"I spoke in many ^Y' huts and once in a barn," com- 
mented Mr. Bangs on his return from his first lecture 
trip to the front. "I had spoken to the boys of the motor 
transport service before and that little cheering did them 
a great deal of good. So I went out there again with only 
the starlight to illuminate the roads ahead. I spoke to the 
soldiers with the cannon roaring steadily a few miles away 
and with shells passing overhead. I told them funny 
stories and then gave them a serious talk about what 
America was doing to win the War. While at another 



220 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

place I reached the ruins of what had been a village. There 
in a tent, on the edge of No Man's Land, I found Norton, 
Vice-President of Ehnira College, who was devoting his 
vacation to serving the soldiers in France.'' 

William Arnold Shanklin, President of Wesleyan Uni- 
versity at Middletown, Connecticut, was one of the most 
interesting speakers in France. The reputation of his 
talks on everyday problems traveled before him and he 
was greeted by crowds. One of the features of his lec- 
tures was the open forum he conducted afterward in which 
the soldiers participated, not only questioning the speaker 
but addressing the audience themselves. These discus- 
sions grew immensely popular. 

Captain George C. Pidgeon was recruited from the 
Canadian Army, speaking on ^The North American Spirit." 
Professor John Erskine of Colimibia, later head of the 
educational department, lectured at the base ports on 
"Our Neighbors the French." Dr. John Deans, a well- 
known lecturer from Brooklyn, capitalized his first six 
months' experience as a hut secretary at the front and 
addressed the incoming soldiers at the base ports during 
the summer of 1918 on ''My Experiences with the French 
People." 

By the spring of 1918, Messrs. Steele and Johnson were 
sending out into the field a list of celebrities that would 
have been the envy of the American lecture bureaus. This 
included Lorado Taft, the American sculptor, who drew 
crowds at the Palais de Glace; Mme. Enuna Nevada, 
the celebrated American diva who delighted Metropolitan 
audiences two decades ago; Ray Stannard Baker, American 
author and journalist; Edward A. Filene, the Boston 
merchant, active in The League to Enforce Peace; Henry 
Morgenthau, former Ambassador to Turkey; General W. 
W. Hard of the A. E. F.; and Reginald Wright Kaufmann, 
the writer. Mrs. Richard Mansfield lectured on ''The 
Merchant of Venice," Euphemia Bakewell of Pittsburg 



ENLISTING EMINENT LECTURERS 221 

gave talks on "Joan of Arc'' and the "The Streets of Paris" 
with illustrated slides, and Mrs. August Belmont enter- 
tained with brilliant readings and talks. 

Then there was a group of eminent American divines: 
Bishop Brent, before he became Senior Chaplain of the 
A. E. F., Bishop Luther B. Wilson, Rev. Robert Freeman of 
Los Angeles, Rev. Floyd Irving Beckwith of Chicago, 
Rev. E. B. Edworthy of Montana, John F. Babb of Haver- 
hill, Mass., George Wood Anderson, the evangelist from 
Bellefontaine, Ohio, President Henry Churchill King of 
Oberlin College, Joseph E. Appley of Hancock, N. Y., 
Rev. August E. Bamett of Millbrook, N. Y., Rev. William 
E. Ice of Versailles, Ohio, Rev. James W. Smith of Man- 
chester, N. H., and Rev. William Dent Atkinson of Grove 
City, Ohio, were conspicuous figures in this list. All these 
pulpit orators crowded the huts and tents wherever they 
appeared. 

When the actors began to crowd into Paris, the duties 
of Messrs. Steele and Johnson reached such proportions 
that it became necessary to transfer the lecture forces, 
with the latest recruits — including Dr. Raymond Knox of 
Columbia, Professor Frank C. Lockwood, Dean of Litera- 
ture of the University of Arizona, and others — to the educa- 
tional department. Dr. Lockwood taking charge, although 
in Mr. Steele's own province he continued to send lecturers 
out into the field to talk on historical, industrial, and social 
subjects of general interest. 

After Mr. Steele's return to America following the Ar- 
mistice he was succeeded by Mr. Johnson, who had con- 
tributed so much towards the general success of the whole 
undertaking. Along in April, 1919, when the entertain- 
ment field grew out of all boimds, it was decided to place 
the lecture service in the hands of a professional Chau- 
tauqua manager, recruited especially for the piupose from 
the United States in the person of the late Chauncey D. 
Brooks. Mr. Brooks began auspiciously with a corps of 



222 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

helpers, rendering an excellent service during the time he 
was permitted to give it supervision. Lamentably this 
was not for long, for his life was cut short on June 14, 1919, 
when he passed away after a brief illness, and his depart- 
ment reverted to the management of Mr. Johnson and 
later of A. M. Beatty, where it remained until the close 
of the overseas work. 

Among the lecturers secured by Mr. Brooks were Major 
Rene Martial, the distinguished French medical authority, 
publicist, and author, to whom Premier Clemenceau gave 
permission to address the Americans. Major M. Chad- 
boimie was another speaker of the Peace Conference days, 
taking for his topic ^The League of Nations — Will It Work?'^ 
Others were Firman Roz of the French War Office, Baron 
de Detrich, a prominent Alsatian, and Captain S. N. Dancy, 
a Canadian. 

And there were many others — some 500 in all — ministers, 
editors, educators who helped out over France wherever 
they happened to be serving. The demand for hut secre- 
taries exceeded everything else, so only a comparative few 
could be spared for assignment to this special work. 

The lecturers did a big work; they deserve great credit. 
They kept the boys inspired from start to finish. After 
an invigorating address the soldiers felt like going out into 
the front line and whipping the whole German army single- 
handed. As one lecturer was told by an earnest American 
lad after he had concluded at Givrauval and received three 
lusty cheers from his vast soldier audience: 'That talk 
was worth a dozen bayonet drills." As they are instructors 
of the public in secular life, so were the lecturers the in- 
structors of the American Expeditionary Forces. They 
kept the Army informed on topics of general interest both 
at home and abroad, they helped to entertain them during 
the restless days when every unit was anxious to set sail 
for the good old U. S. A., and thus they did their part. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 

"A kind of excellent dumb discourse.'^ 
The Tempest. 

One day at the front when Elsie Janis was having one 
of her unusually buoyant fits of optimism, she slung her 
fountain pen under the impulse of an uncontrollable idea, 
and started to compute just how long it would take to 
play to every doughboy in the A. E. F. After covering 
about six sheets of writing paper with estimates computed 
at her present rate of speed, she sighed and leaned back 
in the deepest despair. "Holy Shrapnel," she exclaimed, 
"who'd have thought it would have taken five years! Gee, 
I guess I'll leave it to the movies." 

The good old movies! Every entertainer in France 
thanked his lucky star hundreds of times that they were 
there to fill in when mere flesh and blood actors could go 
no farther. From the trenches to the base ports, in every 
hut or shack big enough to have entertainment activities, 
there might or might not be entertainers, but there were 
movies. The movie screen, in the doughboys' mind and 
in the mind of those who "put over" the entertainment 
program, was the dependable, unfailing amusement for 
the American Army. From the unforgettable series of 
pictures, which hundreds of community agencies in America 
had cooperated in sending to their home divisions, wherein 
home faces and home sights flickered on the screen, the 
news digests and topical reviews, and the educational and 
travel pictures, to the Homeric antics of Charlie and Doug 
— the movie was an immense success. 

Immediately on our entrance into the War, the Com- 

223 



224 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

munity Motion Picture Bureau offered its services to the 
YMCA. This Bureau had been organized in 1911 by 
Warren Dunham Foster, one of the first to grasp the value 
of the moving picture as an instrument in social welfare 
and higher citizenship. In the six years of its existence 
up to the time when America entered the War, it had 
put on a nation-wide basis the idea of choosing and ex- 
hibiting motion pictures for community education and civic 
value. It thus precisely fitted the need of a clearing house 
for the YMCA and other welfare organizations in putting 
movies on the huge scale desired before the soldiers of 
the American Army. It was in touch with the film pro- 
ducers and had at its command men and women trained 
in the complicated motion picture business. Its services 
to the soldiers were offered without profit and were at once 
accepted for the work rapidly opening in the home camps. 

The first agreement between the National War Work 
Council and the Community Bureau dates from May 15, 
1917, although the latter had functioned informally even 
before that date. The Community Bureau took over the 
responsibility for showing moving pictures at the student 
camps at Plattsburg and elsewhere. By July this service 
was well organized, with ninety machines in operation 
and nearly 2,000,000 feet of film running weekly. By the 
end of the year it was showing at practically every camp 
and cantonment, and by February, 1918, when the great 
movement of troops to France was ready to get under 
way, the soldier audiences were numbering almost 1,000,000 
men a week, and from 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 feet of film 
a week had been fitted into programs and was in constant 
circuit throughout the camps. 

The arrangement of the Bureau with the War Work 
Council and with the other welfare agencies on this side 
was, to quote Dr. Mott, '^unselfish, if not sacrificial." 
The Bureau was determined that the soldiers should have 
plenty of pictures and to their ta^te. The president, Mr. 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 225 

Foster, himself made a round of the camps, watching the 
audiences to get an idea of the type of pictures that were 
most popular. He came back to tell his editorial board 
to omit sentimental pictures of mother and home and of 
heroic soldier lads. Romances, however, and real war 
pictures and farces — these were popular all over the land. 
In order to test their programs more thoroughly, the Bureau 
also used reaction coupons which brought reports from 
a million audiences. 

