Recent Invasion of Holland and Belgium

Five days before this letter was written, tensions were beginning to escalate in Europe as Germany invaded the Netherlands and Belgium in what was known as ‘Case Yellow’.

Fred was struggling to find roles as production shifted to focus on war films. The UK government ordered cinemas to close in 1939 as they believed that entertainment was not essential to the war effort. Later, they realised that cinemas were an asset to lift spirits and show propaganda. This led to a boom in film production. Attendance in cinemas was at an all time high towards the end of the war. Fortunately for Fred his break in filming did not last for long as he was able to secure a role in ‘You’ll Never Get Rich’.

May 15th 1940

Dear Jack:-

Have been away on a fishing trip in Mexico and just returned to get your letters. I am surely pleased that you are well and cheerful about the war situation. I have been most optimistic but of course the recent invasion of Holland and Belgium makes things complicated. I have all the faith in the world in the British & the French but I must admit I’m afraid it will take a bit of time – not merely until next winter.

Well – it’ll all be over in 50 years from now and I’ll meet you in heaven and “Fly you for a fiver”.

I hope Crosswire comes through somehow in the near future Jack otherwise I’m afraid I’ll have to make you sell him. I really cannot afford to keep him under present conditions. All the foreign movie market being gone (we cannot get much of our money out of Eng. & France and none from any country now occupied by Germany) has raised real hell with the movie business. I am not doing another picture for some months as I haven’t found a story I want to do and my income is at a standstill for the moment. So you see if Crosswire doesn’t show something really, please tell me soon. What could you get for him?

They have established metered machines at the New York tracks this year and are doing a hell of a business. All the bookies have been thrown out on their cans. The poor bastards! Imagine throwing ‘Snouty Parker’ out on his ass – why it would be outrageous.

Strutt is in Canada. They finally called him up to train. He was very depressed on leaving too.

All the best to all Jack – I sure wish conditions were different ‘cause I’d be right over there not winning packets.

Write soon –

As ever –

Fred