Thursday, July 23, 2009

Parachute Nurse

Just look at the tension between these three...thespians. Something is going on. Care to read between the lines?

Parachute Nurse was a "morale" film (meaning that it was just barely above a public service shorty on dangers of Trench Mouth) made by Columbia Pictures in 1942. The plot is your usual Stars and Strips melodrama - girls sign up to fall out of planes behind enemy lines and tend to the sick and dying, blah, blah, blah. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING could top the dynamic in this promotional image featuring the two "leading ladies" Marguerite Chapman and Kay Harris) and their commanding officer, played by none other than Miss Lauretta Schimmoler herself!

Schimmoler was an Ohio aviatrix - back in the days when anything manly that a woman could do was prettied up with "trix" on the end of it - who established a couple very early airports in between buzzing a few barns. At the on set of WWII, she went to the government and pitched the idea for the Parachute Nurse Program within the US Army Air Corp. So smitten with the idea of women throwing themselves out of airplanes, that Columbia was told to make the movie, which they begrudgingly did. Part of the deal was that Schimmoler would get to act as a technical specialist and along the way she would get the role of Jane Morgan, the brains and brawn behind this vital program.

Extra credit goes to anyone who gets their hands on a copy of this work of art.

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