Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
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Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Stewart appeared in some of the best WWII-era films, but he was also a military man as well as an actor. He ascended to the rank of Brigadier General, flying more than 20 combat missions.
When it comes to Hollywood icons, there are few that you’d put in the same class as Jimmy Stewart. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, Stewart was one of the top stars in the business, having some of the most notable films of the era. Many that became actors cited Stewart as their inspiration, hoping to one day match the type of success that he had. More than 20 years after his death, Stewart is still heralded as one of the best to ever grace the screen.
Stewart’s career in acting started in 1935 when he played a small role in “The Murder Man”, and within a year was getting top billing in movies like “Speed” and “Born to Dance”. In 1940, Stewart received his first Oscar nomination for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and had his only win the following year with “The Philadelphia Story”. Shortly before those films, though, there was one where we see Stewart behind the scenes in the photo shown.
When this photo of Stewart was initially released, there are many that thought it had to do with his military experience. After all, Stewart was quite the decorated soldier for the United States, but we’ll get to that in just a little bit. This picture, instead, shows Stewart in 1936 preparing for a film role. Actors will do some exercises to get themselves ready, not just for learning their lines, but also on how to express themselves on film. What you see here is Stewart participating in a game that’s similar to charades while he was preparing to film “The Gorgeous Hussy”.
The game that actors used back then was known as handles or dilly-dallies that was a popular fad during that year. Unfortunately, the gesture you see here isn’t as innocent as you might think, as this was very much a different time in the United States. The phrase that Stewart is trying to convey here is “China Clipper,” which was a famous four-engine flying boat that was used by the now defunct Pan American Airways. When it was first built, it was one of the largest aircrafts in the world, so it was quite a popular vessel at the time.
The photograph was taken from the John Springer Collection, with the collection saying that he had hundreds of handles that he would use for the game. “He is so good at the new game, in fact, that Pete Smith, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s rapid chatter expert, has asked him to direct handles in a new Goofy Sports short subject,” it said. While the game came and went quickly, Stewart enjoyed a very long career both in the military and in Hollywood.
Going back to his military career, Stewart’s entire family had deep roots in the United States armed services that dated all the way back to the Civil War and pretty much every major war that the country has fought in up to his adulthood. Before World War II had even broke out, Stewart had already become an experienced pilot, often flying across the United States on his own and competing in races with other pilots.
This explains why Stewart was so familiar with the China Clipper, and why he was ready to enlist with the military when it seemed that the United States might get involved in World War II. However, Stewart was rejected from joining the service at first since he was considered too thin. Despite being a very tall 6’3”, Stewart was under 140 pounds, putting him under the threshold for the Army. After working on putting on some muscle, Stewart finally made weight and became the most famous member of the U.S. Army just months before the country was attacked at Pearl Harbor by Japan.
Back then, the Air Force wasn’t its own branch, so Stewart was part of the Army’s Air Corps where he trained in being a cadet after obtaining several other licenses for flying. Stewart flew cargo planes for the Army and was stationed in California and eventually New Mexico and Idaho, not being allowed to enter into combat. It wasn’t until later in 1943 that Stewart was finally allowed to see combat action. With that, Stewart was finally ready to head overseas and had gone on several missions, allowing him to climb up the ranks within the Army.
Stewart remained in the military in active duty until the end of World War II, having led missions behind enemy lines in Germany and other countries throughout Europe. Once his service had been finished, Stewart worked in the reserve when the Air Force was formed, and was one of the biggest ambassadors that the military had at their disposal. He was a member of the military before finally retiring in 1968, having been decorated with several medals for his service and was promoted as high as Brigadier General.
Early in his service, Stewart had appeared in a handful of movies as he was still stationed in the United States, though there was a break between 1941 and 1946 as an active member of the military. His first film upon returning to the United States was perhaps his most famous when he starred in the Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life” that saw Stewart nominated for an Oscar for the third time in his career.
Stewart continued his film career for many years, regularly pumping out movies on an annual basis during the 1940s and 1950s. Two more Oscar nominations came Stewart’s way when he was put up for Best Actor for 1950’s “Harvey” and 1959’s “Anatomy of a Murder”. After a busy decade in the 1960s, Stewart started to wind back on some of the work that he did. In 1980, he appeared in a live action film for the final time with “The Green Horizon” and had a voice role in 1991’s “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” for his final role.
In 1995, Stewart started to suffer from health problems as his heart was giving out on him. After more than a year of battling heart disease, Stewart passed away on July 2, 1997 at 89 years old, having been around his family. Naturally, there were a lot of people that spoke about the passing of Stewart, who had a legendary movie and military career, making him one of the most interesting celebrities in Hollywood history.