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EAA Chapter Conducts ‘Command Performance’

Cheeky Sisters
Like the Andrews Sisters, the “Cheeky Sisters” entertained at the Chapter 1374 “Command Performance.”

December 9, 2010 — EAA Chapter 1374 in Greencastle, Indiana, held a different kind of hangar dance last September during the Putnam County Airport Appreciation Days. Instead of having a big band covering standards from Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller, members reproduced a version of the 1940s Armed Forces Radio Network radio show “Command Performance,” which featured mailed-in request from overseas troops asking for particular performers to sing or do a sketch. Top acts of the day, like Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, and the Andrews Sisters, would fulfill those requests.

Duane Skoog, chapter president, came up with the idea, wrote the script, and tapped performers at Greencastle’s DePauw University to help pull it off. “It was like Greencastle folks in the 1940s doing their part for local servicemen,” he said.

Letters were secretly written on behalf of two current chapter members and WWII veterans - Bill Roady, who flew B-26s out of North Africa in the Army Air Corps, and Vern Bothwell, an airframe and powerplant mechanic with the Navy - and the show was patterned around them.

“That was a sign of honor and respect for our veterans,” said Skoog, adding that the vets were surprised. And the turnout was terrific: All but one of the 24 tables were filled, and about 250 people turned out for the event. From proceeds raised, the chapter recently made a $500 donation to the USO to help provide prepaid calling cards to armed service personnel currently stationed overseas - especially important during this time of year.

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