I was once again going through some old pictures, and ran across one of myself lined up with the other members of my Boy Scout troop. (I’m the last one in the middle row.) It would date from the early 1950s, and I think we were arranged that way because we were practicing drilling, one of the many activities our scoutmaster tried out to keep us from turning into a mob.
I doubt that we were in any danger of becoming a precision drill squad, but just about the time we were practicing our marching, Hollywood churned out a movie that definitely had a memorable “drill” scene. In the 1953 film, The Glenn Miller Story, Miller (Jimmy Stewart) is standing on the parade grounds with several generals, watching soldiers passing in review. The Army Air Force band that Miller is responsible for is playing the usual stuff and everybody is tromping along with glazed eyes.
But then Miller decides to liven things up. He runs across to the band and takes over the direction, leading them into playing “St Louis Blues March.” In no time at all, the soldiers are pepped up and marching along with flare, while the generals scratch their heads in confusion.
I’m sure it was purely a Hollywood moment with no basis in fact, but it was still a fun scene to watch, and one I’ve always remembered.