The task of the editorial committee was heavy. Their 
business was to see all films and find enough that were 
healthful and vigorous in tone. They could never lose 
sight of the fact that the soldier was entitled to simple, 
unvarnished fun, and to plenty of comedy, even of the 
most violent slap-stick variety. That they succeeded in 
their task may be guessed on the one hand by the satis- 
faction of the men, and on the other by the fact that in 
their two years' service only three people characterized as 
objectionable any of the films that were sent out. 

General Pershing in the summer of 1917 authorized the 
Y M C A to take charge of the entire moving picture 
service for the A. E. F. Seventy-five machines were sent 
in the late summer of 1917, twenty-four hours after the 
receipt of this order. The Cinema Department in Paris 
was in one matter even more handicapped than other 
bureaus in that first difficult six months of finding them- 
selves in France. The moving picture business is tech- 
nical and complicated always, and it needed then, more 
than ever, those trained to the business. The first films 
sent over had one virtue. They were as poor in material 
as in matter, and, used by amateurs and under the worst 
conditions, they were nearly at the end of their careers 
when the work of the department was put into the hands 
of the Community Motion Picture Bureau in April, 1918. 
These, with what films it had been possible to buy in France, 
were all the Army had seen up to Mr. Foster's arrival 



226 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

in February. Mr. Foster's comment, after looking over 
the field and considering the enormous problems of trans- 
portation and equipment, must have heartened the secre- 
taries who had struggled against overwhelming odds to 
get pictures into the field. ''I am more and more filled 
with admiration," he said, ^^at what our predecessors have 
accomplished in spite of their many handicaps." 

Up to the middle of March, 1918, with the tonnage 
shortage and the torpedo that sunk the largest ship- 
ment, only 372 showings had been given. Two weeks 
later, when the Community Motion Picture Bureau had 
become the Motion Picture Department of the ''Y," 700 
showings were made each week and twenty-one portable 
machines were with the troops on the march, giving a 
hundred shows a week, often on the roadsides at the nightly 
bivouacs. The colonel of a regiment that had seen as 
hard fighting as any of our forces was asked what he most 
wanted for his men after they entered the French sector. 
He said, ''Three things: Motion pictures; more motion 
pictures; still more motion pictures." 

April saw the beginnings of what was to be a colossal 
cinema enterprise. A force was building of chauffeurs, 
mechanics, operators, photographers, editors, and super- 
visors, and branch offices within the year were to cover 
the ground from Brest to Coblenz, and from Brussels to 
Nice. In the spring of 1918 there were seven Americans 
and twenty French on the staff. A year later, the force 
numbered 115 Americans directly under the Motion Picture 
Department, and more than 1,400 soldier details, French 
aids, and secretaries working under its supervisors. 

In the meantime, the first group of motion picture spe- 
cialists had been seized on the way through England, where 
American camps were clamoring for movies. The outfit 
in England at that time consisted of eight films. Since 
half of the A. E. F. was to pass through England, and 
men of the Navy and the Merchant Marine were crowd- 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 227 

ing the ports, something must he done and done quickly. 
One man was left in England. In two months he had 
managed to get equipment, films, and helpers enough to 
show what might be done, and his office was asked to 
supply films for the British Association, for the prisoners 
of war, and for the Colonials. London being one of the 
greatest film markets of the world, time and money were 
saved by forming there a second editorial and purchasing 
bureau. Meantime to the ''Y'^ headquarters in Paris came 
demands for help from Italy, and arrangements were 
also made to serve through the Association the Foyers, 
the Chinese Labor Camps, and other welfare organiza- 
tion work with the A, E. F. in France, and the internment 
camps in Switzerland. 

This enormous business, carried on under the constant 
difficulties of war time, gave rise to all sorts of odd de- 
velopments. In England a school was opened to train 
disabled British soldiers as operators. In France it was 
necessary to open classes for training the amateur care- 
takers of the precious Delco machines, on which not only 
the movies but the lighting of most of the huts depended, 
for in the path of the motion picture camera there followed 
a lighting system which meant a cheery well-lit hut where 
candles and smoking lamps had cast gloom before. 

The transportation problem was for the cinema, as for 
everything else, the toughest problem. The express service 
of France had entirely broken down. The only way to 
get the films out was to carry them out by train with special 
messenger, by motor, or by motorcycle. The moving pic- 
ture men solved this difficulty in a unique way which, 
originally designed by Mr. Foster and his very able suc- 
cessor in charge of the work in France, Elmo Lowe, met 
all the difficulties of what looked at first to be an impossible 
situation. There was never enough gasoline, to say nothing 
of Ford trucks, to carry a regular supply of films around 
to the five thousand odd showing points from which the 



228 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

moving pictures radiated throughout the American Army. 
So early in the game the Department organized a Uttle 
army of its own of French civilians, ineligible for army 
service, to act as special couriers carrying American films 
throughout France. The idea worked out remarkably, 
and not only was every feeding point which itself might 
be a center for transporting machines through an entire 
area supplied for the omnivorous doughboy, but the courier 
service itself was used by army officers and by certain 
sections of the "Y" as the most trustworthy and regular 
transport service that could be found. These French 
civilians traveled by the railways, armed with a formid- 
able array of passes and special permits, and although at 
first, among the sections of the French Army that did 
not like to see civilians abroad on any mission whatsoever, 
they traveled from guardhouse to guardhouse, eventually 
all these difficulties were ironed out and American movies 
circulated throughout the Army with a speed which even 
staff couriers envied. 

The routing of the programs was most carefully planned, 
in order that all points should be served and no films left 
idle. Each program was to be used four times a week, 
and in the height of the service nearly 5,000 points were 
to be supplied, so that a failure in delivery at one point 
might break up the plans of a circuit for a week, and error 
in any one of the seventeen operations necessary to each 
program meant that the soldiers were disappointed. This 
was no small matter if men had tramped kilometers through 
the mud for the promised pictures, or were setting forth 
to the Argonne at daylight, or had just had word of another 
delay in their transport. The men and women on this 
part of the task took it much in the spirit of that famous 
rider who "brought the good news from Ghent to Aix." 
*'I had promised Vemeuil, 130 kilometers from Bourges, 
that I would take them three films on a certain Friday," 
writes one woman. "I left Bourges in the flivver at 1: 15 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 229 

and twelve miles out the car refused to go. I walked on 
to St. Just where I phoned to the Motor Transport Depart- 
ment, but the French central cut us off, and it took two 
hours and a half to get the call through the second time. 
By this time only a motorcycle could possibly get the films 
to Verneuil in time for the boys." Absolute precision 
throughout the whole organization was the ideal. If this 
were not humanly possible under the circumstances, yet 
the Motion Picture Department did so well that even early 
in its service Mr. Ewing, Chief Y M C A Secretary for 
Great Britain, said, "It is the best organized institution 
in the war zone." 

From the commencement of active operations in France 
the motion picture played a dominating part in the sol- 
diers^ life. When the Second Division went into its first 
action near Mondidier in May, sixty motion picture out- 
fits were operating with them on full time, with the cordial 
approval of General Bundy. One of the screens, which 
was set up in an old quarry, is still preserved, riddled with 
German shrapnel, as a mute testimony to how far up to 
the front these operators carried their work. When the 
Germans came over the top unexpectedly, one of the things 
they were likely to capture was a motion picture outfit. 
At Soissons, during the bitter fighting in May, one set 
of films changed hands three times and was a prize exhibit 
throughout the fighting divisions durmg the summer. 
The movie man and his battered Ford followed the troops 
wherever they went and gave shows in ruined churches, 
in gullies and old quarries, in mills and abandoned chateaux, 
in the underground chambers of artillery positions, and 
on the whitewashed walls fronting the village square. 
Often these movie shows were given before groups of men 
lying on the ground just out of action and too tired even 
to stand up. The operators of the Third Division went 
with these troops in their weary march to the Rhine, setting 
up their screen each night. 



230 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

By the time the leave areas were in full operation, and 
the Le Mans forwarding camp and the embarkation ports, 
it was comparatively easy to supply these regions and 
the cities, though it still meant working into the night, 
and called for endless persistency and ingenuity. When 
the Le Mans Area was at its height there were about thirty 
shows a day, with eighteen trucks busy delivering reels 
and caring for machines, and a force working from ten 
in the morning around the clock till three, and one of the 
office women always ready to take a car for an absent 
driver. It was in this region that a driver came late into 
the town where he was to give a show. The officers were 
away, a sergeant in command, and the men had turned 
in. Nothing daunted, the secretary asked if they could 
not be "turned out,'' which they promptly were. The 
machine was set up in the street, a screen rigged on a side 
of a barn, and ''those crazy Americans" poured out of 
their billets for a performance. The comment of the officers 
on this remarkable proceeding was permission to the sec- 
retary to do it as often as he wished. 

In the French villages the movie machine was often 
set up in the market place, with the side of a building for 
a screen, and the entire population gathered with the 
soldiers. This outdoor cinema was indeed necessary in 
the villages, for many of the French country folk had never 
before seen a movie. They crowded the small huts to 
bursting, leaving little room for soldiers, yet when one 
saw the pleasure this gave to the war-harried people one 
could not turn them away. The Third Division went 
with these troops in their weary march to the Rhine, setting 
up their screen each night. 

