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U.S.O Camp Show #374

Pat O'brien
Jinx Falkenburg
Betty Yeaton
Ruth Carrell
Harry Brown
Jimmy Dodd

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!
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USO Camp Show 374 had Pat O'Brien as master of ceremonies, story teller, singer and comediene. Movie star Jinx Falkenberg contributed comedy skits and some singing. Betty Yeaton demonstrated how she had come to fame as a contortionist dancer. In the husband and wife team Jimmy Dodd played guitar and sang a bit, while Ruth Carrel carried the load, singing several popular songs. Veteran piano player Harry Brown was soloed a couple songs as well as providing accompaniment and background music for the others.


'Jinx' Falkenberg visited Yangkai as part of a USO tour. Here she appears to be conversing with some of the men, while offering them a chance to take photos.
(Walter R. 'Bud' Trent collection, 491st, courtesy of son, John)



Small crowd greet the USO troupe after arrived at Yangkai, China. Already off the transport aircraft, Jinx Falkenberg is self-identified by her monogram.&nsp; The face to her right belongs to Pat O'brien.  Fifty+, fellow trouper Harry Brown is assisted in keeping balance on the tiny exit steps.



Lucky unidentified Captain grins at the opportunity to pose with Jinx.  Jimmy Dodd can be seen over her right sholder.



Unidentified Red Cross worker(possibly Eileen Denny?) seems overawed to pose with Pat O'brien, beside her is Red Cross nurse Betty Ringland.  At far left are Betty Yeation, Jimmy Dodd, and Jinx.



Betty Yeaton and Jimmy Dodd perform a musical number.



Jinx Falkenberg and Pat O'brien fire up their appreciative audience.



And the crowd roars as Pat pulls Jinx off the stage!


Betty Yeation performed two different acts of acrobatic dancing, as shown in these photos.




 





 


Jimmy Dodd is joined by wife, Ruth Carrel, for another musical number.




And after the show, in a chance for the G.I.s to mix with the celebrities, Jimmy and Ruth share a table, drinks and sandwiches with some of the men.



With Maj. Frank A. Holden and M/Sgt John Aspinwall (491st BS) sitting to her right, Betty Yeaton converses with another of the men, while Pat O'brien (head in lower right corner) listens to someone across the table from him.



Further photo opportunities followed for officers of the 491st BS; pictured are Maj. Donald Blaha, an unidentified officer, Betty Yeaton, Major Frank A. Holden and Pat O'brien. Lt. at the far right is also unidentified.



More Yangkai-based officers pose with Harry Brown, Ruth Carrel, Pat O'brien and Lt. Melvyn Douglas of CBI Special Services.  The Captain on the left and the Captains, on the left and in the middle are unknown.   The crouched grinner might be Lt. Robert Fimbel, 491st BS Photo Officer.



Left to right are Betty Ringland, ARC, and two unidentified airmen, one with his arm around Betty Yeaton.  To the right of Miss Yeaton is Harry Brown and Melvyn Douglas.  Ruth Carrel is sitting in the back and to the right Major Frank A. Holden talks with Jinx.



Excited ARC worker (possibly Margaret Lea) poses between Lt. Melvyn Douglas and Pat O'brien. The other officer is unidentified, but face partially visible at the bottom is Betty Ringland, ARC.


The following photos photos from Ed Schmidheini Collection (490th Bomb Squadron Armament Section) were taken when,after touring the bases in China, the USO troupe visited the 490th's base at Kurmitola, India.


Pfc John L. Swem, 490th Armorer, enjoys his photo opportunity with Jinx Falkenberg.



Likewise, Pfc George B. Jarvis, 490th Armorer, poses with Betty Yeaton.
(both )




extracted from CBI Roundup, 16 Nov 1944

New York Drama Critic Surveys the China Scene And Reports the Travels of Pat, Jinx & Company

By RICHARD WATTS, JR.

(Mr. Richard Watts, Jr., author of Roundup's drama section this week, was until he came to China about two years ago, drama critic of the New York Herald-Tribune. He has now returned to the United States where, as here, he serves with the OWI. The views expressed by Mr. Watts below are very definitely those of the Editors of the Roundup. Ed.)

CHUNGKING - Just as this correspondent was getting ready to depart from this lively capital, a new troop of strolling or rather flying players, headed by Pat O'Brien and Jinx Falkenburg, paid us a visit. I'm glad I stayed over for it, since theirs was easily the most satisfying show for the American troops I have yet seen.

