Hollywood Victory Caravan
- The short film Hollywood Victory Caravan is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Hollywood Victory Caravan at the Internet Movie Database
- Complete short online at google. Starts at 15:01
- "Benefit Show Sets Boxoffice Record" Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, May 10, 1942
cheer up our boys overseas during WWII. The prominent group included Eddie
Dowling President of Camp Shows, Ray Bolger, Mitzi Mayfair, Louis Polanski, Stan
Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jane Pickens, Benay Venuta, and Show M.C. John Garfield.
They are all shown just before taking off from Mitchel Field, NY, in a U.S. army
bomber, converted into a "flying showboat", for a two week tour of Caribbean
bases w they will present "Live Shows" for army and navy men. This would be the
first stop on the first USO Tour.
They traveled around the U.S. by train.
The "Four Jills": Carole Landis, Mitzi Mayfair, Kay Francis, and Martha Raye
The "Four Jills" wouldn't go on tour together to entertain the troops again, but Carole Landis and Martha Raye would go out again separately to entertain the troops overseas. Martha Raye continued to go on tours to entertain the troops as late as the Vietnam War.
Martha Raye entertaining the troops during World War II.
Although Hollywood made a movie based on their exploits, the "Four Jills" were not really appreciated by Hollywood. They didn't seem to do well in the movies after the war, despite the sacrifices they had made and the hardships they had endured to help our fighting men. Carole Landis contacted Malaria and amoebic dysentery and was never really the same again.
The sad fate of Carole Landis has been covered in a number of books on "Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries", including the ones by former Hollywood reporter John Austin. I was able to communicate with John Austin myself a few years ago. Here is an e mail message that he sent me on August 5, 2002 concerning Carole Landis:
"I knew Carole very well toward the end of WWII and her camp shows
and, in fact,as a Special Service Officer for the U.S, Army, travelled
her and her troupe through the North African Campaign and, later in
I also saw a lot of her when we both returned to California following
WWII and the filming of Four Jills In A Jeep. Unfortunately, Carole had
press," aka word of mouth, from a coterie of gossiping Bel Air matrons
and was also
unfortunate in her choice of men such as the slimy, pompous Englishman
Harrison. He led her down the
garden path and. eventually, to her death even though she was pregnant
with his child.
It was too bad. She was a wonderful person, beautiful, and a good,
journeyman actress. I have thought about her a lot her since her
death because we had a good time together in London at the end of the
The poorly explained death of Carole Landis continues to raise questions to this day. Rumor had it that she had killed herself because she'd gotten pregnant and didn't know what to do, which was the same story that was told about Lupe Velez. But according to the records, Carole Landis was not pregnant and suffered from a medical condition that prevented her from having children.
There was also some doubt as to if she had actually comitted suicide. Some members of her family thought that she was murdered.
Rex Harrison's own testimony made it sound as if she was still alive when he found her and then he did nothing to help her, although the usual version had it that she was already dead when he got there. No one seemed to worry at the time that he had at very least failed to report a death of someone he had professed to love.
She deserved better.
Eric Gans site for Carole Landis