April 2, 1943

Friday – Banquet

Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s morning was taken up by her only official press conference in Los Angeles, a 45-minute affair that had to be rescheduled to today to allow the Madame more time to rest on Thursday.

Following the media frenzy, Madame Chiang Kai-shek retreated to her suite to rest.

Madame Chiang Kai-shek at a banquet in Los Angeles (Calif.). Copyright UC Regents – Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive. All Rights Reserved.

But the highlight of the day was a gala banquet thrown in the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel in honor of the Madame’s visit.[1] Officially slated to start at 8PM, over 500 guests showed up from all walks of life; movie stars, community leaders, and assorted dignitaries and diplomats were all in attendance. The guest of honor herself arrived fashionably late, at 9:45 PM. Following an prayer by Los Angeles’ first Archbishop, John Cantwell, various goodwill toasts were made. The Pomona College Glee Club then performed the national anthems of China and the United States. A piece titled “A Letter From A Flying Tiger” was then read by actor James Cagny and actress Greer Garson. The dramatic reading highlighted the heroism of Chinese women.[2] But of course, the highlight of the night was Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s speech, an emotional affair in which she used, as always, the power of narrative to push her nation’s causes.[3]

Lieut. Frank Colonel Frank Capra. Copyright Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Director Frank Capra (left) now works for the government, making patriotic movies to encourage the war effort.

Carole Landis. Copyright Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Actress Carole Landis (center) is escorted to the dinner by an Air Force ace.

Walter Huston. Copyright Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Walter Huston (left) was one of the voice actors for the pageant put on for Madame Chiang Kai-shek at the Hollywood Bowl.

[1] “Two Surprises Planned for Mme. Chiang,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 1943.

[2] Schallert, Edwin, “Officialdom Pays Honor to Mme. Chiang,” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1943.

[3] “Screen and Stage,” Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1943.