It's the Greatest Radio Show You Never Heard!
Command Performance was a show that would be presented exclusively for service men and women, to their specifications, and based upon their "commands". The idea was simple yet brilliant, meeting the need that millions of service personnel had to feel special, recognized, and appreciated, as well as the desire of thousands of writers, performers, musicians, producers, and technicians to somehow contribute their own special talents to the war effort.
Command Performance was created in 1942 by radio producer Louis G. Cowan who was at the War Departments' Special Services Division. He knew that the show would have a very small budget - in fact, it would likely have no budget at all, thus he began by contacting the various show business unions. All quickly agreed to waive the union wage and conditional agreements of their members so long as the broadcasts were limited solely to military audiences.
It wasn’t long before Command Performance became THE radio show of the war years. Everyone who was anyone in show business wanted to make at least one appearance - and, to the relief of creator Louis Cowan and newly-appointed producer Vick Knight, they usually brought their writers along with them. Responding to an ever-increasing demand for movie stars, the show gradually moved from New York to Hollywood, occupying space at the Sunset Boulevard studios of CBS and NBC. And, in late 1943, it became the jewel in the crown of the Armed Forces Radio Service, a brand new division of the War Department that would exist solely to bring information, education, and information to military personnel throughout the world.
So take a trip back in time with Command Performance - a time when America was fighting another war in far off lands, when brave men and women risked their lives for our freedom, and when show business answered the call to entertain them. It’s an entertaining journey and also one that reminds us just how much we owe to those people who literally fought to save the world during World War II. We know it's a trip you’ll want to take time and time again in these six hours of original broadcasts of Command Performance, Volume 4 and restored to sparkling digital quality.
Host Bob Hope
with Dinah Shore, Ed Gardner, Frances Langford, Fred Allen, George Marshall, Ginny Simms, Merwyn Bogue, Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, Kay Kyser and His Orchestra, Ken Carpenter, Nelson Eddy, Spike Jones and His City Slickers, The Charioteers, The Ken Darby Singers, Henry Stimson Secretary Of War, Frank Knox Secretary Of The Navy.
Saturday, December 25, 1943 - 90:00 - War Department, Special Services
#289 Host Groucho Marx
with Martha Tilton, Bud Widom, Will Scott, Abe Burrows, June Peney, Michel Perriere and the AFRS Orchestra
Recorded Tuesday, September 30, 1947 - 30:00 - War Department, Special Services
Host Bing Crosby
with Rise Stevens, Dinah Shore, Bette Davis, Jimmy Durante, Jose Iturbi, Lionel Barrymore, Marlene Dietrich, Burgess Meredith, Ginny Simms, Frank Sinatra, Janet Blair, William Powell, Harry Von Zell, Lucille Ball, The King Sisters, Cary Grant, Robert Montgomery, Loretta Young, Lena Horne, Meredith Willson, Thomas Lewis Commandant of the AFRS, Martha Wilkerson, Johnny Mercer, Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, Lina Romay, Danny Kaye, Herbert Marshall, Carmen Miranda, Claudette Colbert, Ed Gardner, Marilyn Maxwell, Greer Garson, Ken Carpenter, Ronald Colman, Rita Hayworth, Desi Arnaz, Ernest Whitman, Ida Lupino, Ginger Rogers, Ruth Hussey, Claire Trevor, Don Wilson, Norman Mauldin, George Montgomery, John Conte, and Jinx Falkenburg.
Recorded Wednesday, August 15, 1945 - 120:00 - War Department, Special Services
#237 Host Kay Kyser
with Ann Blyth, The Starlighters, Michael Douglas
Recorded Sunday, November 3, 1946 - 30:00 - War Department, Special Services
#274 Host Kay Kyser
with Anita Ellis, Ish Kabibble, Val Delmer, Linda Darnell, Michel Perriere and the AFRS Orchestra
Recorded Tuesday, July 1, 1947 - 30:00 - War Department, Special Services
AFRS Sixth Anniversary Show
Host Bob Hope
with Dinah Shore, Ticker Freeman, Frank Sinatra, Claudette Colbert, Jimmy Durante, Ronald Colman, Betty Hutton, Jack Benny, Dennis Day, Sara Berner, Rita Hayworth, Bing Crosby, Jerry Colonna, and Ken Carpenter
Recorded Saturday, May 29, 1948 - 60:00 - War Department, Special Services