During World War Two: It’s An Expat Thing

Hollywood was rife with actors, directors, writers, and others who had fled Europe when Hitler came to power and who still had relatives living under Hitler's thumb. Those who stayed behind, especially if they were Jewish, were subjected to the same treatment as anyone else, often dying by execution, in prison or in death camps … Continue reading During World War Two: It’s An Expat Thing

Anywhere I Hang My Hat

Us Americans have always been famous for adapting to our surroundings but some things are a little beyond the pale. Like squatting. Obviously, it's usually not nice. Obviously, it's illegal depending on where the squatting happens. In California and other states, for instance, it's what's called a wobbler, which means a squatter can be charged … Continue reading Anywhere I Hang My Hat

During World War Two: Any Bonds Today?

We all know that during the war bond sales were huge. Reminders to buy war bonds were literally everywhere from magazines to ads to the ending credits of movies to billboards. My hometown paper used the words, "Buy War Bonds" so often that it was practically a design element. Anything that could carry text was … Continue reading During World War Two: Any Bonds Today?

The Right To Escape

Here we go... 1963's The Great Escape is quite the iconic film, parodied and tributed so many times in so many ways (remember this one?). Steve McQueen dominates the proceedings, ably supported by fellow icons Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough, along with the wonderful David McCallum, best known today as Duckie. Our … Continue reading The Right To Escape

During World War Two: Dueling Canteens

It can't be denied that Hollywood, and for that matter, Broadway, were in an unique position to help the troops during the war. Support for the war effort was overwhelming in these industries, especially once the last holdouts stopped tiptoeing around the Nazis and the other Axis powers. Not to mention, seventy-nine percent of Americans … Continue reading During World War Two: Dueling Canteens

During World War Two: The Pacific Theater (Part Two)

When we last left off, America had temporarily pulled out of the Philippines as the last holdouts, Bataan and Corregidor fell to the Japanese, putting thousands of American and Filipino troops and civilians in the hands of enemy forces. Those who weren't murdered were herded into camps, where they faced extremely harsh conditions, and even … Continue reading During World War Two: The Pacific Theater (Part Two)

During World War Two: You’re In the Armed Forces Now

Between 1941 and 1942 America's military went from approximately 1.8 million to almost four million, and by the end of the war around twelve million Americans were in the Armed Forces. The popular myth about the United States in the period immediately following Pearl Harbor is that recruitment offices were jammed with volunteers, but according … Continue reading During World War Two: You’re In the Armed Forces Now

During World War II: There’s A War On, You Know

And we must wipe out completely for the duration of the war the idea of business as usual. --Elliot Fulton, played by Edward Arnold, The War Against Mrs. Hadley (MGM,1942) This one sentence sums up the mission of the Office of War Information, or OWI, which was established on June 13, 1942. It's putting it mildly that … Continue reading During World War II: There’s A War On, You Know

With the Crew of the “Memphis Belle”

As we all know, a big part of the Second World War was each side bombing the other for various purposes. Britain and the United States tagteamed their bombing of German war production sites; the Brits went at night, but the Americans chose to drop their bombs during the daytime. Both actions were risky, but … Continue reading With the Crew of the “Memphis Belle”

During World War Two: With A Little Help From My Friends

After Britain and Germany declared war in 1939, there were roughly two years in which America, for all intents and purposes, laid low. Sort of. Not really. The first Neutrality Act was signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 31, 1935, and it would be renewed several times over the next few years. The Act … Continue reading During World War Two: With A Little Help From My Friends

During World War Two: The “N” Word (No, Not THAT One)

Hollywood had a little appeasement issue early in the Second World War; namely, they avoided a certain four-letter word starting with "N" and ending in "I." It was no secret what the Nazis and their friends were up to. Everyone knew they were committing atrocities against the Jewish people and anyone else who went against … Continue reading During World War Two: The “N” Word (No, Not THAT One)

During World War Two: Serious Days

Well, folks, we're happy to be back with you again, and on behalf of the Johnson Wax people and our cast, may we say that we're not unconscious of the fact that these are serious days. --Jim Jordan of the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, September 5, 1939. On September first, Britain declared war … Continue reading During World War Two: Serious Days

During World War Two: Beginnings

Et voilá, that new series I hinted at last month: We're going to be talking about Hollywood's response to the war and how the war affected movies and radio shows produced during that time. As those of you who have been around Taking Up Room for any length of time have no doubt seen, the nineteen-forties … Continue reading During World War Two: Beginnings

Why I’ve Seen “Since You Went Away” Umpteen Times

Since You Went Away is very well-trod territory for me. I've parsed it, studied it, scoured the Web for information about it. I've even counted the number of times the movie mentions war bonds and stamps (five times and twice, respectively, in case anyone is wondering). For those who might not be familiar with the plot, it follows … Continue reading Why I’ve Seen “Since You Went Away” Umpteen Times

A Date And A Movie Which Live In Infamy

The attack on Pearl Harbor happened eighty years ago today. Eighty years ago, America discarded its temporary neutrality and entered the war in a dramatic fashion, although we weren't exactly prepared. And yet few movies have been made about the actual event, beyond Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Michael Bay's awkwardly inaccurate 2001 boom-fest. Most of … Continue reading A Date And A Movie Which Live In Infamy

Page To Screen: Anne Frank Remembered

Miep Gies was the last of the Secret Annex helpers to survive, passing away in 2010 just shy of her 101st birthday. She and Anne had a special sisterly relationship from the time Anne was four, and naturally people wanted to know more about that. In 1987, she published a book, Anne Frank Remembered, with Alison Leslie … Continue reading Page To Screen: Anne Frank Remembered

Swing Heil

In my opinion, Robert Sean Leonard is one of the most competent and interesting actors of my generation. This guy has been in it since he was a young kid. He can sing, dance, read Shakespeare, and handle both drama and comedy. Basically everything that's respectable in show business. And of course, Leonard is a … Continue reading Swing Heil