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In the Corner with Dan Hughes

Jan 1, 2015

Command Performance!  Possibly the best variety show ever to air on radio - and people who lived in the USA didn't get to hear it! 

Because it was broadcast via shortwave to our Armed Forces overseas during World War II, but not to the folks here at home. 

Soldiers - thousands of them every week - wrote letters to Command Performance, requesting that a certain star sing a certain song, or a particular female star just "sigh" into the microphone, or a team from the show travel to a small town in Indiana to record birds singing.

The idea was that the soldiers were giving the orders, rather than obeying them as they had to do in real life. 

And every star, every technician, every stagehand - they all worked the show for no pay.  Even the networks lent their studios and equipment free for this show.

Virtually every star in Hollywood appeared on Command Performance during the war.  This episode, from June 17, 1944, features Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and Harpo Marx.  (Pictured here:  Don Wilson and Carole Landis)