Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Vietnam, Through The Eyes Of The Entertainers

Most of us that served in Vietnam were occasionally treated to some entertainment in the form of Go-Go Dancers, singers and musicians who would come to Vietnam and entertain us.

The best known was the Bob Hope Shows, but few of us were ever actually able to attend one of his Christmas Specials. Most of us who saw such shows were treated to Filipino bands or occasionally Australian or American entertainers.

Not until today did I know that many of those entertainers were not under the USO, but were booked privately to play at various Military Clubs and remote bases, being largely left to their own accord for security and protection, except of course when at a Base camp performing.

Some lost their lives while there to entertain us.

A 53 minute documentary has been produced from their perspective by one of those performers, Mara Wallis who spent two years in country, traveling and entertaining the Troops.

Her documentary features much footage from the era taken by her friends and interviews with some from later today. Previously only available on DVD, it is now available for full length viewing online.

“Entertaining Vietnam”

A must see trip down memory lane, seeing it from the perspective of those who came over to entertain us, giving us a momentary escape from the rigors of war.

7 comments:

Storm'n Norm'n said...

Hi Lew,
I can't seem to get the video to start...
Do I have to log in somewhwere?

Norm

Storm'n Norm'n said...

Disregard previous comment...got it started...it's a bit small but I can make it out.

Norm

Lew Waters said...

You ought to be able to increase the size of it, Norm.

It opened fairly large for me.

Storm'n Norm'n said...

Sorry to bother you again...
The picture is now normal size...
I don't know what was happening but the first time I clicked on the link, all I got was a long narrow black strip...then when I went back the send time a small frame video appeared in the middle of the long (across my screen) black strip...the third time everything seemed to be OK...
I'll be back after I watch the whole video...

Norm

Storm'n Norm'n said...

Thanks for the memories...

Although I was stationed in Saigon I got around to other places such as Cam Rhan Bay, Long Binh, Tuy Hua and a few other places. During my off duty hours I was heavily involved in the entertainment business. I was the owner (not a player or musician) of a C&W band which I booked 27 nights per month. Most of the clubs (O'Clubs, NCO Clubs etc) were in the Saigon area and we got plenty of recognition. At one point we were invited to perform on Armed Forces Televison and on another we were invited (for pay) at the 3rd Army Field Hospital commander's promotion party (he made general). We alos went up to Okinawa and cut two records in which I had sold out before the cut.
The most requested song was one we wrote called 'The Medic'
Believe it or not, I still remember the words.

A young G.I. soldier on leave in Saigon
Was stopped by two MP’s, they said pardon young man
There’s blood on you cap
There’s blood on your sleeve,
And we may have to cancel your seven-day leave.

The young G.I. said, Sir, now don’t take me wrong
For I’ve just returned from a place call Khe-sahn
Where the hardships are many and the comforts are few
And brave men are dying for me and for you.

Don’t have much money ‘cause I don’t draw much pay
Just came into town to spend a few days.
Won’t bother your women or drink up your wine
Just goin’ to write a few letters for a friend of mine

Ya see, last week my best buddy got shot in the chest
And, as I held him he told me with his last dying breath
Please write to my mother
Please write to my girl
And tell them I loved them as I left this world.

He left those two MP’s with tears in their eyes
Stayed there three days and went back to his guys.
For he was a medic and his future was made
The dying and wounded would need his first aid.

Norm

Don Morrisson said...

If interested....I've discovered a book on Amazon.com written about an Aussie group who toured VN in 1971. Titled 'Rock 'n Roll in a Danger Zone' (Author J.D. Owen) it is THE best book on entertainers in the Vietnam War. The Foreword is by a chopper pilot from 1st. Cav Chickenman. Enjoy.

Don Morrisson said...

If interested....I've discovered a book on Amazon.com written about an Aussie group who toured VN in 1971. Titled 'Rock 'n Roll in a Danger Zone' (Author J.D. Owen) it is THE best book on entertainers in the Vietnam War. The Foreword is by a chopper pilot from 1st. Cav Chickenman. Enjoy.