Following that extravaganza, just about every A-lister in Hollywood came to entertain. Celebrities would often visit patients in the camp’s huge Army hospital while they were here. Judy Garland sang Over the Rainbow on the Soldier Bowl stage (her brother-in-law was the leader of one of the camp’s training center bands). Donald O’Connor danced on the stage. Bandleader and radio star Kay Kyser brought newlyweds Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz with his show. Heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis refereed soldier boxing matches there (as well as sparring in our huge Sports Arena). Lion tamer Clyde Beatty even brought his famed Clyde Beatty Circus.
Other stars who came to perform included Marlene Dietrich, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Bing Crosby, Joe E. Brown, Leo Carrillo, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, the Mills Brothers, Dinah Shore, Joan Blondell, Gene Autry, Gabby Hayes, Johnny Mercer, George Jessel, Vivian Blaine, Carole Landis, Dame Gracie Fields. The list goes on. Later, during the Korean War, stars continued to come to entertain thousands of trainees here, like Debbie Reynolds, Keenan Wynn, Tony Curtis, Lionel Hampton, Andre Previn, David Janssen, Buddy Ebsen, Frank Faylen, Busby Berkeley, Harpo Marx, and Raymond Burr. Some of those would soon to be successful in television as well.