On This Day February 8, 1941: A Massive Hollywood Relief Effort for Greece’s War Victims

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Hollywood elite assembled at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on February 8, 1941 for a radio show called “America Calling” to raise money for Greek war relief efforts. The gigantic radio program was organized by Mr. Samuel Goldwyn and had practically every major star in show business participating. Bob Hope and Jack Benny served as co-emcees and names like Shirley Temple, Myrna Loy, The Merry Macs, Groucho Marx and numerous others.

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The highlight of the paparazzi was the appearance of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. The show featured skits and poetry readings, comedy and music— with regular encouragements from the emcees to pledge money to the Greek relief cause.

It was Mickey Rooney who nearly threw the producers into a fit. Mickey, who had been rehearsing for the Charlie McCarthy-Edgar Bergen show over at NBC, got caught in the traffic jam outside the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard and arrived backstage just two minutes before he went on the air.

Caption: 1941 Shirley Temple with Frank Morgan, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Dick Powell, Madeleine Carroll, Sam Goldwyn, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard & Myrna Loy on America Calling radio broadcast for Greek War Relief

Caption: 1941 Shirley Temple with Frank Morgan, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Dick Powell, Madeleine Carroll, Sam Goldwyn, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard & Myrna Loy on America Calling radio broadcast for Greek War Relief

The Mark of Zorro star Tyrone Power in his opening remarks spoke about America’s obligation to help the tiny, but inspiring nation of Greece in her time of need, calling the support “an investment in democracy.”

Part one of the radio show  includes Jack Benny and Bob Hope’s opening bit, a skit with Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor and Melvyn Douglas; appearances by Shirley Temple, Charles Laughton and more; a skit with Madeleine Carroll and Groucho Marx; Mickey Rooney and Lewis Stone in an “Andy Hardy” skit.

Part two of the show includes Clark Gable and Merle Oberon in a romantic skit, appearances by Frank Morgan and Ronald Colman; Jack Benny and Bob Hope do a skit with Myrna Loy and Mary Martin.

Beyond this event, Hollywood played an extensive role in raising millions of dollars in relief money for Greek war victims during the World War II years. Read this story about additional efforts of Tinseltown to aid the people of Greece.

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