USO / Military
The Hollywood Caravan heads for Korea, ca. 1952

When Carolina got her start with Dude Martin's Roundup Gang, World War II was underway. The band entertained the shipyard builders at Richmond CA's East Shore Park. While in Spade Cooley's band, Carolina and the boys entertained soldiers in the Los Angeles area. But that was only the beginning. The Armed Forces asked her to join one of their first celebrity tours overseas, the Hollywood Christmas Caravan. They visited soldiers stationed in Europe, and saw first-hand the devastation in Berlin and other war-torn cities.

During the Korean War, the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell was a regular on the USO circuit. She also visited wounded soldiers at military hospitals overseas and in the US.

The Armed Forces Radio Service created radio shows and recorded them on special 16" transcription discs, to entertain soldiers overseas. Carolina was heard on a number of AFRS shows, including the Ranch House Party (1946-47), Command Performance (ca. 7/10/49), Redd Harper's Hollywood Roundup (ca. 12/49,10/26/50 and 4/51) and her own show, Carolina Cotton Calls (ca. 10/52-53). Later she appeared on the Navy Country Hoedown, on shows with Ernest Tubb (twice), Tex Williams and Merle Travis, in 1956.

Please check back, as we'll be adding more photos and info.



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APPEARANCES WITHIN THE US:

Camp-Hospital Committee, LA Chapter Red Cross, military hospital visits (1946)
United Veterans Liberty Day Jamboree, Reno, Nevada (8/17-18, 1949)
Disabled American Veterans Certificate of Merit ceremony, Sun Valley CA ( 7/1950)
Seattle WA visit, greeting vets from Korea (ca. 5/4/51)
United Services Organization USO Honor Party (2/26/52)
USAF Variety Talent Contest, Rapid City AFB (5/23/53)
USAF Hospital, Tucson AZ (ca. 2/25/53)
Travis AFB visit (ca. 2/3/53)
Armed Forces Day celebration, West River SD (ca. 5/23/53)
USO Rally (ca. 6/27/53)
Greeting Korean troops returning to US on plane (ca. 8/8/53)
Alaskan Air Command Talent Show, Seattle WA (ca. 4/24/54)
Hollywood Coordinating Committee Awards, Operation Entertainment, televised on NBC (ca. 9/20/54)
Navy Relief Rodeo (Carolina was Rodeo Queen, 8/27-29/54)
Seahorse Western Dance, US Naval Station, Long Beach (8/11/55)



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AFRS interview, Bremerhaven, Germany 1950


USO TOURS



1950-51, EUROPE - Hollywood Christmas Caravan

(While this tour was not officially labeled "USO", it was sponsored by USAFE Special Services, to tour Air Bases and Army Posts in the European Command.)

Performers: Carolina Cotton, Roscoe and Barbara Ates, Peggy Stewart, Sara Berner, Martin and Denny, Jimmy Starr (LA Herald Express reporter)

(NOTE: the following performers were on the itinerary list, but it's unknown who was on the same tour unit with Carolina. Also, some of these names were the celebrities' maiden names): Leo Scher, Russel Hayden and Lillian P. Lucid, Anthony Migliaccio, Patricia L. Williams, Jean Louise Dean, William Bryan, James E. Fraser, Robert N. Butternuth, Corinne W. Septon, Ruth Y. Lewis, William S. Cheney, Margerite H. Starr, Winifred Starr, Lena M. Gilley, Margaret S. Helman, Lillian H. Solomor, Rederick N. Cox, Ann Tomkins Locker, Vera Peterson, Mary Lyons, Ellen June Spine (sp), DR Malloy, Cheryl Clark, Sally Davis

(According to Jimmy Starr, while en route to their Christmas shows in Berlin, the troupe all joined in for Holiday sing-alongs on the plane! Must had been quite a chorus.)


Tour: Argencia, New Foundland / Shannon and Dublin, Ireland / Germany: Wiesbaden (12/20/50) / Frankfurt / Berlin, Tempelhof AFB (Christmas 12/25/50) / Bremerhaven / Munich / Nurnberg (12/28/50) / Rhein - Main (12/29/50) / Heidelberg, Heid MHL Post Special Service Club (12/30/50) / Wiesbaden (1/1/51) / Berchtesgaden / Neubiberg, Furth Opera House, and Neubiberg AFB 86th Fighter Bomber Wing (1/2/51) / Landsberg (1/3/51) / Furstenfeldbruk (1/4/51) / Munich / Erding (1/4/51) / Vienna, Austria (1/6/51) / Salsburg (1/7/51) / Paris, France / The Azores / Bermuda / back to Washington DC, Burbank


Media
Listen in as Carolina interviews Corporal Elias!




