Chicago Vaudeville Remembered (Stage Magazine, 1935)
American journalist and radio personality Franklin P. Adams (1881 - 1960) recalled the high-water mark of Chicago's Vaudeville (with some detail) for the editors of STAGE MAGAZINE, a witty and highly glossy magazine that concerned all the goings-on in the American theater of the day:
"They were Continuous Variety Shows. They ran - at any rate at the Olympic Theatre, known in Chicago as the Big O - from 12:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m....While those days are often referred to as the Golden Days of Vaudeville, candor compels the admission that they were brimming with dross; that Vaudeville's standard in 1896 was no more aureate than musical comedy in 1935 is."
Click here to read a 1938 memoir by a Los Angeles 'Working Girl'.
Click here to read about a 1949 plan to bring Vaudeville back (it didn't work).
Henry Travers as 'Clarence the Guardian Angel' (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Ten years prior to being cast in the roll as George Baily's guardian angel, "Clarence", the actor Henry Travers (1874 – 1965) appeared in the Broadway play "You Can't Take it With You". Playing the part of "Grandpa Sycamore", he was singled out for praise by the editors of "Stage Magazine"; the review is attached herein.
American Playwright Lillian Hellman (Stage Magazine, 1939)
The attached profile of playwright Lillian Hellman (1905 – 1984) is accompanied by a rare photo of the thirty-four year old American writer, snapped shortly after the opening of her play, "The Little Foxes":
"Four seasons ago when 'The Children's Hour' was produced, that labeling which is the destiny of every important new playwright began. "Second Ibsen"..."American Strindberg"..."1934 Chekhov"...the rumors ran. In this finest example of Miss Hellman's highly individual contribution to the current theater, the Ibsen heritage seems most likely to win out."
In 1945 Hellman wrote about much of what she had seen on the W.W. II Soviet front; click here to read it
The W.W. I Plays of the Post-War Years (Stage Magazine, 1933)
A look at "What Price Glory?" and "Journey's End" and the new spirit that created these dramas.
"When R.C. Sheriff, nearly ten years after the Armistice, sat down to write an easy play for the amateurs of his boat club, he seems to have had no fixed notion as to what a play ought to be. The script of "Journey's End" shows a complete absence of strain..."
Click here to read an additional article concerning "Journeys End".
''The Plainsman'' by Cecil B. DeMille (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Why should a director risk it all with some anonymous film critic when a he is given the chance to review his own movie? With this thought in mind, Cecil B. DeMille (1883 - 1959) typed up his own thoughts concerning all his hard work on the 1937 film, The Plainsman, which starred Gary Cooper:
"I think 'The Plainsman' differs from any Western we have ever seen for many reasons"
- it is at this point in the article that DeMille rattles-off an extended laundry list
of reasons that illustrate the unique qualities of his Western. One of the unique aspects of the film mentioned only by publicists concerned the leading man Garry Cooper, who, being a skilled horseman from his Montana youth, chose to do most of his own riding stunts in the film, including the shot where he rode "hanging" between two horses.
Click here to read a 1927 review of Cecil B. De Mille's silent film, "King of Kings".
The Birth of Donald Duck (Stage Magazine, 1935)
The introduction of Donald Duck in Silly Symphony Number Thirteen had'em rolling in the isles, to be sure - and if you don't think so, here's proof from STAGE MAGAZINE's Helen G. Thompson:
"If you didn't see him in "The Orphan's Benefit", you missed the performance of the generation. Like Bergner's show, it ran for Donald the whole gamut of his emotions. Voted the toughest duck of the season, Long Island included, and now crashing Europe, a breathless American public awaits his acclaim. Will his fare be raspberries or chuckle-berries? Donald says whatever the decision, he'll fight."
*Watch a Clip From This Documentary About Walt Disney's Silly Symphony Series*
Summer Fashions (Stage Magazine, 1934)
Illustrated with three nifty black and white fashion illustrations, this critic lays it all on the line as to what the most exciting part of ladies fashions will be for the summer of 1934 - there is much talk of the Paris offerings from Marcelle Dormoy, hats by Tappe and smocks by Muriel King. However, no other fashionable bauble attracts her attention more than the concept of the net dress:
"The thing that everyone is going for now is net and, when you see that new net dresses, it is pretty hard to understand why this frivolous fabric was forgotten so long. It is being made into dresses and jacket dresses which are called cafe clothes; street-length skirts and crisp, starchy necklines and usually, short sleeves, each with its individual brand of ingenuity."
