When Bob Hope launched his USO tours in the 1940s to entertain U.S. troops overseas, at his side were both funny Jerry Colonna and pretty songbird Frances Langford.
Hope passed at age 100 in 2003, Langford at age 92 in 2005 and Colonna at age 86 in 1986, with the latter, whose trademarks include his bushy mustache, wide-eyed stare and gapped front teeth, recognized today by young generations for lending his distinct vocals to the wild March Hare at the Mad Hatter's tea party in Walt Disney's 1951 animated classic "Alice in Wonderland." (Silly bespectacled comedian Ed Wynn did the voice of the Mad Hatter.)
Today, we are blessed to still have so many veterans with us, as we honor all of them for Monday's observance of Veterans Day.
Reader Wayne Parker of Valparaiso contacted me to help spread the word about a great event this weekend honoring our veterans with a terrific dinner and show at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hobart Elks, at 3580 61st Ave. in Hobart. The afternoon includes a wonderful dinner, entertainment and dancing. Reservations are just $25 and must be made by noon Friday by calling (219) 942-1152.
"I am having a military color guard attend, and I'm also trying to get three ministers representing various churches to join us, and maybe, even our Congressman Pete Visclosky, if he is available," Parker told me.
As for the headlining entertainment, it will be the wonderful songs and music of String of Pearls.
While he was traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, bandleader Glenn Miller's aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel on Dec. 15, 1944, resulting in his death at age 40.
"Glen Miller tragically left us in 1944, but his harmonies and distinct arrangements live through the vocal talents of the musical group String of Pearls," Parker said.
"This nationally recognized female trio are natives of Northwest Indiana and have distinctive stylization in performance of the hits of the Big Band Era."
Mr. Parker couldn't be more correct. These gals offer signature songs from all of the favorite greats like The McGuire Sisters and The Andrews Sisters to Doris Day.
The group consists of Jessica Sherer Metros, Gail Brown and Linda Skidmore.
"We want to take the time to honor and recognize our veterans," Metros told me.
"My father, Jesse W. Sherer, of Hammond, was a Bronze Star recipient. We proudly display a bronze footmarker where he is buried in Elmwood Cemetery."
String of Pearls is a big band trio who has performed around the country, including Branson and on TV's "America's Got Talent" and with bandleader Les Brown and his Band of Renown.