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Roster of TUSA Showmobile Members

Recollections Jim Frey

If each of you would provide answers for the following questions, it would help establish the overall framework.
1. When did you become involved with the Showmobile/Soldier Show?

I was assigned to the 159th Engineering Co. at Ft Bragg, but each day I went over to the Ft. Bragg Playhouse, We did some shows as well as some major changes to the playhouse lighting positions. (There was a contract for the physical work that brought the stage about 20' forward) I was designing the lights for "The Music Man" the first production after the upgrade, we had to relocate the ceiling and side slots. In the mean time we were traveling to service clubs and Poke AirForce base with "The Fantasticks" that was our entry to the Third Army Enterainment Contest.

2. How did you become involved?

One night someone said "If we can knock-off early we can go over the Old Division Service Club and catch part of the Showmobile". When we arrived the finale was already in progress, but I was impressed and filled out an application. I soon forgot about it. I was expecting orders for TDY for the enterainment contest, but was told they were not approved. I asked to see the Company Commander (a BIG DEAL for a Private) While I was waiting He exited his office and passed me in the hallway "No time to see you tonight but you can forget about those 3 month TDY orders!" (I was expecting 3 days). That night Harold Millman at the playhouse gave me a thermal-fax copy of my order request, "Too bad but this will be a nice souvenir if you want it", the next morning I showed it to my section chief an Army Seargant Major. I often was his driver and he knew of my interest in theater, In fact when a friend of his was in charge of the Army War College Auditorium building and was chewed-out by some General for the lights being screwed up, I was voluenteered to save the day, It took one afternoon, but he had me come back the next day anyway (I had a nice nap up in the ceiling). My sergeant pulled in some favors and I (had to clear)!!! base by 5 PM that day. At six my car was packed and I was on the road to Ft. McPherson. I think I checked my rearview mirror a couple times.

3. When were you with the show....how long?

I arrived in late summer of 1965 until Thanksgiving when "name-MOS" orders caught up with me. I was to be assigned to the 106 GH. Took a copy of my orders up to Penn State where, among other things, I had operated a camera for the closed-circuit TV classroom "MIL-A(rmy)" the guys there speculated about what the orders meant, their best guess was in for a long flight over the Pacific. They were right, but the plane landed in Japan! I spent 13 months at the 106th General Hospital, Kaseene Barracks (near Yokahama). We had to have a 1,000 bed Hospital operational in 30 days to get wounded V-N Vets in good enough condition for a return to the States and further medical attention. We set up all kinds of equipment for the hospital and improvised tables and shelving out of the wood packing crates. When I could finally get a pass I went to "Zama" HQ US Army-Japan to meet the Special Services People. They could't "get me" because the hospital was under the command of the Surgeon General not the Army. Anyhow, They made me unofficially "Enterainment Director" at Kaseene. I worked full time at the section and in the evenings began to fix and clean-up VERY dirty stage equipment so the moviehouse to be ready for "USO" type shows. The first show we hosted "The New Christy Minstrels" on a work day, I had approval of my sergent but my company commander was asked to "just clear it" with my section chief (a Lt. Col) and I would be free to help the next time, but he never did.
I was willing to use my extra time for the cause but they only wanted 9-5. so I toured Japan when I could. Saw Toyko, Nikko, Kyota, and many other places.

4. What functions did you serve?

My offical title was Technical Director, After my time as an enlisted man I recieved The Army Enterainment Scholarship Award, A year internship at the Washingtor Arena Theatre. the only problem was it didn't pay anything. Gil contacted me to come back to Ft. McPherson as a civilian NAF-7. I arrived after Mothers Day 1967. stayed at the guest house and started working immediately, After two weeks they wanted me to move-out of that room. I had no money, I asked a silly question "When do we (I) get paid?" Seems that the powers over in Bldg 219 didn't officially have me on the payroll. Hey! I need gas, food, and an apartment, so we arranged a bridge loan to cover me. and I settled down for what was to be a 7-year run.

5. In what productions did you participate?

About 3 shows as EM then 20 or so as Civilian

6. Have you maintained contact with any other show personnel?

I exchanged X-mas cards for several years with some of my former crew, but seems we moved around a lot, thats why Fred and Ollie were so important, they didn't move, In fact the phone # stayed the same. I kept it memorized it was easy since it had 4849 in it, my shop was Bldg 48, and the paint shed was Bldg 49.
I usually called Ollie about Mothers Day and Fred about Christmas each year. My wife and I visited them and my daughter stayed with them when she was starting at University of GA

7. Do you have a website or other on-line presence?

Only email would like to here from You-all!

8. Do you think your experiences as a member of the show had an effect on you post-military life?

Most members of the show came and went on a 6 month rotation, some stayed nearly 18 months so it was hard to keep track of close friends after they got out of the army. After the re-organization of Third Army into TraDoc and ForceCom the show was disbanded. I contacted some of the colleges that hosted our show and said they wanted me when I was free. Seems that I never completed a 4-year degree so they couldn't hire me. I was tired of the road life and wanted to settle down in a community.
Came back to Lancaster, Pa. Got a job as production manager of a building company and did volunteer work at the Fulton Opera House, and worked nights at the Show Room at the Host Farm. Got married, joined Rotary (35 years 100 % attendance) moved twice as my wife's work changed, 5 years in Hagerstown and 11 years near Richmond, Va.
I've attended shows everywhere even helped out now and then.

9. Any other comments you'd like to make?

I have more stories to tell if anybody is interested.