Outdoor screens were not the only makeshifts. For 
instance, with the Salvage Department at Bordeaux the 
only chance for movies was when some portion of a ware- 
house could be cleaned out. Whenever such a moment 
arrived the garage men, whose work went on day and 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 231 

night, turned in to prepare the place. Wherever, as 
with the colored battalions at Le Rochelle, work went on 
throughout the night, movies were given in the afternoon. 
As to hours, the one unvarying rule that the Department 
followed was to tuck in a movie wherever men had time 
for it. When the Twenty-Eighth Division was entraining 
at Columbey-les-Belles, it was learned that most of the 
men would probably have to wait hours in the middle of 
the night at the station. Traveling in France was hard 
enough at best for soldiers, and the enterprising secre- 
taries who appeared on the scene at eleven o'clock at 
night, with a moving picture machine competent to run 
until five in the morning, had a warm welcome. 

Perhaps nowhere did the cinema do better than at 
Romagne, where the colored troops were working in one 
of our great cemeteries. There in the great hangar, where 
both white and colored men gathered to forget the terri- 
ble tasks of the day, something was doing every night. 
Entertainers came twice a week, perhaps, but if there were 
nothing else, there were movies always. At Dom-sur- 
Meuse, the American films packed with khaki the theatre 
the Germans had built for their own enjoyment. At the 
Marseilles delousing station, where the boys were held 
a week away from their comrades, pictures were given 
nightly. When the weather permitted, these were out 
of doors with the boys perched in trees and on the bar- 
rack roofs. In some of the hospitals and in the sick bays \ 
of the transports the pictures were thrown on the ceiling ! 
for the men in the beds, while, of course, they were every- / 
where supplied in connection with the Red Cross for pa- j 
tients who could be moved out into the recreation rooms. • 
The movies on the transports alone deserve a whole chap- 
ter to themselves. On some ships they began at six in 
the morning and ran steadily until three and four the next 
morning, so that all shifts and ratings could see them. 
Due to this intensive program, there were actually more 



232 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

separate showings on shipboard than in France itself. 
A curiously varied service was at Mirimas, where the "Y" 
supplied a British detachment, some British Indians, a 
French foyer, a foyer for the Algerians, a Chinese labor 
hut, and our own Knights of Columbus. The Chinese 
were especially interested in industrial pictures and com- 
edies, and as they could not read the legends on the pic- 
tures, the screen was hung in the center of the hall and 
space saved by seating the audience on either side. 

With the Italian Army the traveling cinema camion 
service was most effective, carrying entertainment out 
into the devastated regions where no other diversion was 
possible, and where the officers were as keenly eager as the 
men. The Polish Legion in France had had movies along 
with all the other units, and when in March they arranged 
that the Y M C A secretaries go with them to Poland, 
they saw to it that a full cinema equipment and men to 
operate it were included. Films were, of course, being 
supplied for the work with the A. E. F. in Siberia, 
and men and pictures sent to aid the Americans and 
British in that dreariest adventure of the whole War, 
that in Northern Russia. Here the machines were taken 
on sledges across long wastes and welcomed at isolated 
posts with an appreciation beyond words. The effect on 
the Russians who saw them was so marked that one of 
the secretaries wrote asking for captions in Russian, as an 
incentive to illiterates to learn to read. He said, '^In my 
opinion this would do more to assist the rising generation 
of this unfortunate country than any other work under- 
taken up to the present by any association whatsoever.'' 

The Department was early in the business of produc- 
ing films in France itself. In May it had two French pho- 
tographers at the front. In October it was asked by the 
Army to aid the Aviation School Office in the taking of 
pictures of aeroplanes to be used for instruction in firing. 
Its aid had been asked also in making the whole Army 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 233 

better acquainted with the work of the S. O. S. Out of 
this request from Headquarters grew one of the most 
interesting of the movie activities, *The Overseas Weekly," 
a film prepared especially with the idea of keeping the 
soldiers in touch with events in the War. These pictures 
were for the most part taken by the Signal Corps, and 
the representative of the Department worked in that office, 
choosing films and making the programs, directly under 
the officer in charge. These were sent out each week with 
a similar film on current events in the United States, ^'The 
World Today." 

First of all in popularity and morale-stiffening quality, 
however, were the wonderful ''home folks" pictures, organ- 
ized during the summer of 1918 through the initiative of 
the Community Bureau and with the cooperation back 
in America of the Committee on Public Information and 
scores of newspapers and community agencies throughout 
the country. To a soldier in France the most thrilling 
picture he could fancy would be a scene in his own town. 
So imagine his feelings when the dream really came true 
and he could sit in a hut in France and see a procession 
of the mothers and sisters of the doughboys in his own 
home town pass across the screen, and yell his head off 
as his mother or his girl waved a hand of greeting at him 
right on Main Street opposite Joneses drug store. A pic- 
ture that showed the ferry-boats plying about New York 
harbor with the old Statue of Liberty rising in the middle 
distance, or one of the shop girls coming out of the Chicago 
department stores in the evening, or a view of the Golden 
Gate or Mobile Bay, or the squat old State House rising 
on Beacon Hill, Boston — these had more thrills to the 
foot than all the desperate adventures of William S. Hart 
in the celluloid Wild West. These home pictures circulated 
among the Twenty-Sixth Division, for instance, which 
probably had the world's record for homesickness, imtil 
they were literally worn out. 



234 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

j Next in appeal came the great Charlie ChapUn. Every 
division had to have Charlie just so often, usually at inter- 
vals of about two weeks, and in size of audience, noisy 
approval, and number of showings throughout France, 
it must be conceded that he beat all records. 

German propaganda films, which began to be captured 
by the score when the summer drive got under way, con- 
stituted another prime attraction. One of the greatest 
of these was a picture designed to prove to the German 
I Army the results of unrestricted submarine warfare, but 
which proved nightly to thousands of American soldiers, 
I as they saw one good ship after another blown to a terrible 
j death by the undersea wolves of German piracy, the urgent 
i need of going in next day and killing more Germans. 

One of the movie producers made it especially her 
business to search out ^'unadvertised heroes," that is, 
units of which no one knew, and army work yet unheralded. 
In her wanderings she came across a row of ''75's" on 
which were the words painted in red, white, and blue, 
^ ^America's first shot." 

"What does this mean?" she asked. 

"This is C Battery, 6th F. A.," replied a soldier, "and 
those are the guns with which we fired Americans first shot." 

"How many hundred times have you been photo- 
graphed for the movies?" 

"Well, Miss, if you photograph us, it will make our 
grand total one time. We've never even looked at a movie 
camera." 

America's first shot was fired at 6: 05 a. m., October 23, 
1917, at Limeville. These were indeed the very guns, 
and no picture had ever been taken of them. 

A fine example of the many educational films which 
were prepared is that on Paris, arranged, as the producer 
said, so that when the soldier came to the great city, "he 
should be prepared to find in it the beautiful and not the 
ugly." 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 235 

From the point of view of the staff, surely there were 
no welfare workers with the Army better paid for stren- 
uous days and often strenuous nights than those of the 
movie staff. They worked at top speed. They were also 
under pressure, but there was always waiting for them an 
eager welcome, while never were there more amusing 
audiences for which to labor. Before the entertainers 
soldier frankness was kept a bit in check by some holdover 
of conventionality, but before the movies, khaki could 
say what it pleased — and it did. Joy was uproarious when 
suddenly some recognized scene flashed on the screen; 
cheers welcomed an animal in a circus parade; sobs were 
likely to assist an over-sentimental romance; and no one 
forgets such evenings as that where the advertised villain 
of the play chanced to be the machine operator. His every 
appearance on the screen was greeted with reproof, execra- 
tion, jeers, admonitions, and fatherly advice, that made 
an evening funnier than any ever caused by Charlie Chaplin. 

The value of the wartime motion picture service is, 
like all else in the War, impossible to compute. Owing to 
the technical training of this personnel, and to its connec- 
tions, it was able to get films at a tremendous saving. Film 
producers were, for the most part, generous in their arrange- 
ments, foregoing their film rights and taking payment 
only for the use of the films themselves. It was estimated 
that this meant a saving of $1,000,000. Because the Bureau 
was doing the work without profit, it was able to rent 
films at from ten to fifty per cent below the commercial 
rates. 

Out of the A. E. F. in France alone there were more 
than 94,000,000 men in movie audiences. Counting in j 
the shows given in the United States, the gross attendance 
reached more than 210,000,000. If, as under ordinary 
conditions, the soldier had paid a minimum admission 
fee, say of fifteen cents a show, this single item in his en- 
tertainment would have cost him the trifle of $32,000,000. 



236 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

As a matter of fact, the Motion Picture Department of the 
'*Y" actually succeeded in giving this program at a cost of 
something around two cents per show per man — and this 
in spite of the fact that it was administering during the 
War a moving picture business forty times larger than 
it or any other organization had ever undertaken in the 
history of the cinema profession. 