Click here to read an article about the nature of adultery.
The Coronation of George VI (Stage Magazine, 1937)
An article by Rebecca West (1892 – 1983) in which she listed an enormous number of reasons as to why May 12, 1937 (the coronation date for George VI) will not be a good day to be in London. From time to time throughout the article she throws-in some bon mots:
"This is a crucifixion as well as a coronation. The best kings we have ever had have been Queens, and every year Kingship becomes less and less suitable for a man. A constitutional monarch has constantly to behave as if he were a mindless puppet in circumstances which would prove fatal to everybody, including himself, if he really were a mindless puppet."
The King's Speech
Shooting Scenes Between Air Raids (Stage Magazine, 1940)
An article about director Gabriel Pascal (1894 – 1954) and all the assorted difficulties set before him, his cast and his crew while filming George Bernard Shaw's "Major Barbara" during the bombing of England in 1940.
Much of the article is composed of diary entries by an anonymous member of the cast:
"After dinner we had a script conference off the lot and kept on working through the air raid sirens, relieved to be away from the studio discipline. Tonight the sky was one vast blaze of searchlights, and no sleep for anyone. It's tough staying up all night and trying to work between raids all day..."
Warner Brothers Opens Fire on Nazi Germany (Stage Magazine, 1939)
STAGE MAGAZINE correspondent Katherine Best was not shy about giving credit where credit was due, as you will read in this article that stands as one big pat on the back for the producers at Warner Brother's for possessing the testicular fortitude needed to launch the first anti-Nazi movie in Hollywood: Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939).
In October of 1940, Charlie Chaplin released his anti-fascist masterpiece: The Great Dictator. Click here to read about that.
April 7, 1933: 3.2 Beer Returns (Stage Magazine, 1933)
This cartoon was created to mark April 7, 1933 - the day real beer was once again permitted to be sold across the country; from sea to shinning sea, one million barrels of the amber liquid was consumed by the citizens of a grateful nation.
Click here to see how weird the first car radios looked.
Irving Berlin (Stage Magazine, 1938)
"Irving Berlin (1888 – 1989) - publisher, key-polisher, apostle of melody, toast of the 'teens -holds his own in the dissonant nineteen-thirties."
''The Thin Man'' (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Attached is an article by "One Take Woody" (Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke, Jr. 1889 – 1943) on the topic of the two Thin Man films he had directed:
"Looking back into the infinite past, I seem to recall that a certain motion picture was made and that I had something to do with it. It stirs restlessly in my memory, for it was immediately seized by the theater public as a new cycle in screen entertainment. In Hollywood, things are often done in cycles - gangster cycles, G-man cycles, historical romances, sea stuff,even Shakespeare. Somebody starts it and others fall in line to catch the shekels that bounce to the floor after the first jack pot."
Click here to read an article about Dashiell Hammett.
Sean O'Casey: Laborer, Playwright, Poet (Stage Magazine, 1934)
Drama critic Ruth Woodbury Sedgwick interviewed Irish playwright Seán O'Casey
(1880 – 1964) for the November, 1934, issue of STAGE MAGAZINE and wrote this piece which clearly illustrated his art and politics.
American Dominance in 1930s Film (Stage Magazine, 1939)
The editors of STAGE MAGAZINE were dumbfounded when they considered that just ten years after audiences got an earful from the first sound movies, the most consistent characteristic to have been maintained throughout that decade was the box-office dominance of American movie stars, directors and writers. After naming the most prominent of 1930s U.S. movie stars the author declares with certainty that this could not have been an accident.
