A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, Cubs, Otters, and Other Guys. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Orla Muff, “Nana”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 45.1 x 55.3 cm, Private Collection
Born in April of 1903 in Copenhagen, Orla Andreas Heinrik Jacobsen was a Danish painter and illustrator. From 1917 to 1921, he received his formal art education at the Copenhagen Technical School under Carl Lund, the leading theatrical artist of the time. In 1917, he adopted a change in name to Orla Muff.
In 1918, Muff was awarded a distinguished seat at the Day’s Drawing Concourse, an event held by Children’s Aid, and had his firstdrawing printed on a postcard. In the same year he drew one hundred different illustrations depicting gnomes for a series of postcards, which was released in large editions several times. Muff’s illustrationsfor the early postcards were signed with an intertwined O and J standing for Orla Jacobsen. He continued to design postcards until the late 1960s; these later works were signed with Orla Muff.
After his studies with Carl Lund, Orla Muff began a period of travel through Europe where he studied in Sweden, Holland, France and Germany. He achieved acclaim early in his career as a designer of elaborate Art Deco styled sets for prominent European revues and theatrical productions. Included among these designs were sets for performances at Copenhagen’s Folk Theater, Austrian-born theatrical producer Max Reinhardt’s Theater in Berlin, and Norway’s Mayol Theater in Oslo.
In addition to his set designs, Muff began easel painting in the early 1930s; he created portraits, figurative works, and abstract paintings. His work is characterized by a refined sophistication and a predominantly light-toned color scale. Muff’s abstract compositions, executed in the styles of the Art Deco and Cubist movements, often contain mythologically inspired figures set in largely monochromatic backgrounds.
Painted in his early thirties, Orla Muff’s 1934 “Nana” is an Art Deco derived, Expressionist oil portrait of a young, high-spirited woman, shown smoking a cigarette and set against a mottled turquoise background. Muff’s use of strong lighting effects produced a dramatic and psychologically penetrating portrait of this young woman.
During the course of his career, Orla Muff exhibited successfully in many European exhibitions and was the recipient of juried awards and prizes. Among his notable works are “Leda and the Swan” exhibited in 1940; the 1940 oil on canvas “Tropical Jungle Women”; a 1947 series of wooden sculptural figures based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales;a 1957 series of illustrations from the Bible for use in films; and posters, costume designs, and theater decorations executed in 1921 and 1922for performances of Anderson’s tales at the Mayol Theater in Oslo.
Orla Muff died in the city of Copenhagen in December of 1984. A small collection of personal correspondence from Orla Muff to Dr. Raymond Piper, as well as a photo of the artist and photos of Muff’s artwork, can be found in the Special Collections of the University of West Georgia.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in November of 1889, Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck, known professionally as Clifton Webb, was an American actor, dancer and singer. He is known for his roles in films, his Broadway appearances in successful musicals, and for his stage appearances in the plays of English playwright and actor Sir Noël Coward.
Clifton Webb was the only child of Jacob Hollenbeck, a ticket-clerk for the Indianapolis- St. Louis Railroad, and Mabel Parmelee, the daughter of a railroad conductor. In 1891, the couple separated and Mabel took young Webb with her to New York City in 1892. After the divorce was finalized, Mabel married Green B. Raum, Jr., a copper-foundry worker andthe son of a former U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; the new family settled in New York City on West 77th Street.
Webb, at the age of five, began dancing lessons; two years later, he made his official debut in Carnegie Hall as a member of the Children’s Theater in a performance of Canadian author Palmer Cox’schildren series “The Brownies”. This was followed with a vaudeville tour in which Webbappeared in “The Master of Charlton Hall” and performed as Oliver in “Oliver Twist” and as Tom Sawyer in “Huckleberry Finn”. As a young teenager, he studied painting with Realist artist Robert Henri, a pioneer of the Ashcan School, and music with French operatic baritone Victor Maurel. His studies with Maurel led to Webb’s debut in 1906 with Boston’s Aborn Opera Company’s production of Ambroise Thomas’s “Mignon”.
Returning to New York, Clifton Webb teamed with Mae Murray in a ballroom dance act; they toured a chain of vaudeville theaters known as the Keith Circuit and performed in Manhattan restaurants. Webb had his Broadway debut in April of 1913 with the premiere of “The Purple Road” at the Liberty Theater, in which he played the role of Bosco for one hundred-thirty six performances. Between 1913 and 1917, Webb was continually on the Broadway stage and appeared in such vehicles as Sigmund Romberg’s “Dancing Around”, Ned Waybum’s all-star revue “Town Topics” , and Cole Porter’s comic opera “See America First”.
In 1917, Webb was the sensuous dancing star of “Love O’Mike”, a musical comedy produced by Lee Shubert and Elisabeth Marbury, a theatrical agent who lived in an open relationship with actress and famous interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe, also known as Lady Mendl. By the middle of the 1920s, Webb was one of Broadway’s highest-paid stars and reached his apex with the 1930 “Three’s a Crowd” and the very successful 1933 “As Thousands Cheered”, which featured the steamy torch song “Moanin’ Low” sung by Webb and actress Libby Holman.
In 1935, Webb relocated to Hollywood where Metro Goldwyn Mayer, who hoped to make Webb a successful dancing star like RKO’s Fred Astaire, gave him an eighteen-month contract at three-thousand dollars a week. He was to star opposite Joan Crawford in a musical entitled “Elegance”; the picture was abandoned, however, Webb was paid all his money. For the next eighteen months, he was not offered any work but made many high-profile social appearances. He often appeared wearing white gloves and a top hat, with his mother Mabel on his arm and his poodle Ernest, after Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”, trailing behind on a leash.
