Friday, January 11, 2013
POST 1041: JANUARY 11, 2013; NAPLES, ITALY (1959)
...When Love Comes In
...And Takes You For A Spin...
...Oooo La La La, C'est Magnifique
The opening number of our MOULIN ROUGE performances...
In 1958, CV 59, Super Carrier USS FORRESTAL, drops anchor in the Bay of Naples. On that same weekend, the entertainment at AFSE, (NATO Armed Forces Southern Europe) happens to be the touring road show from the MOULIN ROUGE, Paris, France.
After performances at the usual venues; i.e., military establishments in and around Naples, an invitation is received by the MOULIN ROUGE show to come aboard the USS FORRESTAL to perform on the "Hangar Deck" in front of 3,000 or so sailors...at the same time being filmed for later showing to the Mediterranean 6th Fleet Ships at sea.
The invitation is accepted. I, as Master of Ceremonies of the MOULIN ROUGE girls, am included in the invitation...(it is not divulged that I am a NATO Enlisted Man assigned to AIRSOUTH...I always perform in "civilian" clothes).
USS FORRESTAL - CV 59 (1955 - 1993)
First "Super Carrier" in the World
The girls and I are picked up at the Naples waterfront by the Captain's Gig and transported to the Aircraft Carrier USS FORRESTAL We were received with lots of hoots and hollers from waiting seamen as the girls walk up the gangplank.
We are escorted to a conference room where we are formally welcomed aboard. Each girl is introduced to a specific ship's officer...who is to be the personal escort for that girl during the on board visit. I am assigned to the ships Executive Officer (Second in Command) as my escort.
We are given a tour of the ship by our escort. Each escort goes his own way, creating a very personal experience for the girls. After an hour or so, we meet again ... this time on the Bridge, Ship Captain's primary control center for the entire ship.
Captain's Command Center high above the Flight Deck
We are then offered the opportunity to visit our escort's living "quarters" - each girl's luggage is already waiting - where the officer's Aide - a high ranking enlisted man - takes charge of each guest...a shower if desired... in preparation for the Captain's Dinner in our honor.
Except for me - I sit between the Captain and the Exec. - each girl sits next to her escort, making for boy - girl - boy - girl...all around the long rectangular table.
After dinner, we have a couple hours to "rest", getting to know our escort or visit some place we may have missed. I take the opportunity to go on deck to walk among the many parked war planes . The Hangar deck has been cleared of all aircraft to make room for the 3,000 crew who will crowd into the makeshift "theatre" for our show.
I then take a shower in the exec's quarters...dress into my suit, and am escorted to the Hangar Deck to get familiar with the stage layout, girls dressing room locations, sound system, and walk through the logistics (stairs, stage limits, lighting (so I can see the audience when I talk), locate where VIPs are located, etc.
Our show lasts two hours. We have three major elements:
- vocalist, who is on stage most of the time
- six (6) CanCan Dancers
- six (6) Mannequins
Six or seven costume changes are made during the show. Costumes are worn by our Vocalist and CanCan Dancers. Our Mannequins also change "accessories" (head pieces, feather fans, etc.,), but otherwise, remain nude the entire performance.
HANGAR DECK (USS GEORGE WASHINGTON)
HANGAR DECK - New Year Eve Party inside the Hangar Deck
FLIGHT DECK "Swabbing" the deck
(Hangar Deck is directly under the Flight Deck)
* * * * * * * * * *
As explained previously, most of my photographs over the years have been lost during moves. I DO have some photographs of "my" MOULIN ROUGE performers together with myself on stage during performances...if I can only find into which box I put them during my most recent move.
A movie was made of our USS FORRESTAL show. I will contact the US Navy to track down this film...and will try to obtain a copy for posting on my blog.
* * * * * * * * * *
Our USS FORRESTAL experience is one to remember for a lifetime. The girls are (naturally) a big hit with the crew.. The girls - in costume (or out) - ask me to invite pre-selected ship crew members on stage to meet the girls, chat, hug, etc.... to the delight of everyone.
It is after dark as we cruise back to Naples. In the morning, my girls will catch the train to Rome...then on to Venice.
As the train pulls out of the old Naples Station...still much damaged from World War II bombing...I run with my small suite case and jump onto the moving stairway...open the door to the 2nd class car...take an empty seat...lay my head back and close my eyes.
I must have dozed off...B R U C E ! ! ! !
Startled awake, two of "my" girls are pulling me out of my seat...come with us...we have been looking for you.
A girl on each arm, we walk from car to car toward the front of the train...stopping at a closed door to a private compartment...
Look what we found.... B R U C E ! ! ! !
Six girls pull me into their cabin...12 hands reaching...12 arms circling me wherever they can reach...hugs...kisses...tears...
...and its gets really crowded when seven more girls squeeze in...
Arms, legs, tushes, boobs, hugs...more kisses...
WHATEVER DID I EVER DO TO DESERVE THIS ???
I am passed around all the way to Rome. Our car is switched to another engine...we continue through the evening and night to Venice...girls coming and going hugging singing laughing, and crying...
I really want to die...here...now...it can never be like this again
I am wrong !