United for Victory / The Home Front
For the first time in recorded history one series of events touched the life virtually everyone on this earth. Falmouth’s Museums on the Green is presenting an exhibit about what Falmouth was like during the World War II years from 1941 to 1945. Three rooms in the Conant House have been devoted to memorabilia from the WW II era in addition to videos of oral history interviews. There has been much history written about the theaters of war, however, this exhibit focuses on what was going on, on the home front in Falmouth.
One of the things that the museum has been doing this summer, and a fantastic small town Cape Cod activity, was to give the public an idea of what people were thinking and feeling in the 1940’s, is to have a series of movies that were in the local theatre at that time, they call it “Movie Mondays”. The museum’s directors decided to make the showing on Monday evenings at 7:00. That was ideal for us because Bill and I usually go to dinner at one of the restaurants on Main Street around, we are frequently strolling past the museum on our way back to the Inn. While Bill continues on to the Inn to check the office and refresh the iced tea and pastries in the old dining room before I stop in to see the film.
The movies are free and are shown on the big screen in the new education center. For atmosphere and pleasure one can purchase fresh pop corn that is served in little red and white paper bags, Coke in bottles, water and a few other snacks. Each showing starts with cartoons that would have been playing at that time and then on to the show. The first movie was “Casablanca” with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. “Casablanca” was released in 1942. Marc Schmidt, the Museums director, always tells us a bit of trivia as we are departing. That night’s trivia was that the first actor who was considered for the role that Bogart played was Ronald Reagan.
The second movie was “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, with James Cagney. It was also released in 1942. It is about the life of George M. Cohan. Cohan died before the film was released but it is believed that he was able to see it before his passing.
Movie number three was “Arsenic and Old Lace”. It starred Cary Grant and it was also released in 1942. Marc’s trivia contribution was that Cary Grant donated, his entire earnings from the film, to the war effort.
Another Monday film was “Meet Me in Saint Louis”, staring Judy Garland. It was the first one in color. The trivia about this one, was that Judy Garland refused to sing the song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, until the lyrics were changed. The original wording was: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it might be your last.” To her credit, Garland thought, that those words conveyed the wrong sentiment during difficult times.
On July 29th we saw “Sergeant York”. It was released in 1941 before the US joined the war. Marc has already told the trivia about this one. It was on December 7, 1941 the manager of the local theatre stopped the showing to announce that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Three Falmouth men got up left the theatre and went to the Army recruitment office to sign up.
The Falmouth Museums on the Green is located just a few steps from the Palmer House Inn. The exhibit will be on display through October 12th.
Falmouth Museums on the Green: falmouthhistoricalsociety.org
While all of our rooms have their own historic charm, we recommend the Theodore Roosevelt Room for its Victorian flourishes, the Emily Dickinson Room for its New England charm, and the Richard Henry Dana Room for its nautical theme. All of three of these rooms feature king beds and jacuzzi-style tubs for complete relaxation after a wonderful day of museum going and Cape Cod activities.