In 1938, Clifton Webb returned to New York’s Broadway in “You Never Know”, written by his longtime friend Cole Porter. The stage version of “The Man Who Came to Dinner”, starring the stage and film actor Monty Woolley, premiered in the fall of 1939. Webb was cast as the acidic character Sheridan Whiteside for its touring version, a role in which he remained for eighteen months. In 1941, he played the character Charles Condomine, a successful novelist curious about seances,in the initial performances of Noël Coward’s comic play “Blithe Spirit”.
Webb is probably best known today for his many film appearances. In his mid-fifties, he was chosen by director Otto Preminger, despite objections from 20th Century Fox’s Darryl Zanuck who though Webb too effeminate, to play the evil radio columnist Waldo Lydecker in the 1944 film noir “Laura”. Webb’s performance won him wide acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The Fox Studio signed him to a long-term contract, which provided Webb with work for the rest of his career. His first role under contract was as a suave villain in Henry Hathaway’s 1946 film noir “Dark Corner”. This was followed with his role of elitist Elliott Templeton, playing opposite Gene Tieeney, in the 1946 “The Razor’s Edge” for which he received another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Clifton Webb achieved stardom with his role of Mr. Belvedere, a snide know-it-all babysitter with a mysterious past,in the 1948 comedy film “Sitting Pretty”, based on the 1947 novel “Belvedere” by Gwen Davenport. This role became so popular that it was followed with two sequels: the 1949 box office success “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College” and the 1951 “Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell”.In 1950, Webb and actress Myrna Loy played the roles of efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, the parents of twelve children, in the film “Cheaper by the Dozen” which made Webb one of the biggest stars in the United States.
In addition to these comedic films, Webb played more serious character roles for 20th Century Fox. He starred in the 1952 Technicolor film biography of bandmaster John Phillip Sousa entitled “Stars and Stripes Forever”. Webb’s most dramatic role was the brave but doomed husband of Barbara Stanwyck’s Julia Sturges in the 1953 “Titanic”, the winner of the 1954 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The following year, he appeared as the novelist John Frederick Shadwell in the romance film “Three Coins in the Fountain”. Webb appeared in the 1956 British war film “The Man Who Never Was”, based on the Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II, and as a sarcastic but self-sacrificing Catholic priest in the 1962 “Satan Never Sleeps”, his final film role.
Clifton Webb was one of the few gay actors to appear in decidedly heterosexual character roles, most notably the devoted husband who fathered twelve children in “Cheaper by the Dozen”. Obsessively proper, correct and well-mannered, he lived his bachelor life as close to being openly gay as any leading actor in Hollywood could be. Although he lived with his mother until her death in 1960, Webb threw lavish parties and enjoyed the company of young men who gathered poolside at his pink stucco house in Beverly Hills. His friends included many member of the gay circles in the film industry: Noël Coward, Cole Porter, actor Monty Woolley, director George Cukor, stage and costume designer Oliver Messel, film director Irving Rapper, actors William Hanes and Jimmie Shields, among others.
Due to health issues, Webb spent the last five years of his life as a recluse at his home in Beverly Hills. He suffered a fatal heart attack, at the age of seventy-six, at his home on the 13th of October in 1966. He is interred in a crypt in the Abbey of the Psalms at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, alongside his mother. For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Webb was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6850 Hollywood Boulevard. An archive of his papers, including typed manuscripts, notes, correspondences, financial records and Webb’s last will and testament, is housed at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences.
Note: Clifton Webb’s portrayal of the character Mr. Lynn Belvedere was the model for the “Mr. Peabody” character in the animated cartoon series “Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends”, which ran from November of 1959 to June of 1964.
Photographers Unknown, Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Thirteen
Sir- As a playgoer of forty years standing, may I say that I heartily agree with Peter Pinnell in his condemnation of ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’. I myself was nauseated by this endless parade of mental and physical perversion. And to be told that such a disgusting piece of filth now passes for humor! Today’s young playwrights take it upon themselves to flaunt their contempt for ordinary decent people. I hope that the ordinary decent people of this country will shortly strike back! Yours truly, Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)
—John Kingsley Orton, Letter Sent for Publication under the Alias of Edna Welthorpe
Born in Leicester, England in January of 1933, John Kingsley Orton, known under the pen name of Joe Orton, was a working-class, gay playwright whose outrageous black comedies shocked, outraged, and amused theatre audiences in the 1960s.
After attending secretarial classes at Clark’s College in Leicester from 1945 to 1947, Joe Orton worked as a junior clerk for three pounds a week. He began performing in theater productions beginning in1949 and joined several groups, including the Leicester Dramatic Society. Orton was accepted for a scholarship at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in November of 1950; however, due to appendicitis, his entrance was delayed until May of 1951. It was at the Royal Academy that Orton met the seven-year older Kenneth Leith Halliwell, who also was a struggling actor and writer. After moving into a West Hampstead flat, they quickly formed a strong relationship and became lovers.
After graduation, Orton and Halliwell collaborated on writing several novels, which were unsuccessful atpublishing. Due to a lack of serious work, they began to amuse themselves with pranks and hoaxes. From January 1959 to May of 1962, Orton and Halliwell removed books from several local public libraries and began to modify the blurbs and cover art. One volume of poetry by writer and broadcaster John Betjeman was found with a new dust jacket featuring a photograph of a nearly naked, tattooed middle-aged man. Discovered by the authorities in May of 1962 and later found guilty of five counts of theft and malicious damage to seventy books, the two men served six months in prison. A collection of these altered book covers are now housed in the Islington Local History Center.
