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Critical Moments

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After what he thought were too many years doing nothing more than getting items in the paper about other people’s lives and work, Nathan Zatkin has finally decided to step out on his own. In terms unmistakable he personally announced that he will produce a revival of Henrik Ibsen’s famous “The Lady From the Sea.” In fact he has done more than merely announce another Ibsen; he is already hard at work. The play, which will be directed by John Houseman, is actually in rehearsal and Richard Whorf and Gertrude Elynn have been cast in leading roles.


I don’t think Zatkin will thank me for some of the following, but I can’t resist the temptation to tell all. Nathan, as we call him in our softer moments, has had what is quaintly called a “checkered career.” When I first met him he was doing publicity for a lawyer in Mexico who was anxious to separate dissatisfied wives from equally unhappy husbands through the modern device of divorce. Zatkin did not have to go about looking for breaking couples but simply had to keep the name of his great divider in the public prints. After publicizing this accommodating fellow Zatkin conceived the idea of writing a book dealing with the various methods of procuring a divorce, but like so many other well-laid plans nothing ever happened.

Once Zatkin conceived the bright idea of organizing all the sandwichmen in New York City into, a union and, through this organization, keeping the wages of these walking sign-posts up to a standard, but before he could get started he received a call to join the Eva Le Gallienne Civic Repertory Theatre. He stayed with that troupe until Miss Le Gallienne won the award as one of the outstanding women of America. Recently Zatkin has been associated with “Four Saints in Three Acts” and for that strange production which, incidentally, still carries on, he did one of the best press jobs turned out on Broadway.


The Ben Hecht-Gene Fowled play, “The Great Magoo,” Which was purchased by Paramount, will be called “Thank Your Stars.” It should make a very funny picture. Ben Bernie and band, Jack Oakie and Alison Skipworth are the featured players…. Herod, King of Judaea, will be played by Joseph Schildkraut when “Cleopatra” comes to the screen….


John Howard Lawson, who went through the torture of seeing two of his plays in one week fail to make the Broadway grade, is already at work on another…. “House of Remsen,” which opened at the Henry Miller Theatre the other night, is another one of those plays in which a good idea is lost in a maize of plot. This one by Nicholas Soussanin and William J. Perlman tells what happens to a father when he gets a bit mixed up on the legitimacy of his wife’s children. It really isn’t too bad but fails to hold your attention….

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