USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Nose Art Themes

The Stars

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.
NameSerial #TypeUnit
Buck Benny Rides Again
Named for Jack Benny
44-40340B-2490th Bomb Group, 400th Bomb SquadronBuck Benny Rides Again
Bucksheesh Benny Rides Again
Named for Jack Benny
41-24112B-24D389th Bomb GroupBucksheesh Benny Rides Again
The Captain Gene
Named by Jeanette MacDonald
B-24The Captain Gene
Dinah Shore
B-26320th Bomb GroupDinah Shore
Don't Lena on me
Named after movie star Lena Horne
B17Don't Lena on me
Eddie Cantor
C-47Eddie Cantor
Fightin Irish - June Haver
Named for June Haver
44-6748B-17G-60-DL301st Bomb Group, 353rd Bomb SquadronFightin Irish - June Haver
Florida Thrush
44-23394P-38J-20-LO347th Fighter GroupFlorida Thrush
Gotta Haver
Named for June Haver
43-38367B-17G-85-BO34th Bomb Group, 7th Bomb SquadronGotta Haver
Happy Bottom
Named by Edward G Robinson
42-102664B-17G-55-BO381st Bomb Group, 532nd SquadronHappy Bottom
He Dood It
Named by Red Skelton
A-20He Dood It
Heady Hedy
Named for Hedy Lamar
P-3818th Fighter Group, 44th SquadronHeady Hedy
Hope-full Devil
Named after Bob Hope
42-63482B-29-20-BA505th Bomb Group, 484th Bomb SquadronHope-full Devil
Named for Ida Lupino
42-97546B-17G-20-VE303rd Bomb Group, 360th Bomb SquadronIdaliza
In Like Errol
Named for Errol Flynn
42-102590B-17G-55-BO381st Bomb Group, 535th Bomb SquadronIn Like Errol
In Like Flynn
Named for Errol Flynn
43-38549? B-17G-90-BO385th Bomb GroupIn Like Flynn
Lady Anna
Named for Anna Neagle
44-83288B-17G-75-DL379th Bomb Group, 527-S Bomb SquadronLady Anna
Named for Lana Turner
Loretta Young
Christened at Selfridge AAB by Loretta Young
41-31624B-26B-15-MA386th Bomb GroupLoretta Young
Lucille Ball
Named for comedienne Lucille Ball
42-3532B-17G-5-DL351st Bomb Group, 511th Bomb SquadronLucille Ball
Lucille Ball II
Named for comedienne Lucille Ball
42-107005B-17G-35-DL351st Bomb Group, 511th Bomb SquadronLucille Ball II
Mrs Margaret Carnes
Vivan Leigh, star of stage and screen, christens the C47 Skytrain
C-47UnknownMrs Margaret Carnes
Olivia de H
Named for Olivia de Havilland
44-13316P-51357th Fighter GroupOlivia de H
Named by and in honour of Paulette Goddard, movie star
42-100239B-24J-85-CO7th GroupPaulette
Pidgeon Coop
Named by Walter Pidgeon
B-24UnknownPidgeon Coop
Russell's Raiders
Named for Jane Russell
P-47Russell's Raiders
Photo courtesy of J Ethell
44-40749B-24J-180-CO494th Bomb GroupSabu
Named for Jimmie Durante
42-40011B-17381st Bomb Group, 534th Bomb SquadronSchnozzle
Sheridan Express
Named for Ann Sheridan
B-25341st Bomb GroupSheridan Express
Shovelnose and Handlebar
Named after Bob Hope
42-103613P-5110th Fighter Group, 12-E SquadronShovelnose and Handlebar
Slick Chick
Art based on Rita Hayworth publicity photo
42-3343B-17F-50-DL301st Bomb Group, 32nd Bomb SquadronSlick Chick
Spirit Of Hollywood
Christened by Gloria Jean
42-52336B-24H-15-FO461st Bomb Group, 766th Bomb SquadronSpirit Of Hollywood
Stage Door Canteen
Named by Vivien Leigh, Lawrence Olivier and Mary Churchill
42-31990B-17G-35-BO381st Bomb Group, 535th Bomb SquadronStage Door Canteen
Steady Hedy
Named for Hedy Lamar
42-97181B-17G-45-BO306th Bomb Group, 369th Bomb SquadronSteady Hedy
Tempest Turner
Named for Lana Turner - used to promote "Marriage is a Private Affair"
43-38216B-17G-80-BO34th Bomb Group, 18th Bomb SquadronTempest Turner
Named by Eddie Cantor
Venus Ramey
Named for Miss America 1944
43-38492B-17G-90-BO301st Bomb Group, 353rd Bomb SquadronVenus Ramey
Winged Victory
Christened and signed by Jeanne Crain, one of the stars of the movie.
UnknownWinged Victory
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Named by Jimmy Cagney
42-39953B-17G-5-VE390th Bomb Group, 569th Bomb SquadronYankee Doodle Dandy

© Ray Bowden 15 July 2024
Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"