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The Cost of World War

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During World War II, newspapers regularly reported on the battles and the horrific consequences, including the fate of local personnel serving in the military. This week in 1943 the Forum newspaper’s reading public was once again apprised of the cost.

On this occasion, a Rugby, North Dakota private stationed in Italy, was reported wounded in battle. The young man had trained in a medical unit, joining the military less than a year before. On the same page was a list of 16 Minnesota men who were among the 437 US soldiers listed by the war department as wounded. Beneath that list was another file from the war department – 435 Americans missing in action, five of whom were from Minnesota.

The Forum also recounted the everyday circumstances of life as it continued here on the home front, including what was playing on movie screens across the state. Movie theaters were asking 17 cents of their patrons in those days.

At the Fargo Theatre was popular figure skater Sonia Henie starring with Cesar Romero, Jack Okie and Carol Landis in the film “Wintertime” featuring Woody Herman and his orchestra. The Theatre added a WWII advertisement saying War Bonds were the ideal Christmas gift.

At the Park Theatre, 17 cents gave one the opportunity to see Lon Cheney and Bela Lugosi in “The Ghost of Frankenstein.”

The Princess Theatre offered “The 3 Mesquiteers,” a western featuring Bob Steele, Tom Tyler and Jimmie Dodd.

The Grand was playing “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine” starring Fred McMurray and Henry Fonda.

The State showhouse offered Claudette Colbert and Ronald Coleman in “Under Two Flags.”

“Union Pacific” was on the bill at the Moorhead Theatre with Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck. Comediennes Marjorie Main and Zazu Pits were featured performers in the movie “Tish;” and the Town Theatre offered “Buy Me That Town” with Lloyd Nolan. Nine films featured this week in 1943.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

Source: Fargo Forum Newspaper, Dec. 17, 1943.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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