Friday, October 15, 2010

Gene: Starlight Canteen

For today’s post, Gene models “Starlight Canteen,” one of the beautiful dresses she wore to the Hollywood Canteen during World War II. Designed by Jim Howard, you can bet her dance card was full the evening she wore this beautiful blue gown. Here’s a little history about The Hollywood Canteen from the story card:

During World War II, the stars of Hollywood and Broadway banded together to make things a little easier for service men and women going off to fight by providing laughter, refreshment, entertainment, and compassion at Canteens on both coasts. In California, The Hollywood Canteen (founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield, among others), sometimes entertained as many as 10,000 guests a night. Free of charge, some of the biggest names in the Industry danced, poured coffee, chatted, told jokes—and did their best to give the fighting forces a proper send off.

In these rare vintage photos, you can see Gene heading towards the Canteen, with the NBC & CBS studios behind her.

This service man is so overcome with the amazement of seeing Gene blow him a kiss that he can barely contain himself!

Later, Gene recreated that moment in a photo studio for the possibility of a pinup poster:

Two views of The Hollywood Canteen; in the first, Gene attempts to get a camera-shy soldier to pose for the photographer:

Gene rests between dances:

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  1. Hi, I have this doll, that I never took out of it's box. Do you know what she's worth today?

  2. Not really sure; maybe $50-75.

  3. I am arriving truly late to the Gene Marshall party, but your photos have convinced me that Starlight Canteen Gene is the Gene Marshall doll that I want to save some money for!

    In fact, I have had so much fun looking at pictures of the Gene and Trent dolls that I have already named my four favorites, making Dreamy Trent my official Trent doll, and giving him a cousin...and Gene a sister (Neat as a Pin Trent and Broadway Medley Gene, respectively).

    Honestly, the two Gene dolls that I love remind me of myself, my grandmother, and my deceased great aunt, the latter two of who lived through The Great Depression and World War 2.