The value of the service, however, lay not in the amount 
received for the money, though that under the conditions 
is extraordinary; it lay in the fact that the movies were 
on the spot, whether that spot were a San Francisco navy 
yard, a Scotch lumber camp, or a French village. It lay 
yet more, as the experience of the first months in France 
showed, in the work of the Editorial Department in the 
choice of films, and in the prevention, by its satisfactory 
service, of the entrance into the camps of the purely com- 
mercial movie theatres. Without such professional service 
as was made available, this could hardly have been pre- 
vented. Today in Germany the Bureau is still with the 
"Y," giving a thousand shows a month in the Rhineland to 
the Army of Occupation in Germany; it has its place in 
every army camp in America and wherever American 
soldiers are. In other words, the wartime movie service 
is going on. It is one of the enduring features of the enter- 
tainment experience of the Great War. 



CURTAIN 

Americans have grown more used to being entertained 
and less used to entertaining themselves than any other 
people. Take five million young men away from home 
and community restraints and, no matter how they are f 
drilled and hedged about with rules and regulations, the ' 
time will come when all but a few of the most exceptional > 
individuals will seek diversion. The history of war is that j 
the forms of diversion which have followed armies did '. 
more to destroy the armies than did the actual fighting. : 
From the days of the Civil War and the Sanitary Commis- 
sion those interested in the welfare of our Army have been 
feeling their way toward some solution of the problem of 
keeping the fighting man normal under abnormal conditions. 

In the opinion of some old-time officers and of some 
individuals uninformed on all the conditions of the soldier's 
life, the work of the welfare organizations was uncalled 
for and tended to coddle those who should be above such 
softening influences. That the real military leaders, men 
like Generals March, Pershing, and Wood, were not of 
this opinion is proved by repeated orders and promulga- 
tions urging the proper entertainment of soldiers. They 
recognized that soldiers were not super-men, no matter 
how well drilled and equipped, but were, because of the 
deadly monotony of drills and the nerve-racking of active 
service, in greater need of entertainment than the amuse- 
ment-loving public at home. 

When an army was created out of the boys of our own 
firesides, the folks at home, the welfare organizations, and 
the generals realized that our soldiers were men with the 
same needs, the same wishes, the same tastes as ourselves, 
but that there would be none of the old ways of using 
leisure and that many of them would be thousands of 
miles from home under new conditions in strange lands. 

237 



238 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

It was certain that these millions of American youths, 
whether in the Army or out, would get amusement. They 
were accustomed to games, sports, movies, theatres, music, 
athletics, and all forms of recreation. Our business, then, 
was to see that the amusements accessible in home camps 
and overseas were healthful and decent as well as enter- 
taining. 

The American people were willing that their boys should 
face hardship and danger, but determined that they should 
have the best and be returned sound in body and mind. 
It was this resolution which put public opinion back of 
the draft and made it a democratic and successful under- 
taking. Experiments had been begim in connection with 
the British and French Armies, and it had already been 
proved that healthful recreation increased men's fighting 
power and willingness to carry on. The testimony of all 
who worked with the soldiers, and of their officers, as well 
as the condition in which our troops came back, proves 
the correctness of this theory and the success with which 
it was carried out. 

The most striking example of the effect of plenty of 
the right sort of fun is shown in the story of the leave areas. 
At the time of the Armistice we had overseas 2,000,000 
men. The greater part of these were still fresh from civilian 
life, utterly unused either to army discipline or to travel. 
They were left suddenly without any object for their labor. 
Their task was done. All they wanted was to go home. 
True to human nature, their enthusiasm for their hosts, 
the French, and for the country in which they were forced 
to wait, cooled. The French, with nerves tense after 
four years such as our men, even those who had been in the 
fighting lines, could not conceive of, were tired of strangers 
in their streets. They wanted to see the last of British, 
Chinamen, Indians, Russians, Portuguese, and Itahans, 
but most of all, they wanted to see the last of Americans. 
Here were two states of mind that bade fair to make a fine 



"MOVIES TONIGHT!" 239 

international situation. The army officers asked, not for 
stricter discipline, but for movies, athletics, dances, enter- 
tainments, sight-seeing trips. That those dangerous months 
of waiting passed off safely is more due to the fact that 
the monotony was broken, and the leisure filled by all 
sorts of entertainment, than to any other one agency. 
We all know how our boys came home and are proud of 
their condition and the way they readjusted themselves 
to civilian life. Officers from other lands watching this 
undertaking had no doubt of its effect. They certainly 
had no sentimental attitude toward their men. Yet the 
Y M C A was asked to introduce or to continue and de- 
velop its work in the armies of Poland, Portugal, Roumania, 
Czechoslovakia, and Greece. This would not be the case 
were not the military and civilian authorities of these 
countries convinced that such entertainment as the welfare 
organizations provided for the soldiers in France made 
better fighting men and better citizens. And our own 
army officers are of the same belief. The case has been 
proved under actual conditions. Whether it is carried on 
by welfare organizations or the Army itself, there will 
always be entertainment for our Army because of the 
success of the entertainment campaign in the Great War. 



APPENDIX 



HEADQUARTERS STAFF— NEW YORK 

Overseas Entertainment 
Thomas S. McLane, Chairman 



Eimice A. Rogers 
Ruth Buchenholz 
Helen James 
Helen Pratt 



Fanny Baldwin 
Mary Reiter 
Emily O. Nelson 
Madeline B. Campbell 



America's Over There Theatre League 



James Forbes 
Johnson Briscoe 



Virginia Chauvenet 
Rose Schiff 



HEADQUARTERS STAFF— PARIS 



Dr. J. G. Coulter 
Charles Moore Steele 
Walter H. Johnson, Jr. 
Gerald Reynolds 
A. M. Beatty 
Joseph Lindon Smith 
John W. Beattie 
Oswald Yorke 
Carl J. BalUett 
Wm. H. DufF, 2nd. 
James W. Evans 
George W. Doyle 
C. A. Braider 
W. H. Caldwell 
C. A. Mayne 
A. M. Richards 
S. H. Crawford 
R. N. Henry 
J. I. Bond 
H. M. Collins 
James Forbes 
T. F. Winters 



Jack Gallagher 
Harold Ross 
Marion N. T. Carter 
Marian M. Haley 
Olive Johnson 
Jane M. Thomas 
Edith G. Walker 
Linnie Nuckolls 
Maude Utter 
Florence Goodell 
Enid Watkins 
Louise Overacker 
Sara Furman 
Mme. Vignon 
Mile. Marcelle 
Elizabeth Hugus 
Helen Lucas 
Iva Rider 
Josie Ricks 
Myrtle Ash 
Emita Jewell 
Marion Morse 
Gladys Ross 
240 



APPENDIX 



241 



OVERSEAS PERSONNEL 
Coaches and Producers 



Abbott, Eleanor 
Acton, Howard L. 
Allen, Mary 
Anderson, E. L. 
Anthony, Charles P. 
Armitage, Laura E. 
Armstrong, Frank 

Bakewell, Euphenia 
Ballam, Frank 
Balliett, Carl J. 
Barkley, J. R. 
Beatty, A. M. 
Berkey, Hilda G. 
Berry, Walter M. 
Black, Gladys 
Blandick, Clara 
Blue, John D. 
Bressak, Harry 
Brocklebank, Blanche 
Buck, J. 
Buxton, Ethel 

Cameron, E. Malcolm 
Chamberlain, Alice 
Chapman, C. J. 
Chesmond, Dorothy 
Corey, Madison 
Gushing, C. C. S. 

Darrah, Chas. B. 
Davis, F. M. 
Donnelly, Dorothy 
Duskkin, Samuel 

Edwards, G. J. 
Evans, James W. 

Farquhar, Marion 
Forbes, James 

Gates, Perle E. 
Geoghegan, Harold 
Glass, Rose 



Goss, Aletta 
Grimball, Elizabeth 

Hall, Eugene J. 
Hathaway, Louis E. 
Henry, Grace 
Hickox, Laura C. 
Hicks, Lavelle 
Holmes, Lucy T. 
Howry, Elizabeth 
Hudson, Ava B. 

Jack, Edwin Booth 
Jennings, W. L. 
Johnson, Burgess 
Johnson, Walter H., Jr. 

Keith, Edna G. 
Kennedy, Isabel Parker 
Kennedy, Katherine F. 
Kimball, Frederick 

Lamb, Frances 
Leopold, Fred 

McDonald, Dinnie 

Mays, Ora Lea 
Moore, Elbert 
Moore, Olive 

Nash, John W. 

Pabst, Norman 
Porter, Chas. R. 
Pumell, Anna 

Quinn, Esther 

Rawlinson, H. E. 
Rochford, W. H. 

Sage, Helen Amelia 
Scherer, Maud 
Schuler, Mabel R. 



242 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



Coaches and Producers — Continued 



Schumaker, Edwin Bolden 
Sedgwick, Mary L. 
Sherry, Laura 
Shipp, Clark 
Smith, Jos. Lindon 
Smithfield, Geo. F. 
Steele, John Moore 
Stevens, Thos. Wood 
Stillman, Lila B. 
Stubblefield, Henry T. 
Swinburne, L. T. 

Tappen, C. S. 
Tichenor, Juanita 
Truax, Harry A. 
Twyman, James 
Tyler, Dallas 

Velsey, Graham 



Walters, Sara 
Wand, Clarence Cary 
Waters, Wilford 
Weadon, Frank P. 
Wermer, Blanche H. 
White, Jessie 
White, W. A. 
Wilkes, Willamene 
Willard, Aleeth 
Williams, Florence 
Williams, Orlin M. 
Williams, W. E. 
Wilson, Hugh 
Witte, Parvin 
Witts, Milford 
Woolston, F. Pate 

Young, Jane H. G. 



