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Yesterday in La Crosse

Hollywood royalty gets a look at La Crosse, and La Crosse looks back at them, 78 years ago

Brad Williams



In 1942, just a few months after the U.S. entered World War II, the Hollywood Victory Caravan arrived for a brief stop at the north La Crosse railroad station.  The city was on a route between St. Louis and the Twin Cities for the caravan.  During a 13-minute stop, thousands in the La Crosse crowd saw Cary Grant, Jimmy Cagney, Charles Boyer, and Desi Arnaz up close.  Some stars, such as Groucho Marx, were spotted peeking out the windows of the train.  Bob Hope was part of the star-studded touring group, but he wasn’t on the train in La Crosse.  At that time, you could see movie stars on six big screens in La Crosse, including the Rivoli, the Wisconsin, and the Hollywood, in 1942.      

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