Seeing Stars!

At the Air Zoo, we talk a lot about heavenly bodies and stars, and this story is no different—except that these stars could be found on the silver screen!

Movie stars played vital roles during World War II (1939-1945), such as starring in films which gave Americans a glimpse into the war or just the opposite—took their minds off it for a little while. Some stars helped promote desired wartime behavior, such as proper safety precautions for defense plant workers. After all, between Pearl Harbor (1941) and D-Day (1944), the U.S. suffered more home front industrial casualties than military casualties. This spurred increased workplace safety. Women were encouraged to take precautions, such as wearing goggles and a head scarf while welding and brazing, through the advocacy of Hollywood starlets, such as Veronica Lake (1922-1973), who served as safety spokespeople. 

For example, the government warned female defense workers to cover their hair for safety! To help send the message, Life magazine posed Veronica with her famous honey-hued locks wrapped around a whirling drill. Some say that the actress’ film career suffered when she cut her long hair to help promote workplace safety. 

Speaking of stars, Norma Jeane Dougherty—aka Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)—worked in the Radioplane Munitions Factory in Van Nuys, California, when stardom called.

Learn about the everyday female superstars who filled defense plants during World War II in the Air Zoo’s exclusive exhibition, We Did It: The Riveting Real Rosies of WWII, debuting in 2021!

Posted by Nikki Statler at 2:49 PM
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