In 1959, Joe Orton wrote his only novel, which wasposthumously published as “Head to Toe”, and soon began to have success in his plays’ productions. His first play “Fred and Madge” was written in 1959; and “The Visitors” followed two years later. In 1963 the BBC purchased Orton’s radio play “The Ruffian on the Stair”, which was broadcast on August 31st of 1964 and, later in 1966, adapted as a stage play.
By the end of August, Orton had also completed his play “Entertaining Mr. Sloane”, which premiered on May 6th of 1964 to reviews which ranged from praise to outrage. Although it lost money on its short run, the play tied for first in the Variety Critics’ Poll for Best New Play, and Orton came second in the category for Most Promising Playwright. By 1965, “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” was being performed in Spain, Israel, Australia, and New York, as well as being adapted into both a film and television play.
Written between June and October of 1964, Joe Orton’s next play was “Loot”, a wild parody of detective fiction, which added the blackest farce and jabs at established ideas on death, the police, religion, and justice. It underwent sweeping rewrites before it was judged fit for the West End. “Loot” was first staged in London on September 27th of 1966 to rave reviews. In November the play moved to the Criterion Theater where it ran for three hundred forty-two performances, won several awards and firmly established Orton’s fame.
Orton, over the next ten months, revised his “The Ruffian on the Stair” and his “The Erpngham Camp” for the stage as a double play entitled “Crimes of Passion”. He alsowrote his television play “Funeral Games”, the screenplay entitled “Up Against It” for the Beatles music group, and his final full-length play “What the Butler Saw”, a play of seduction, blackmail, and cross-dressing, which came to the West End stage in 1969, eighteen months after Orton’s death.
On the 9th of August of 1967, John Kingsley Orton was bludgeoned to death by Kenneth Halliwell at their home in Islington, London, killed by nine hammer blows to the head. Halliwell then committed suicide with an overdose of Nembutal. Later evidence showed that Orton had earlier confided to a friend that he wanted to end his relationship with Halliwell; and it also showed that Halliwell had spoken to his psychiatrist three times on the day of the murder. Halliwell had felt increasingly threatened and isolated by Orton’s success, and had come to rely on barbiturates and antidepressants. The bodies, along with Halliwell’s suicide note, were found on the morning of August 10th by a chauffeur who had arrived to transport Orton for a meeting in London.
The body of Joe Orton was brought into the chapel of London’s Golders Green Crematorium to a recording of the Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life”. Playwright and director Harold Pinter read the eulogy. After Orton’s cremation, his ashes and Halliwell’s ashes were mixed together and scattered in a section of the Garden of Remembrance at Golders Green; no marking memorial stone is erected there. A statue of Joe Orton was later installed in the city of Leicester and, in 1987, a film adaption of John Lahr’s 1978 biography of Orton was released under the title “Prick Up Your Ears”.
Can it be they are going to kill?
Will they pierce the heart with a huge knife?
And with the sharpest scalpel empty the eyes?
And with the steeliest chisel break the skull?
And with the most hammer of hammers crush the bones?
Can it be that on the exotic table
–table of sex, table of love–
my love, you and I,
being startled one night
your heart spoke
when you were under my blood?
Can it be the same as it was
when it was an oath, and even more so,
your work, your word bled,
soaked by the soft perfume of kisses,
so as not to deny, to be one indivisible?
And can it be so blindly believed,
so blindly, that all the suns go dark forever
while the soul travels in darkness?
Can it be there never was a soul despite the waves of music
Soul that never was though you might be for an instant?
Renenber that instant when you were a soul and adored
and then your own monster came suddenly
to take you to the place where being you were?
Can it be that after you are no longer,
when not being is merely a mound of dried out kisses,
you wil be by not being, instead of being love?
Virgilio Pinera, Poem to be Said in the Midst of a Great Silence, The Weight of the Island, 1967
Born in Cárdenas, Matanzas, Cuba in 1912, Virgilio Piñera was an author, playwright, poet, and essayist known for his avant-garde work, caustic wit, acid tongue, and bohemian lifestyle. He lived under the dual repression of the Catholic church and reactionary government leaders such as Argentina’s Juan Perón and Cuba’s Fulgencio Batista. Piñera’s homosexuality and non-conformism led to his marginalization during a well-documented period of Cuban history when homophobia and petty bureaucracy stifled creative freedom
An avid reader from an early age, which included works by Marcel Proust and Herman Melville, Piñera drew his inspiration from different genres, a foundation which became fundamental to his distinctive work with its combination of Cuban vernacular and more refined language.At the age of thirteen, Piñera’s family moved to Camagüey, a municipality located in central Cuba, where he earned his high school diploma. After settling in Havana in 1938,he received his Doctoral Degree in philosophy from the University of Havana in 1949.
Piñera published in his poems in Havana’s literary magazine “Espuela de Plata” and, in 1941. wrote his first poetry collection, “Las Furias (The Furies)” andhis most famous play “Electra Garrigó”, which featured the choral structure of a Greek tragedy alongside distinctive Cuban elements. Staged both before and after the revolution of Castro and Guevara, this play later became a powerful symbol of the Revolution and was consciously performed before foreign andnotable public figures asbeing emblematic of the transformed nation.
Following his founding of the magazine “Poeta” in 1942, Piñera wrote his collection of poems entitled “La Isla en Peso (The Weight of the Island)”. Drawing upon episodes in his personal life as well as the social interactions occurring inside Cuba, he explored the nebulous regions between sadness and beauty, and disillusion and reality. Published posthumously after Piñera’ death in 1979, “The Weight of the Island” was initially scorned by some poets and critics; however, the collection is now regarded as one of the classics of Cuban literature.
