“God Bless America” Royalties Donated to Scouting Organizations-Truth! But Inaccurate Details!
Summary of eRumor:
This is a forwarded email about Kate Smith and the Irving Berlin song “God Bless America.” It contains a link to a film clip and says that Irving Berlin donated the royalties of the song to the Boy Scouts of America.
Royalties from the song were donated to the Boy Scouts of America, according to the Library of Congress web site but proceeds were also contributed to the Girl Scouts of America organization. Click for Library of Congress.
Some of the facts in the eRumor are incorrect.
The song was originally written by Irving Berlin in 1918 while he served in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York. It was later rewritten in 1938 as a peace song with “some alterations to reflect the different state of the world” during a time when Nazi Germany was threatening war with Europe.
“You’re in the Army Now” was entirely a different movie. The correct movie title is “This Is The Army,” released by Warner Brothers in 1943 and starred future U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Irving Berlin, who also appeared in the film, was one of the writers for the movie’s screenplay. Berlin wrote the script for the musical Broadway production by that same title.
“God Bless America” was originally introduced and performed live on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938 by Kate Smith on her radio program. It became an immediate hit resulting in the popular demand for the sheet music. Afterwards, Berlin established the God Bless America Fund where proceeds from royalties were donated to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
Kate Smith God Bless America performance on Armistice Day 1938 from the movie “This is the Army” on YouTube