Marlene-Dietrich USO Shows and WWII

"I'm here, I'm here, " and DIETRICH run down the gangway in her uniform, carrying her case. She would then produce a pair of eavening shoes and a dress, and after making as if to start changing on stage, would be led of decorously into the wings, to the wistles of encouragement from the men. 'No Love no Nothing', 'Lazy Afternoon', 'Anny doesen't live here anymore' and 'The Boys in the Backroom' were staples of her repertory, as was the song that would eventually become ubiquitous, ' Lilli Marlene'. 

MARLENE also revived her musical saw, which for years had been feature of her party-turn in Hollywood. 

MARLENE playing the Musical Saw

MARLENE at the USO Show
MARLENE on Radio

copyright by UMPCollection

When DIETRICH departed for 'Destination Unknown' her 55 lb baggage allowance comprised the following: tropical uniforms; boots; grey flannel men`s trousers, transparent Vinilite slippers; silk-lined cashmere jumper by Mainbocher;  lingerie; a strapless brocade dress and two long, seguined gowns in white and gold. The dresses were heavly encrusted with beads that no crease would show.

MARLENE also carried her singing saw in a black leather case; three month' supply of cosmetics; labelled in huge nail-pollish letters (for dressing by torchlight), and supply of special soap for the hair that she had had specially made, and which would lather in practically no water. 

These USO Shows teached DIETRICH how to manipulate audience, time her laughs and deal with hecklers. During her time with the forces, the whole way in which she presented herself as a performer underwent a change. This could been seen not only in the self-deprecating humour with which she quitly derided her glamour image - something that she has retained until her later great appearences, as in her famous dismissal of her glamour and mystery as 'kitch' and 'quatsch' - but in her very delivery of the Songs. 

DIETRICH contracted pneumonia in Italy in 1944, and in the Ardennes her hands froze.

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created by UL! İfright.night; January'89/update Juli 1999