Riding on Air (Joe E. Brown)

QUESTION:  During World War II, only two American civilians received the Bronze Star.  Joe E. Brown was one of them, who was the other?
A)  Charles Lindbergh
B)  Ernest Hemingway
C)  Ernie Pyle
D)  Dwight Eisenhower

Displayed on the walls of the American Treasure Tour throughout both the Toy Box and the Music Room are well over a hundred photographs that depict film stars from the early silent era through to today. We at the blog challenge you to find one celebrating the comedian Joe E. Brown. During the 1930's, Brown was one of the most popular stars of the silver screen, but that career almost never happened thanks to Brown's natural athletic prowess, believe it or not. Born in 1891, the Ohioan was only nine years old when he joined the circus as one of the Five Marvelous Ashtons tumbler troupe. He then found himself on the baseball diamond, and so accomplished at it that the New York Yankees tried to recruit him. But Brown's heart was in performing and he found himself on stage in Broadway.

Broadway led to Hollywood, and Joe E. was soon making people laugh on the big screen. Not only laugh, but think. He is one of very few comedians to successfully perform Shakespeare - he starred for Warner Brothers in a 1935 telling of A Midsummer Night's Dream. By 1937, he had moved on to David L. Loew's movie studios, where he starred in Riding on Air and a number of other films prior to the beginning of World War II. He was fifty when America entered the war, and too old to fight. He became the first major actor to perform for the troops - even before Bob Hope and before the USO was formed - going to some dangerous locations to help distract military personnel and civilians alike. It was then that he earned his Bronze Star.  He all but retired from film by peacetime, and yet his greatest legacy would not happen until 1959, when he played the infamous Osgood Feilding III, the love interest of Daphne, who was played by Jack Lemmon. Brown died in 1973 at the age of 81.

ANSWER:  B)  Ernest Hemingway