It came at just the right time, too, since it is giving away no secret to tell you there has been a certain amount of unpleasantness recently between some of the visitors from Hollywood and the soldiers of what was, up to a few days ago, the China-Burma-India Theater. That lively and excellent G.I. paper, the C-B-I Roundup, has in particular been indulging in a fine bit of feuding with Ann Sheridan, who is quite an embattled girl herself.

The claim, rightly or wrongly, had been that some of the thespian visitors were inclined to fancy themselves as bearing pretty terrible crosses as they traveled about the local countryside. The fine thing about the O'Brien-Falkenburg company was that there was no suggestion of martyrdom about it. The players gave every indication of having a good time, as well as providing one, and that adds decidedly to any audience's fun.

They also gave the impression that they liked, not only their audience, but each other, and that, too, is not the impression created by all the previous visitors to our citadel. All of this adds distinctly to the pleasure of an entertainment that depends for a considerable part of its success on building up an air of pleasant and likeable informality.

All in all, the O'Brien-Falkenburg Co. gave not only a good show but accomplished considerably more than that. They ended possible feeling - I am in no position to say whether or not the feeling was justified - that cinema and theater people, when encountered personally, had a tendency toward carrying their temperaments into a world concerned with more serious matters. They showed themselves good sports and good fellows, everyone here liked them enormously and the G.I.'s will go back home feeling better about the theater and its people.

Pat O'Brien is just right as master of ceremonies of such a show. His hearty Irish combination of sentimentality and hard-boiled wit, his gifts for story-telling, occasional serious acting and, of all things, song and his racy, engaging personality, make him just what the G.I.'s ordered. He was the spirit of the proceedings, and set the tone of the evening perfectly.

As for Miss Falkenburg, she was, to put it in terms of understatement, wonderful. It might ordinarily seem a harsh statement to make of any girl to say that she is "wholesome," but with anyone as beautiful as Jinx Falkenburg it can be said without fear of being an insult. It is in fact one of her greatest virtues that she looks not only lovely and alluring but combines those not unimportant qualities with the rare additional one of being direct and unaffected and utterly, to put it frankly, wholesome. You know that she is delightfully seductive without bothering to work at it - and that is rather an unusual tribute.

I suppose she is no great mistress at the art of song or acting. It is probably true that she sometimes misses the proper stress on a comedy line. It happens, though, that she manages her comedy scenes with such serene and humorous good nature and has in addition so much the quality of being the person you look at on stage - or elsewhere - that she is invariably a delight. I fear it is stuffy to say so, but the boys not only loved her but had deep regard for her.

The other players likewise scored genuine triumphs. It happens that this is probably the only USO troupe in history that hasn't an accordion player in its ranks, but it does have a contortionist dancer. Her name is Betty Yeaton, and, while I am a little uncomfortable in the presence of practitioners of her particular art form I was filled with awe at the casual way in which she turned around and sat down quietly on her head. Even more I admired the G.I. photographer who managed to snap her in her most complex gymnastics.

The most ecstatic applause of the evening went to a husband and wife team. Jimmy Dodd plays a guitar and sings a bit and his wife, Ruth Carrel, is a singer of popular songs and, either alone or together, they delighted the assembled soldiery. Both of them are people who should be heard of in the theater in the drama's all-important post-war days, and Jimmy Dodd, in particular, is a man such eminent showmen as Billy Rose and Mike Todd, about whom I hear in my distant aerie, should find of interest in their enterprises.

The final member of the company was a veteran piano player named Harry Brown, father of the film actor turned soldier named Tom Brown. The father isn't exactly a young man anymore, so far as years go, but he proves that his generation in the acting business is still pretty vigorous by darting about on this global wartime trip with ease and a good sense of melody.

By the strangest of coincidences it happened that I was the only American drama critic in Chungking when Pat O'Brien, the lovely Jinx and the rest of them arrived to brighten up the recollections of the theater for us Broadway exiles. Everyone I talked to came away with a sense that a good time had been had and that people in show business could be people you genuinely liked. I suspect that more important events historically were taking place in this ominous capital at the time when the actors arrived but certainly none of them was more comforting or heart-warming. Pat O'Brien and Jinx Falkenburg were good propagandists for American show business.



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