Hollywood Canteen

Pictured, left to right in front:) Andrea King, Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Lynne Baggett and Angela Greene in "Hollywood Canteen." Warner Bros., 1944.

Pictured, left to right in front:) Andrea King, Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, Lynne Baggett and Angela Greene in “Hollywood Canteen.” Warner Bros., 1944.

Andrea King was a true newcomer to Warner Bros., having just completed her first supporting role under the direction of Delmer Daves in “The Very Thought of You” for the studio. Even though that film had not yet been released, terrific word-of-mouth was already buzzing around the lot about her performance, and Mr. Daves insisted that Andrea be included in his next picture, the all-star musical wartime extravaganza, “Hollywood Canteen” (Warner Bros., 1944).

Andrea, along with most of the available talent under contract, appeared as herself in the film. She had three small scenes, with a total of two lines, but she couldn’t believe that she was actually a part of such an amazing production. She danced in the arms of the film’s lead Robert Hutton in one scene, with none other than Joan Crawford standing right next to her. Joan was absolutely wonderful to our young star-to-be. Andrea remembers a warm and welcoming Miss Crawford. Joan even made a point to mention that Delmer Daves had been telling her marvelous things about Andrea! This was far different from the strictly professional attitude and competitive edge displayed by the studio’s other reigning queen — Bette Davis. Andrea had already worked briefly with Miss Davis in “Mr. Skeffington,” and she found herself again rubbing elbows with the legendary actress in this film. Bette was also the canteen’s co-founder and president.

In real life, Andrea played a much larger role with the famous Hollywood Canteen. She, along with most of the celebrated actors and actresses in the business, donated many off-nights and weekends entertaining and serving our fighting soldiers at the canteen, in order to help boost morale during World War II.

Authentic certificate of appreciation, issued to Andrea King by Hollywood Canteen president and founder Bette Davis, 1944.

Authentic certificate of appreciation, issued to Andrea King by Hollywood Canteen president and founder Bette Davis, 1944.

Limited though her work was in the film of “Hollywood Canteen,” Andrea was honored to find herself listed alphabetically among the glittering roster, with star billing:

The Andrews Sisters, Jack Benny, Joe E. Brown, Eddie Cantor, Kitty Carlisle, Jack Carson, Dane Clark, Joan Crawford, Helmut Dantine, Bette Davis, Faye Emerson, Victor Francen, John Garfield, Sydney Greenstreet, Alan Hale, Paul Henried, Robert Hutton, Andrea King, Joan Leslie, Peter Lorre, Ida Lupino, Irene Manning, Nora Martin, Joan McCracken, Dolores Moran, Dennis Morgan, Janis Paige, Eleanor Parker, William Prince, Joyce Reynolds, John Ridgely, Roy Rogers & Trigger, S.Z. Sakall, Zachary Scott, Alexis Smith, Barbara Stanwyck, Craig Stevens, Joseph Szigeti, Donald Woods, Jane Wyman, Jimmy Dorsey and his band, Carmen Cavallaro and his orchestra, the Golden Gate Quartet, Rosario and Antonio, and the Sons of the Pioneers!

Lobby card from "Hollywood Canteen," Warner Bros., 1944. Andrea King is pictured at the far right.

Lobby card from “Hollywood Canteen,” Warner Bros., 1944. Andrea King is pictured at the far right.