Founded in early 1942 as a quasi-governmental organization within the Army’s Special Service Division, the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) was responsible for boosting the morale of servicemen through a variety of radio programs offering the types of news and entertainment they were used to back home. These programs were produced in Los Angeles because of its proximity to the entertainment industry and were distributed weekly in the form of transcription discs to cooperating overseas radio stations (most notably the BBC) and the Army’s own network of 800-odd shortwave radio stations associated with the Armed Forces’ theatres of operation throughout the world. Although not heard in the States, AFRS programs were very similar to home front commercial programs with the added special focus on servicemen themselves. Many of the programs, like G. I. Jive, Command Performance, and Mail Call encouraged servicemen to write in with requests and were called out and even bantered with “on the air”.
G. I. Jive was a 6-day per week 15 minute jukebox-style jazz program that played 4 to 5 popular songs and instrumentals in response to servicemen requests. Initially run by a rotating series of disc jockeys, G. I. Jive soared in popularity when Martha Wilkerson, a breezy blonde with a girl-next-door voice, took over hosting in late 1943 using the handle “G. I. Jill”. Wilkerson opened each show with some variation of “Hiya fellas! This is Jill again inviting you to join me at the jukebox for another session of G.I. Jive!”, filled 15 minutes with notably knowledgeable comments on the music and playful banter with her fans on all sorts of subjects, and ended, very fetchingly, with "Good morning to some of you, good afternoon to some more of you, and to the rest of you…good night."
To kick off this year’s festivities, Jesse Cloninger and company offer up a rich, fun-filled re-creation of G.I. Jive, filled with great tunes and G.I. Jill banter selected from the original episodes.
August 9, 2016
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Oregon Festival of American Music 2016: "I'll Be Seeing You"
Founded in early 1942 as a quasi-governmental organization within the Army’s Special Service Division, the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) was responsible... More info at www.oregonfamily.com/events/88300/oregon-festival-of-american-music-2016-i-ll-be-seeing-you
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts 868 High Street , Eugene, OR 97401