From:  Dick Ellis

Date:  January 4, 2013

Subject:  Entertaining Vietnam | Watch Documentaries Online | Promote Documentary Film

Here is a photo I found of a an Aussie "independent" group who came by the TV station and we put them on....


wFrom:  Paul Kasper

wtDate:  January 3, 2013

Subject:  Entertaining Vietnam

This is the first full length documentary that I have seen on USO personnel.  Most in this video are Aussies.  God bless them all for bringing joy to our troops under extremely adverse condtions:

Entertaining Vietnam - A video by Marla Wallis
53 minutes

Entertaining Vietnam

January 2012

AFVN Group Conversations

wFrom:  Ann Kelsey

wtDate:  January 3, 2013

Subject:  Entertaining Vietnam | Watch Documentaries Online | Promote Documentary Film

These performers were not connected to nor sponsored by the USO.  They were commercial entertainers.  Mara Wallis, the filmmaker, was an Aussie commercial entertainer in Vietnam and so she focused mostly on the Australian entertainers in her film. Many of the commercial entertainers (U.S., Filipino, Australian, Korean) were hired by private booking agents.  They were essentially on their own as they traveled around Vietnam without official access to military services, such as PX privileges, billeting, transportation, [or] mess halls.

Special Services did have a person who handled commercial entertainment (there was also one for CMTS, the soldier show program and one that dealt mostly with escorting and scheduling the USO performers).  Some of the commercial entertainers went through the Special Services office, but most did not.

There is a commercial entertainer character named Maryjo Kincaid in Shirley Lauro's play, A Piece of My Heart, who is based on one of the women interviewed by Keith Walker for his oral history of the same name about women who served in Vietnam.  The real woman's name is Bobbi Jo Pettit.

Not that much is known about the commercial entertainers, many of them women, because most of the focus is always on the USO shows and handshake tours.  At least one female commercial entertainer, Cathy Warne (stage name Cathy Wayne) along with a few men were killed in Vietnam.  Even soldiers who saw these shows mostly didn't realize that they were not USO shows.

Mara's film does a lot to document yet another relatively unknown aspect of civilian service in Vietnam.  It's too bad that it has never gotten a wider distribution, although it has won prizes at film festivals.  Mara is gratified that its showing on this online film festival has allowed a number of veterans to see it, who probably would not have the opportunity otherwise.

Thanks for posting the link. I put it on Facebook, but forgot to post it here.


wFrom:  leonerik35

wtDate:  January 17, 2013

Subject:  Entertaining Vietnam

I have received a mail with a link of a movie you might be interested in."Entertaining Vietnam," a documentary about non-USO performers who entertained during the war, is showing for free till the end of December at an online film festival.

Synopsis: Many of the entertainers who toured the Vietnam war were well known, but not all.  Filmmaker Mara Wallis belonged to this lesser known group of freelance performers for over 2 years, and returns to the intensity of those times to tell the performers' compelling stories in "Entertaining Vietnam."  The entertainers we meet return repeatedly to Vietnam, hitching rides from base to base and performing on landing zones at remote outposts.  There were casualties amongst their ranks. Interweaving rare archival footage and interviews with veteran performers from Australia and the U.S., "Entertaining Vietnam" offers new insight into a tumultuous time by taking us to a place only a few really experienced.

Review from Amazon: "Wallis went to Vietnam in 1967 to entertain and spend the next three years performing for the troops.  She also promoted herself and other, lesser-known acts, folks who hitched rides to remote firebases and outposts, often at great personal risk, to boost the morale of and bring a touch of home to the ordinary G.I.  This is the story of Wallis s band, among others.  It is also a trip back in time for anyone who really understands the meaning of We gotta get out of this place, the de facto anthem of the regular soldiers, sailors, and marines who found themselves in Southeast Asia.  This award-winning video expertly blends performer interviews with archival film and photos to show the Vietnam experience from a unique point of view.  The sound, editing, and cinematography are excellent.  This is a fitting tribute to the entertainers who made themselves part of life In Country and who have received little or no recognition.  Very highly recommended. ---Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH - Library Journal Death never bought a ticket to any of the shows that Australian entertainers did for the troops during the Vietnam war.  But he crashed the party more than once.  That's just one of the many tangibles you'll find in Mara Wallis' documentary Entertaining Vietnam, which focuses on Australian performers who went places where Bob Hope and Twiggy wouldn't be caught... --The Santa Fe New Mexican: No Name Stars in War Torn Times by Robert Nott"

And a few words about Cathy Wayne. Cathy Wayne was the stage name of Australian entertainer Catherine Anne Warnes (7 December 1949 -- 20 July 1969) who was the first Australian woman killed during the Vietnam War by United States Marine Sergeant James Wayne Killen.  She arrived in Vietnam with her group called "Sweethearts on Parade" on 26 June 1969. and stayed in Saigon between shows for Australian and US troops.  Wayne's parents and Col Joye (an Australian pioneer rock musician whose real name is Colin Frederick Jacobsen)attempted to dissuade her from this (second) tour, but Wayne insisted and intended to use money earned from her performances in Vietnam to restart her recording career.  Wayne wanted to marry her fiance'e, Clive Cavanagh, who was the drummer in "Sweethearts on Parade", their music band.  On 20 July 1969, "Sweethearts on Parade" were performing for about 75 US Marines at a non-commissioned officer's club 7 km (4 mi) south-east of Da Nang in South Vietnam. At about 9:15 p.m., Wayne had just finished a song and was still on stage to introduce her fellow performers when she was shot in the chest by a bullet fired by US Marine Sergeant James Wayne Killen.  Wayne died almost instantly as the bullet severed her aorta.  In Entertaining Vietnam, a 2003 documentary directed and produced by Mara Wallis, one of the members of her group, Jimm Taylor (organ/bass guitar in the band) was interviewed on the events of Wayne's death, footage of a Sweethearts on Parade performance with Wayne singing was shown (see screenshot at left).  Taylor recalled that he was sitting about a metre (three feet) behind Wayne and that Cavanagh had stepped forward to cradle his fiance'e when she slumped to the floor.  At his court-martial, Killen was charged with premeditated murder and was alleged to have been aiming for his commanding officer, Major Roger E. Simmons.  Killen was convicted of the unpremeditated murder of Wayne; he was stripped of all service privileges, dishonourably discharged and sentenced to 20 years hard labour.  Killen denied all murder claims but admitted to drinking heavily on the night.  After the autopsy in Saigon, Wayne's body was returned to Sydney and cremated according to Anglican rites.