racechange: Ham and Eggs at the Front

Ham and Eggs at the Front

Ham and Eggs were two black soldiers (played by white actors) in an all-black army unit during the First World War who went AWOL and encountered Fifi (Myrna Loy), a black barmaid who was also a German spy.

In her autobiography Being and Becoming Myrna Loy referred to the way she was cast in exotic roles in her early film and dismissed her participation in Ham and Eggs at the Front as ‘shameful’:

But these exotica started to predominate. My bit as a mulatto in The Heart of Maryland led to a role that I’m very much ashamed of. Zanuck wrote Ham and Eggs at the Front, a blackface parody of What Price Glory? casting me as a spy. How could I ever have put on blackface? When I think of it now, it horrifies me. Well, our awareness broadens, thank God! It was a tasteless slapstick comedy that I mercifully recall very little about.

It’s unlikely that we will ever be able to judge for ourselves just how tasteless it was; there appear to be no surviving prints. However, I hope I can at least get hold of some more stills.

The makeup

If anyone can help with more images or with the makeup credits, please themakeupgallery.