Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Women of Wednesday--The Andrews Sisters

We coming up on the 70th anniversary of the U.S. participation in World War II. In December there are sure to be many events commemorating the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States' official entrance into the war.

There are three women who played a vital role in the war effort by recording popular songs that entertained Americans throughout the war years. They are LaVerne (b. 1911), Maxene (b. 1916), and Patty (b. 1918) Andrews, otherwise known as The Andrew Sisters. The hit record, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" will always be associated with their name and the war. Another hit, "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," too, can't be heard without thinking of the sisters and the war. The Andrews Sisters are cultural icons.

If you're not old enough to remember them or their songs, here's a video which exemplifies their skill and energy as entertainers:

In their career, they sold over 75 million records and recorded more than 700 songs! During the early 1940s they were the most popular entertainers in America, and, highly paid!

Besides producing popular records, the sisters served the war effort by entertaining the troops around the country, in Europe and in Africa, at the Hollywood and Stage Door Canteens, and by recording special V-discs for the troops. They also were active in Bond drives which were vital in paying for the war. (Imagine selling war bonds to pay for the Iraq or Afghanistan wars--both wars would have ended within a month!)

The Andrews Sisters appeared in 17 movies including Private Buckaroo from 1942. You can watch it below, but be aware it's more than an hour long.

The Andrews Sisters were three admirable women who made it big through hard work and enormous talent. They also had big hearts and helped shepherd America through a period of great fear and uncertainty.



I'm Jet . . . said...

Hey! That was Shemp Howard!

I've always liked the A sisters. D, do you know anything about their lives after their careers?


There's a bio on their website. Yes, that was Shemp!

Barbara said...

Not to be contrary, but I always think of Robert Mitchum and (I think) Rosalind Russell when I hear "Don't sit under the Apple Tree." She was a nun and he was a soldier and they were strandeded on an island together. At least, that's what I think I remember.

Andrea Murphy said...

Love the Andrews Sisters! "Mele Kalikimaka," a collaboration with Bing Crosby, was used as the soundtrack to the pool scene in "Christmas Vacation." I bet they loved it. (I think at least a couple of them must have still been alive in 1989.)( You can hear their influence in Bette Midler's work, as well as The Puppini Sisters. (I love Bette and the Puppini Sisters.) And, Barb, you're totally contrary. If most people don't think Andrews Sisters rather than Robert Mitchum when they hear "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," I'm a monkey's auntie. (Although most people probably don't think anything because the numbers of people familiar with the Andrews Sisters, Mitchum or the song are dwindling. Bummer.)

Diane Mayr said...

Barb, the movie was Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, and the woman was Deborah Kerr. It came out in 1957, so, although it was about WW II, the film came out way after the war. Except for you, my dear, nobody associates the song with the movie. ;-)