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 received orders for the Soldier Show sometime in May or June of 1966.
2. How did you become involved?
By the time I entered the Army I had graduated from Florida State University's program in Radio, Television & Film Production,
and also had several year's experience working as a drummer with Jazz and Rock groups. My intent was to go into Armed Services
Broadcasting. I ended up as a Light Weapons Infantryman. Who knew that some recruiters didn't always tell the truth?
I was tempering my frustration by whaling away on a set of drums at one of Fort Jackson's service clubs, when the post's
Entertainment Director started talking about the anticipated arrival of a performance unit from Fort McPherson.
I came back to the club with Jaime Moore, and auditioned for the show. We spent some time talking with Doug Crumpler
after we had auditioned. He told Jaime they needed singers ...and then told me they already had three drummers
(actually four, including him) and that they wouldn't need any more for awhile. I had brought along a copy of a resume'
and handed it to him before leaving. As we were leaving he did a quick read-through and followed us outside saying that they
actually were in desperate need for someone who knew lighting and sound.
Over the next several weeks several sets of Soldier Show assignment orders came....and were diverted by someone in Ft. Jackson's
Personnel Office who decided that (as a college graduate over 6 feet tall) I was perfect to help fill a "body levy"
for The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. One morning about 3:00 a runner came from the Orderly Room with a message
that I was to get up, grab all my stuff and be ready to leave ASAP. Jaime Moore and I were rushed downtown to the Bus Station
just in time to board an Atlanta-bound bus and were handed sets of orders signed by a 3-Star General. During a Soldier Show
performance at the Fort McPherson Officer's Club, Doug Crumpler had pointedly mentioned to Mrs. Truman that he had been having
difficulties in getting orders through to a couple of people at Fort Jackson that the show really needed.
Apparently she passed the concern along to her husband, Lt. General Louis Truman. The "obstacle" at Ft. Jackson
wasn't willing to risk bucking a directive from a 3-Star!
3. When were you with the show....how long?
June 1966 to April 1968
4. What functions did you serve?
Lighting Designer, Lighting and Sound Technician, Truck Driver (Mothertruck)
5. In what productions did you participate?
Wonderful World of Summer, Showboat Jamboree, The Time of Your Life, Up Up and Away, Lt. General Truman's Retirement Party
and the National Educational Theater Association Convention performance in Chicago.
6. Have you maintained contact with any other show personnel?
I've stayed in regular contact with Doug Crumpler. I maintained contact for a number of years with Jaime Moore,
and have had intermittent contact over the years with Jeff Winter, Steve Warren, Harry Oder and Greg Robertson.
Several of us had periodic contact with the Ellenburg family, and got back together at Fred's funeral.
That meeting provided the impetus to go ahead and get the Soldier Show website developed.
8. Do you think your experiences as a member of the show had an effect on your post-military life?
Spending a couple of intense years in the constant company of a group of highly-creative people certainly makes its mark!
The rigors of touring--long hours, intermittent meals, loss of sleep etc. --and the corresponding concerns of maintaining
equipment and vehicles, were great preparation for doing the same sorts of activities in the film and television
production business. The show was frequently using some of the best and newest technical equipment.
Any other comments you'd like to make?
The various reorganizations of Army Entertainment over the intervening years seems to have let some critical aspects of Army Entertainment
history fall through the cracks. The important contributions of Skippy Lynn seem to have been forgotten. The work of the 2nd and 3rd Army
Showmobiles seems to have been ignored. When the earlier Showmobile program was phased out, General Truman had the wisdom and forsight
to change the 3rd Army Showmobile unit into the Fort McPherson Third Army Soldier Show. When the TUSA Soldier Show program expired in
the mid 1970's it seems to have disappeared quietly in the night, with little note by the Army. What a shame! The TUSA-Showmobile.com
website is an attempt to provide some of the absent historical record.
In spite of any disenchantment that any of us may have had with the Army....or with any minor aggravations we may have encountered
with the Soldier Show activities...I think most of us will agree that the Soldier Show experience was formative and beneficial.
It was a pretty good way to serve your country. It was indeed, a lot of hard work... and at the risk of sounding un-cool...it
was also at times, a lot of fun.