During WWII the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) decided to create a program specifically geared toward Black soldiers. Today it is said that some of the best jazz shows came out of this program with greats such as Fletcher Henderson, Lena Horne, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller.
Here is one routine Eddie and Ernie did on a Jubilee program for the troops in October, 1944. Ernie introduces Eddie Green from Duffy’s Tavern. Eddie says he is bored and is looking for something exciting to do in his life. Ernie suggests Eddie become a volunteer fireman:
ERNIE: It’s Saturday morning at the station house and the alarm goes off. I can see you now, sound asleep up there in the firehouse.
EDDIE: So far, I like it.
ERNIE: Four in the morning the fire alarm rings, what do you do?
EDDIE: I get up. Then I take a sleeping pill and go right back to bed.
ERNIE: No, you don’t. You grab your fire hat, run to the pole and slide down.
ERNIE: What’s the matter?
EDDIE: The pole is cold, I forgot my pants!!
Lucky me, someone sent me a CD with this Jubilee program on it, so I get to hear these shows.
In 1942 Memorial Day had become the popular title for a day to acknowledge all of our military personnel who died while in service.
This post is just a glimpse into how other citizens, along with our government, were helping to keep up the morale of our soldiers.