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Critical Moments

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Second thinking, the art of being right after the results of an event in question have come to their natural conclusion, is great sport and especially delightful if you are one of those "I told you so" fellows; and who isn’t?

Now that the Spring, 1934, legitimate theatrical season is about over it is a most propitious time to see how this column came out on its ability to fathom the likes of theatre goers. A morning spent at the files brings to light a combination of good and bad guesses concerning the probable success of shows that leads me to believe that if you want to be considered an astute critic all you need do is say that every show is terrible, a certain flop and an outrage. You may be wrong some of the time but your batting average will be like Babe Ruth’s.


As far as this column went and according to a number of people who like to write letters, it went much too far, most mistakes were made on the side of mercy. I did find that in writing about "Tobacco Road" I said that the play would not last because it was unpleasant. That remark was made last Fall and the play is still running. In the case of "Dods-worth," I ventured the opinion that the dramatization of Sinclair Lewis’s novel was feeble stuff and would not stick. According to Variety the play is leading all other productions in gross receipts each week. "The Wind and the Rain" was another play that I thought should be left off your list but that too clicked after a fashion, as did "No More Ladies" a play that seemed very much over-rated but which has played 125 performances and there is a likelihood that it will continue through the summer.

On the side of mercy I made most of my mistakes. "Wednesday Child" was to me a sensitive appealing play and a sure hit but it closed after but five or six weeks. "The Shattered Lamp," "Yellow Jack" which closed last night, "They Shall Not Die," and "Gentlewoman," all called for purple passages from this typewriter but not any of these pieces gladdened the hearts of their producers. The other raves proved correct and the dismissals which were the rule made the average respectable.


Hal Skelly, one of the better comedians will make his debut as a producer when he brings "Come What May" into the Plymouth Theatre next Tuesday night. Mr. Skelly who played in "Whitey" a few months ago with little success will play one of the leading roles in this new venture. Mary Philips will be his leading lady. The play deals with a mid-western typical American family and traces the lives of these people through a period of thirty years.

Kenneth Shaw who has a "walk-on" part in "I, Myself" which opened at the Mansfield the other night, was until a few weeks ago earning a living rolling tennis courts…..Fifty rabbis and ministers representing all the church denominations in New York attended this show. Their reaction to the piece has not as yet been made public….Ida Lublenski who courageously still admits that she is the author and producer of "Love Kills" which goes on at the Forrest Theatre has offered a prize of $25.00 to the female who will send her the most constructive criticism of the play…. "Desert Song" will be the offering this week at the St. James Theatre. It follows "The Chocolate Soldier." A new ballot was introduced by Patricia Bowman in the "Ziegfeld Follies" last week. Samuel Pokrass wrote the music.


"Romance in Budapest" is the feature at the 55th Street Theatre this week. It is a Hungarian screen operetta, directed by the creator of "Two Hearts in Waltz Time," and taken in Hungary. There are English titles to explain this simple romantic story of a Hungarian peasant girl on her first visit to Budapest. A delightful film….

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