In 1944, Virgilio Piñera, along with writer José Lezama Lima and editor and critic José Rodríguez Feo, founded the prestigious literary and arts review “Origenes”, which provided a focal point for promising poets and critics in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s. The journal published short stories, poetry, and critical essays on art, literature, music and philosophy. Among Piñera’s contributions were several poems, an essay on Argentinian literature, and an 1945 essay entitled “El Secreto de Kafka”, a work in which Piñera developed his theory on the creation of images into a literary surprise.
Piñera lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a twelve year period from 1946 to 1958; it wasduring this stay that he developed his voice as a writer. He worked as a translator and proofreader at the Cuban Embassy and became friends with writers Jorge Luis Borges and essayist José Bianco, who would write the forward to Piñera’s collection of short stories “El que Vina a Salvarme (The One Who Came to Save Me)”. Along with other writers, Piñera worked on the translation of Polish author Witold Gombrowicz’s 1937 controversial novel “Ferdydurke” into Spanish.
Virgilio Piñera wrote two plays in Buenos Aires,“Jesús” and “Falsa Alarma”, a fast paced, absurdist play of humor and anguish, to which he lengthened with dialogue for a later 1957 staging. His first novel, entitled “La Carne de René (René’s Flesh)”, was published in 1952 and told the dark story of a twenty-year old protagonist forced into a merciless life. After the closure of his literary review “Origenes” and the founding of his final magazine “Ciclón (Cyclone)”, Piñera left Argentina in 1958 to settle permanently in Cuba, where he arrived shortly before the Revolution. His work appeared in the newspaper “Revolución” and other numerous journals. In 1962, with the Cuban revolution in full motion, Piñera’smost autobiographical play, “Airo Frio (Cold Air)”, a very personal celebratory work supporting the ouster of dictator Batista’s police and army, opened in Havana.
Shortly after the opening of “Airo Frio”, Fidel Castro’s government made the decision that there was no room for any views other than those completely sympathetic to the Revolution. Intellectuals and other luminaries, as well as the religious and those youths not conforming to the revolution, were to face persecution. Virgilio Piñera, although never public about his homosexuality, was arrested under the revolutionary government’s clampdown on the prostitutes, pimps and homosexuals. By 1971, he was ostracized by the Cuban government and the literary establishment. As his career declined into obscurity. Piñera continued to write at n increased rate; however, his plays were no longer performed.
In 1968, Piñera received Latin America’s most prestigious literary prize, the Premio Casa de las Américas, for his play “Dos Viejos Pánicos (Two Old Panics)”. Despite the award and acclaim, the play would not have its first performance in Cuba until the 1990s.Leaving behind more than twenty plays, three novels, volumes of short stories and a vast number of poems, Virgilio Piñera, who lived the last years of his life in poverty, died of a cardiac arrest on the 18th of August in 1979, without any official recognition of his death. He is buried in his native town of Cárdenas.
As a way to redress some of the wrongs committed against Piñera in the past, Cuba declared the year 2012 as “El Añ0 Virgiliano”. In the month of June, a group of thirty researchers from countries, such as the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain and the United States, came together in Havana to discuss the life, work and legacy of Virgilio Pañera, one of Latin America’s prominent writers. His two best known plays, “Airo Frio” and “Dos Viejos Pánicos”, were performed and a new ballet by choreographer Iván Tenorio, entitled “Virgiliando”, had its premiere.
Note: The University of Miami Libraries contains the digital Cuban Heritage Collection which includes material on Virgilio Piñera. Included in the material are correspondence exchanged between Piñera and Adolfo de Obieta during the 1940s and 1950s, as well as a typescript of Piñera’s play “Una Caja de Zapatos Vacía” that he sent to his friend Luis F. González-Cruz, who published it in Miami in 1986. This material can be found at: https://merrick.library.miami.edu/cdm/search?collection=chc5278
Photographers Unknown, What Will the Future Bring?
“What is going to happen? What will the future bring? I do not know, I have no presentiment. When a spider flings itself from a fixed point down into its consequences, it continually sees before it an empty space in which it can find no foothold, however much it stretches. So it is with me; before me is continually an empty space, and I am propelled by a consequence that lies behind me. This life is turned around and dreadful, not to be endured.”
–Friedrich Dürrenmatt, The Assignment: or, On the Oberving of the Observer of the Observers
Born in Konolfingen, Switzerland, in 1921, Friedrich Dürrenmatt was an author and dramatist who was a proponent of epic theater, a form of dramatic, political plays staged through documentary effects and audience interaction.After studies in philosophy and German literature, he stopped his academic career in 1943 to become an author and dramatist. He became one of the more prolific writers in the German language on the crisis of the nuclear bomb and arms race.
Written when he was twenty-six,Dürrenmatt’s first play. the 1946 “It is Written”, revolves around a battle, occurring in a city under siege, between a religious fanatic who takes scripture literally and a cynic who craves sensation. The play’s 1947 premiere resulted in fights and protests in the audience.Between 1948 and 1949, Dürrenmatt wrote several sketches for Zürich’s anti-Nazi Cabaret Cornichon, a Swiss cabaret company opposed to fascism and Nazism.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s first major success was the 1950 play “Romulus the Great”, an exploration of the last days of the Roman Empire presided over by Romulus, its last emperor. In the same year, he published a novel entitled “The Judge and His Hangman”. Dürrenmatt’s 1956 play “Der Besuch der Alten Dame (The visit of the Old Woman)” was a strange fusion of comedy and drama about a wealthy woman who offers a fortune to the people of her hometown if they would kill the man who jilted her years earlier.