MODERN TIMES (Stage Magazine, 1936)
"The world, with the exception of those bright eyed youngsters under the age of five, has waited pretty breathlessly for the reappearance of a forlorn little figure in a derby, baggy trousers, and disreputable shoes. The fact that his reappearance was to be under the sinister title, MODERN TIMES alarmed not a few of us.This hapless creature, whose name by the way, is Charlie Chaplin, had come to mean an unchangeable element to us...Disguised in current mechanistic ingenuity, veiled in lukewarm disapproval of the plight of the working man, and tinted a slight shade of Red, it remain, delightfully and irrevocably, Chaplin.
William Saroyan on William Saroyan (Stage Magazine, 1940)
"Hundreds of thousands of people regard me, I believe, as something of a success: A well-dressed, well-fed young writer, famous for his ties, who has moved upward and forward in the world of letters with a speed veering on the imperceptible; an Oriental whose name has become a word in the English language."
SAROYAN, n., one with money, a gentleman, a scholar, an artist; v., to slay, butcher, club, strafe, bombard, or cause to spin; adj., pleasing, ill-mannered, gallant; prep., near-by, within, over, under, toward.
"What, however, is the inside story? What is the truth? Who is the real Saroyan? Is he a success or a failure? I will go over the entire saga from there to here chronologically..."
Click here to read a Saroyan book review.
Munchkin Gossip (Stage Magazine, 1939)
From the "Hot From Hollywood" page in STAGE MAGAZINE came this tidbit reporting on the curious events taking place on the sets of 'The Wizard of Oz':
"The cast was extraordinary, from the stars Frank Morgan, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley to Toto, the Carin Terrier. But of them all, the most utterly enchanting were the midgets, two hundred and twenty-five of them, with their doll faces, their plastered hair that looked as though it had been painted on their heads, the little felt flowers that grew out of their shoes, the bells that jingled from their sleeves. They, of course, were in costume for the good little Munchkins."
* 70 Years Later Five Surviving Munchkins Remember Their Rolls*
Dr. Seuss Tried His Hand at Grown-Up Fiction (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel: 1904 – 1991) was all of 33 years of age when this one page piece of fiction appeared in THE STAGE MAGAZINE; that same year his first book went to press, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.
The article is illustrated by one of his delightful drawings that future generations would come to know so well.
Television with All It's Possibilities (Stage Magazine, 1939)
There wasn't a single soul in 1939 would have imagined that television would be the sort of venue that would allow millions of strangers to see Tyra Banks get a breast exam, but that is the kind of institution it has become.
STAGE MAGAZINE correspondent Alan Rinehart was astonished that so much dough was being invested in such a young industry, yet he recognized that T.V. was capable of much good, but was also capable of generating the kind of banality that we're used to.
"What then, will be the entertainment value of television?...What's to be the entertainment? Why should we tune in? Will we get more than we will on the radio?...The revolutionary idea about television is that the medium has been developed before the art. It's as if the piano had been invented before music, or paint and canvas before drawing."
When Prestige was Thrust Upon Hollywood's ''Cameramen'' (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Shortly before this article went to press, that particular member of the Hollywood film crew called "the director of photography" (DP) was treated a wee-bit better than other crew members were likely to be treated (but not that much better). Granted, the director and producer knew his name and his body of work - but his screen credit was still mixed among all the other names of the crew (if listed at all) - and this article points out that much of that changed in the late 1930s.
When film stock improved in quality and sound became clearer, movies became sleeker - and as a result movie stars with power began to name the DPs they wanted to work with. With this new-found status, the DP (formerly known as "cameramen") found that perks were on the rise. Today the DP is very much a separate entity from all other department heads; the title is listed among the "above the liners" - director and stars, with far greater pay, per diem, and hotel accommodations.
A Profile of Cary Grant (Stage Magazine, 1939)
A fabulous three page article from STAGE MAGAZINE on the early career of Cary Grant:
"Cary Grant appeared in six Broadway productions and twenty-seven Hollywood pictures before anybody took notice. Then he played a dead man."
Versailles Treaty Conference Spoofed on Stage (Stage Magazine, 1933)
One of the summer offerings of 1933 was the stage production of 'Peace Palace' by Emil Ludwig (1881 - 1948). Posted here is a review of the production along with a black and white photograph of the cast in full costume and recognizable make-up.
