Sixty years ago, Hollywood director John Ford's military satire "Mister Roberts," starring Henry Fonda and a youthful Jack Lemmon (who won an Oscar for his role), was filmed, in part, on Midway Island in the central Pacific.
La Jollan Linda Strauss had a ringside seat. Her dad, Bill Kostelecky, a Navy dentist, was stationed there in 1954. In addition to dental work, he was charged with running the package (liquor) store. So he got to know cast members, and soon they began gathering at her family's home after each day's shoot.
Strauss has autographs and a treasure trove of photos of the celebrities of yesteryear to prove it: Fonda, Lemmon, James Cagney, William Powell, Betsy Palmer, Ward Bond, Joshua Logan, and others.
Age 9 at the time, she was invited aboard the ship during filming.
A casual photo of her posing by a palm tree on display at her 70th birthday party was anything but ordinary. It was snapped on the captain's bridge, and the potted palm was another star of the classic film. It had been awarded to the ship's captain for superior cargo delivery (at the expense of his hardworking crew).
The captain dotingly watered it — a recurring gag in the film. He was furious when he discovered his prized plant had been tossed overboard.