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G.I. Country Club

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Film Identifier: F.2018-10-0011
Run Time
0h 18m 59s
Date Produced
circa 1944
The film depicts an afternoon of hospitality and entertainment at Chicago's lakefront Service Men Centers' Summer Center, a.k.a. "The G.I.'s Country Club." Scenes are thematically grouped together and intercut with amusing hand-drawn intertitles.
This film surveys activities at the Chicago Service Men’s Summer Center. The Summer Center, known colloquially as "The G.I.'s Country Club," was the third of its kind operated during 1942-1946 by the City of Chicago under the supervision of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly. The building and park were located at East Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park, and included a 1,500 foot stretch of the Chicago lakefront beach. 

In the first frame we are shown the entry sign announcing "Chicago's Hospitality: for Service Men, Everything Free." Men in uniform and friendly lady guests are shown checking in at registration tables and entering the park. A group of men happily point to a sign announcing a long list of the G.I. Country Club's activities.
Next, there is a marching line led by majorettes; a team of women carry a banner announcing "FUN Convention: Fall in with your State," and a small marching band alongside a stream of participates holding signs for each of the nation's states. The majorettes lead the group to a field, where they entertain the crowd with a baton-routine performance. Nearby attendees are shown playing games such as Milkman's Paradise (a game that involves throwing a softball at glass milk bottles), cards, horseshoe toss, croquet, miniature golf, and table tennis. Prizes include cash and long-distance phone calls. Along the beach, attendees enjoy activities such as fishing, volleyball, swimming, water games, rowing, sailing, strolling, lounging, and acrobatics. Back at the canteen and its park, S.M.C. hostesses offer dance lessons as well as open-fire roasts, lounge-chair napping, palm reading, crafting workshops, and family activities.

The G.I.'s Country Club was converted out of the former Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Fund Sanitarium, which was designed by Prairie School architect Dwight H. Perkins, and built to serve the health of children from 1920-1939. It was renovated in 1953 and is currently known as the Theater on the Lake building.
Actors, Performers and Participants
Kelly, Edward J. (is participant)
Related Place
Chicago (depicts)