In 2010 I created a show called THE WAR YEARS 1939 - 1945. I spent many long hours researching events from the war that had not been overexposed over the years. My intent was to entertain and inform audiences about the World War II era in a new and different way. I wanted to explore the time frame of 1939 to 1945 as a whole, not just the battles or from a military perspective. I wanted to show that in spite of the fact that war was constantly on everyone's minds and it had an impact on everyone's life, life did go on.
THE WAR YEARS 1939 -1945 touches on life on the home front, what was happening in music, entertainment, movies, world events, technology, and life in general. While the war itself weaves in and out from the forefront to the background of the show, we never lose sight of why we are here.
The best way to describe the show is that it is reminiscent of an old time radio show except we are not broadcasting. During the show, I deliver the narrative, which I wrote. At appropriate times, I play sound clips from the era that you might hear on a live radio show of the day. There are actual news bulletins from the war era announcing critical events such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, D Day, etc. There are old radio commercials advertising Pepsi Cola - 12 full ounces for a nickel. There is a Camel commercial boasting of the cigarettes they have donated to our combat soldiers and to veterans hospitals. Just as there was during World War II, I play actual Public Service Announcements encouraging home canning so our soldiers have enough to eat, and warning people who receive any military information from their loved ones to not repeat it or troops could be endangered. One PSA reminds women that they are needed to work so men can fight. There are recorded announcements by Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchhill, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Adolf Hitler and more. Throughout the show, we will hear some of the best music ever recorded. Glenn Miller, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Les Brown, Spike Jones, Woody Herman, and Bing Crosby are just a few of the artists featured in this show. The combination of the narrative, delivered in a timeline basis from 1939 to 1945, the actual voices of the leaders of the time, the real PSAs, the real radio commercials, combined with the greatest music of all time, really takes listeners back to the greatest time of their lives.
I have performed this show on numerous occasions at retirement communities in Columbus, Georgia, Macon, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and Kenner, Louisiana. I have even performed it for a high school history class. The biggest honor for me is to meet face to face with the people that this show is about. One of the most frequent comments I hear from veterans and their widows is they wished their spouse or an old friend had lived to see this show. I have seen hardened World War II veterans moved to tears by this show. I am always humbled in their presence. We are losing our World War II era veterans all too quickly. I would like for as many of them as possible to experience this show in their lifetime.