Background Dancer (Willard Van Simmons)
Item # MU0176
This custom made jacket was worn by background dancer Willard Van Simmons in the 1944 musical, “Hollywood Canteen”. The film starred Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jack Benny and many other legendary actors in cameo performances.
The garment was made by Warner Bothers Studio tailors and has the company label sewn inside the jacket located below the collar. The Warner Brothers label has the date 9-27-42 Prod. 610A and Van Simmons hand written in fountain pen. Also located in the right hand sleeve is a “Hollywood Canteen” stamp. Mr. Van Simmons appears wearing the coat during the dance rehearsal scene where Sgt. Nowland stops to watch while on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.
The film is based on the real Hollywood Canteen nightclub founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield. They opened the club specifically for WWII servicemen to boost military morale. Many of the other cameo actors in the feature film actually performed and volunteered at the real nightclub. The film was nominated for multiple Academy Awards including Best Original Song, Best Sound Recording and Best Original Score. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the costume house.
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