My Dad's wartime experience was a lot like the movie "South Pacific." The guys really did dress up in drag with coconuts! He was thrilled when George Abbott, who wrote "Room Service," came to visit the cast. Abbott would later produce plays on Broadway such as "Damn Yankees," if you've ever heard of it! While Dad was in the service, he became interested in magic and began to work with cards. He was also looking forward to getting out of the Army. While he loved what he did and the men he served with, the discipline was not up his alley. The discipline of learning magic was more appealing.
The Duchess and Duke of Windsor
More On Art's Life
More On Art's Life
He was born in Chicago right before Christmas, something he disliked his whole life. When you're born before Christmas, you never really get birthday presents and if you do, they are sometimes wrapped with Christmas paper instead of birthday paper.
Arthur Weygandt was the first son of Arthur Dale and his second wife Alberta Rogers. A half-brother Bill lived with his grandparents after his mother died in childbirth. Five siblings would follow: Albert (Bud), Alberta (Sis), Bette Jane, Richard and Robert. The family was very poor. The teen-aged Arthur, nicknamed "Bus" for Buster by his family, left school during the Depression-era years and hitchhiked out West. He rode the rails there and worked as a ranch hand until joining the Civilian Conservation Corps as so many others at that time. Despite his lack of formal education, he was very bright and very artistic.
World War II found him a new home in the South Pacific; the Phillipines and New Guinea. And while he said they occasionally had to run for cover to avoid the bombs "the Americans dropped," he spent his time in Special Services developing his talent as an actor and performer.
He performed in countless shows, and was revered as the funniest man in the company. His specialty was pantomime and he kept the soldiers in stitches. His greatest achievement came in a memorable performance of "Room Service" for the visiting Duke and Duchess of Windsor. He also honed his artistic talents by editing the newsletter and drawing cartoons for the publication.