1951-52, NORTH AFRICA, EUROPE (poss. Korea) - USO Camp Shows

(The troupe made 25 appearances in this tour)

Performers: Carolina Cotton, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Walter Pidgeon, Debbie Reynolds, Keenan Wynn and others

Tour: Tripoli (ca. 12/30/51)
Naples, Italy (12/28/51)
North Africa...Maroc (ca. 12/31/51)
other tour information unknown





Entertaining the troops
Backstage at a USO show in Naples, Italy 1951
USO troupe heads overseas, 1952


1952-53, KOREA (poss. Tokyo, Japan) - USO Camp Shows

Performers: Carolina Cotton, Paul Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Roscoe Ates, Rory Calhoun, Peggy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Jan Sterling, Keenan Wynn, Movita Castaneda, Carleton Carpenter

(There was a slight plane detour, on the way to Korea...instead of the planned stopover in Hawaii, the plane had landed in Alaska. Needless to say, the troupe was surprised, as they were dressed in summer clothes!)


Tour: Left Los Angeles for Korea (12/19/52) / Tokyo, Japan (12/23-24/52) / Korea, at Airbase, 12/24 / Korea (Christmas, 12/25/52) / Korea, battle front, in makeshift circus tent, 10th Corps area / Korea, 12/27 / Korea, New Years Eve show, 12/31/52 / Korea, where Carolina made her 3rd visit there, performing on the front lines, and performance on USS Constitution (1/2/53) / Korea (1/5/53)

(NOTE: conflicting information lists performances in both Korea and Tokyo, on 12/26 and 27. The Tokyo shows may have been in 1954: including a show at the Jade Theater, appearance at 69th Trans Tnk BN on 12/27, and at 4th Sig BN, 12/28/52.

The GI's of Korea were more than appreciative to have the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell pull strings and red-tape to return to Korea for them...the 188th Tank Company showed their thanks by naming a tank after her: Miss Carolina, the Cotton Special.

During a New Years Eve show, Carolina and Walter Pidgeon performed 3 Miles South of Cash in Arkansas...can you imagine Walter Pidgeon yodeling?)



Miss Carolina The Cotton Special, 1952


1953-54: EUROPE (and poss. Korea) - USO CAMP SHOWS

Performers: Carolina Cotton (other performers unknown)

Tour: Germany (ca. 12/15/53) / Weisbaden (ca. 12/23/53) / Paris, France / Bermuda (ca. 1/5/54)
other tour information unknown


(After all these visits to Germany, Carolina returned to the States and enrolled in a few German classes!)


Carolina and Walter Pidgeon onstage
Carolina Cotton Calls radio show
Visiting the hospitals


1954-55: KOREA, FAR EAST - USO CAMP SHOWS

Performers: Carolina Cotton (other performers unknown)

Tour: Guam / Phillipines / Formosa / Okinawa / Iwo Jima / Yokohama (ca. 12/21/54) / Tokyo / Korea / Midway? /
other tour information unknown

(The troupe enjoyed the 8th US Army's Colonel's Dining Room Dinner on New Years Eve 1954)



Performing at a Navy show


1955-56: KOREA / FAR EAST - USO Camp Shows

Performers: Carolina Cotton, Roscoe Ates, Carol Jarvis, Tommy and Susan Valli, Sudi Green, Penny Lynn, Diana Hzle, Jody Scott, Carl Cartwright, Ray Vaughn, Ray Tracke, Jack LeMaine, Ray Vaughn, Elizabeth Talbot-Martin, Johnny Grant (Hollywood DJ)

Tour: Leave Burbank, CA (12/16/55) / Tokyo, Japan / Iwo Jima, at HQ, Central Air Base (12/22/55) / Taipei, Taiwan / Linkow and Putow (sp), Taiwan (12/22/55) / Okinawa, parking lot of Sukiran Theater (12/24/55) / Chickanauga / Ashiva AFB, Japan (12/27/55) / Korea, HQ 7th Inf Div (1/1/56)

(Carolina and Roscoe were given "secret clearances" for certain areas of the tour.

On January 4th 1956, Carolina flew to Tokyo, to receive the Far East Command medal).







Chatting with the troops in Taiwan, 1955
Bringing seeds to Korean farmers, 1956
Under Construction...please stay tuned