Information about working in the show business in the UK during the Second World War.
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HEDY LAMARR ACTOR AND INVENTOR


Hollywood is a place where folks are often recognized more for their looks than their talent and actress Hedy Lamarr was no exception. But it´s what she invented in her spare time - to help end that WAR - that has history turning a kínder eye, linking her to a bomshell of a whole different sort.

Hedy Lamarr: Co-Inventor of the LTE Technology

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Hedy Lamarr Biography actress and inventor

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Some famous films where Hedy Lamarr was the main character.



WOMEN AT THE SHOW BUSINESS

Women were also extremely important in entertainment. From films to theatre or Music Halls, there is no doubt of the relevant role of women in the show business during the WWII.


== "FORCES' SWEETHEART" ==
Forces Sweetheart (or Forces' Sweetheart) was the usual title given to those artists (women) who dedicated to entertain the troops in the British Armed Forces, (mainly in the Royal Air Force), whose brough great happiness to many Brittain during the World War II, although it was also later used in the United States..

DAME VERA LYNN

Born Vera Margaret Welch on 20 March 1917, was widely known as "The Forces' Sweetheart" is an English singer, songwriter and actress whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during the Second World War. During the war she toured Egypt, India and Burma, giving outdoor concerts for the troops. The songs most associated with her are "We'll Meet Again", "The White Cliffs of Dover", "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and "There'll Always Be an England".


Lynn was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1969 New Year Honours "for services to the Royal Air Forces Association and other charities", and promoted to Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1975 Queen's Birthday Honours "for charitable services". She was made an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (OStJ) in 1998 and, in 2000, Dame Vera received a special "Spirit of the 20th Century" Award. A street named in her honour, Vera Lynn Close, is situated in Forest Gate, London.


The English rock band Pink Floyd released in 1979 a song titled Vera, which makes reference to Lynn.

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DAME GRACIE FIELDS

Born Grace Stansfield, 9 January 1898 – 27 September 1979, was an English actress, singer and comedienne and star of both cinema and music hall. She spent the later part of her life on the isle of Capri, Italy. Fields was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for "services to entertainment" in 1938, and in 1979, seven months before her death, she was invested a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II.
She married an Italian-born film director in March 1940, and went him to North America. Ocassionally, she returned to Britain, performing in factories and army camps around the country.
Although she continued to spend much of her time entertaining troops and otherwise supporting the war effort outside Britain, her depart to America led to a fall-off in her popularity at home. She performed many times for Allied troops, travelling as far as New Guinea, where she received an enthusiastic response from Australian personnel.In late 1945 she toured the South Pacific Islands

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The biggest Aspidistra in The World, 1938. The song was a music Hall, full of dobble entendre (ambigous meanings), performed by Gracie Fields in the 1930s. It became Fields very popular.


== "ENTERTAINMENTS NATIONAL SERVICE ASSOCIATION" ==


ENSA was established in 1939. ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) was set up by Basil Dean and Leslie Henson to provide entertainment for the British military during World War Two. Many famous stars performed for ENSA including Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn, and Joyce Grenfell.

Though ENSA had famous women, but also men, performing for it, the geographical extent of what ENSA tried to achieve meant that its skills were frequently spread very thin. ENSA was somewhat cruelly referred to as ‘Every Night Something Awful’.

ENSA paid those who performed for it £10 a week while those who worked in the chorus were paid £4 a week. By the standards of the time these were generous amounts of money.




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An ENSA concert party entertaining troops from the steps of a chateau in Normandy, 26 July 1944



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British troops enjoy meeting The Ascots



Consider the number of entertainers who risked their lives to boost the morale of the troops during the WW2, it is remarkable that just one of the ENSA's members died during the war, a woman: : Viviane Hole (Viviane Fayre), who was killed in the Netherlands in 1945 when the scenery truck in which she was travelling ran over a land-mine.
The first ENSA concert was on September 10th 1939 in Surrey while the last ENSA performance was in India on August 18th 1946.


== "WOMEN AND FILMS" ==
At the beggining of the Second World War, Britain restored the Ministry of Information. Its main objective was to create or generate propaganda during the wartime. And, of course, it included the cinematographic productions.
Miss Grant Goes to the Door was a short propaganda film made for the British Ministry of Information in 1940. It was directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starred Mary Clare and Martita Hunt as two sisters, Caroline and Edith Grant, who have to deal with two invading Germans who arrive at their cottage. The film addressed the threat of invasion, and was intended to inspire confidence and convey the message 'Keep your heads'.




external image Mary_Clare.jpgMary Clare,

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This work is not finished... It will be ready very soon... Sorry for the incoveniences....


lINKS:
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/women_WW2.htm
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/theartofwar/prop/home_front/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entertainments_National_Service_Association
http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/books/389509/How-Ensa-Entertained-The-Troops-During-World-War-II-by-Andy-Merriman-review