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Thursday, August 11, 2011



Motion picture celebrities were considered of great value in the "war effort" propaganda of 1944.  The morale of the civilian population, as well as the military, was a high priority in the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.  Birmingham Hospital (originally called Van Nuys Hospital) and its nearness to the motion picture studios throughout the San Fernando Valley was an ideal photo location.

Excerpt from the Birmingham Reporter May 1944 - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Myron Ross 2011 (click on images to enlarge)

 "Movie mother" Fay Holden cheers Pfc. Robert D'Angelillo, recently speeded to recovery by miracle drug penicillin, on one the VACS' usual Tuesday visits."
Note that Private First Class D'Angelillo was provided by the hospital with non-filtered cigarettes, a practice that continued well into the 1970s.

 "Just back from a South Pacific tour, screen star Phyllis Brooks talks, "eye to eye" with South Pacific casualties Sgt. Kenneth F. Reimer and Pfc. Robert Cassidy, both BGH patients."

 "Screen lovely Merle Oberon thrills T/5 Vernon Tilford BGH battle casualty, and army nurse Lt. Thelma Blumentahl. Says Miss Oberon, 'The boys look fine; I think this San Fernando (Valley) climate agrees with them."

Celebrities, and the general public, were not exposed to the critically wounded or massively disfigured soldiers.

"Rudy Vallee, of stage, screen and radio fame, smiles a welcome to Birminghamites who packed the Recreation Hall to hear his fine variety show."

2 comments: said...

Great stuff. Thank you, Myron.

Unknown said...

Pfc D'Angelillo is my father. Was a pleasant surprise! Thanks for including him.