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Rippon Lodge’s annual World War II Days features free showing of ‘Stalag 17’ under the stars


In a year of significant historical anniversaries, one thinks of World War II. This year alone, many will commemorate the 75th anniversaries of the Battle of Midway (June 4) and the Battle of Stalingrad (July ’42-Feb ’43). These, like many others, shaped the course of the war. Hearing the news of these conflicts on the Homefront was difficult for many people. There was a need to escape and remember there was still hope.

The music and film industries of the 1940s provided those much-needed outlets to find laughter and joy, although fleeting, during the war years. 75 years ago, on November 26, Casablanca, with Humphry Bogart and Lauren Bacall was released.

It took filmmakers only three months of principle photography to make the picture. Warner Bros. rushed Casablanca to theaters to take advantage of the Allied invasion of North Africa only weeks earlier.

With the classic line “Here’s looking at you,” and an all-star cast, Casablanca won three Academy Awards, and became one of the most iconic movies of all time.

Released 75 years ago, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, (with Anyone Else but Me)” was a hit of the Andrew Sisters. In actuality, it is a reworked song.

Originally written by Lew Brown and Charles Tobias, its first release was for the 1939 Broadway musical Yokel Boy. After the U.S. had entered the war, the songwriters modified the lyrics to their more popular form.

The song debuted to moviegoers in May 1942 where the Andrew Sisters performed it in the feature film, Private Buckaroo. The tune remained to be one of the most requested songs during the Andrew Sisters’ performing career.

You may hear this tune and more during Rippon Lodge’s annual World War II Days event. From July 8 to July 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., visit with Allied and Axis troops from both theaters of the war during each day.

Military vehicles, encampments, live fire demonstrations, crafts, military novel authors, and a unique WWII display inside the lodge are just part of the things families can do. Hear the account of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 as told by Admiral Richard Blackburn Black, the last owner of Rippon Lodge. Special guests include the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

In the evening of July 8, return to Rippon Lodge for a special WWII-themed Movie Night. With gates opening at 7:30 p.m., sit and enjoy Stalag 17, this classic 1953 war movie about a group of American airmen held in a German World War II prisoner of war camp.

They come to suspect that one of their numbers is an informant. Adapted from a Broadway play, the movie was produced and directed by Billy Wilder and starred William Holden, Don Taylor, Peter Graves and Otto Preminger in the role of the camp’s commandant. Enjoy popcorn and beverages (available for purchase), and bring snacks, blankets, and chairs to sit and enjoy the movie. Donations welcomed. The movie will be canceled in the event of rain.

Both the World War II Days program and Movie Night are Free! Come and join us as we remember an important time in American history. For more information, please contact Rippon Lodge Historic Site at (703) 499-9812.

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