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Chicago Service Men's Center - Fragment

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Film Identifier: F.2018-10-0009
Run Time
0h 3m 1s
Date Produced
circa 1942
The film depicts scenes from Chicago’s Servicemen’s Center No.1, which opened in 1941 at the former Elks Lounge No. 4. It features Mayor Kelly highlighting the functions of the Center, and narrated scenes showing the Center’s amenities from the inside.
This short film was produced to report on the opening of Servicemen’s Center No. 1 (located at 178 W. Washington St.) in August 1941, operated by the Chicago Commission on National Defense and sponsored by Mayor Kelly. In the first half of the footage, Mayor Kelly introduces the services of the Center and highlights its capacity - he notes that it had recently served 7,500 army and navy men. He highlights the hospitality and free services offered, which includes food, cigarettes, 12-floors of beds, and entertainment provided by women employed by SMC. The latter in particular is offered so that - to quote the mayor - "the boy goes away from here feeling that he is appreciated.” 

The second half of the footage features narrated scenes of gleeful servicemen inside the SMC: Mrs. Kelly serving cake in the Canteen, stationary is offered to men, clothes are mended, and others can be seen playing ping pong while Mayor Kelly joins another group for a game of pool.
Initiated in 1941 to support the needs of World War II military communities, many service agencies were opened across the United States as part of the United Service Organizations (USO). Servicemen’s Center No. 1 was located in a 15-story building that was formerly known as the Elks Lodge No.4, and included clubrooms and auditorium spaces. The City of Chicago also established Servicemen’s Centers at the Illinois Central Railroad Terminal on Roosevelt Road, at Union Station, and at the Auditorium Building.
Actors, Performers and Participants
Kelly, Edward J. (is participant)
Related Place
Chicago (represents)