Beginning in 1950, Operation Starlift was a program created by the Special Services Officers and Hollywood Coordinating Committee to bring movie stars of the time to Travis Air Force Base in order to entertain the wounded coming in from the Korean War. Ruth Roman was the forerunner of the project, which also saw such stars as Jane Russell, Shirley Temple, Shelley Winters, Alan Ladd, Jack Benny, Danny Kaye, Claudette Colbert, Keenan Wynn, Donald O'Connor, Janet Leigh, Debbie Reynolds, Bob Hope and many others.The flights flew the entertainers from Burbank every Saturday and returned them the following day. Shows performed in the Passenger Terminal Building (for departing
servicemen) would usually last between two and three hours. They would then give performances for the men in the hospital auditorium. Time magazine reported that Operation Starlift ended in November 1951, when the program ran out of funds. Revived in November 1999, the USO operated its own Operation Starlift, which included Salma Hayek, Dennis Haskins, Danica McKellar, Garrett Morris and Sheeri Rappaport, among others.
The movie Starlift is a 1951 musical film released by Warner Bros. starring Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Dick Wesson, and Ruth Roman. It was directed by Roy Del Ruth and written by John D. Klorer and Karl Kamb, from a story by Klorer. The film was made during the beginning of the Korean War and centers on a U.S. Air Force flyer's wish to meet a film star, and her fellow stars' efforts to perform for injured men at the air force base. Travis TAFB Aviation Museum volunteers recently upgraded our exhibit of the movie.
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