Lyceum 



Adams, Guila 
Adams, Lucille 
Alexander, Enid 
Allen, Martha Marie 
Allen, Maud 
Anderson, Harry N. 
Arnold, Beattie D. 
Arnold, Pauline 
Atlee, Carolyn 
Aves, Ethelreda 
Avirett, Donnell 

Bailey, Marguerite 
Barber, Jane 
Bargeldt, Evelyn 
Bamhard, Agnes 
Bartlett, Hazel 
Bassett, Ella May 
Beatty, Earl 
Beatty, Roberta 
Beatty s, Adele M. 
Beaudry, Maud 
Beckwith, Florence 
Benjamin, Wm. A. 



Bennett, Eva L. 
Bennett, Helen F. 
Bertram, Helen 
Besler, Helen 
Betz, Joseph 
Bewley, Irene 
Bingham, May 
Blackney, Frances 
Blake, Wm. H. 
Bloomquist, Myrtle 
Boardman, Wm. J. 
Bohannon, Jean 
Bohannon, Ord 
Bolander, AUce 
Bolander, Elise 
Bolander, Mabel 
Bolander, Pearl 
Booth, Maud Ballington 
Bourne, Olive E. 
Bowcock, Evie Lee 
Bowman, Billie Miss 
Boyd, Hilda 
Bradley, Frank 
Bradley, Lucie 



APPENDIX 



243 



Lyceum — Continued 



Brovm, Dorothy Spencer 
Buchbinder, Lucy 
Bulley, Carolyn 
Bumstead, Gladys P. 
Burr, Borden 
Bush, Charlotte 

Call, Dora 
Call, Lucy Lee 
Call, Zela 
Cameron, Mary 
Capelle, Angle 
Carpenter, Elizabeth 
Carpenter, Laura 
Carr, Joe 
Carroll, Elsa 
Carstensen, Amelia 
Carter, Annie Louise 
Carter, Maybelle 
Case, Chas. 
Chester, Randolph 
Chester, Lillian 
Chisolm, Jessie 
Chivvis, Ruth 
Christie, Joe 
Churchill, Estelle 
Clark, Marguerite 
Clinton, Margery H. 
Coates, Helen J. 
Cobb, Fredericka 
Cogswell, Mynn 
Cole, Alonzo D. 
Coleman, Margaret 
Colet, Madeline 
Collette, Lucille 
Combs, A. B. 
Collins, Ernest C. 
Condit^ Albert Rae 
Cookingham, Edna 
Corey, Gladys M. 
Cowperthwaite, Alfred 
Cox, Edw. Eugene 
Cox, Maybelle 
Cox, Mary 
Crabb, Addison W. 



Craig, Jeannie 
Critcherson, Samuel 
Crofoot, Beulah 
Crosby, Anna Gertrude 
Crosby, C. Zelia 
Culbertson, Sascha 

Dalgren, Ada 
Damon, Vera 
Dana, Marion 
Daniel, E. P. 
Davis, Eliz. G. 
Davis, Maida 
Davies, Jos. 
Dealy, Creswell 
Dean, Lulu Richardson 
Dilling, Mildred 
Dillon, Jane 
Draper, Ruth 
Dudley, Ruth 
Dunham, Herbert 
Duval, Marguerite 

Earle, Hetty 
Easton, Elsie 
Edgar, Elizabeth W. 
Edgar, Geraldine 
Eichom, Anna 
Enmierson, Mary 
Emery, J. C. 
Euwer, Anthony 
Evans, Cannon 
Evans, Mildred 
Everett, Geo. I. 

Farley, Gilbert C. 
Famsworth, Jessie 
Faulkner, Georgene 
Fay, J. W. 
Field, Josephine 
Fisher, Ethel 
Flesh, Chas. E. 
Ford, Gene 
Foster, Bertha 
Foster, Frohman 



244 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



Lyceum— Continued 



Fox, Lois 
Frost, Alfred 



Gailey, Mary 
Gale, Albert 
Galloway, Judge Tod B. 
Gardner, Stephen 
Garton, S. B. 
Gasaway, Adelaide 
Gates, Harriet May 
Geffen, Yetta 
Gemmill, Chas. Walker 
Genunill, Paul 
Gill, Ruth Dudley 
Gilliam, Florence 
Ginn, Clara T. 
Girton, Eleanor M. 
Godfrey, Mildred 
Gold, Pauline 
Goodrich, Gertrude D. 
Goodsell, Virginia 
Gordon, Mary Belle 
Gorrell, Edith Tilton 
Grey, Clara 
Griffin, Elizabeth 
Gross, Estelle 

Haggerty, Elizabeth 
Hall, Jeanne 
Hall, Opal 

Harbeson, Lindamira 
Hardy, Lois 
Harney, Eleanor 
Harrison, Fred W. 
Harrison, Inez 
Hartman, June 
Harvey, Maleva 
Hass, E. M. 
Hatch, Dorothy 
Hausman, S. A. 
Hays, Estelle B. 
Hedges, Freddie 
Hemmick, Marie 
Hiltebrandt, Elsa 
Hinton, Ethel 



Hoatson, Jack 
Hoes, Adele 
Holtzschue, Mabel 
Hope, Barbara 
Howard, Clarence H. 
Howe, Chas. E. 
Howe, Chas. M. 
Howe, R. T. 
Howe, Warren T. 
Hoyt, Frances 
Hoyt, Grace 
Hubbard, Chas. 
Hughes, Anna 
Hulbert, Winifred 
Hull, Margaret 
Humphrey, Cora 
Huntington, Blanche 
Huntington, Catherine S. 
Hutchinson, Elizabeth P. 
Hutton, Hugh 

Irvin, Frances 
Irwin, Chas. Jasper 
Irwin, Robert 

Jack, Julia 
Jackson, Lillian 
Jackson, Mary 
Janauschek, Wm. 
Jerge, J. 

Johnson, Burgess 
Jones, Mrs. Paul 
Jones, Wm. S. 
Jordan, Elizabeth 

Kasner, Diana 
Kendall, Marie 
Keniston, Wilhemena 
Kennedy, Pearl M. 
Kennedy, Will J. 
Keppie, Elizabeth 
Kerns, Grace 
Kilboum, Henry J. 
Kimmel, Frank S. 
Knapp, Harold 



APPENDIX 



246 



Lyceum — Continued 



Knight, Robert F. 
Konecny, Josef 
Kova, Garda 

Landon, Cornelia 
Lanham, Cora Belle 
Lawry, Justin 
Lawry, Winifred 
LeRoy, Merritt 
Lewis, Chas. Allen 
Lewis, Julia B. 
Lewis, Lottie 
Lineback, C. A. 
Littlefield, Edith Gould 
Loar, Lloyd A. 
Lord, Marguerite 
Lord, Marion 
Lorraine, Joe 
Lucas, Charlotte 
Lyon, Roger 

McAdams, Ivy 
McCain, Leoda 
McCartney, Eliz 
McClure, Emily 
MacCue, Beatrice 
McDermott, Mary 
McGehee, Ethel 
McGreal, Roberta 
Mack, Archie Roy 
McKay, Mary Elizabeth 
McLinn, Ruby 
McKnight, Alex G. 
McSweeney, Margaret 
Maddox, Betty 
Mathews, Muriel 
Maydwell, Mary Alice 
Mayer, Viola 
Merritt, J. A. 
Miller, Jeanne 
Monaghan, Robert 
Montgomery, Mina Belle 
Moore, Earle A. 
Morris, Kathleen 
Morris, Mildred 



Morrison, Margery 
Munson, Margaret 
Murray, Bonnie 

Nattkemper, Leonard G. 
Nelson, Florence 
Newell, Fenwick 
Newell, Mary J. 
Neumam, Herman 
Niedringhaus, Wallace C. 

Odell, Cornelia 
Olp, Lou S. 
Owens, Hughetta 

Palmer, George 
Parker, Harry E. 
Parker, Salem 
Parkhurst, Anita 
Parmalee, Cleo 
Parmenter, Edward C. 
Parnell, Charles T. 
Paine, Cordelia Ayer 
Payne, Howard M. 
Payne, John Howard 
Payne, Sally Landis 
Pierik, Marie 
Pike, Carolyn 
Pearce, Corinne 
Pease, Edward 
Pease, Zuelettia 
Peckham, Charlotte 
Perkins, Lois 
Peters, A. N. 
Pettit, Gladys 
Powell, Rosa C. 
Pratt, Charles F. 
Price, Katherine G. 
Price, John W. 
Provan, John S. 

Quay, Gertrude 
Quincy, Samuel 

Rachford, Hugh K. 
Ramsey, Lillian 



246 



ENTERTAINING THE AM^ERICAN ARMY 



Lyceum — Continued 



Raymond, Harold A. 
Raymond, Katharine 
Reynolds, Sarame 
Redell, Harry 
Redfield, Florence A. 
Rees, May E. 
Reiner, May Louden 
Revare, Edna 
Rich, Gladys 
Richards, Helen 
Richards, Irene 
Richardson, C. O. 
Ricker, Bessie B. 
Robertson, Alice 
Robertson, Genevieve 
Robertson, Olive F. 
Robertson, Robert 
Rogers, Calista 
Rogers, Faith Helen 
Rogers, Francis 
Rogers, Cornelia B. 
Rogers, Mabel 
Rogh, Charles 
Romans, Beth 
Rose, Jonsa Jonga 
Ross, Roxana 
Rossuck, Ruth 
Rubel, Edith 
Rundquist, Ethel 
Rutherford, Althea J. 
Rutherford, Forrest S. 
Ryan, Ruth 

Saleeman, T. J. 
Satterfield, Alyce Lee 
Scales, Carmon 
Scandrett, Rebecca 
Schochm, Arminta 
Schwinn, Rose N. 
Scott, Edith H. 
Scotty, Jack 
Scudder, Janet 
Sears, Aline 
Seller, Mary 
Selby, Ida M. 



