The Good War

Prologue Theatre's 1991 musical production of Studs Terkel's award-winning "The Good War." Using a simple set and minimal props, the cast evokes myriad characters whose monologues voice the different perspectives of those alive during World War II, including American soldiers, German soldiers, nurses, teenagers, Japanese civilians, and scientists.

00:00Copy video clip URL Blank tape.

1:55Copy video clip URL Written quote by Studs Terkel: “The title … is a phrase that has been frequently voiced by men of … my generation, to distinguish that war from other wars, declared and undeclared. Quotation marks have been added, not as a matter of caprice or editorial comment, but simply because the adjective ‘good’ mated to the noun ‘war’ is so incongruous.”

2:06Copy video clip URL Opening credits, “Prologue Theatre presents Studs Terkel’s ‘The Good War.'”

2:13Copy video clip URL Opening shot of stage with house lights up. The camera is positioned at the back of the theatre; silhouettes of audience heads are in the shot. The set is very minimal, with a large set piece consisting of a giant “V” with “Buy Bonds” written on either side. The rest of the fabric is green and brown camouflage patterned. The cast make their way toward the stage from the aisles.

3:05Copy video clip URL Opening song by full cast, with closeups on solo singers. Everyone dressed in khaki Army uniforms. Songs include “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “[I’m Beginning to See the Light].”

8:12Copy video clip URL Swing number by two couples.

9:19Copy video clip URL Stage goes to black, unseen announcer talks of the “Day that will live in infamy” when America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. Song: “God Bless America.”

11:38Copy video clip URL Spotlight on bearded actor, song “[Dec 7, 1941].” Stage lights light up, four other actors marching in place on stage, joined by the rest of the cast.

12:34Copy video clip URL Black out. A spotlight moves from each actor, group monologue of where they where when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

15:00Copy video clip URL Black out. Actors file off stage except for one actress, who gives a monologue about the declaration of war; a singer remembers performing “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” for departing troops. “It was as if everyone in the United States held onto each other’s hands,” she says, “We were invincible.”

17:17Copy video clip URL Joined by two other actresses. Song, “[I tried to explain].”

19:12Copy video clip URL Fade out. Lights fade up on five soldiers, “We started seeing our first dead, Germans,” says one soldier. “It had a sort of dream-like quality,” says another, “just seeing surgeons getting ready to work, because we were all still healthy. We were still an hour or two away from actual combat. It kind of added to the inevitability that really bad, really bad things were going to happen.”

21:26Copy video clip URL Robert Rasmus, Rifleman. “Looking at the individual German dead, each one took on a personality … they were boys like us.”

22:45Copy video clip URL Lights brighten. Five soldiers spring into jaunty German song.

24:21Copy video clip URL Spotlight on one soldier doing a dance number with one of the actresses, song, “[I left my heart at the stage door].”

26:26Copy video clip URL Pauline Kael, Film Critic, The New Yorker. Actress wearing a plaid coat, smoking cigarette she occasionally ashes into a small dish. Anecdote about propaganda films during the war including those directed by Robert Taylor and Alfred Hitchcock.

30:11Copy video clip URL Five soldiers dance with rifles, tap dance. Song, “[This is the Army].”

32:17Copy video clip URL Jean Bartlett, Teenager. Bartlett speaks about meeting soldiers who were going off to war and writing each of them letters; the lasting effect of soldiers’ attention on a young girl.

35:18Copy video clip URL Actress in evening dress and elbow length white gloves. Song, “[I’d Rather Have Nothing At All].”

36:49Copy video clip URL Audio cuts out for one second.

37:45Copy video clip URL Spotlight on bearded actor wearing trench coat and fedora. Song, “[A Kiss Is Just A Kiss].”

39:36Copy video clip URL Spotlight moves to actress in white cardigan. Song, “[My Dream]”

41:17Copy video clip URL Dellie Hahne, Teacher. Monologue of the changing sentiment about the war, especially as the more gruesome side of the conflict began to emerge. “We became cynical and tired of the bloodshed and killing,” she says.

44:31Copy video clip URL Drum roll, multiple soldier monologues comparing the fighting in the Pacific to that in Europe.

45:01Copy video clip URL Anton Bilek, Philippines, Prisoner. Monologue on surviving a 60 mile death march which killed 2,000 Americans and 30,000 Philippinos, “This shouldn’t have happened to us, we were Americans. They were Japanese.”

48:20Copy video clip URL Song, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

50:25Copy video clip URL Ted Allenby, U.S. Marine. From Dubuque, Iowa, the soldier speaks of his homosexuality–“hetero or homosexual we were all repressed people”-–and joining the Marine Corps to prove his masculinity.

55:09Copy video clip URL Four other soldiers appear on stage. Song, “[The Army Made A Man Outta Me].”

