Fullerton College: A Pictorial History

Even more popular with FJC students was big band music. A student poll reported in the March 14, 1941 issue of the Weekly Torch found that Glenn Miller and his orchestra was their favorite music maker, followed by Tommy Dorsey and Kay Kayser. An amazing moment occurred for three Weekly Torch reporters—Lee Oliver, Howard Seelye, and Gearhart (left to right)—when they got to interview their hero, Glenn Miller (right), on the 20th Century Fox movie lot in April 1941. The trio also watched Miller filming Sun Valley, which featured Sonja Henie, John Payne, and Lynn Bart. On May 18, 1941, FJC became the first junior college in America to be accorded the honor of being announced over CBS radio coast to coast when 600 students showed up for a live Glenn Miller performance at the Columbia Playhouse Theater in Hollywood. Miller joined the World War II effort as an entertainer, and the plane carrying him and members of his band disappeared while flying over the English Channel on December 15, 1944. The Torch reporters had also scored in February 1936 when they got an exclusive interview with polar explorer Rear-Admiral Richard Byrd, who was speaking at the Fullerton Union High School Auditorium.