What's Next for Eugene O'Neill? (Stage Magazine, 1935)
STAGE editor Hiram Motherwell (1888 – 1945) examined the meteoric rise of playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888 – 1953) and asked, 'What can he do next?'
"Eugene O'Neill is now forty-seven. His plays have just been enshrined in the "definitive edition," handsome, ingratiating, expensive. They are probably more widely discussed than those of any other living playwright. They have been produced in almost every city from Moscow west to Tokyo. They have been translated into more languages. And yet it is evident that O'Neil, standing on the crest of this superb eminence, has completed a cycle; come to a momentous turning in the path his creative genius has followed. Where will the path lead?"
Social Issues in Movies (Stage Magazine, 1938)
Aren't you tired of Hollywood's socio-political rantings?
•Nuclear power................They're against it ("The China Syndrome").
•Antisemitism...................They're against it ("Gentleman's Agreement").
•Alcoholism......................They're against it ("Lost Weekend").
•Racial segregation...........They're against it, but in 1915 they were for it ("Birth of a Nation").
One glance at this 1939 article and you'll be able to blame it all on the poet Archibald McLeish (1892 – 1982) who clearly advocated for political posturing in American movies.
No doubt, McLeish must have been very happy when Warner Brothers released Confessions of a Nazi Spy in April of 1939; it was the first Hollywood film to take a swipe at the Nazi war machine.
Shirley Temple Sheds a Baby Tooth! (Stage Magazine, 1935)
Child movie star Shirley Temple (1928 - 2014) was by no means at her box-office peak when this article was penned (her most popular period would span the years 1936 through 1938), but the institution that she had become by 1935 had already built many second homes and an assorted number of mansions for more than a few well-placed studio executives and mogul types. When the news hit the palmy, sun-soaked boulevards of Hollywood that she had lost her first baby tooth, there was panic!
"That the end now shows unmistakable signs of beginning. That first baby tooth fell to the studio floor with a crash heard 'round the world....Yet, even as as the nabobs of Fox stood about applauding and cooing, the cold hand of fear must have gripped their kindly hearts."
Click here to read a 1939 profile of Shirley Temple.
Noël Coward (Stage Magazine, 1933)
Noël Coward (1899 – 1973) "was simply the best all-rounder of the theatrical, literary and musical worlds of the 20th century. He invented the concept of celebrity and was the essence of chic in the Jazz Age of the 20s and 30s. His debonair looks and stylishly groomed appearance made him the icon of 'the Bright Young Things' that inhabited the world of The Ivy, The Savoy and The Ritz. No one is totally sure when and why it happened but following his success in the 1930s he was called 'The Master', a nickname of honor that indicated the level of his talent and achievement in so many of the entertainment arts." -so say the old salts at NoelCoward.net, and they should know because they have a good deal more time to think about him than we do.
The attached article was no doubt written by one of his many groupies for a swank American theater magazine following the successful New York premiere of his play "Design for Living":
Elsa Maxwell kept the party going during the Great Depression...
*Watch a 1955 Clip of Noël Coward Performing 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen'*
Remembering Alma Gluck (Stage Magazine, 1938)
Marking the occasion of the untimely death of American soprano Alma Gluck (born Reba Feinsohn; 1884 - 1938), music critic Samuel Chotzinoff wrote this essay in which he recalled witnessing the first meeting between Gluck and her (second) husband Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. (1890 - 1985) at the absolute height of her fame in 1911. The remembrance continues as Chotzinoff labels that era as being the 'golden age of vocalists' and recalls many of the finest qualities of her talent:
"It was quite impossible to talk about her voice as distinct from her personality. Any analysis of her art had to be based on the inseparableness of the singer and the voice. Even when she sang coloratura, the florid phrases were tinged with the personality of the artist."
New York City Bars at Four in the Morning... (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Tickled by the New York laws that prohibited bars from serving spirits between the hours of 4:00 to 8:00 a.m., this correspondent for Stage Magazine, Stanley Walker, sallied forth into the pre-dawn darkness of a 1937 Manhattan wondering what kind of gin mills violate such dictates. He described well what those hours mean for most of humanity and then begins his catalog of establishments, both high and low, that cater to night crawlers.