Selby, L. J. 
Selby, Pearl 
Shafer, Claude 
Shanklin, Malvena 
Shields, Milan 
Shirey, R. W. 
Shirley, Frances 
Shoemaker, Frances 
Shurtleff, Oliver 
Smart, Henry C. 
Smith, Dorothy 
Smith, Elma 
Smith, Em. E. 
Smith, Helen E. 
Smith, Marie 
Smith, Norma L. 
Smith, William P. 
Smythe, A. H. 
Soares, Geraldine 
Southall, Patty 
Souvaine, Henry 
Spaulding, Art 
Spear, Helen M. 
Spencer, Laura Zoe 
Stanley, James 
Stanley, Eleanor 
Stark, Robert 
Steel, John W. 
Stelzel, Charles F. 
Stephenson, Elsie 
Stevenson, I. C. 
Stirling, Robert 
Strong, Theo. 
Strong, Walter W. 
Struble, Marion 
Struder, Mabel 

Tabor, Robert 
Teale, Agnes R. 
Thayer, Maud 
Thomas, Sara 
Thompson, Alex. 
Thompson, R. R. 
Thorp, Evelyn L. 
Threadgill, Lois 



APPENDIX 



247 



Thrower, Theresa 
Tibbitts, Beatrice 
Todd, NelHe 
Torrence, Marie 
Towne, Charles W. 
Townsend, Betty 
Townsend, Ellen 
Trevett, Frances L. 
Tromley, E. L. 
Truitt, Beulah 
Tuttle, Ada 
Tuttle, Nina 

Waddell, Elizabeth 
Wakeman, Alice 
Walker, Clifford 
Walker, Corinne 
Walker, Lucille 
Wallace, Martha 
Wallace, Wm. G. 
Walter, R. B. 
Ward, Elizabeth 
Washburn, Carolyn 
Washburn, Eleanor 



Waters, Crystal 
Watkins, Katryn 
Webster, Harold 
Weller, Beatrice 
White, Harry C. 
White, Mary 
White, Winifred 
Whittemore, Eleanor 
Williamson, Marj'^ Ruth 
Willmer, Sarah M. 
Wilson, Inez 
Wilson, M. J. 
Woblert, Louise D. 
Wolcott, Helen L. 
Wood, Elizabeth 
Wood, Ellerbe 
Woodberry, Frances 
Woodfin, Alice 
Woodward, Roy 
WooUey, Robert 
Wyatt, Arthur K. 

Yeager, Edith 



Musical 



Adkins, Morton 
Adler, David 
Armand, Alfred 

Benton, Ruth 
Brice, Elizabeth 

Coburn, Vera Ross 
Coffey, Louise 
Colley, Helen 
Condon. Kate 

Dallas, Gertrude - 
Davis, Helen 

Elbert, Tracey 
Ewell, Lois 



Gold, Belle 
Golden, Frances 

Hand, Hinda 
Hoban, Stella 
Humphreys, Neida 
Hunt, Ida Brook 

Janis, Elsie 
Jarman, Margaret 

Lane, Camille Seygard 
Larkin, Carolyn 
Lyon, Wanda 

McGibney, Mignon 
May, Ida 



Frease-Green, Rachel 



Perry, Fayette 



248 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



Reed, Elsa 
Rogers, Eleanore 

Sehaeffer, Marion 



Musical — Continued 

Sweyd, Lester 
Temple, Paula 
White, Tommy 



Allen, Edward 
Aug, Edna 

Bamicoat, Betty 
Barry, Tom 
Baxter, Alice 
Boland, Mary 
Bourne, Olive 
Brown, Marlyn 
Burke, Fan 

Carrington, Phyllis 
Chobb, Bronwen 
Clear, Charles M. 
Clifton, Ethel 
Craig, John 
Craig, Mary Young 
Crane, Hal 
Curley, Leo 

Dale, Theresa Malloy 
Dale, Walter 
Davis, Maida 
Diffendel, John 
Dodge, Jeanne 
Dupree, Minnie 

Emmons, Gladys 
Esmelton, Frederick 

Falls, Marie 
Fisher, Grace 
Fitts, Harriett 
Fleming, Charles 
Florence, Katherine 
Fuller, Rosalind 
Fullum, Dewey 

Garland, Ruth 
Goff, Helen 



Dramatic 



Grant, Jeannette 
Grigg, Harold 
Guthrie, AHcia 
Guy, Eula 

Henley, Rosina 
Harris, Sidney A. 
Haslett, Doris 
Hamilton, Louise 
Hampton, Mary 
Hawthorne, Milton 

Ives, Judith 

Jones, Nancy Gordon 

Kennedy, H. Bratton 
Kimball, Florence P. 

Lawton, Mary 
Leake, Doris 
Linwell, Delia 

McComas, Carol 
Mcintosh, Burr 
Mackey, Ralph 
McMein, Neysa 
McMillan, Lida 
Martin, Alice 
Martin, Ethel 
Mates, Harry J. 
Mayo, Margaret 
Meredith, Lois 
Miles, Homer 
Milliken, Ralph 
Mitchell, Mabel Ruth 
Montgomery, Victoria 
MulUcan, Charles M. 
Mulligan, William F. 



APPENDIX 



249 



Dramatic — Continued 



O'Connor, Patricia 

Paige, Elizabeth 
Paterson, Agnes 
Perry, Albert 
Powell, Charles F. 

Raymond, Jack 
Read, Charlotte L. 
Roach, John F. 
Rocap, Read 
Rochester, Mary Xouise 
Rowe, John 

Schenck, Katherine 
Scott, Helen 
Seymour, Blanche 
Shields, Sidney 
Sitgreaves, Beverly 
Smith, George Porter 
Smith, Rita 
Sothern, E. H. 
Sothem, Julia Marlowe 
Sterling, Harriet 



Storey, Jack 
Sullivan, Gerald 
Sumner, Margaret 

Tannerhill, Muriel 
Tanner, Marion 
Taylor, Ethel 
Tinmions, Irene 
Troutman, Ivy 
Truesdale, Fred C. 
Tyler, Annette 
Tyler, Dallas 
Wallace, Hugh E. 
West, Madge 
Whitson, Pauline 
Williams, Fritz 
Williams, Margot 
Wilson, Mary Lena 
Wyatt, Alice Bertha 

York, Oswald 
Young, Walter 
Young, Winifred 



Concert 



Adams, Edgell 
Aehle, Elsie 
Albert, Minerva 
Aldridge, Rachel 
Ayres, Paula 

Babcock, Lucie 
Baird, Martha 
Baldwin, Marie 
Barr, Winifred 
Barstow, Vera 
Benham, Emily 
Bierly, Neva 
Bolton, Mary 
Botsford, George 
Brazeau, Marie 
Brazeau, Henrietta 
Brockway, Helen 



Brown, Pauline 
Browne, Kathryn 
Bush, Ruth 

Cannell, Frank 
Carey, Florence 
Carkeek, M. T. 
Case, E. Romayne 
Chesley, A. M. 
Corbin, LeRoy 
Coulter, Joe 
Craig, Mary Adeline 
Gushing, C. C. S. 

Damrosch, Walter 
David, Ross 
David, Mrs. Ross 
Davies, Jos. 



250 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



Con cert — Continued 



Devereaux, Marie 
DeVore, Jessie 
Dickinson, Ruth 
Dismukes, Cornelia 
Dixon, Jessica 
Dodge, Beulah Chase 
Donn, Betty- 
Dowdy, Leta Clark 
Duddy, Frank 

Everett, George I. 
Everts, E. B. 
Ewing, Grace 

Farrar, Amperito 
Farrar, Guadalupa 
Ferguson, Helen 
Ferguson, Israel Harry 
Ferguson, Sara 
Flood, Paul T. 
Frost, Avon 

Gamble, Ernest 
Gideon, Constance 
Gideon, Henry 
Gluck, Margel 
Glynn, Madeline 

Harris, Floyd 
Hartwell, Josephine 
Harvey, Harold 
Hasbrouch, Elsie 
Haynes, Dorothe 
Hearons, Anna 
Hearons, Winifred 
Hibbard, Susan 
Hibbard, William 
Hixon, Blanche 
Hoople, William 
Horisberg, Kate R. 
Hunter, Ruth 

Irving, Lydia Isabel 

Jacobs, Irene 



Jarett, Daniel 
Jones, Edward C. 

