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Clippers and Hollywood

In the 1943 movie “Around the World” starring Kay Kyser and his orchestra., Kyser traveled on clippers to entertain the troops with his USO show.  Kyser was one of the best known orchestra leaders just before Miller and Dorsey bands came along.  In the 1930s and 1940s, he had eleven #1 records, and thirty-five made the top ten.  He popularized such novelty hits as “Woody Wood Pecker” and “Three Little Fishies” while playing such standards as “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” and “On a Slow Boat to China.” 

His popularity led to his portrait gracing the give-away cards in Pep cereal.  Travel and fly he did, performing at nearly 600 military installations and hospitals during the war.  Troop morale was deemed so important that clipper space was given over to USO performers at a time when only people or cargo with high military priority could fly.