"For something a shade rougher, more informal, smokier: Nick's Tavern, at 140 Seventh Avenue South [the building went the way of Penn Station long ago], dark and smoky, with good food and carrying on in the artistic traditions of the old speakeasies."
Click here to read about the arrest and conviction of New York's high society bootleggers.
Benny Goodman, The King of Swing, on Park Avenue (Stage Magazine, 1938)
To mark the momentous occasion of Benny Goodman and his Band performing for the 'corsage clique' on Park Avenue in 1938, 'the King of Swing' wrote this short essay concerning all his good work and the enjoyment that it brought to the Jitterbuggers of the world:
"Swing is violent, at least so they tell me. But I'm willing to bet that Society is going to toss aside its toppers and tippers and really cut loose. They'll all come slumming and stay for dancing."
*Watch Benny Goodman Swing It in this Short Clip*
Broadway Costume Design for the Fall (Stage Magazine, 1933)
In his review of contemporary Broadway costume design for the Autumn of 1933, the fashion journalist asked the pressing question:
"What is the well-dressed play wearing these days?"
There was much talk of Chanel, Schiaparelli and the House of (Elizabeth) Hawes as he heaped the praises high and deep for the the rag-pickers who clothed the ungrateful actresses for such productions as "Men in White", "Undesirable Lady", "Her Master's Voice" and "Heat Lightning".
"The fashions in the plays are vivid, authentic, and wearable. They have sprung from the gifted brains and fingers of the cream of the crop of designers, Schiaparelli and Chanel in Paris, and our own industrious Americans who, themselves, are becoming hardy annuals. The silhouette is lengthening into slim height but even in sports clothes corners are rounded and curves are accentuated..."
More Peer Adoration for Walt Disney (Stage Magazine, 1938)
The attached article was first seen during a time when a "Palm Award", granted by the editors of "Stage Magazine", was a reliable form of social currency and would actually serve the highly favored recipients in such a grand manner as to allow them brief respites at dining tables found at swank watering holes as New York's Twenty-One Club and El Morocco.
Today, a "Palm Award", plus four dollars, will get you a medium-sized cappuccino at Starbucks. Walt Disney was awarded a "Palm" in 1938 for his achievement in producing "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
A Word on New York Waiters (Stage Magazine, 1939)
Waiters are to New York City what lobbyists are to Washington and celebrated illustrator, author and all-around foodie Ludwig Bemelmans (1898 – 1962) had some thoughts on this very diverse group:
"New York is full of waiters, Chinese, American, Congo, French, Italian and German waiters, Jewish and Christian waiters, Vegetarian and Greek waiters, many good waiters, many bad waiters."
Click here to read an article by Benny Goodman concerning the arrival of Swing on Park Ave.
Ignaz Paderewski (Stage Magazine, 1939)
Here is an article on the last American concert tour of Polish pianist (and composer, diplomat and politician) Ignaz Jan Paderewski (1860 - 1941). The article concentrates on the amount of money pulled-in by the performer, both on this tour as well as previous ones; his legendary generosity and his monumental reputation.
Click here to read more about Paderewski and other pianists of 1915...
Click here to see what the first car radios look like.
Sweet Words for Maestro Toscanini (Stage Magazine, 1938)
(1867 – 1957) is believed to have been the greatest conductor of the Twentieth Century. He was bestowed with a 'Palm Award' by the well-meaning swells at the now defunct "Stage Magazine" during the summer of 1938. This article appeared during a time when a "Palm Award", granted by such a crew was a reliable form of social currency and would actually serve the highly favored recipients in such a grand manner as to allow them brief respites at dining tables found at such watering holes as New York's Stork Club. Nowadays, one "Palm Award" and one dollar and fifty cents will afford you a ride on the Los Angeles City subway system (one way).
The attached article explains why Maestro Toscanini had met all requirements for this award.
