U.S.O Camp Show #289
Joe Jackson, Jr.
Edna Mae Kenyon
USO Camp Show 289, "Funzafire" was brightly MC'd by Benny Meroff, well known Chicago comic. A hit of the show was the famous clown-tramp-bicyclist act of Joe Jackson, Jr., which brought an atmosphere of big-time show business. Several spots were provided in the show for lively, comedic small-person Charles Mariano, billing himself as "the Great Lover." Jack Gwynne demonstrated his ability as master magician and illusionist, assisted by Mary, his wife, performing The Temple of Angee, a classic disappearing act. And then - there was Miss Kathleen McLaughlin, who appeared on the stage throughout the show in various capacities, as counterpoint to Meroff (her husband) and as a magician's assistant, and brought with her every appearance, a low meaningful chorus of sighs and low whistles from the GIs sitting so near and yet so far. Jerry and Jane Brandow, husband and wife tap dancing team from Philadelphia, livened up the crowd with their flashing feet.
Betty Huntington's voice, an unusual female baritone, immediately caught the audience's attention. As did the stylings of Edna Mae Kenyon demonstrated talent supporting her label as "Queen of the Xylophone." Joe Jackson Jr., dressed in full clown makeup and without uttering a sound, performed intricate but seemingly simple tricks on a bicycle. Unfortunately, we don't know what entertainment Lee Silvern contributed to the show. We do know he was enjoyed by every audience.
In this photo, taken when the group was touring Italy are: back row, lt-rt, Joe Jackson Jr., Lee Silvern, Jack
Gwynne and his wife, Mary, Benny Meroff and Jerry Brandow, half of tap dancing duo. His other half, wife Jane,
sits in front. Beside her Kathleen McLaughlin, then Charles Mariano, Betty Huntington and Edna Mae Kenyon.
USO Camp Shows List