There is nothing I love more than when Pop Culture mocks itself. For those who don’t know, Top Secret! was a 1984 Jim Abrams and David Zucker film that parodies World War II spy flicks, but in this absurd version rock and roll idol Nick Rivers (played by Val Kilmer) is central in the rescue of an imprisoned scientist in East Germany. I watched this movie REPEATEDLY as a kid, and while it’s a fairly terrible film I do still enjoy the mashups of imagery and sounds with which we’re all familiar, care of the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley among others. Take, for example, the song “Skeet Surfin'” that ran during the opening credits: a hilarious commentary on the place of firearms within American culture. Well, maybe not so hilarious if we think about it seriously. But (starting at 5 o’clock today) it’s the weekend! So enjoy this bit if Friday Funny.
From an article by Caroline Camp titled “In His Cups, They Look Good (But It’s Still the Army)” which ran in The Stars and Stripes on 21 June 1945. Be sure to read between the lines for Camp’s obvious dislike of her subject:
“PARIS, June 20–Cups are not necessarily an item of dishware, and they come in sizes. Girdles hold in, and garter belts just hold up, all of which means that Pfc. William Garber, Dorchester, Mass, and Pfc. Irving Berkowitz, New York City, have no illusions left about the weaker sex. In the U.S. Army, which claims it gives a man all sorts of experience, Garber and Berkowitz are selling women’s unmentionables to WACs here.
‘If the gals are shy, and blush when I ask their size, I tell ’em I used to do this in civilian life,’ says Garber, formerly in the wholesale grocery business. ‘We try to put the girls at ease.’
Between 40 and 60 WACs are customers every day in the enlisted women’s department of the QM sales store in Paris. Garber has been a salesman since March, so he only asks about size to be polite. His all-inclusive glance is a vast improvement over Rhett Butler. Both Garber and Berkowitz were in the infantry before they were wounded and assigned to their present jobs. Garber was in Co. C, 1st Bn., 1st Inf. Div.
It Was Flattery
‘You want a 36, small cup,’ was his greeting to a husky WAC sergeant, and in her case it was just plain flattery. She giggled and said, ‘I’ll take a larger size, just to allow for shrinkage.’
‘His personality is free of charge,’ commented T/4 Madeleine Bass, of Houston, Texas, who had just dropped in to say hello. Garber has lots of friends among the WACs, and they come back just to pass the time of day.
Just about that time a WAC private showed up, sporting pretty blonde curls and a nice trim figure. Expert as he is at mental measurement, Garber decided that this case needed a real tape measure when the WAC said she didn’t know her size.
‘Just what I’ve been waiting to hear,’ said Garber with a smile, advancing around the counter, tape in hand. ‘Waist, 24, bust, 34, hips, 36. You’ll be wanting a B cup, hum?’
‘This is a ver-ry pleasant job.’
This is also the U.S. Army. Today Pfcs. Garber and Berkowitz have new jobs. They are selling bolts of material, minus that personal touch.”