A USO-style show brings a night of vintage entertainment to Casper with a meal by Bullwhip Catering and performances by “Bob Hope” and nationally recognized swing and jazz band The Hot Tomatoes.
The “Casper Korean War USO Show” begins 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds’ industrial building. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 9.
USO shows have entertained generations of U.S. troops around the world from World War II to today, according to the USO website.
“It was entertainment for the troops, and that’s sort of what this is, entertainment and a fun evening recognizing the veterans,” Fort Caspar Museum manager Rick Young said. “It’s a fun evening, we’ll have a cocktail hour, we’ll have dinner, we’ll have a Bob Hope show, and we’ll dance to a 10-piece big band.”
The entertainment includes “On the Air: A Tribute to Bob Hope and Radio Stars of the 1940’s” with award-winning performer Lynn Roberts portraying Bob Hope as well as Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny and Red Skelton, which offers an audience sing-along with Skelton’s Western character Deadeye. The show “recreates a 1940’s NBC Bob Hope radio broadcast” with Chuck Carson as on-stage staff announcer, vintage commercials, a comedy monologue, songs like “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” and a “Salute to Veterans” segment.
The Hot Tomatoes dance orchestra performs famous arrangements from the Jazz Age, including jitterbugs, foxtrots, ballads and vocals, according to the band’s bio.
A 2014 USO show in Casper featured a World War II-era theme and was a sold-out success, Young said. The Fort Caspar Museum Association and Friends of the Wyoming Veterans Museum organized the upcoming USO show, which raises funds to be invested in projects at the two museums, Young said.
“Wyoming has supported our military from the time of the frontier forts, to the Casper Army Air Base, to the present and we want to continue that tradition with our USO Show,” Fort Caspar Museum Association President Con Trumbull said in a news release from the museum.
Sponsorship opportunities include purchasing tickets or tables to be donated to local veterans, according to information from one of the organizers.
The Korean “police action” from 1950-53 is called the “Forgotten War,” according to a Fort Caspar press release. Fallen troops numbered 36,574, 103,284 wounded and 7,704 missing in action, according to the release. Their service will be honored at the event.
All veterans are encouraged to wear their uniforms, and other guests may dress in period clothing. During the 2014 event, many dressed for the era and veterans showed up in uniforms or other ways to indicate their service, Young said. One veteran who couldn’t wear his uniforms brought his two granddaughters dressed in them. Another bought a new one that fit. Young wore buttons with pictures of his father and grandfather to honor their service, he said.
“We encouraged any veteran from any war: Wear your uniform, wear your hat, wear your medal — something to show that you’re a veteran,” Young said. “We encouraged everybody to actively participate and show that they’re a veteran regardless of what period you served. And that was wholeheartedly embraced last time. I had World War II vets talking to Desert Storm vets talking to Vietnam vets. I mean, it was really incredible.”