“The recent visit of Mickey Rooney to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where I am stationed, is an event I shall always remember, even though he left my morale just where he found it. Young Mr. Rooney dropped in more or less under the auspices of the U.S.O. His arrival was breathlessly awaited and, though my buddies and I were naturally not permitted to leave our duties to greet him at the railroad station in the adjacent town of Fayetteville, we heard later that enough affectionate townsfolk had tried to pull his clothes off to make the reception a success.
“After that orthodox beginning, his visit became rather strange, for a movie star. His manager, a ubiquitous gentleman who seemed to be under the impression he was escorting the Holy Grail, somehow persuaded the camp authorities that his lively cargo’s cruise around the post should not be chronicled by the local press. At this the press became highly indignant. One correspondent, denied the privilege of speaking directly with the great man, reported uncharitably that Rooney’s face, off the screen, was as green as his suit….”
— From “Andy Hardy Comes to Camp” by Pvt. E. J. Kahn Jr. in The New Yorker (June 13, 1942)
According to the recent “The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney” by Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes, Rooney put on a much more winning performance in a sidetrip to meet the mother of Ava Gardner, to whom he was secretly married.