Movies, radio, and Big Band dancing were the big entertainment escapes from World War II. Theaters changed features three times a week and moviegoers would often stand in line a block long to get in. Uniformed ushers and usherettes escorted you to a seat by flashlight. Or you waited until there was one.
Right after Pearl Harbor,
while other movie studios built new sound stages to handle the mass production of movies to take our minds off the war, Warner Brothers built bomb shelters on their lot. Many actors from all the studios -- from the top stars to supporting actors -- producers, directors, and movie crews either enlisted or were drafted. Careers were put on hold for the famous who donned uniform, while the draft-deferred got big breaks taking their places.
War years movies ranged from warning against Nazism in 1940 to the heroics of our soldiers, sailors, marines, merchant marines, pilots, as well as their female counterparts and nurses. Hollywood and the movies helped keep morale up for GIs and those on the home front, and moviegoers were generous in buying war bonds at the theaters. Movies kept reminding us what our men and women were fighting for -- Freedom and the right to return home and marry the girl (or boy) next door.
And, of course, take her or him to the movies.