Bits Of Burlesque 7th Infantry
Show Korea 1946
Cover of Bits-of-Burlesque Program Click for larger view
WWII and its ending with the unconditional surrender
of Japan found me on Okinawa with the 7th. Infantry Division. I
had my Basic Training at Camp Fannin, Texas and then went to Fort
Mead, Maryland, onto Vancouver Barracks, Portland, Oregon and then
to Oahu, Hawaii for jungle training. We spent 30 days aboard a troop
transport after leaving Hawaii, which was only a two-week stay.
Our large ship convoy arrived at Naha, Harbor Okinawa where the
last battle of the war had just ended approximately ten days before
us infantry replacements landed. Our division was then sent to Korea
for occupation duties (to disarm the Japanese) in August 1945.
A buddy of mine, Dan Ruff and I had been together all the way from
the induction process to the orders for Korea.
7th Div. players in costume
| After about five months in Korea, Dan
had gotten assigned to the Special Services Division and worked
on the Military Radio Network in Seoul, Korea. This eventually
led him to helping P.F.C. Tony Starr produce a burlesque show
forthe troops. It was not
common knowledge that U.S. troops were in Korea
so we did not get the abundance of attention that troops occupying
Japan did. The troops in Japan had the benefit of USO shows that
we didn't. Tony Starr, who produced his own shows in the USA before
becoming a P.F.C. with
Pacific Stars and Stripes, page 4. January 31, 1946 Featuring Tony
Starr asburlesque queen. Click for larger view.
|7th Division, was contacted
by the division headquarters command and was given the project of
producing a show for the entertainment for the troops in Korea. Tony
selected Dan to help produce a show and put together a show called
"Bits Of Burlesque". I and other friends of Dan were asked
to join the show as prop-men and stagehands. Those of us who
The cast in uniform
joined the show received leave of detached
service from our outfits with a letter from division command ordering
our release to join the show. Tony and Dan also selected individuals
with musical, play-acting, and drama classes while in high school.
They even assembled a seven-piece band as part of the show.
The "Bits Of Burlesque" show consisted
of us GIs dressed in short skirts with coconut-stuffed
bra tops doing chorus dances in our combat boots making for a
hilarious act. We also had vocalists singing
popular songs, accordion and harmonica players and comedy skits.
Tony was the star as he did the strip tease as per burlesque shows.
He had an authentic costume he wore during his dance. The GIs in
the audience actually thought he was female. The "Bits Of Burlesque"
show traveled all over South Korea performing at the many military
outfits. We traveled with the show and performed for 5 to 6 months
until USO shows started to arrive in Korea.
Bits-of-Burlesque Program. Click for larger view
|The show was mentioned in the
Pacific Stars and Stripes with a front-page photo of our star,
Tony Starr in the January, 1946 issue. My good buddies were
all in the show together,
George Osepchuk -U.S. Army Jan. 1945 - Dec. 1946 7th Infantry
Div, 31st Infantry Regiment
|entered the Army together,
and arrived home in the USA together. They are; Dan Ruff and Nevi
Perresini from Michigan and Mike Russo from Connecticut. If anyone
remembers seeing the show while in Korea, please mention it and let
us know of your memories.