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Reagan's Dues Were Paid During World War II

May 04, 1985

Art Buchwald reminded me of President Reagan's Hollywood days with his hilarious column (April 28) on Reagan's war movies.

Reagan made "King's Row," in 1941, a powerful film released in February, 1942, in a role that could have and should have made him a superstar. On April 14, 1942, he was inducted into the U.S. Army; when "Desperate Journey" was released in September, he was a second lieutenant and already making training films, with only a furlough for his appearance in "This Is The Army" in 1943.

Throughout my Army years, which paralleled his, I saw Reagan in one training film after another, and always I thought, "He's in it, too, and he's losing time just as I am." He was discharged on Dec. 9,1945 and did not appear in a new film until April, 1947, "Stallion Road."

His career, unlike those of James Stewart, Clark Gable, William Holden, Robert Taylor, never took off again. He was an older man and it showed after 3 1/2 years in the military.

Now as President in 1985, he was invited to Germany 40 years later in a gesture of peace. Well, I made it to Germany and to Weimar and the opening of Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, and all the final horrors of the war, and I feel that Reagan was clearly entitled to make any kind of gesture he wanted--his dues were paid.

R.A. LEE

Los Angeles

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