Monday, September 26, 2011
Thanks for the Memories
The following are Erwin A. Thompson’s memories of an incident occurring during World War II. Mr. Thompson, born in 1915, was drafted into the Army in 1942. Thompson was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained from enemy action and a Silver Star for "Gallantry above the call of duty," and discharged in 1945 to return to the United States. Mr. Thompson is known as a historian, poet, novelist, philosopher, whittler and fiddler. I would add that he’s a treasure among his community, family and friends.
Following are Mr. Thompson’s own words:
My memories of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby
By Erwin A. Thompson
In August 1944 I was in France. Two months after “D” day, the military situation was far from guaranteed safety. We had landed on the same beach as the combat troops who had gone ashore. That bloody day started our “liberation” of France, Belgium, our occupation of Berlin and the end of that portion of World War II. It was a bloody road to travel. Our tanks had gone through the hedge rows of France, and were pounding at the Siegfried line—that almost impenetrable line of defense Germany had set up to resist any move, such as we were making now. We were still subject to air raids.
A show was planned (carefully) with just enough light to see the stage and the performers. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were the big names. There were girls. Pretty girls. Talented girls; but girls that I had never been introduced to on the TV screen.
They were performers. The show that they put on would have been appropriate as a part of a burlesque show but they left their clothes on (just barely).It was slanted for an all male audience; well planned and well put on. One of the numbers that they did was “All of me.” With the gestures that the girl made there was no question what she was referring to.
Bing sang ‘White Christmas,’ and received a great amount of applause. At that time we were hoping to be home by Christmas.(It didn’t work out that way.)
They were great performers and great people. My friend, Norman Grover, told this story about Hope and Crosby.
“They were traveling by truck convoy. The trucks were having trouble. The passengers got off and helped push the vehicle out of the mud hole. I looked around and saw both Crosby and Hope in mud up to their knees like I was, pushing the stuck vehicle. Not only great performers, but great people!”
Thank you, Mr. Thompson. To quote the title of Bob Hope’s theme song, “Thanks for the Memories.”