Sat Mar 2, 2019 – 5:00 pm | Bagels & More
The Hello Girls
Directed by James William Theres
U.S.A. | 57 min | 2018
In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France as telephone operators to help win the Great War. They wore Army uniforms and swore Army oaths. They were intrepid, united in a common cause. Like Joan of Arc before them, they wanted to save France. By war’s end, these women, known affectionately as the Hello Girls, had connected over 26 million calls.
They served during the occupation of Germany and the Paris Peace Conference. The last of the Hello Girls returned home in 1920, only to be told they were never soldiers after all. For 60 years, they fought the US government for recognition. In 1977, they won. Only 33 were still alive.
Told through 100-year old letters, photos, rare archival footage, the only known audio of a real Hello Girl, and interviews with family and historians, the “Hello Girls” brings to life a story that was stuck in the nooks and crannies of American history.
In 2018, US Senators Jon Tester from Montana and Dean Heller from Nevada introduced legislation to award the women the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
James William Theres
James William Theres is an award-winning Speechwriter at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C., and an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. He has received 10 national awards for speech writing, feature writing, event planning and media affairs and numerous awards for his films to include Best Documentary Feature for The Hello Girls at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival.
He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and an MA in History from Jackson State University. His first film, The 30th of May was based on his graduate research project of the same name. The paper received the prestigious Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander Award at the 10th Annual Creative Arts Festival at Jackson State University. The documentary received 10 awards and appeared on Mississippi Public Television in May 2017.