Photo of the Week
September 4, 2022

This week's photo is another photo from the Chris McManus collection taken by J. Fisher.  This photo was taken on Ft. Clayton in the early '20s.  It is showing members of the 33rd Infantry in a gathering to advertise either a play or the silent film "Shore Leave".  At first I thought the guy in the box was Richard Berthelmess the famous silent film actor who played Bilge Smith in the "Shore Leave" movie, but after researching, I couldn't determine for sure this was Berthelmess, but a guy looks very much like him.  I find it interesting that the kids and women are present which leads me to believe they were going to put on a play.  I watched portions of the film "Shore Leave" and those in the navy uniforms fit in the film.  The women will play the part of Connie Martin (Dorothy Mackaill).  The military Morale Welfare and Recreation department has been around for years and one thing they do is plays and theater.  This is indeed an interesting photo.


Now for the hunt for who J. Fisher is / was, he is defiantly the guy in last week's photo.  Chris did some research and solved the who's who:

I found who I am sure is the right Jack Fisher. I don't know how I missed him before. He is in the 1940 census of Fort Clayton, Balboa District, Panama  Canal Zone.  

John J Fisher, 54, head, born in Connecticut, warrant officer, US Army

Gertrude K Fisher, 51, wife, born Massachusetts, clerk, photo shop

Ethel M Fisher, 29, born Massachusetts, clerk, photo shop

John M Fisher, son, 27, born Virginia, stenography asst, photo shop.  

The location Fort Clayton and the rest of the family working in a photo shop nails it for me.  

This then narrows the search for his wife. One John J Fisher married Anna Gertrude Kenney on June 16, 1910 in Massachusetts.  This fits the 1940 census to a T: wife Gertrude K and daughter born in Mass a year after the 1910 wedding.  

John and Gertrude are undoubtedly the couple found in the 1950 census in Queens NY

John Fisher, head, 65, born Connecticut, no occupation

Gertrude Fisher, 61, born Massachusetts, keeping house

On I found some more about Jack Fisher. In particular I found 4 enlistment registers for him, from 1903, 1906, 1909, and 1911. They are all the right age, all have him born at Danbury, CT, all have his status as musician, in the artillery corps, or CAC (Coast Artillary Corps) or similar. He was discharged at Fort Banks, Mass, near where he married Gertrude K.  Interestingly, all have his height as 5' 2 3/4" - so quite short.

The 1940 census gives John Fisher's occupation as Warrant Officer.

Also, by Googling I found several references to army bandmasters as warrant officers.  So yes, Jack Fisher was not an ordinary grunt.

Thank you Chris for finding out this information.  It has been a long time wondering who J. Fisher was.


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