This coming Sunday, December 11, C-SPAN3 will air the talk, “Herbert Hoover the Humanitarian,” by historian George Nash.  This talk focuses on Hoover’s relief efforts during both World Wars.  The talk was delivered this past September 20th at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

That same week Turner Classic Movies will show two films with World War I themes, if not heavy on the historical accuracy.  First up is the 1940 film, The Fighting 69th, which focuses on the all-Irish regiment to come out of New York.  It stars James Cagney as a soldier who brags about what he can do but weakens under actual combat situations, and Pat O’Brien as Father Duffy, who believes Cagney’s character will eventually prove himself.  There are some touches to give a nod to history, such as actual archival footage, and a recitation of poet Joyce Kilmer’s (who was in the 69th) Rogue Bouquet.  It is one of those movies for the film buffs who will recognize a number of the actors, including Frank McHugh. Alan Hale, Sr., Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, and George Brent.  The Fighting 69th will air at 2:45 p.m. CT on Thursday, December 15th.

On Friday, December 16th at 4:00 p.m. CT, TCM will air the 1934 film, Stamboul Quest.  Set in 1915, it has the Germans seeking out a traitor leaking information to the enemy in the Turkish theater of the war.  A spy, played by Myrna Loy, is sent to discover the traitor, but along the way she falls for an American medical student played by George Brent.  In other words, just another day in the war . . .

I will add that according to the Internet Movie Database, the filmmakers apparently had trouble distinguishing Turkish culture from Arabic culture.  Happy viewing!

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.