*Watch an Arturo Toscanini Film Clip*
Lillian Gish Recalls ''The Birth of a Nation'' (Stage Magazine, 1937)
Twenty-two years after wrap was called on the set of "The Birth of a Nation", leading lady Lillian Gish (1893 - 1993), put pen to paper and wrote this reminiscence about her days on the set with D.W. Griffith:
"In 'Birth of a Nation' we used as many as six hundred people, and the complete cost of the picture was ninety-one thousand dollars. It was the first motion picture to run for two hours, and to be shown in a legitimate theater twice a day at theater prices... D.W. Griffith had his reward however, when President Wilson saw it at the White House and said, 'It is like writing history with lightening, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.'"
*Watch the Trailer for BIRTH of a NATION*
Donald Budge: 1940s Tennis Champ (Stage Magazine, 1939)
An article about Donald Budge (1915 – 2000), an American tennis champ active in the late 1930s who was ranked the World's Number 1 player for five years, first as an amateur player and then as a pro. This article appeared in print in 1939, when the player's best days were behind him.
"Kids in California, in some parts of which you can actually heave a rock at a bird without breaking a window, regard tennis as part of their birthright....Budge started at the age of nine. Moreover, out there tennis is not a rich man's game. If it had been, we shouldn't have had Budge, with his clean sweep of all the amateur honors of the world, from Davis Cup to Wimbledon and Forest Lawn."
Newsreels at the Movies (Stage Magazine, 1936)
The journalist who wrote this 1938 piece saw much good in theater newsreels, believing that "the newsreel encourages a keener sense of the present and imprisons it for history." He doesn't refer to any of the prominent newsreel production houses of the day, such as "Fox Movietone", "Hearst Metrotone", "Warner-Pathe" or "News of the Day" but rather prefers instead to wax poetic about the general good that newsreels perform and the services rendered. This newsreel advocate presented the reader with a long, amusing list of kings, dictators and presidents and what they thought of having their images recorded.
Click here to read an article about the MARCH of TIME newsreels.
Click here to read articles about Marilyn Monroe.
*Click Here to Watch a 1940s Newsreel About the Bombing of Berlin*
Robert Benchley, Humorist (Stage Magazine, 1934)
NEW YORKER theater critic, columnist, actor and Algonquin wit Robert Benchley (1889 – 1945) was interviewed for STAGE MAGAZINE and photographed by theater shutter-bug Ben Pinchot:
"Sometimes he writes digests of the news which The NEW YORKER calls "The Wayward Press" and signs them Guy Fawkes for some quaint reason..."
How the Academy Award Got Nicknamed 'Oscar' (Stage Magazine, 1938)
If you've been wondering how the Academy Awards came to be known more popularly as "Oscar" and you think that the answer simply has to be bathed in an endless amount of "Hollywood Glamour", involving a boat-load beautifully tailored, charming and overly talented matinee idols, you'd better hit the 'ol back browser button now.
American Dominance in Pop-Culture (Stage Magazine, 1939)
The editors of Stage magazine were dumbfounded when they considered that just ten years after audiences got an earful from the first sound movies, the most consistent characteristic to have been maintained throughout that decade was the box-office dominance of American movie stars, directors and writers. After naming the most prominent of 1930s U.S. movie stars the author declares with certainty that this could not have been an accident.
"And the Movies: all them stories, all them fables, all them beautiful women,all them amazing children: Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Jane Withers, Jackie Searl,and the others. Even Europe in the movies is America. Even Charlie Chan is American. Even Mr. Moto is American. Even war in the movies is American, instead of neurotic. And the newsreels: the style of them,the energy and comedy of them: the imitativeness, the invention, and absurdity of them for the sake of comedy. America made these entertainers,and now, very naturally, they are making America."
Anticipating the Television Juggernaut (Stage Magazine, 1939)
This 1939 article was written by a wise old sage who probably hadn't spent much time with a "television set" but recognized fully the tremor that it was likely to cause in the world of pop-culture:
"Of all the brats, legitimate and otherwise, sired of the entertainment business, the youngest, television, looks as if it would be the hardest to raise and to housebreak..."
Click here to read about the early Christian broadcasts of televangelist Oral Roberts...