Karla, Constance 
Kessel, Helen 
Klein, Nell J. 
Kuhn, Aline 
Kurtz, Ada 

Laughlin, Flora 
Lee, Jack 

Los Kamp, Virginia 
Lippi, Edward 
Luckey, Ann 

McLinn, Ruth 
Mackey, Ethel 
Marple, Harriett 
Mead, Frank L. 
Meek, Edith 
Meek, Edward 
Moore, Jason 
Mullen, Mary White 
Myers, Edith Luckstone 

Noar, Adeline Patti 

Oglesby, Frank 
Oliver, William M. 
Ormsby, Ethel 

Packard, Adeline 
Paulsen, Hortense 
Planel, M. 
Plasschaert, Camille 
Porter, Marguerite 
Poston, C. E. 
Potter, Florence 
Present, Rata 
Prosser, Eunice 

Rabinowitz, Clara 
Randolph, Muriel 
Rea, Ethel 
Rosser, Catherine 



APPENDIX 



251 



Concert — Continued 



Schupac, Marcia 
Scott, Grace L. 
Sellers, Samuel Nelson 
Smith, Jack 
Stanley, James 
Stanley, Eleanor 
Starkey, Julia Meade 
Stevens, Nella 
Stucki, Enmia 
Sybert, Marie 

Thomas, Edna 
Tilson, George 



Tris, Mary Adelaide 
Tsianina, Princess 
Tuttle, Jane 

Walsh, Marie 
Watkins, Enid 
Watson, Edward 
Weston, Isabel 
Weston, Mary 
Whitehead, Frank 
Wiederhold, Albert 
Wilson, Margaret 



Vaudeville 



Abbott, Annie 
Adams, Mabelle 
Adams, Rex 
Adams, Berta Bell 
Addison, Mae 
Adler, Harry 
Anderson, Christopher 
Arica 

Arnold, Hazel 
Arnold, Pauline 
Aubrey, Helen 
Aubrey, Jane 
Austin, Tossing 

Bailey, Bill 

Baker, Patricia 

Baldwin, John 

Bannister, Joe 

Barber, Jane 

Bartell, Harry 

Bell, Arthur 

Bell, Leah 

Black, Edward B. Flester 

Blondell, Libby Arnold 

Bloom, Irving 

Bluefeather, Princess 

Bordeau, Sim 

Boston, Billy 

Bradbrook, Geo. E, 



Broad, Billy 
Brown, Dixie 
Brown, Himmie 
Buford, Blanche 
Buford, Ina 
Burke, Eddie 
Bums, Billy 
Bums, Eleanor 

Campbell, John 
Cantwell, John 
Carlton, Louise 
Carlyle, Louise 
Carman, F. Barrett 
Carrette, Bessie 
Carter, Jack 
Caveny, J. Franklin 
Caveny, Marie 
Chalbert the Great 
Chalfonte, Lola 
Chaplin, Arthur 
Chase, Frank 
Childs, Emily 
Churcher, Anita 
Claire, Josephine 
Clark, Solomon H. 
Clifford, George 
Clyde, Ora 
Coe, Edward 



252 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



Vaudeville — Continued 



Coe, Lillian 
Collins, Howard T. 
Corbin, Gilmore 
Coulter, Theo. 
Cowley, Frederick K. 
Cressy, Will 
Cristle, Joe 
Cudlipp, Chandler 
Cunningham, Elizabeth 

Dacey, Billy 
Daly, Mary 
Darcy, Harry 
Dayne, Blanche 
Dell-a-Phone 
Delroy, J. B. 
De Mar, May 
De Mont, Frank 
De Mont, Gracia 
Denish, Paul 
Dermotti, Thos. 
Deumm, Hettie 
Deyo, Howard N. 
Deyo, Jeane 
Dietrich, Rene 
Doherty, Leo. Jos. 
Doherty, Mrs. Viola 
Donnelly, Leo 
Downing, Arthur 

Edwards, Jack 
Egan, Joe 
Elliott, Agnes 
Elliott, Del 
Elliott, Edna 
Elwood, Robert J. 
Erickson, Knute 
Evans, Jean 

Fein, Laurence 
Findlay, Al 
Fischer, Arthur 
Fivey, Robert W. 
Florence, Katherine 
Frances, Corinne 



Franklin, Irene 
Fredriks, Eddie 
Freeman, AUyne N. 

Gardner, A. F. 
Gardner, Dave 
Gibson, Gertrude 
Gilmour, Boyd J. 
Golden, Mabel 
Goode, Nat. 
Gray, Thos. J. 
Green, Burt 
Gregory, Gilbert 
Guder, Carl 

Haber, Eleanor 
Haley, Harry 
Hall, Jack 
Hanson, Jack 
Harrington, Jean 
Haslam, Hazel 
Hawley, Walter 
Hayes, Pauline 
Hazelton, Faynetta 
Herbert, Roy 
Hoier, Thos. 
Horton, Amy 
Howard, Clara 
Hubbard, Nona 
Hunting, Tony 
Hutchinson, Mary L. 
Hutton, Forrest 

Irwin, James 
Israel, Harry 

Jackson, Jerome 
James, Ada G. 
Johnson, Dave 

Kayne, Agnes 
Kellogg, Mary H. 
Kelly, James F. 
Kennedy, John J. 
Kessler, Mae 



APPENDIX 



253 



Vaudeville — Continued 



Kinsley, Frederick 
Kouns, Nellie 
Kouns, Sara 

La Tour, Catherine 
Laurence, George 
Laurence, Jack 
Laurence, Thelma ^ 
La Violete, Victor 
Lazell, Milly 
Lea, Will 
Leonard, Bessie 
Leonard, Mike 
Lemer, David 
Lewis, Andru 
Lile 

Link, Pauline 
Lombard, John 
Lombard, Richard 

McCrea, Lottie 
McCuUough, Wm. T. 
McDonald, Madeline 
McFarland, Marie 
McFarland, Mary 
Mcintosh, John 
Mclver, Daniel C. 
Mack, Joseph P. 
Mackay, J. Wallace 
Maine, Lucy 
Maillard, Chas. 
Maillard, Fred 
Manley, Walter 
Marshall, Edward 
Mills, Phil 
Mills, Volney Ladd 
Mohonga, Sergeant 
Montgomery, James S. 
Moore, George A. 
Moran, Hazel 
Morris, Bertha 
Moms, Billy 
Morrison, Maurie 
Morrissey, Will 
Moulton, Bessie 



Murley, Josephine 

Neumann, John 
Nicola, The Great 
Northland, Edna 
Northlane, OUie 
Norton, Helen 

O'Brien, James E. 
O'Clare, Wm. 
O'Clare, Madeline S. 
O'Zav, Annie 
O'Zav, William 

Paley, Herman 
Palmer, Olive 
Paul, Eddy 
Perry, Harry 
Pierson, Hal 
Pollack, Emma 
Porray, Edmund 
Pryor, Ethel 
Pryor, Wm. 
Primrose, Helen 
Primrose, Louise 

Ramsey, Lillian 
Raymond, Catherine 
Rhodes, Russell M. 
Riano, Jack 
Rice, Lew 
Ride, Wille E. 
Roberts, Annie N. M. 
Rochester, Claire 
Rogers, Jonathan 
Roger, Charles 
Ronca, Dora 
Root, Esther 

Sanders, Edith 
Sanford, Jerry 
Saltonstall, Rose 
Sargent, Mamie 
Savoie, Blanche 
Sears, Gladys 



254 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 



Sherman, Paula 
Skeel, Ruth 
Snow, Bert 
Spink, George 
Stanford, Max 
Stead, Sue 
Storm, Joan 
Storts, Grace 
Storts, Harvey D. 
Sturtevant, Adele 

Tabor, Stuart 
Tan (May E. Flester) 
Tanean, Harry 
Tate, Helen 
Teed, James W. 
Temple, Irene 
Thomas, Vera 
Townley, Phillip 

Underwood, Will Lea 

Van Tine, Ida 
Vaughn, Minnie 



Vaudeville — Continued 

Verdon, Frank 
Verdon, Vera 



Waldo, R. L. 
Waldron, Joe 
Walker, Reta 
Walker, Raymond 
Walter, Annie 
Walton, Beulah 
Warwick, George H. 
Wheelock, Esther 
Whitell, Ermine 
Wilber, Jack 
Willard, Clarence E. 
Williams, Dorothy 
Woillard, Hazel 
Woodbridge, Margaret H. 
Woodelton, Jane 
Wrenn, Helen 
Wright, Horace 

Yvette 

Zenita 



Lecturers 



Anderson, John F. 
Appley, Jose E. 
Atkinson, William Dent 

Babb, J. Franklin 
Bakewell, Euphemia 
Bamett, Augustus Edw. 
Beckwith, Floyd J. 
Beene, Dow Bunyon 
Billingsley, Dr. James J. 
Bingham, Guy M. 
Boyer, Edw. E. 
Brown, Frank E. 

Cambridge, Dr. Arthur A. 
Candler, Walter E. 
Carman, J. Ernest 
Cave, Robert Lord 



Cochran, Fred 
Cochran, I. M. 
Cockrell, Ewing 
Cook, J. Hunt 
Curry, Elvin J. 

Dancey, Capt. S. H. 
Deans, Dr. John 
Dixon, Royal 
Downs, Geo. W. 

Eason, Isaac W. 
Eason, Samuel R. 
Eliot, Willard Ayres 
Estabrook, Nina 

Gale, Albert A. 
Gibson, Lemuel E. 



APPENDIX 



255 



Grant, My ran Louise 
Grimes, Frederic 
Grose, Arthur W. 



