Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Life during World War 2 was dominated by the conflict, but in many ways ordinary life continued. Entertainment offered relief and escape for many during those difficult times, including young soldiers who took in whatever shows they could, whenever the chance presented itself.
Throughout his life, our Dad, "Bud" Brandenburg, took advantage of every opportunity to see a show that came along, and he usually managed to save the show programs and put them in his scrapbook as special mementos.
In his letters home during WW2, Bud mentions the many shows he took in in London while on leave, some headlined by major stars like Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontayne and even John Gielgud (in his legendary performance as Shakepeare's Hamlet). In his letters home, Bud comments on Gielgud's amazing star power, even though the rest of the cast was "a bit wooden." He was also known to comment that Gielgud was a bit "long in the tooth" to be playing the Danish Prince, but all's fair in showbiz, after all.
All this theatrical activity went on, even as bombs dropped on London, which made for a few scary moments as sound effects blasted during some of the performances. One show Bud did manage to save the program for was Orson Welles' special magic show (in California) for the enlisted men, which he performed with his wife, Rita Hayworth as the magician's assistant, and the famed Mercury Theater Players. These special performances no doubt lightened some of the heaviness of those wartime days, and made for rich memories that lasted for years to come.