Meeting at the locar bar after work was a favorite activity during the Forties. A guy thing, women seldom sat the bar, unless they were agreessive in meeting a guy, one of those. However, couples sometimes sat at the bar, while waiting for dinner to be served at a restaurant, which was acceptable. Guys discussed their lives, "crying in their beer", etc. am surmising, while listenting to the juke box music for a nickle. The bars usually were simple, of course during WWII available for soldiers home on leave. Usually many signs and posters displayed concerning war security about not discussing war locations or activities. "Shhhh, the enemy is listening" or others. Usually small bars, sometimes having a dance floor, jitterbug dance was very popular. Most everyone were smokers, and the smoke was extremely heavy, sometimes not visible to see across the room. No "lady" lighted her cigarette, she merely held it up in the air with her fingers, and there would be many lighters clicked on, even before your date. No air conditioning then, merely fans, and not many as I recall. Doors were left open while establishment was open, during the summers.
After the war, entertainment was quite different. Rationing was over; however, little money, wage scale stayed very low for a long time. Boys dating usually borrowed their family auto during a Saturday night when they could. We had many ballrooms in the area, with "big bands". These places were always very crowded for the live entertainment. Oftentimes difficult dancing to the jitterbug because of the lack of space, and often times bumping into another couple inadvertently. The male dancers had double duty in selecting space. Of course there were couples who were extremely good dancers, and the floor would be cleared for them.
We had "supper clubs" then, which were more elegant and popular restaurant places. Sometimes a show to watch while eating.
The radio was popular. During the war years, we listened on battery powered radios for news of troop movements, and of course music and live radio shows. Serial programs were followed during evening hours when family members were home from school and working. We needed humor during those times, and the radio provided it. Bob Hope provided USO Tours for the troops. The radio provided those broadcasts during Christmas, have listened to all of them, and when television was available watched the shows. Bob Hope brought "hope" to our servicemen in combat of returning home, and laughter to many.
Movies were a huge hit during that era, frequented by many. The male and female movie stars were very well known, and at times we were given a questionaire to remark what impression we had of the movie. Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marlan Brando, and many others.
We socialized a lot then. Many private parties at individual homes. Our soldiers had returned home, the war was over, and we had much to celebrate. Everyone seemed happy again, at long last. However, oftentimes giving a toast to fallen comrades the soldiers had known, in silence and reverance.
Garson Kanin wrote of them, "The magic of Astaire and Rogers cannot be explained; it can only be felt. They created a style, a mood, a happening. They flirted, chased, courted, slid, caressed, hopped, skipped, jumped, bent, swayed, clasped, wafted, undulated, nestled, leapt, quivered, glided, spun - in sum, made love before our eyes. We have not seen their like since."
Mickey Rooney (actor) entertaining troops while serving, with comments regarding movie actors. Which he was well familiar with because he had been a child actor and on during his life.
There were many movie star heros who served during WWII. As well as female entertainers attending USO tours and shows, Martha Raye was one, and movie stars. And, we must not forget the movie actresses who served and who bravely participated as spies.
USO Troop perfming at Wideawake Theatre
Photo by Calwell
Actress Ann Sheridan (front) greets soldiers in India, June 1944