From the archives, 1956: Korea Soldiers Put on ‘Home-Grown’ Shows
Stars and Stripes November 7, 2023
This article first appeared in the Stars and Stripes Pacific edition, Sep. 22, 1956. It is republished unedited in its original form.
SEOUL (S&S) — U.S. troops in Korea don’t just sit around waiting for pre-packaged entertainment to come their way. They’re perfectly capable of putting on their own shows — and then taking them on the road to entertain fellow soldiers.
This week the 7th Infantry Division’s show ‘Uncle Tom-a-san’s Hoochie’ played to packed houses in Seoul Area Command Theater No. 2 and at Ascom City. The musical comedy centers around a night club (Uncle Tom-a-san’s) and tells the difficulties a group of actors run into trying to put a show together. Chief thorn-in-the-side is the show’s backer, who can’t decide whether he wants a highbrow play or a lowdown musical.
The show, using songs from top Broadway musicals, is based on an idea by Pfc. Tom Wright of 7th Inf. Div. Special Services and was directed by Jack Badcock, Special Services director.
‘Uncle Tom-a-san’s Hoochie’ will play at Inchon Sept. 23-24, K-55 at Osan Sept. 25-27; Pusan Sept. 28-29, and in Japan Oct. 1-15.
Want to learn more about the history of drag performances in the U.S. military? Check out The National WWII Museum’s article on the subject here.
In May this year the Department of Defense chose to enforce an existing policy on standards of conduct and ethics, banning the use of DOD funds, equipment and facilities for drag performances on military bases.