Looking Back At Wartime Lobbies
That first anniversary of Pearl Harbor found theatre lobbies dressed out with every conceivable lure for patrons to aid in the war effort. The "Victory Booth" was a common sight, as showmen were among the most effective bond salesmen. Those patriotic features, shorts, and newsreels didn’t go for naught. Audiences were besieged with solicitations before they even got through the front entrance. This scrap collection display on the sidewalk threatens to overwhelm the rather prosaic marquee in back of it --- the idea of tossing refuse into the open mouths of our enemies seems to have been effective, as one can envision parents lugging the stuff into theatres, then letting their kids have fun playing ring toss with Adolf. Day and night service at these bond counters was no idle promise. Many houses maintained round-the-clock schedules to accommodate third shift war workers anxious to catch the latest Andy Hardy before heading home for some a.m. shuteye. I bet non-participants really got the fish eye whenever giving those booths the go-by. Civilian slackers were no more to be tolerated than able-bodied men out of uniform, and the pressure to buy bonds and kick in on scrap drives must have been enormous. Even the happy prospect of seeing The Boogie Man Will Get You on a giant theatre screen would diminish somewhat in the face of contemptuous looks from expectant managers, ushers, and candy butchers, all of them conveying silent disapproval as you arrive sans scrap and leave minus bonds. I’ll bet they even took names in some of the smaller towns.
The above posting is number 200 for Greenbriar Picture Shows. We’ve been here since December 27, 2005, and the only day we’ve missed was when the server broke down (in the beginning, there were sometimes three posts in a day!). All 200 of these stories are in the archive, and you can link to it anytime from the top of this main page or by going HERE. The drop-down search engine has individual options for names, movie titles, and categories (for instance, our Glamour Starters series has its own section, as does Horror, Comedy, Musical, etc.). Go there sometime if you haven’t already.