At an Army encampment near a southern California aircraft factory last month, perky movie starlet Marilyn Hare embarked on one of the most formidable morale-building project yet contrived for the U.S. Army. A good fighting machine, she knew, thrives on joie de vivre. From her father, the late Ernie Hare of the famed pioneering radio team called the Happiness Boys, 18-year-old Marilyn had learned the art of evoking merriment in others. But in this hour of national crisis, Miss Hare had evolved a unique inspirational program of her own. It was her aspiration to kiss 10,000 soldiers.
Bright and early on Feb. 5 squads of soldiers assembled in the balmy California sunshine. Bright and early merry Marilyn arrived for her great undertaking. She mounted a soapbox and as kind of musical hors d’oeuvres sang Kiss The Boys Goodbye to an accordion accompaniment. Then, stepping down, she went to work.
First she passed down the aisles giving each grinning trooper a taste of her pretty lips. Since other soldiers had duties elsewhere in camp, she wandered from barracks to soup kitchens to sentry posts. There was no shortage or second rations. She left each soldier well-bussed and bemused. At day’s end her kissometer recorded 733 smacks. The effect on morale was terrific. As they staggered back to their chores, Marilyn’s be-lipsticked beneficiaries mumbled dreamily: “We won’t wash our faces for a month.”
Life, March 2 1942
December 09, 2010, 9:10pm / 94