Nov 21, 2012
God Bless America is an American patriotic song written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in 1938. The later version was recorded by Kate Smith, and became her signature song.
Berlin wrote the song in 1918 while serving the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, but decided that it did not fit in a revue called Yip Yip Yaphank, so he set it aside.
In 1938, with the rise of Hitler, Berlin, who was Jewish and a first-generation European immigrant, felt it was time to revive it as a “peace song”, and it was introduced on an Armistice Day broadcast in 1938 sung by Kate Smith, on her radio show.
This Is the Army is a 1943 American wartime motion picture produced by Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner, and directed by Michael Curtiz, and a wartime musical designed to boost morale in the U.S. during World War II, directed by Sgt. Ezra Stone.
The screenplay by Casey Robinson and Claude Binyon was based on the 1942 Broadway musical by Irving Berlin, who also composed the film’s 19 songs and broke screen protocol by singing one of them.
The movie features a large ensemble cast, including George Murphy, Joan Leslie, Alan Hale, Sr., Rosemary DeCamp, and Lt. Ronald Reagan, while both the stage play and film included soldiers of the U.S. Army who were actors and performers in civilian life.
One of the film’s highlights is Irving Berlin himself singing his song “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.” Berlin’s natural singing voice was so soft that the recording volume had to be increased significantly in order to record acceptably. George Murphy as Jerry Jones Joan Leslie as Eileen Dibble George Tobias as Maxie Twardofsky Alan Hale, Sr. as Sgt. McGee Kate Smith as Herself Ronald Reagan as Cpl. Johnny Jones Jack Young as Franklin D. Roosevelt
George Murphy and Ronald Reagan would run for public office in California. George Murphy served one term, (1965–1971) in the U.S. Senate. Ronald Reagan served two terms as Governor of California (1967–1975) and then President of the United States (1981–1989), with both contributing to each other’s Republican campaigns. Reagan would warmly and jokingly refer to Murphy, who preceded him into politics by a couple of years, as “my John the Baptist.”