Victory Belles in Orange County

Victory Belles play nightly at the Stage Door Canteen
for veterans at the World War II Museum.
By Stacey Plaisance of The Asssociated Press, from New Orleans

Decked out in 1940s throwback tailored dresses and perfectly coiffed curls, the Victory Belles seem delight­fully out of place in the age of hip-hop.  They sing big-band classics at the National World War II Museum and flirt playfully with the audience, leaving bright red lipstick kisses on the smiling faces of Amer­ica’s aging war heroes. But these sexy, glam 20-some-things are not just singers in the tradition of wartime enter­tainers. They are a living mu­seum exhibit about love songs in an era before texting and Skype, when saying goodbye mearit you might not see a loved one for years – or maybe ever again. With the World War II gen­eration rapidly dying out, their performances have tak­en on new meaning.

“This music still makes me happy,” said Forrest Villarrubia, who served as a Marine in the Philippines in 1944 and was celebrating his 88th birth­day at the museum on Nov. 20. After the show,  Villarrubia posed for photos with the Victory Belles. As they serenaded him with a soft rendi­tion of “Happy Birthday” and applied red lipstick kisses to his cheeks, his face broke into a wide smile.


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