During his youth, Dürrenmatt hesitated for a long time between a career as a writer and a painter. Although he chose writing, he continued to paint and draw, which he considered his passion. Dürrenmatt had some exhiibitons of his work in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1976 and 1985; he also had a show in Zürich in 1978. A permanent exhibition of his collective work, both artistic and literary, is on display at the Centre Dürrenmatt in Neuchâtel.
Throughout four decades, Dürrenmatt produced novels, novellas, radio plays, and theater performances. Among these were the radio plays “Incident at Twilight” in 1952 and “The Mission of the Vega” in 1954, the novella “The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel”in 1948, and the 1962 play “The Physicists: A Comedy in Two Acts” which dealt with scientific ethics and mankind’s intellectual responsibilities.
In 1990, Friedrich Dürrenmatt gave two famous speeches, the first in honor of Václav Havel, the Czech statesman and former dissident, and the second in honor of Mikhail Gorbachev, who moved his country to more social democracy and promoted the policy of glasnot, or openness. Later that year, on December 14th, Friedrich Dürrenmatt died from heart failure in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Yuri Georges Annenkov, Theater and Film Costume Design
Besides his renown as a painter and illustrator, Yuri Georges Annenkov was one of the top costume designers in French cinema from 1926 until the end of the 1950s. Born into a family of Imperial Russia’s cultural elite that suffered through the changes in political power, he was able to overcome the accusations of political radicalism that surrounded his family. This enabled Annenkov to study at the Stieglitz School of Art in Saint Petersburg, where Marc Chagall became one of his classmates.
Before the outbreak of the First World War, Annenkov traveled to Paris for further study, and began illustrating books and designing for the stage. In the period immediately after the Russian Revolution, he returned to Russian and was active in the Soviet Theater and outdoor performance shows, and also worked as a portraitist. Annenkov emigrated to Paris in 1924 where he settled and began designing ballet sets for American ballet choreographer George Balanchine and Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Léonide Massine.
In 1926, Yuri Georges Annenkov began what was to become a two-decade long career in movies. He was first engaged in 1926 to design the costumes for German film director F. W. Murnau’s production “Faust”, which would be Murnau’s last German film. From 1945 to 1955, Annekov was the president of the French Syndicate of Cinema Technicians.
Annenkov’s most important body of work in film were the costumes he designed for the post-war films of director Max Ophüls, which included “La Ronde”, a series of character vignettes with circular visual motifs, and the 1953 “The Earrings of Madame De. .”, a romantic drama for which Annenkov received an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.
The work Annenkov did as art director for Ophüls culminated with his brilliant costumes created for the director’s final film, the 1955 “Lola Montès”. The film is a deliberate exercise in overabundance and opulence, and here, guided by Ophüls, Annenkov’s use of the Baroque style is a subtle critique of excess. Filmed in Technicolor by cinematographer Christian Matras, “Lola Montès” had an important influence on the French New Wave cinema movement and has since become a cult classic.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 25th of November, Solar Year 2018
The Jaguar Hunter
November 25, 1920 marks the birthdate of actor Ricardo Montalban.
Born in Mexico City, Mexico, to Spanish immigrants, Ricardo Montalban made his New York stage debut in 1940 in a small role in “Her Cardboard Lover”, starring Tallulah Bankhead. In 1947 he landed his first major Hollywood film role in the musical “Fiesta”, playing twin siblings with Esther Williams. Montalbam had a memorable dance number in that film with Cyd Charisse.
The dark, handsome Montalbam with the Spanish accent would go on to play numerous Latin romantic-types. He teamed up again with Esther Williams in two more films, the musical romantic comedy “Neptune’s Daughter” and the 1948 romantic comedy “On an Island with You”. In 1949, Montalbam broke from his romantic typecast to play a border agent in the suspense drama film “Border Incident” directed by Anthony Mann.
During the 1950s and 1960s Montalbam was one of only a handful of actively working Hispanic actors in Hollywood, often playing characters of different ethnicities, such as the character Nakamura in the 1957 “Sayonara” and Tokura in a “Hawaii Five-O” episode. He also starred as a naive, penniless French duke in the romance comedy “Love is a Ball” released in 1963.
Ricardo Montalbam’s best known television role was that of the man in the white suit with the cultured demeanor, Mr. Roarke, on the television series “Fantasy Island” which ran from 1977 to 1984. The series was one of the most popular on television at that time, making him and his co-star Herve Villechaize, playing Tattoo, popular icons.
Montalbam’s most well-known film role was the character of Khan Noonien Singh in the 1982 “Star Trek II: The Wrath of khan”, in which he reprised the role he had originated in the 1967 episode of “Star Trek” titled “Space Seed”. Montalbam was already physically fit; so Khan’s costume was specifically designed to display his physique. He agreed to take the role at a significant pay cut because he relished reprising his original character. His only regret, he said, was that he and William Shatner never interacted in their roles; the scenes were all done through video communication, filming their scenes months apart to accommodate Montalbam’s schedule for “Fantasy Island”.
Montalbam reacted to the poor way Mexicans were being portrayed by establishing with other stars the Nosotros (We) Foundation in 1970 to advocate for Latinos in the movie and television industry. He served as its first president. The foundation created the Golden Eagle Awards, an annual awards show that highlights Latino actors. The awards are presented in conjunction with the Nosotros American Latino Film Festival, held at the now named Ricardo Montalbam Theater in Hollywood.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 6th of November, Solar Year 2018
The Edge of the World
November 6, 1914 was the birthdate of character actor Jonathan Harris.