55:54Copy video clip URL Yuriko Hohri Dower, Japanese American Internee. Monologue on her time in a Japanese American internment camp in the U.S.

57:47Copy video clip URL Full cast. Song, “[Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition].”

58:52Copy video clip URL Peggy Terry, Munitions Worker. A worker at a bomb shell factory in Tennessee, “It never occurred to us we were making these shells to kill people, it never entered my head.”

1:02:09Copy video clip URL Monologue of performing for the troops in the hospital wards and singing “Apple Blossom Time” for one of the young soldiers, “The most important thing was that we must not break down,” she says, “the boys didn’t need our tears.”

1:05:20Copy video clip URL Song, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

1:08:24Copy video clip URL Full cast. Songs, “[Last Time I Saw Paris],” “That Old Black Magic,” “[I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do],” “[Saturday Night].”

1:12:36Copy video clip URL Song, “[G.I. Jive].”

1:14:04Copy video clip URL John Ciardi, Army Air Corps; Yasuko Kurachii, Japanese Civilian. Duel monologue between a B29 gunner and a civilian watching the planes bomb her village.

1:17:28Copy video clip URL Ciardi sings a capella. Song, “[Coming In On A Wing and a Prayer].”

1:18:44Copy video clip URL Betty Bayse Hutchingson, Registered Nurse, monologue of working with the amputees, including one soldier who lost half his face. “It’s only the glamour of war that appeals to people; they don’t know the real war.”

1:21:36Copy video clip URL Song, “[I’ll Be Seeing You].”

1:23:00Copy video clip URL Women dressed like Rosie the Riveter. Song, “[Rosie the Riveter].”

1:24:57Copy video clip URL Song “[The Nightingale Sang].”

1:27:53Copy video clip URL Jean Wood, English. Life in England during the War while taking care of her four daughters and wounded husband. “It made people behave better toward each other than they ever thought they could”

1:30:47Copy video clip URL Soldiers. Song, “[Marching song].”

1:31:45Copy video clip URL Grigori Belkanov, Russian. Monologue on the effect the war had on Russians. He says, “Out of all the kids in my class. … I was the only one to remain alive after the war. What else is there to say?”

1:33:50Copy video clip URL Belkanov and male cast. Song, “[Over the Hills].”

1:35:02Copy video clip URL Hans Massaquoi, German. Monologue on black population in Germany during the war.

1:37:10Copy video clip URL Woman Nazi officer, song in German.

1:39:07Copy video clip URL J. Raboud, French.  Her anger toward the German soldiers who mistreated her, “They looked at us like we were zoo animals.”

1:42:45Copy video clip URL Woman with rifle. Song, “[We Are Here]”

1:44:00Copy video clip URL Solders monologue on the horror of discovering the concentration camps.

1:45:18Copy video clip URL Song, “[I Know We’ll Meet Again].”

1:45:45Copy video clip URL Dempsey Travis, U.S. Army. Racist treatment of black soldiers in the U.S. Military.

1:49:28Copy video clip URL Song, “[Black and Blue]”

1:51:52Copy video clip URL E.B. Sledgehammer, U.S.Marine. During his time in Okinawa, witnessing a fellow Marine killing an old woman. “He developed insensitivity because it’s the only way you can cope,” He says, “These nice, clean cut kids were now 20th century savages.”

1:54:46Copy video clip URL Joint monologue about the atom bomb.

1:55Copy video clip URL:30 Hideko Tamura Friedman, Hiroshima. Remembering her experiences as an eleven-year-old girl in Hiroshima the day the bomb was dropped.

1:59:17Copy video clip URL Philip Morrisson, Physicist. Monologue about building the bomb.

2:02:08Copy video clip URL Song, “Apple Blossom Time.”

2:02:23Copy video clip URL Monologue on the end of the war.

2:04:17Copy video clip URL Full cast. Song, “[Wait and See].”

2:06Copy video clip URL:41 Cast monologue about hearing of the war’s end, ruminating on the lasting effects it had on each life, such as women working outside the home, trying to blend in to white America as Japanese Americans, the post-traumatic stress of soldiers who returned.

2:14:46Copy video clip URL Gene Laroque, U.S.Navy. Monologue on America’s legacy of war.

2:16:33Copy video clip URL Soldier monologue of meeting the Russians at the end of the war.

2:20:40Copy video clip URL Finale, full cast. Song, “God Bless America.”

2:21:47Copy video clip URL Curtain call and short reprise of “God Bless America.”

2:22:40Copy video clip URL Credits to the song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

2:23:33Copy video clip URL “Dedicated to those who gave of their lives during World War II. 1939 – 1945.”

2:24:05Copy video clip URL End.



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