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"Our finale was three of the guys dressed up as the Andrews Sisters, and we lip-synced a record in back of us, and that was about it. That was the biggest thing of the show, was the three guys doing the Andrews Sisters." (Audio Interview, 17:10)

   Robert B. McCollum
Image of Robert B. McCollum
Robert B. McCollum, Air Transport Camp, Burma
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: Squadron D, 556th Army Air Force Base Unit (AAFBU), Air Transport Command (ATC)
Service Location: Sheppard Field, Texas; Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; Assam, India; China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater; Africa; Sicily, Italy; Yemen
Rank: Corporal
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Robert McCollum's life took an unexpected turn during his tour of duty in Assam, India, in World War II. His performance in a variety show titled "Hump Happy" led to an assignment as part of a traveling troupe of entertainers who worked bases in India, Africa, Sicily, and Yemen. Though the troupe was disbanded and the men went back to their original assignments, McCollum had been bitten by the show business bug, and after the war he continued to delight audiences in nightclubs and other venues, working with some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Interview (Audio)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Volunteering with others to jump out of an airplane (though he had never done so before) to rescue a downed C-47 crew in Burma; Naga headhunters' village; taking about a month to carry the injured crew out of the jungle. (01:14) Performing for Merrill's Marauders in Calcutta; General Merrill donating his accordion to the group's pianist. (01:04) Performing for the King of Yemen; receiving a less than enthusiastic reception; the King apologizing for the Yemeni people who followed his example; eating chicken dinner at the King's home. (00:54)
Description of his variety show; playing an array of parts; joining actor Melvyn Douglas in Calcutta; Douglas liking a song McCollum had written and having a skit made about the song called "Over and Back." (03:16) Continuing his love for music: attending college to get into the big bands; playing pop and country music in nightclubs; running the band; celebrities he has worked with; decision to quit music; returning to music and playing in schools, libraries and hospitals. (03:04) 
  
 Other Materials (3 items)
Biographical Information CBI Round-Up Pamphlet for a play presented by the Air Transport Command, "Hump Happy"
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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