Reprise: Bette Davis, John Garfield, Marlene Dietrich, and the Hollywood Canteen

Bette Davis and John Garfield decided something had to be done for the enlisted men who passed through Southern California…

They secured a building at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard and opened a USO club to be staffed by movies stars and entertainers. That’s Dezi Arnaz:

That’s co-founder Bette Davis preparing to slice a formidable cake:

John Garfield on the Canteen’s 1st birthday:

Bette reviewing photos with Bob Hope and Marlene Dietrich – I see John Ford, Clark Gable…

A separate post could be written about Marlene Dietrich’s war efforts, but for now, Dietrich serves coffee:

And dances with a French sailor:

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  1. August 10, 2012

    […] cool pic of the day DESI ARNAZ from this great post on the HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN at beguiling hollywood […]

  2. August 10, 2012

    love your blog! if this was tumblr I would basically have to reblog everything you do. as it is I hope the occasional link w preview pic is a-ok with you. love to share great stuff

    • August 10, 2012

      A-okay, Kristina! Thanks for the shout out and the many fine links you provide.

  3. August 10, 2012

    I love the look on Bette’s face and the way she’s holding the knife. Formidable indeed.

    • August 10, 2012

      And look at the way her feet are planted!

  4. December 31, 2012

    Great, great, great post! Loving it! Although the formidable Bette Davis looks like she might be about to murder the cake! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • December 31, 2012

        ๐Ÿ˜€ Those were the days all right!

      • December 31, 2012

        It’s 2013 at your home – Happy New Year – and here’s to many more!

      • December 31, 2012

        Thanks! And may your New Year be happy when the clock strikes twelve where you’re at and raising a metaphorical glass to many more! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. December 31, 2012

    I once read that Bette Davis had quite a bit of fun with the Canteen’s visitors.

    • December 31, 2012

      Oh, now you have to tell me… Or tell me where I can read about it.

  6. December 31, 2012

    What a great collection of photos, Vickie. I can only imagine the excitement of how those soldiers and sailors must have felt walking into the Hollywood Canteen knowing that he might see–OR EVEN GET TO DANCE WITH!– a genuine movie star.

    • January 1, 2013

      Hope you saw your New Year in dancing with your beloved – even waltzing around with Ms. Dietrich is no match for that ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s to a glorious year full of love and good fortune.

      • January 3, 2013

        Well, there wasn’t much dancing but there was a whole lotta champagne!

  7. […] US, Africa, and Italy; they also pushed War Bonds and apparently even helped Bette Davis found the Hollywood Canteen (where the ladies could frequently be found performing for the […]

  8. November 23, 2013

    Excellent collection of photos.

  9. November 23, 2013

    ‘Tis Lovely, except for the cake which is plain scary.

  10. November 23, 2013

    The Canteen is probably one of the best things Hollywood has ever done. And you are right, Dietrich is a tale in her own rightโ€”I caught a documentary about her war efforts several years ago, and it increased my respect and affection for her a great deal.

  11. November 25, 2014

    I suppose since Bette Davis was in the sentence, I read it as “formidable chic”.

    My eyes hurt. Yet Thanksgiving calls: I have nearly 8 pounds of potatoes to peel. Holiday KP duty for me!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. November 29, 2014

    Wow – great photos! Of course I’m lusting after that vintage coffee machine… you could drive that sucker to work!

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