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Stage Door Canteen

Stage Door Canteen(1943)

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The following acknowledgment appeared in the opening credits: "All rights granted by the American Theatre Wing which gratefully acknowledges and credits the producers, stars and members of all the theatrical unions, guilds, crafts and associations for their participation in the creation and continuance of the original Stage Door Canteen." The Stage Door Canteen, located at 44th Street in New York City, was operated during World War II by the American Theatre Wing as a restaurant and nightclub for servicemen. Volunteers working at the Canteen included stars from stage and screen. Although the onscreen credit lists the associate producer as Barney Briskin, various reviews call him "Barnett" Briskin.
       According to a news item in New York Times, the interior design of the Stage Door Canteen was reproduced at the Fox Movietone Studio and at RKO Studio in Hollywood, where this film was shot, as shooting in the actual Canteen was difficult. According to an article in Movie Life magazine, producer Sol Lesser paid the Canteen $50,000 for the use of its name, and the Canteen and Allied Charities received the net profit from the film. As noted by an article in New York Times, the Screen Actors Guild adopted a prohibition against "free appearances by actors in charity pictures" shortly before this film was produced. "The rule was adopted because eight cinematic projects were brought to the attention of the Guild's board of directors for which the sponsors made an appeal 'on the basis of patriotism by allocating part or all of the net earnings of the picture to charity.'" The Guild hoped that this ruling would prevent actors' generosity from being exploited.
       Hollywood Reporter noted the following about the production: Hollywood Reporter news items reported that Art Arthur was to write the script, and that Paramount considered using Leith Stevens' composition "America Fighting" in the film. In addition, Robert E. Sherwood was hired to write "special patriotic sequences," and Lesser conferred with writer Rachel Crothers about contributing dramatic sequences. The contribution of these writers to the final film has not been determined. Among the performers considered for appearances, but who did not appear in the film were Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, Marlene Dietrich, Billie Burke, Loretta Young, Gladys George, Constance Collier, the Ritz Brothers, Sid Grauman, Patricia Morison and Eddie Cantor. Al Jolson was slated to sing a song by Al Dubin and James Monaco, in a sequence written by William Collier, Sr. In addition, New York Times reported that Gertrude Lawrence and Ilka Chase were slated to appear, and Hollywood Reporter reported that Jack Benny agreed to appear if violinist Jascha Heifetz performed in the film. Some scenes were shot on location at Fort MacArthur, CA. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Music Picture), and for the song, "We Mustn't Say Goodbye."