1942

In 1942, this promotional image was taken at the Issaquah Theatre. From left to right are theatre owner John D. Brunsberg, Lester Alvin “Smiley” Burnette, Gene Autry, and John Daniel “Danny” Brunsberg. This black and white picture was probably a professional public relations shot, taken as part of a personal appearance tour done by Autry and Burnette to promote one of their many films together

Four men of varying ages stand backstage at the Village Theatre in Issaquah in 1942. Left to right: Theatre owner John D. Brunsberg, Lester Alvin “Smiley” Burnette, Gene Autry, and John Daniel “Danny” Brunsberg. The oral history that came with the image is that Danny is 17 in the picture; he was born in 1925. His father, John D., died in 1943. Gene Autry left his Hollywood career for military service in World War II in July of 1942, so this picutre was probably taken earlier that year. The black and white image was probably a professional p.r. shot, taken as part of a personal appearance tour done by Autry and Burnette to promote one of their many films together. They are both in western costume, as they would be for their film characters. The comic Burnette is in a silly hat with extra-large turned-up brim and loose neckerchief over a checked shirt, and Autry is in his trademark white hat above a neat neckerchief, striped and piping decorated shirt, fancy belts and holster. The Brunsbergs were dressed for working the front of the house, with Mr. Brunsberg in a three-piece suit and tie, carrying a white fedora, and Danny in a plaid sports jacket over a loose-necked white shirt. At the left background, in soft focus, two women and another man in western gear are seated. Stage lighting and equipment are visible at the top and right sides of the image. [IHM 2016.018.001]