Born in the Bronx section of New York City, Jonathan Harris was the son of a Russian-Jewish family. He attended Fordham University, New York, to study medicine, earning a degree in 1936. Harris transformed himself into the American idea of an Englishman by replacing his Bronx accent with the lightly modulated vocal tone he heard on British films.
After joining the Millpond Playhouse repertory company, on Long Island in 1939, Harris appeared in more than 100 regional theaters, before his debute on Broadway in 1942. He appeared in the 1946 play “A Flag is Born” opposite Quentin Reynolds and Marlon Brando. His first television work came in 1949 with The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre’s “His Name Is Jason”, followed by roles in many other series: “Bonanza”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Zorro” and others.
Jonathan Harris was in a co-star role opposite Michael Rennie, who played Harry Lime, in the television series “The Third Man”, playing sidekick Bradford Webster for seventy-two episodes. From 1963-1965, Harris co-starred in the sitcom “The Bill Dana Show”. He played Mister Phillips, the pompous manager of a posh hotel who is constantly at odds with Bill Dana’s character José Jiménez.
Jonathan Harris was cast over two other actors for the role of Dr. Zachary Smith, the evil and conniving double agent on “Lost in Space”. The series was already in production when Harris joined the cast, and the starring/co-starring billing had already been contractually assigned. Harris successfully negotiated to receive “Special Guest Star” billing on every episode.
The series was successful upon its debut, and midway through the first season, Harris began to rewrite his own dialogue. Due to Harris’s popularity on the show, creator and producer Irwin Allen approved his changes and gave him carte blanche as a writer. Harris subsequently stole the show, mainly via a seemingly never-ended series of alliterative insults directed toward The Robot, which soon worked their way into popular culture.
Jonathan Harris spent much of his later career as a voice actor, heard in television commercials as well as cartoons such as “Darkwing Duck”, “A Bug’s Life”, the series “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command”, and “Toy Story 2”. In 2001, a year prior to his death, he recorded voice work for the animated theatrical short “The bolt Who Screwed Christmas”. This film, Harris’s last work, was released posthumously in 2009.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 4th of November, Solar Year 2018
The Heat of the Sun
November 4,1896 was the birthdate of American character actor Ian Wolfe.
Born in Illinois, Ian Wolfe worked in theater productions until 1934 when he started his career as a character actor in film and later television. Central to Wolfe’s appeal was the fact that, until he reached actual old age, he always looked considerably older than he actually was. His career lasted until the last years in his life, encompassing almost four hundred roles in television and film, including many classics.
Ian Wolfe appeared in many well known films: Alfred Hitchcock’s “Saboteur” playing Robert in the film noir spy thriller; “Rebel Without a Cause” as Dr. Minton, the astronomy professor; the role of Maggs in the 1935 “Mutiny on the Bounty”; and George Lucas’s “THX 1138”, playing the prisoner PTO.
American at birth, Ian Wolfe, because of his experience in theater, had very precise diction which caused him to be often cast as an Englishman. He appeared in the 1943 film :Sherlock Holmes in Washington” , as an antique shop clerk. He also was in the final film of the Holmes series, the 1946 “Dressed to Kill” as the Commissioner of Scotland Yard. In Billy Wilder’s “Witness for the Prosecution”, Ian Wolfe played Carter, chief clerk to Sir Wilfrid, played by Charles Laughton.
Ian Wolfe guest-starred on many television series over the course of his career. The first season of “The Lone Ranger” had him playing a crooked small town doctor attempting to swindle a man. He appeared on the episode “The Case of the Midnight Howler” of the 1966 “Perry Mason” series. Star Trek fans will recognize him in two episodes of the original series: the 1968 “Bread and Circuses” as Septinus, and the 1969 “All Our Yesterdays” acting in the role of Mr. Atoz.
Wolfe’s last film role, at the age of 94, was as Munger in the 1990 released “Dick Tracy”, produced and directed by Warren Beatty. Ian Wolfe died a year later at the age of 95 of natural causes in January of 1992.
“Mostly, they know the face, but they don’t know the name. Some people are funny. Some are nice. They don’t try to take up your time. They say, “I see you a lot and I sure enjoy you” and they’re gone. It’s my voice, too, that people recognize. I had no idea that my voice is distinctive in any way. But people will say, “I knew you by your voice”. – Ian Wolfe
Advertisement Poster for J.M. Gaites play “The Air Ship”, 1898, Color lithograph, 108 x 72 cm.
“The Air Ship” by J.M. Gaites was a musical farce vaudeville comedy. The poster was created and published by H.C. Miner Lithograph Company of New York. The advertisement is part of the theatrical poster collection of the Library of Congress.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 1st of November, Solar Year 2018
The Revelation From On High
November 1st was the opening day of two of William Shakespeare’s plays.
On November 1, 1604, William Shakespeare’s tragedy play “Othello”, believed to have been written in 1603, had its first presentation in the Banqueting House at Whitehall. The story revolves around Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his jealous and traitorous ensign, Iago. It is believed to be based on the story “A Moorish Captain” by Giovanni Battista Giraldi, the Italian novelist and poet. However, the story also resembles an incident in the tale “The Three Apples” from the “Arabian Nights” collection.
