Decades before the USO tours started in 1941, a prototype version called the Liberty Theaters was started in 1917.
Marc Klaw, a member of the Commission on Training Camp Activities, was tasked with building 16 such theaters for up to 600,000 soldiers to view. “We will have eight companies on the road all the time, four dramatic and four vaudeville,” Klaw said. “Plays will be up to date, and only first-class performers will be engaged.” Irving Berlin was one of the first performers to sign up.
The modern version, the USO, has 160 locations around the world and has entertained an estimated 75 million Americans throughout its history.
Real Theatres in Every National Army Camp: Soldiers in the Cantonments Will See Best Plays and Leading American Actors Each Week — Highest Ticket PRice Twenty-five Cents
From Sunday, November 4, 1917