Carole's USO Tour With Jack Benny


In July of 1944 Carole began a two month USO tour with Jack Benny, harmonica player Larry Adler, singer Martha Tilton, and pianist June Bruner. This was her second overseas tour during the war. The group travelled to New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Australia, and Hawaii. They typically performed more than a dozen shows a week. Carole would sing a some songs and tell a few risque jokes. She would also bring a couple of soldiers on stage and jitterbug with them. The servicemen adored Carole and she always took the time to sign autographs and pose for photos with them. She said "The boys like any entertainment so long as it's happy and carefree, but they do not want war pictures because they see the war for themselves, day and night without ceasing". Carole spent a lot of time visiting wounded troops.


Jack Benny, June Bruner, Carole, Martha Tilton, and Larry Adler



She kept a journal with her and she wrote down the names and addresses of all the men she met. When she returned to the United states she wrote hundreds of letters to their families. Jack Benny said "You soon forgot she was Carole Landis, the sex symbol, the Hollywood star, the sweater girl, because she was a real human being and had a warm heart that spilled over with kindness". In August Carole contracted pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. She recovered and returned to the tour at the end of the month. Unfortunately in September she nearly died from a severe case of amoebic dysentery. Carole lost fifteen pounds and would suffer the effects of this illness for the rest of her life. The troupe's tour came to an end on September 15, 1944. During their two months in the South Pacific they had traveled thirty thousand miles and performed for one million service men and women. Despite her illnesses Carole was happy that she had gotten to entertain so many soldiers.





 

Jack Benny, Carole, and Larry Adler