Young Dorothy Metzger had always dreamed of being a singer. She was 17 and barely out of high school, when she got her big break– hired to perform at Boston’s popular Cocoanut Grove nightclub. She took the name Dotty Myles. The audience loved her. This was in late November 1942, relaxing in her dressing room, she suddenly heard people screaming “fire”!  Flames were everywhere as she tried to escape, but she could not. Dotty suffered burns over half of her body, including her face and hands. 490 people died at the Cocoanut Grove that night.  20 plastic surgeries later – people doubted she would ever work again.  Newspapers followed her progress, and her fans cheered her on.  By the mid-40s, she became a radio singer, and her voice was heard often on WBZ.  Thanks to radio, she didn’t have to worry about her scars, and she could do what she loved best… entertain an audience.

Comments (2)
  1. Bridget says:

    I heard this commercial for WBZ Radio yesterday and was appalled. I think I understand what you were trying to convey but the message that I heard instead was that people with scars are too ugly to perform in public and should hide on the radio. The last sentence, “Thanks to radio, she didn’t have to worry about her scars, and she could do what she loved best… entertain an audience.” caused my jaw to drop. I hope this was not what you intended and that you rethink the message you promote on a public airway.

    1. Glen says:

      Bridget, I have recently read the books Cocoanut Grove and The Burn Unit. I honestly believe that the message had nothing to do with anyone but this young lady. The Cocoanut Grove tragedy catapulted hospitals into a new frontier of burn management, and unfortunately Ms. Myles was on the front lines. In the story, she was terrified her dream was over. She sang and played piano. The fire had ravaged her beautiful face and hands,not to mention the unimaginable psychological demons she had to face. Due to limited technology of 1942, they did the best they could.

      When I read this, I smiled. I thought” you did it girl.” Radio was a way for her to overcome her disability. She didn’t give up, she loved to entertain people and that’s just what she did. I don’t know you and my opinion is just a different perspective..but to me this is a story of triumph.

      I hate to think it would immediately be assumed that the radio’s message was for people with scars to hide from the world. That’s ridiculous! BUT you can’t foresee everyone’s interpretation of information, I guess. It’s impossible to make EVERYONE happy.

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