USO Shows

In the 1940’s the U.S. engaged in war with Germany. World War II was a tome of high stress and big stakes for all involved. Many of the men in the U.S. joined the army to help in the cause and they went through many months of intense training. In the year 1941 the U.S. troops pleased for entertainment in the training camps and The Citizens Committee for the Army and Navy responded.

The Citizens Committee for the Army and Navy sent out seven show buses in May of 1941. Plus, Hollywood agents, producers and the Screen Actors Guild put on several large shows for camps in California. But of course the demand continues to rise. The Citizens Committee for the Army and Navy came up with a solution, USO camp shows. Which officially launched in October of 1941 and became a separate cooperation.

USO shows consisted of The Victory Circuit, which brought full-sized revues and concerts to larger military installations. The Blue Circuit, which brought smaller touring company to perform at Army and Navy installations. The Hospital Circuit, which visited wards and auditoriums at U.S. military hospitals and included the Hospital Sketching Program. And the circuit, The Foxhole or Overseas Circuit, sometimes known as the cow pasture circuit, which went as close to the front line as possible.

During the peak of action in 1941 USO was presenting 700 shows a day with more than. 300,000 performances overseas and in the United States with an audience totaling 173 million. Camp shows entertained 15,000 soldiers seated on the ground and about 20 in jeeps. USO shows had more than 7,000 performers putting on 420,521 different kinds of shows from the years 1941 to 1947.

With all these statistics it is quite clear that this time of desperation and fear art and entertainment was a source of relief. It employed thousands of entertainers and brought a few moments joy to millions of soldiers who were doing all they could to fight and protect our country. There was an outcry then as there is an outcry now for entertainment. The USO camp shows is a cooperation that is still entertaining and bringing joy to our troops today.

Ashley Underwood


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