Shakespeare, while following the story of Giraldi, departed from it in some details, such as adding minor characters. The major departure is the death of the heroine Desdemona. In his presentation, Shakespeare has Othello kill Desdemona by suffocation, toning down the violence. In Giraldi’s story, the “Moor” bludgeons his wife to death with a sand-filled stocking, described in gruesome detail. In Shakespeare’s play, Othello, commits suicide; and in Giraldi’s tale Othello is exiled and then pursued by Desdemona’s relatives who kill him.
Later performances of “Othello” occurred in April of 1610 at the Globe Theater and at Oxford in September of 1610. It also was performed at the Blackfriars Theater in London by the King’s Men, an acting company to which Shakespeare belonged for most of his career. “Othello” was one of twenty plays performed by the King’s Men during the winter of 1612, in celebration of the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Frederick V, the Electorate of the Palatinate region of the Holy Roman Empire.
On November 1, 1611, Hallowmas night, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Tempest”, believed to have been written 1610-1611, was first presented by the King’s Men before King James I and the English royal court at Whitehall Palace. This play was also one of the twenty plays performed to celebrate Princess Elizabeth’s marriage. The next recorded performance was at the Blackfriars Theater in 1669; this is supported by the stage directions written within the play script.
The “Tempest” differs from Shakespeare’s other plays, being organized in a stricter Neo-classical style. Shakespeare in the “Tempest” observed the three rules of drama: the play’s plot should have one action that it follows, with minimal subplots; the action in the play’s plot should occur no longer than a day’s span; a play’s plot should exist in a single physical space with the stage representing that place. Shakespeare’s other plays’s plots took place in multiple separate locations and over the course of several days or years.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 24th of October, Solar Year 2018
October 24, 1882 was the birthdate of English actress Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike.
Sybil Thorndike was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and was educated at the Rochester Grammar School for Girls. She trained as a classical pianist, visiting London to attend lessons at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, an independent arts school. Thorndike gave her first public performance as a pianist at the age of eleven. However, in 1899, she was forced to give up playing due to cramps affecting the muscles in her hand and forearm.
Sybil Thorndike’s brother, the author Russel Thorndike, encouraged her to train as an actress under voice teacher Elsie Fogerty at her school, the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Thorndike was offered her first professional contract at the age of 21: an United States tour in actor Ben Greet’s company. She first appeared on stage in the 1904 production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” by Shakespeare. Thorndike continued touring the US for four years doing Shakespearean repertory and playing 112 different roles.
In 1908, Thorndike was understudy for the role of Candida in a tour directed by George Bernard Shaw, who recognized her talent. It was on this tour that she met her future husband, Lewis Casson, a British actor and theater director. Later in 1908, she joined theater manager Annie Horniman’s company, playing various roles over a three year span. She joined the non-profit Old Vic Company in London, playing leading roles in Shakespeare and other classical plays.
From 1920 to 1922 Thordike and her husband starred in a British version of the French ghoulish and grisly “Grand Guignol” that was directed by Jose Levy. She appeared in the title role of “Saint Joan” in 1924, a play written specifically for her by George Bernard Shaw. It was a major success and was revived repeatedly until her final performance in that role in 1941.
During the second World War, Sybil Thorndike and her husband toured in Shakespearean productions on behalf of the Council for the Encouragement of the Arts, before joining Laurence Olivier for the 1944 season at the Old Vic Theater. After the war, it was discovered that she was listed in the Nazi “Black Book” as one of the Britons who were to be arrested and held after a future Nazi invasion of Britain.
Sybil Thorndike was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1931. She was made a Companion of Honor, an award for outstanding achievements, in 1971. She and her husband, Lewis, who was knighted in 1945, were one of a few couples who both held titles in their own right. She is one of the principal characters portrayed in Nicholas de Jongh’s play “Plague Over England”, about John Gielgud’s arrest for homosexual acts in 1953. Sybil Thorndike passed in June of 1976 and her ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 14th of October, Solar Year 2018
The Maroon Leather Armchair
October 14, 1893 was the birthdate of silent film and stage actress Lillian Gish.
After appearing for thirteen years with her sister Dorothy on the vaudeville stage, Lillian Gish eventually found her way onto the big screen. In 1912, she met famed director D. W. Griffith, who immediately cast her in what was to be her first film, the 1912 “An Unseen Enemy”. This was followed the same year bytwo more films: “The One She Loved”, and “My Baby”. Gish would make a total of twelve films for Griffith in 1912.
After performing in twenty five films in the next two years, Lillian Gish’s exposure to the public was so great that she fast became one of the top stars in the industry, alongside “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford.. In 1915, Lillian Gish starred as Elsie Stoneman in Griffith’s most ambitious project to date, the 1915 “The Birth of a Nation”. Although the number of films that she now appeared in were not as frequent as her first years, she was popular and successful enough to be able to pick and choose the right films. In 1916, Gish appeared in another Griffith classic, “Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages”.
By the early 1920s, Gish’s career was slowing down; new actors and actresses appeared on the scene, replacing former stars. Lillian Gish did not appear at all on the screen again until the year of 1926. She appeared in “La Boheme” as Mimi and “The Scarlet Letter” in the lead role as Hester Prynne. As the 1920s ended, silent films were being replaced with the new sound films. At this time, Lillian Gish returned to stage productions which were acclaimed by the public and critics alike.
In 1933, Gish filmed “His Double Life” with Roland Young, and then didn’t make another film for ten years. When Gish did return in 1943, she played in two big-budget pictures, the 1942 “Commandos Strike at Dawn” and “Top Man” released in 1943. Although these roles did not bring her the attention she had in her early career, Gish still proved she could hold her own with the best of them. She later earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role of Laura Belle McCanles in the 1946 “Duel in the Sun”, but lost to Anne Baxter for her performance in “The Razor’s Edge”.