Lecturers — Continued 

Perry, Edw. Russell 

Risner, Henry Clay 



Halsey, Don Peters 
Hamilton, Frank M. 
Hildreth, Melvin D. 
Hulbert, Homer B. 
Hussey, Dr. John M. 

Ice, William Edward 

Kelley, Frank B. 
Kilbourne, Henry J. 
Kline, A. D. 
Kuonen, E. M. 

La Follette, William 

MacNeil, Alan B. 
Mansfield, Beatrice 
Mathed, E. T. 

Oldys, Henry 

Palmer^ Asher F. 



Snudden, Benj. D. 
Spencer, E. W. 
Spencer, Wm. S. 

Taft, Lorado 
Taylor, Gordon J. 

Victor, Rae 

Ward, John Albert 

Directing Staff 
C. D. Brooks 
W. Bedford Moore 
W. C. McCroskey 
JuHa E. Ashburn 
Helen B. Yenney 
A. E. Whitney 
Wells, Smith 
E. A. Brown 
Elizabeth C. Hamilton 



Lecturers — Les Foyers du Sold at 
Horatio E. Smith — Director Greene, N. L. 



Borgerhof, J. L. 
Blanpied, D. R. 
Brandon, E. E. 

Cole, R. J. 
Coleman, A. 

Cranberry, J. C. 



Anderson, Lawrence R. 
Armstrong, Orland K. 

Balmond, Charles 
Bumham, Charles 



Hart, C. R. 

Lingle, T. W. 

Merrill, T. C. 
Muyskens, J. H. 

Williams, H. C. 



Song Leaders 



Carroll, Hope 
Clarke, Kenneth 
Cushman, Lewis N. 

DeMach, L. C. 



256 



ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 
Song Leaders — Continued 



Echols, H. O. 
Eis, Florence 

Foulke, Eugene H. 

Gleason, C. G. 
Good, Robert 
Grey, Ira M. 

Hall, Orrington C. 
Havens, Edward 
Hawkins, Stanley 
Hunn, Jessie M. 
Hedger, J. A. 

Jones, W. H. 

Keller, Herman 
Kinney, Miller E. 
Kirck, C. M. 



Lamb, C. F. 
Lewton, J. E. 
Likes, P. H. 

McMichael, J. W. 
Maier, Guy S. 

Naftzger, Earle 
Nelson, John L. 
Newhall, J. L. 

Strong, Jervis A. 

Thayer, W. A. 

Vincent, Wallace D. 

Watson, Ed. A. 
Winslow, H. E. 



Recruited Soldiers 



Addleman, Raymond W. 
Allen, James E. 
Angelotta, Albert 
Atchley, Hooper 

Bigelow, Bryant 
Bitzer, Thos. F. 
Budd, Wm. H. 
Bull, Walter 

Coe, Sterling 
Collins, Monte 
Crider, John 
Currier, Harold 

Dakin, Edwin F. 
Dottore, Chas. A. 
Demming, Robert 

East, Edwin S. 

Gallagher, Jack 
Glover, Wendall 



Goff, Guy B. 
Gott, Thos. 
Grupey, Paul 

Hall, George 
Hall, Howard R. 
Hammersla, W. S. 
Hamp, Chas. W. 
Hauslieb, W. R. 
Hicks, LaVelle E. 
Hicks, Ray 
Horn, Sylvester 

Kilpatrick, Elmer 
Knoff, Aubrey 
Knoff, Harry 

Ladd, Schuyler 
Lane-Hefferman, Jack 
Leary, Nolan 
LeClerq, J. C. 
Levy, Russell 



Mitchell, Albert 
McCusker, Stanley 

Nushaw, A. K. 

Orr, Victor M. 
Oswald, John G. 

Parmelee, Fred M. 
Paulsen, Arvid 
Peters, Newton 

Reed, Carl 



APPENDIX 

Recruited Soldiers — Continued 
Russell, Samuel 



257 



Scotty, Jack 
Silvemail, Clark 
Sorg, Paul 
Swain, W. C. 

Tumbull, H. B. 

Ward, Jack 
Wysong, H. R. 

Zapp, Albert 



Stock Companies 



Beune Stock Company 
Bourges Stock Company 
Brest Stock Company 
Golden Players 
James Forbes Stock Company 
Le Mans Stock Company 



Tours Stock Company 



Little Theatre Players 

(Gievres) 
Little Theatre Stock Company 

(Coblenz) 
Lone Star Stock Company 
Silvemail Company 



Units 



A Little Cheer from Home 

All American Four 

American Players ^ 

Bulley Party 

Bumham Party 

Caveny Company 

Clipper, Comedy 

Comedy Cut-Ups 

Cressy and Dayne 

Draper Party 

Electric Sparks 

Fifth Avenue Follies 

Four in a Ford 

Four Willing Warblers 

Gloom Chasers 

Gould Party 

Hearon Sisters Concert Party 

Hixon Party 



Home Folks 
Horisberg Party 
Hunting and Frances 
Jazzophiends 
Just Girls 
Khaki Trio 
Kirk and Wyatt 
Konecny Concert Party 
Liberty Belles 
Liberty Show 
Little Bit of Everything 
Live Wires 
Luckey Trio 
McFarland Sisters 
Manhattan Four 
Man Who Grows 
Margaret Wilson Party 
Mayo Shock Troupe 



258 ENTERTAINING THE AMERICAN ARMY 

Units — Continued 

Merry Mary Anns Some Pep 

Mills Party Songs and Skits 

Musical Foursome vSongs N' Everything 

Musical Maids Souvaines Party 

N*Everything Strollers 

Playlet Players Three M. Company 

Rainbow Quartette Those Three Girls 

Ramblers Uncle Sam Quintette 

Scrap Iron Jazz Band Vardon and Perry 

Shamrock Five Vaudeville Four 

Some Home Folks Warwick Unit 

Y's Four 



Professional Entertainers 

The records of the New York office show that a total of 828 
entertainers were sent overseas, divided as follows: Overseas 
Theatre League 180 men and 274 women, and as regular "Y" 
entertainers 87 men and 287 women. In comparing these figures 
with the list of names given, it must be borne in mind that the 
personnel in France was changed somewhat owing to recruiting 
from the Army and other branches of service. It is estimated 
that it would take one person 325 years to cover the same period 
of service as did those that went overseas. 

Where the entertainers employ stage names, these have gen- 
erally been used in the list. 

The number of entertainers from the various states is as fol- 
lows; Alabama 3, Arizona 2, Arkansas 4, California 31, Colorado 6, 
Connecticut 11, Delaware 2, Florida 2, Georgia 11, Idaho 0, 
Illinois 61, Indiana 16, Iowa 12, Kansas 16, Kentucky 14, Lou- 
isiana 4, Maine 7, Maryland 12, Massachusetts 56, Michigan 28, 
Minnesota 7, Mississippi 3, Missouri 23, Montana 1, Nebraska 6, 
Nevada 0, New Jersey 21, New Hampshire 3, New York 228, 
New Mexico 1, North Carolina 1, South Carolina 2, North Da- 
kota 2, South Dakota 3, Ohio 45, Oklahoma 6, Oregon 8, Penn- 
sylvania 63, Rhode Island 7, Tennessee 9, Texas 11, Utah 3, 



APPENDIX 259 

Vermont 3, Virginia 2, Washington 5, West Virginia 1, Wiscon- 
sin 10, Wyoming 0, District of Columbia 6, and from outside 
the United States Norway 1, Italy 2, Ireland 2, Scotland 2, 
Russia 3, Panama 1, Canada 15, Roumania 2, Holland 2, P'rance 1, 
England 10, Bavaria 1, China 1, Bohemia 1, Belgium 1, Swit- 
zerland 1, Russian Poland 1, Cuba 1, Sweden 1, Denmark 1. 
This table indicates the division of talent as relates to their age: 



Age 


No. 


Age 


No. 


Age 


No. 


18 


1 


34 


24 


50 


10 


19 


3 


35 


30 


51 


6 


20 


5 


36 


29 


52 


6 


21 


1 


37 


37 


53 


3 


22 


5 


38 


30 


54 


7 


23 


23 


39 


35 


55 


4 


24 


26 


40 


22 


56 


5 


25 


75 


41 


13 


57 


1 


26 


44 


42 


14 


65 


1 


27 


49 


43 


10 






28 


55 


44 


15 






29 


39 


45 


23 






30 


40 


46 


18 






31 


28 


47 


9 






32 


36 


48 


11 






33 


30 


49 


2 







RETURN TO the circulation desk of any 
University of California Library 
or to the 

NORTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

BIdg. 400, Richmond Field Station 
I University of California 
1 Richmond, CA 94804-4698 

L 

ALL BOOKS MAY BE RECALLED AFTER 7 DAYS 
- 2-month loans may be renewed by calling 

(510)642-6753 
. 1-year loans may be recharged by bringing books 

to NRLF 
Renewals and recharges may be made 4 days 

prior to due date 

DUE AS STAMPED BELOW 



A%IAY6 1994 



S" 



Return^. 



c 



OCT 4 199; 



Santa Cruz JitP'- 


FEB 2 1 199? 


- - ,^ r>. r? 


i3S/ 


MAY 1 3 ZOOt 


- 


- 


1 


1 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY 
FORM NO. DD6, BERKELEY, CA 94720 



®% 



GENERAL UBBABy.U.C. BERKELEY 




B000atl313 



965703 






THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA UBRARY