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U.S.O Camp Show #279

Ben Blue
Ann Sheridan
Mary Landa
Ruth Denas
Jackie Miles

from CBI Roundup 10 Aug 44;

The performers gave a show next night at Lady Hardinge Field in Delhi. Miss Sheridan sang two songs and did a pair of humorous skits with deadpan Ben Blue, who walks like a man wiping his feet on a door mat. Ruthie Denas played a rich accordion and sang and Mary Landa was an eyeful as she did a Hula and a Mexican hat dance. Jackie Miles did a full and very successful tour of duty as Master of Ceremonies, highlighted by imitations of Crosby and Sinatra.

Under the guidance of Special Services Capt. Robert Benton, the party left later in the week to tour China and other Theater stations. Capt. Melvyn Douglas will join them later and accompany them on most of the tour.

Unless otherwise indicated images are from Eugene T. Wozniak collection; none of which were annotated.  We did the best we can to identify places, people and circumstances, however, if you can provide more accurate information PLEASE email us!
Click on any image to view a larger version!

In 1941, as it became clear America was heading into World War II, several organizations mobilized to support the growing U.S. military: the Salvation Army, Young Menís Christian Association, Young Womenís Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board.

Capt. Robert Benton, CBI Special Services, holds Miss Sheridan's purse as she descends the final step at Yangkai, China.  Captain Melvyn Douglas, also Special Services, looks into the C-46 'Commando' transport aircraft as another of the troupes ladies prepares to exit.

After walking a short distance from the C-46, Mary Landa, Ann Sheridan and Ruth Denas talk beside B-25J "Sheridan Express", a 22nd Bomb Squadron aircraft named and painted by 1Lt. John Johns (pilot in the 22nd) in her honor.  Meanwhile official photographers and local G.I.s try to get organized for a photo session.

During the confusion of everyone getting into position, the ladies exchange quips with the men in the welcoming group.

Inspite of any tiredness or discomfort leftover from their early morning Hump flight, the ladies then presented beautiful smiles for probably the most distributed photo of the troupe at Yangkai.  In addition to Dad's print, we received photos/scans from Irv Gibbs, Al Lodoveco, Bill Gornick, and Eugene Wozniak.  Further, dozens of 341st and 373rd Bomb Group veterans told us they had one.
(Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection)

They are then joined by Maj. ??, Yangkai Base Commander, and Captain ??, Chaplain(?) as Captain Benton attempts to get them posed to his satisfaction... which he almost succeeded, exept for the Major distracting Miss Landa.

Ann Sheridan then climbed into the pilot's seat of the "Sheridan Express."

Meanwhile, their CBI escort,Capt. Robert Benton, guided Captain Melvin Douglas, CBI Special Services Officer, Ruth Denas and Mary Landa toward the waiting jeeps, as he explains their schedule.

The next stop was the small Yangkai, Hospital.

(l - r); Ruth Denas, Ben Blue, Mary Landa, Melvin Douglas, Ann Sheridan

Ruth Denas, Mary Landa, Ann Sheridan

Ann poses for close up with unidentified patient.

Before departing the Yangkai Base clinic, Ann Sheridan, Mary Landa and Ruth Denas, pose with the Flight Surgeon, Chinese nurses and two unidentified medical technicians.
Any help in naming the other people in this photo?

(r-l)  Ann Sheridan, Barabara Vatter, Mary Landa and Ruth Denas pose with the two unidentified Chinese nurses, and Capt. Robert Benton, CBI Special Services.
Once again, we ask your help in filling in the nurses names.

Finally, after being the photographer, S/Sgt Bert Krawczyk (373rd Bm Sq) has an opportunity to have his picture taken with Ann Sheridan and the Chinese nurses.

(above three photos from Barbara Vatter's collection; courtesy of her son, Rob.)

While the troupe was visitng the clinic and dressing for the show, the Yangkai airmen began arriving and preparing the viewing area, inspite of the mud from the fall monsoonal rain the day before.

Chairs and benches, seen above the men's heads in previous photo, had been removed from inside The Last Resort for use by 'lucky members of the audience.

The rest would sit, stand, or kneel on whatever was available; jeeps, rocks, rooftops, or the stage. But... the show must go on!!

Jackie Miles, the troupe's emcee opened the show (first of two) by introducing Ruth Denas.
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Ruth Denas, an outstanding accordianist and the troupe's musical accompanitst, then roused the 'troops' with some familiar songs from "home!"
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Ben Blue banters with Jackie Miles soon after being introduced to the audience of hundreds of men stationed at and near Yangkai.
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Ben then 'cut up' as Jackie introduces...

... Ann Sheridan.

Ann, Jackie and Ben exchange quips with each other and the audience before Ben and Ann begin the first of their two skits.

( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Ruth Denas performed several popular songs, giving Mary Landa time to change costumes, before providing accompaniment for Mary's hula stylings.

Ann Sheridan and Ben Blue took the stage for their second skit of the show.

As Ben Blue and Ann Sheridan complete their skit, which has the audience smiling and laughing, Master of Ceremonies, Jackie Miles appears to be just entering from the doorway.
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Jackie Mills was quickly followed by Mary Landa who, along with Ruth Denas, also joined Ann Sheridan and Ben Blue for the shows finale, where they exchanged comments with men in the audience.
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Following their two shows at Yangkai, Ruth Denas posed for "keep sake" photos.

Ruth then joined Ann Sheridan, posing for more photos in the one of the interior rooms of The LAST RESORT.
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Mary Landa, still in costume from her final performance, poses for some post-show photos.

Still in her performance costume Mary pins a flower as the final touch to Ann's post-show attire.

While Mary changed Ann offered one more pose.

After changing outfits, Mary Landa strikes a "Cheesecake" pose for Yangkai's war weary servicemen, perhaps, or maybe for the magazines back in the Z.I.  This is one of the most popular photos with scores of Yangkai veterans possessing a print.
( Francis E. 'Ed' Strotman collection - 491st Bomb Squadron )

Mary Landa and Ann Sheridan then bracketed an unidentified serviceman for a photo prior to joining the post-show "mixer".

The following morning following, Ann Sheridan and Mary Landa departed The LAST RESORT to make their way to the tranport plane waiting on the Yangkai flight line.
(16th Combat Camera photo)

While awaiting Miss Sheridan's arrival, Ben Blue, troupe leader, and Captain Melvyn Douglas discuss the upcoming flight and more performances at the next base on their tour.

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