1st Singing of God Bless America
BUT before you watch, you should also know the story of the song.
The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we would have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans. This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.
Kate was also large in size, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her is, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings". Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but her voice made her the biggest star of her time.
Kate was also very patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song writer, Irving Berlin (he wrote "White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He searched his files and found a song that he had written way back in 1917, but never published. He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any royalty profit from God Bless America. All profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions and millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with a live orchestra and audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time then starts singing. After the first couple of verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, "You're In The Army Now." At the video 4:20 mark you'll see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office,reading a paper. It is Ronald Reagan.
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said when he and a million other guys first heard her sing "God Bless America" on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eye when they wiped away a tear or two.
To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans and for many generations of Americans that followed.
Five Year old girl
National Anthem Video