Tuesday 31 August 2021

The Hero's Return

 I love this picture of Jimmy Stewart, my supposed double (I wish), on a visit to the family hardware store in Indiana, Pa. The year was 1945 and Stewart had just returned from the war. He is phoning an old friend to arrange a fishing trip. 
Jimmy Stewart joined up as a private in the Air Corps in 1941, despite being well into his 30s and having already been rejected once as underweight(!). Being too old for aviation cadet training, he applied successfully for a commission, and in 1943, anxious not to have special treatment because of his celebrity status, he got himself sent to England as part of the 445th Bombardment Group, piloting a B-24 Liberator. Flying several successful bombing raids over Nazi Europe, Stewart rose through the ranks to become a full colonel, and ended the war with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Croix de Guerre with palm, and many other honours. Like most of his generation, he seldom spoke about his wartime experiences.
And there he is, fresh back from the war, cheerful as ever, in his dad's hardware store, where his Oscar (won in 1940 for The Philadelphia Story) was on display in the window. That's it in the picture below, where Stewart is chewing the fat with the store's oldest employee.

It hardly needs saying that they don't make film stars like Jimmy Stewart today.


  1. I remember watching a film with my dad when I was about 12. It was the first time I'd ever seen James Stewart and, when my dad told me that he was already in his 70s, it was my first great romantic disappointment.

  2. Well, he was certainly a handsome fellow, Zoe, as well as an all-round thorough-going mensch.