Vintage Photograph of Balloons, Crowds and Hats in Times Square in 1942

April 22, 1942: Red, white and blue balloons were toted into Times Square as part of a U.S.O. spectacle hosted by the vaudeville comedian duo Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson. Though the comedians made an appeal for “adequate recreational facilities for soldiers on detached duty in remote areas,” any air of patriotic unity dissipated as soon as the balloons were released, and “a few pugilistically inclined spectators were restrained from wholesale grabbing by the police.”
April 22, 1942: Red, white and blue balloons were toted into Times Square as part of a U.S.O. spectacle hosted by the vaudeville comedian duo Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson. Though the comedians made an appeal for “adequate recreational facilities for soldiers on detached duty in remote areas,” any air of patriotic unity dissipated as soon as the balloons were released, and “a few pugilistically inclined spectators were restrained from wholesale grabbing by the police.”
Photo: Lively Morgue
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(photo back)
Photo: Lively Morgue

The Lively Morgue is a daily photo blog from the New York Times in which an original photo from the newspaper's archives is reposted along with tidbits of information gleamed from the historical article it accompanied. Along with a rescan of the original photograph, the backs of each photo are also scanned, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the editorial process of one of the world's best newspapers.

Today's posting features a shot from April 22nd, 1942 that shows a hat-filled crowd gathered in Times Square to release balloons as part of a U.S.O. celebration.

April 22, 1942: Red, white and blue balloons were toted into Times Square as part of a U.S.O. spectacle hosted by the vaudeville comedian duo Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson. Though the comedians made an appeal for “adequate recreational facilities for soldiers on detached duty in remote areas,” any air of patriotic unity dissipated as soon as the balloons were released, and “a few pugilistically inclined spectators were restrained from wholesale grabbing by the police.”

The original article from 1942 has more.

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