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... Coming over to entertain the American troops, or something ...

Rowland Emett (1906-1990)




10 x 12 ½ inches

Punch, 22 September 1943, Page 246;
Sidings, & suchlike. explored by Emett, London: Faber & Faber, 1946 [unpaginated];
Alarms & Excursions & other Transports transfixed by Emett, London: John Murray, 1977, [unpaginated]

'A Century of British Art: 1945-2010', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2021, no 244

American Influence in the United Kingdom during the Second World War
Providing two glorious variations on the stereotypical British view of Americans, these cartoons were published soon after the United States had entered the western campaign of the Second World War in November 1942.

This cartoon relates to the United Service Organizations Inc, which was founded in 1941 to provide live entertainment and other services to United States troops and their families. The first units to provide such 'Camp Shows' to troops stationed in the United Kingdom arrived in April 1942. The cartoon imagines them arriving on a 'Show Boat, one of the floating theatres that frequented American rivers, and especially the Mississippi and Ohio, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The idea of the show boat had been popularised by Edna Ferber's novel,
Show Boat (1926), and even more by Kern and Hammerstein's Broadway musical, which was based on the novel and had the same title (1927). The first London production of the musical was mounted at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in 1928, with a cast that included Paul Robeson as Joe, a part that had been written for him, but which he had not been available to perform in New York. He also appeared in the first full film version of the musical, which was directed by James Whale and released in 1936.

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