NOSE ART SOURCE
The STARS
and the aircraft named for them and by them

When it comes to finding a publicity angle there can be few institutions that could rival the movie studios at the height of their success. The Hollywood public relations machine of the major wartime studios like MGM, Fox, Universal, Warner and Columbia was well aware of the publicity potential in the naming of an aircraft when it came to launching a new movie or promoting one of their stars. It was more than willing to co-operate with the PR officers on the ground who were, in turn, concerned with the continual boosting and maintenance of morale on the combat and supporting bases. Entertainers travelled the world to visit troops in far flung bases on their USO tours and it was not uncommon for famous movie stars, US and British, to hold naming ceremonies whilst at an air base before and after performing their show. Occasionally, the stars actually got to choose the name themselves but more commonly it had been selected by the PR men attached to the unit or the studios publicity agents. One particularly amusing example was the naming of a B17 Fortress at the 381st Bomb Group's base at Ridgewell, England, by Edward G Robinson. He chose the title "Happy Bottom" and explained to his puzzled audience that it was for his wife "Glad-Ass!" On that occasion the name was chosen soon after the star's arrival at the base and was hastily painted on the B17's nose while the star toured the base. This contrasted with the naming of "Yankee Doodle Dandy", a 390th Bomb Group Fort, used to promote the popular movie of that name starring Jimmy Cagney. The elaborate montage of stars and multi-coloured titling with striped top hat must have been prepared well in advance of the naming ceremony attended by the star himself.
If you have any photos of any of these aircraft or their crews, or can add other examples or details of their service and fate,
please share them with me.


Name Serial #

Group / Sqn

HAPPY BOTTOM
Named by Edward G Robinson
B-17
42-102664
381/532
YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
Named by Jimmy Cagney
B-17
42-39953
390/569
STEADY HEDY
Named for Hedy Lamar
B-17
42-97181
306/369
HEADY HEDY
Named for Hedy Lamar
P-38
????
18/44
GOTTA HAVER
Named for June Haver
B-17
43-38367
34/7
TEMPEST TURNER
Named for Lana Turner - used to promote "Marriage is a Private Affair"
B-17
43-38216
34/18
IN LIKE FLYNN
Named for Errol Flynn
B-17
(43-38842)?
385/
IN LIKE ERROL
Named for Errol Flynn
B-17
42-102590
381/535
IDALIZA
Named for Ida Lupino
B-17
42-97546
303/360
STAGE DOOR CANTEEN
Named by Vivien Leigh, Lawrence Olivier and Mary Churchill
B-17
42-31990
381/535
SCHNOZZLE
Named for Jimmie Durante
B-17
42-40011
381/534
FIGHTIN IRISH - JUNE HAVER
Named for June Haver
B-17
44-6748
301/353
LADY ANNA
Named for Anna Neagle
B-17
44-83288
379/527-S
PIDGEON COOP
Named by Walter Pidgeon
B-24
????
????

VENUS RAMEY
Named for Miss America 1944

(Photo courtesy of Dave French)

B-17
43-38492
301/353
LUCILLE BALL
Named for comedienne Lucille Ball
B-17F
42-3532
351/511
LUCILLE BALL II
Named for comdienne Lucille Ball
B-17G
42-107005
351/511
BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN
Named for Jack Benny
B-24
44-40340
90/400
BUCKSHEESH BENNY RIDES AGAIN
Named for Jack Benny
B-24
41-24112
389/
HOPE-FULL DEVIL
Named for Bob Hope

B-29

42-63482

505/484
SHOVELNOSE AND HANDLEBAR
Named after Bob Hope
P-51
42-103613
10/12-E
RUSSELL'S RAIDERS
Named for Jane Russell
P-47  
HE DOOD IT
Named by Red Skelton
A-20 Russian Baltic Fleet
SHERIDAN EXPRESS
Named for Ann Sheridan
B-25  

 LANA
Named for Lana Turner

 A20  Italy  
OLIVIA de H
Named for Olivia de Havilland
P-51
44-13316
357/
Unknown
Named by Eddie Cantor
C-47
43-12?44
???
The Captain Gene
Named by Jeanette MacDonald
B-24
???
???
Slick Chick
Art based on Rita Hayworth publicity photo
B-17F
42-3343
301/32
       
       
       

Ray Bowden