June 2, 2008 - "Hollywood and WWII"

He was a crooner, a matinee idol and a radio star. But in this film, Bing Crosby's lyrics are not from a love ballad. "Buy, buy bonds!" Bing sings. It's one of hundreds of movie shorts produced by Hollywood during the war.

"Keep 'em flying!" commands Major Clark Gable in another short. The King of Hollywood was a B-17 gunner. On the home front Rita Hayworth gave up the bumpers on her car to a metal drive. Photos, film clips and posters are all part of the National World War Two Museum's "Real to Reel -- Hollywood and WWII."

Kacey Hill of the museum staff--and a huge movie fan--says this exhibit is a lot more light-hearted than most that the museum features. "It sort of explores what average everyday Americans would be watching, and the stars that they would have idolized at the time. So it's just very exciting. How can you not be excited about Hollywood?"

Directors like William Wyler and John Huston chronicled the battles in documentary films. And everybody was a recruiter.

Jimmy Stewart steps from his plane, removes his parachute and says, "I want to speak on my favorite subject, the Army Air Forces."

Hollywood and the Office of War Information worked hand-in-glove. "They had set messages that they wanted the films to portray," says Kacey. "They wanted them to lift morale. They wanted them to encourage Americans to do their part."

And here's a clip of the one crooner who may be more popular than Bing: "Bonds of freedom, that's what I'm selling. Any bonds today?"

"How can you not buy war bonds when Bugs Bunny tells you to?" asks Kacey Hill.

The exhibit will be at the National World War Two Museum till the end of August.