Four Jills In A Jeep (The Book & Movie)

Carole Landis Martha Raye Four Jills In A Jeep

Carole Landis entertained thousands of soldiers during World War 2. In September 1942 she began a five month U.S.O. tour with Kay Francis, Martha Raye, and Mitzi MayfairTheir group was part of the "Feminine Theatrical Task Force". They went to England, Bermuda, Africa, and Ireland. The women traveled more than 50,000 miles by plane, truck, and jeep. They made 150 personal appearances and performed 125 shows. Kay introduced the show, Martha told jokes, Mitzi danced, and Carole sang. Her specialty was the song "Strip Polka". The four women became close friends during the tour. Kay, who was bisexual, developed a crush on Carole. When they were in Africa they went through four air raids. They also survived an earthquake and numerous illnesses. Carole had her appendix removed, nearly died from an infection, and lost fifteen pounds while on the tour.

Carole Landis Martha Raye Kay FrancisCarole Landis Four Jills In A Jeep
                                                                         
Carole Landis Martha Raye Mitzi Mayfair
Mitzi Mayfair, Carole, and Martha Raye

She wrote several magazine articles about her experiences during the war. Random House asked her to write a book about traveling with the other women and performing for the soldiers. The title of the book was Four Jills In A Jeep. Much of it was about her romance with her husband Tommy Wallace who she met during the tour. Carole had the help of a ghostwriter named Edwin Seaver but she wrote the majority of the book herself. She said "The studio gave me two ghost writers but they stunk it all up. I finally decided to talk it to a steno typist. Naturally with some Scotch and soda under my belt." The book was dedicated "To the Officers and Enlisted Men Who Made Our Tour So Inspiring". When Four Jills In a Jeep was published in the spring of 1944 it sold very well and got rave reviews.

Carole Landis Martha Raye Kay FrancisCarole Landis Four Jills In A Jeep

Carole Landis Kay Francis
Kay Francis and Carole

Before the book had even come out 20th Century Fox decided to turn Four Jills In A Jeep into a movie. Filming began on October 18, 1943 with William A. Seiter directing. Carole, Kay, Martha, and Mitzi agreed to play themselves. They were all excited to see their adventures on the big screen. Carole's onscreen romance with John Harvey was based on her real-life relationship with Tommy. The all-star cast included Phil Silvers, Dick Haymes (his film debut), Betty Grable, Jimmy Dorsey, Carmen Miranda, and Alice Faye. Yvonne Wood designed the costumes for the film. Carole was furious when the censors refused to let the actresses wear sweaters. In one scene she wore her own wedding dress. There are numerous songs including "How Blue The Night" and "You'll Never Know" sung by Dick Haymes. The highlight of the film is Carole singing her only solo number "Crazy Me".

Four Jills In A JeepCarole Landis Martha Raye Mitzi Mayfair

Carole Landis John Harvey
John Harvey and Carole

All of the musical numbers were staged by Carole's close friend Don Loper. Unfortunately she and the other actresses had no creative control over the making of Four Jills In A Jeep. The movie ended up being mostly fiction. The plot made their journey seem easy and it completely ignored all of the struggles they went through. Many of the scenes and characters in the movie did not even come from the book. Carole was very unhappy that it turned out to be just a fluffy musical. Four Jills In A Jeep was released on March 17, 1944. The movie was not a hit and a lot of critics panned it. Carole told a friend "I'm afraid the picture hasn't had as good a press as I hoped". Although she was now a published author Carole would never write another book.

Carole Landis Kay Francis Martha Raye

Four Jills In A JeepCarole Landis


Carole Landis Kay Francis Martha RayeCarole Landis Four Jills In A Jeep

 Carole Landis Kay Francis Martha RayeCarole Landis Four Jills In A Jeep

Carole Landis Mitzi MayfairCarole Landis Kay Francis Martha Raye

The Saturday Evening Post published an excerpt from Four Jills In A Jeep