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September 2020 - Antique Shoppe - 7

        Design Trends of the Mid-20th Century
        By Donald-Brian Johnson

                      When The Lights Go On Again: The Songs of World War II

           “We’ll meet again, Don’t know where, don’t know when,                                   War II America, “P.S.” was  a hit all over again.
           But I know we’ll meet again. Some sunny day.”                                              A chuckle  went a long way toward relieving  stress.
                              “We’ll Meet Again”, Ross Parker/                                     Whether clever, corny, or just downright silly, ‘40s novelty
        Hughie Charles, 1939                                                                       tunes were guaranteed day-brighteners. Some had a military
                                                                                                   theme (“The Canteen Bounce”). Others poked barbed fun at
           Sentimental.  .  .patriotic.  .  .heartfelt.  .  .and,  above  all,                     the enemy (“Der Fuehrer’s Face”, introduced by none other
        optimistic.  Those words best  describe  the  songs that                                         than Donald Duck!) “The Machine Gun Bounce” even
        kept spirits high during the darkest days of World                                                   made use of nonsense syllables, with its hilarious
        War II. For U.S. servicemen and women                                                                     (and nearly unsing-able) vocal “ack-acks”.
        overseas, as well as for folks “back                                                                             Regardless of topic, the underlying
        on  the  homefront”,  popular                                                                                      theme of  the World War
        music  provided an  ongoing                                                                                          II popular song was an
        reminder  of  what  the  fight                                                                                      unflagging faith in the future.
        “over there” was all about.                                                                                        I once asked Patti Andrews, lead
           Patriotic tunes are among the                                                                                 singer of “The Andrews Sisters”,
        songs most regularly identified with                                                                            if she could sum up the spirit of
        the 1940s. Many, such as “We                                                                                         that time. Patti thought for a
        Did It Before And We                                                                                                     moment, then responded,
        Can Do It Again”,                                                                                                             “we were all
        served as musical                                                   SHOWN TOP:                                                working together
                                                                         Cliff Friend and Charlie
        morale boosters.                                              Tobias’s 1941 rouser, “We Did It                               — working together
        Day-to-day military                                       Before And We Can Do It Again”. •  CENTER                         for something good
        life received its musical                             LEFT: “He’s 1-A In The Army And He’s A-1 In My Heart”               — and we found such
        due in songs ranging                                  by Redd Evans, 1941. • CENTER RT:  “AA-AA-AA, AA-                  happiness in that.”
                                                                AA-AA, AA-AA-AA, AA! Then there were none!”
        from the humorous (“Ten                                 Original lyrics from “The Machine Gun Song” by                    Whether assembling a
        Little Soldiers on a Ten Day                            Al Hoffman, Mann Curtis, and Jerry Livingston,                collection of ‘40s favorites
        Leave”), to the inspirational                        1943. • BOTTOM LEFT: Before the United Nations, there          for display, or just gathering
        (“Say a Pray’r for the Boys Over                 was “United Nations On the March”, written by Dimitri Shostakovich   an assortment of music to “try
        There”), to the heartrending (Bob            and Harold Rome for the 1942 MGM release, Thousands Cheer.  • BOTTOM RT:   at home on your own piano”,
                                                 They’ll “change that ‘Heil’ to ‘Whatcha know, Joe?’”: “(There’ll Be A) Hot Time In The Town
        Wills’ “White Cross on Okinawa”,        Of Berlin When The Yanks Go Marching In” by Sgt. Joe Bushkin and Pvt. John De Vries, 1943.   you’ll find the songs of World War II
        which concludes, “there’s a White                                                                            provide a vivid glimpse at a time long
        Cross tonight on Okinawa, and a Gold Star in some Mother’s home”).        past. (And an inexpensive one too, starting at under $5 per copy.) What was
           Life on the homefront was also fair game for ‘40s songwriters, offering a   important to these folks? What brought smiles to their faces? What brought
        glimpse of  domestic demands during wartime. Planting a “Victory Garden”?    tears to their eyes? And what, more often than not, made their hearts burst with
        So was the energetic “girlie” in “Up To Her Heart In Victory”, defiantly   pride? The answers are all there, waiting to be deciphered, and enjoyed once
        “waving her scallions at Hitler’s battalions”. Working on the assembly line?    more, in the music of “the greatest generation”!
        Join the jiving vocalist in “On the Swing Shift”, (enthusiastically noting that   “When the lights go on again, all over the world,
        “life is fine with my baby on the swing shift”), or the hard-working, dog-tired   And the ships will sail again, all over the world
        riveter belting out “Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet”!                    Then we’ll have time for things like wedding rings, And free hearts will sing,
           The “girl back home” was featured in many ‘40s songs, whether rhapsodizing   When the lights go on again, all over the world!”
        about  her  dreamboat  in  “He  Wears  A  Pair  Of Silver  Wings”,  or  bouncily                When The Lights Go On Again (All Over The World)”
        proclaiming “He’s 1-A IN the Army And He’s A-1 In My Heart”. One of the                               Ed Seiler/Sol Marcus/Bennie Benjemen, 1942
        most poignant girl-back-home songs, “P.S. I Love You”, by Gordon Jenkins and   Photo Associate: Hank Kuhlmann
        Johnny Mercer, actually made its debut in 1934. Wartime separations, however,   Donald-Brian Johnson is the co-author of numerous Schiffer books on design and collectibles,
        gave new meaning to such lyrics as “Dear, I thought I’d drop a line - the weather’s   including “Postwar Pop”, a collection of his columns. He’s proud to present this article as a tribute to
                                                                                  the 75th anniversary of World War II’s official end, in September, 1945. Please address inquiries to:
        cool, the folks are fine. I’m in bed each night at nine. P.S. I love you”. In World

          SHOWN L-R: A hit for Sammy Kaye in the 1942 movie Iceland: “Let’s Bring New Glory To Old Glory” by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon. • Looking for Love: “Three Little Sisters” by Vic Mizzy and
          Irving Taylor, 1942. • “His mind was always in the sky”: Johnny Zero by Vee Lawnhurst and Mack David, 1943. • Honoring the fallen, country-western style:  White Cross On Okinawa by Bob Wills,
               Cliff Sundin, and “Cactus Jack”, 1945. • A girl needs her sleep: “Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet!”, introduced by Nancy Walker, and written by Don Raye and Gene De Paul, 1944.
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