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Jane Russell and Bob HopeThe Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) produced a number of original programs, most of them originating from their main studios in Hollywood. "Command Performance" was one of the most popular of these productions. It was an American variety show broadcast mainly to the armed forces between 1942 and 1949.

A surprising fact about this series is that all talent was donated; no one received payment including the stars. This was even more remarkable these included movie stars Charles Laughton, Red Skelton, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and others. Anybody who was anybody got in on this act and those guys serving away from home were glad of it.

Mickey RooneyPart of the premise was that American service men could "command" their favourite stars and entertainers to appear on the program just for them ... and many of them did. Regulars included Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Kay Kyser, Jack Benny, Doris Day and Edgar Bergen.

When the war ended it was decided that it would still be necessary to carry on producing the show and it continued to be broadcast to the serving men and women of the United States Armed Forces right up to the end of 1949.

In all there were more than 400 shows broadcast, some of which were half hour broadcasts whilst others were as much as two hours.

Broadcast History

  • Produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) from 1942 - 1949.

  • It was produced for the armed forces by the U.S. War Department for short wave transmission to troops serving in overseas theatres of war.

  • AFRS also transcribed (recorded) many popular shows which were then shipped overseas to boost troop morale.