'Porgy & Bess' (Stage Magazine, 1935)
Music critic and scholar Isaac Goldberg (1887 - 1938) reviewed the opening performance of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" for the editors of STAGE MAGAZINE:
"Why the Jew of the North should, in time, take up the song of the Southern Negro and fuse into a typically American product is an involved question. Perhaps, underneath the jazz rhythms and the general unconventionality of musical process lies the common history of an oppressed minority, and an ultimately Oriental origin. In any case, the human focus of this particular type of musical Americanism has been, from the very first notes, George Gershwin."
*Listen to a 1935 Recording of Lawrence Tibbett Performing an Aria from PORGY and BESS*
Clare Boothe: The Woman Behind ''The Women'' (Stage Magazine, 1938)
The following STAGE MAGAZINE article by American playwright Clare Boothe (Clare Boothe Luce 1903 – 1987) appeared in print shortly after the successful opening of her play, "The Women":
"Of course, writing plays wasn't exactly a flash of genius. I mean I am shewed in spots...But inspiration or calculation, it was frightfully lucky that I hit on writing plays, wasn't it? And it was so wonderfully fortunate that quite a lot of people that I'd met socially on Park Avenue, at very exclusive parties, people like cowboys, cooks, manicurists, nurses, hat-check girls, fitters, exchorines, declasses countesses, Westport intellectuals, Hollywood producers Southern girls and radical columnists, gave me such lovely material to write about."
Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York nightclubs of 1937.
High Society Ladies' Rooms (Stage Magazine, 1937)
The New York café society of the Thirties was well documented by such swells as Cole Porter and Peter Arno - not so well-known, however, were the goings-on in the ladies' bathrooms at such swank watering holes as El Morocco, Twenty-One, Kit Kat, Crystal Garden and the famed Stork Club. That is why these columns are so vital to the march of history - written by a noble scribe who braved the icy waters of Lake Taboo to report on the conversations and the general appearance of each of these "dressing rooms".
"The Rainbow Room, Waldorf, and Crystal Garden are modern and show a decorators hand, but the only really plush dressing room we know is at Twenty-One."
"Strangely enough, it doesn't matter whether it's the ladies' room of El Morocco, Roseland, or a tea room; the same things are said in all of them. First hair, then men, then clothes; those are the three favorite topics of conversation in the order of their importance."
The Oscars: Hollywoods Self-Adoration Fest (Stage Magazine, 1938)
A tongue-in-cheek magazine article from 1938 about The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and their annual gala devoted to over-confidence, "the Oscars". Written eleven years after the very first Academy Award ceremony, and published in a magazine that catered to New York theater lovers, the article was penned by an unidentified correspondent who was not very impressed by the whole affair but managed to present a thorough history of the award nonetheless.
Director Frank Capra was awarded his third trophy at the 1938 Oscars...
The Marx Brothers & the Joke Development Process (Stage Magazine, 1937)
A late Thirties article by Teet Carle (the old publicist for MGM) on how the brothers Marx figured out which gag created the biggest laughs; a few words about how the movies were tested in various cities prior to each release and how assorted jokes were recited to all manner of passersby for their effect.
Click here to read a 1951 article that Harpo Marx wrote about Groucho.
Mickey Mouse: Goodwill Ambassador (Stage Magazine, 1935)
Seven years after his film debut in Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse continued to pack the theaters of the world. Prior to the release of Disney's animated film,"William Tell", STAGE MAGAZINE correspondent Katherine Best was rightfully in awe over the world-wide popularity the rodent was enjoying and at the time this essay appeared in print, he had already been seen in over sixty cartoons.
The Advance on the Rhineland and Other Forebodings (Stage Magazine, 1936)
One of the very few literati who recognized what a German military presence in the Rhineland meant was a one legged American veteran of the last war named Laurence Stallings (1894 - 1968). This article appeared to be about the great benefit afforded to us all by hard working photo-journalists who supplied us daily with compelling images of various far-flung events, but it was in all actuality a warning to our grand parents that the world was becoming a more dangerous place.
"I think the unforgettable picture of the month will come from shots stolen near a French farmhouse by Strasbourg, when the French were countering Hitler's move into the Rhineland...Routine were the crustacean stares of the Italian children in gas masks last week, where they practiced first aid against chlorine and mustard barrages..."