One of the most critically acclaimed roles of Lillian Gish’s career came in the 1955 thriller “The Night of the Hunter”, also notable as the only film directed by actor Charles Laughton. Lillian Gish made in 1987 what was to be her last motion picture, “The Whales of August”, a box-office success that exposed her to a new generation of fans. After a seventy-five year career in film, on February 27, 1993, Lillian Gish died at age 99 peacefully in her sleep in New York City.
Simeon Solomon, Frontispiece to His Book ‘”A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep”’, 1871
Solomon’s “A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep” is an important early gay text, a prose poem,which was privately published in 1871. The image above is captioned “Until the day break and the shadows flee away”, a quotation from the Bible in the Song of Solomon 2:17.
The performance by Neil Bartlett, entitled “A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep”, was an one-man homage to the life and work of Pre-Raphaelite painter Simeon Solomon. The performance was originally created and performed at the height of the first wave of the British AIDs epidemic in 1987.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 8th of October, Solar Year 2018
Thumb in Briefs
October 8, 1910 was the birthdate of American actor Kirk Alyn, born John Feggo Jr.
Kirk Alyn was born to Hungarian immigrant parents in New Jersey. He started his career as a chorus boy for Broadway plays, appearing in musicals such as the 1930 “Girl Crazy” and Hellzapoppin” on Broadway in 1938. Alyn also worked as a singer and dancer in vaudeville acts before he went to Hollywood in the early 1940s to act for feature films. He was only successful in getting bit parts in low-budget movies.
Kirk Alyn was featured in movie serials, including the 1948 “Federal Agents Versus Underworld Inc”, the 1950 “Radar Patrol Versus Spy King” and the 1952 “Blackhawk”, a spy thriller based on a Quality comic book. In 1948 he had a role as a police officer in the Charlie Chan series film “The Trap”. In early 1948, Kirk Alyn achieved his fame when producer Sam Katzman of Columbia Pictures asked him to play Superman.
Alyn played Superman for the first live-action “Superman” movie serial, released in 1948. The serial consisted of fifteen episodes covering Superman’s arrival on earth, his job at the Daily Planet newspaper, and his meeting Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. The series revolved around Superman’s battle with the arch criminal Spider Lady. Two years later another serial was released entitled “Atom Man Versus Superman”, featuring Lyle Talbot as the villain Lex Luthor.
In these serials, Kirk Alyn gave a different portrayal of Clark Kent, emphasizing the element of his disguise, a tradition of the older radio series. Superman’s flight was effected by Alyn jumping up, at which point an animated character made by rotoscoping flew away. Initially wires were used for the first serial but were clearly visible in the footage; so the animation was used instead.
Kirk Alyn was the Grand marshal of the Metropolis, Illinois Christmas parade and Annual Superman Celebrations many times. DC Comics named him in 1985 as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th anniversary publication “Fifty Who Made DC Great”. Alyn died in 1999 in The Woodlands, Texas, was cremated, and had his ashes scattered off the coast of California.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 30th of September, Solar Year 2018
The Roses and the Cross
September 30, 1919 marks the premier of Avery Hopwood’s play “The Gold Diggers’ in New York City.
“The Gold Diggers”, a play by Avery Hopwood, was produced by David Belasco, an American theatrical producer and playwright. Belasco, the first writer to adapt the short story “Madame Butterfly” to the stage, pioneered many innovative forms of stage lighting and special effects to the stage. He staged “The Gold Diggers” on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, now the oldest continuously operating legitimate theater in New York City.
“The Gold Diggers” popularized the term ‘gold digger’ to reference women who seek wealthy partners, as opposed to the earlier usage meaning gold miners. The plot centered on wealthy Stephen Lee, played by Bruce McRae, who is convinced that the chorus girl who is engaged to his nephew Wally, played by Horace Braham, only wants his nephew’s money.
The reviews for the play were mixed; but the opinions of the reviewers did not stop the play from becoming a hit. It opened at the Lyceum Theatre on September 30, 1919 and ran until June of 1921, with 720 performances. The long-running play then went on tour across the United States until 1923, earning almost two million dollars. One result of its long run was that after the other plays Avery Hopwood had written opened in 1920, Hopwood had four shows running on Broadway simultaneously.
Avery Hopwood was an American playwright of the Jazz Age in the United States, a period in the 1920s and 1930s when jazz music and dance styles rapidly gained popularity. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Hopwood graduated from the University of Michigan in 1903 and started out in journalism as a New York correspondent. However, within a year, he had a play, “Clothes”, produced on Broadway. He became known as the “Playboy Playwright”, specializing in comedies and farces, many considered risqué at the time. Among the plays were: “Ladies’ Night” in 1920,; the famous mystery play “The Bat”, later filmed in 1926; and the 1927 “Garden of Eden”, filmed in 1928.
In 1906, Avery Hopwood was introduced to writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten. The two became close friends and sometimes sexual partners. In the 1920s Hopwood had a tumultuous, but abusive, romantic relationship with fellow Cleveland-born playwright John Floyd. Although Hopwood announced to the press in 1924 that he was engaged to dancer and choreographer Rosa Rolanda, it was confirmed later that it was a publicity stunt.
Avery Hopwood died of a heart attack while swimming on the French Riviera on July 1, 1928. The terms of his will left a substantial portion of his estate to the University of Michigan, establishing a Creative Writing Award, encouraging new, unusual and radical writing. Recipients of the award have included poet and essayist Robert Hayden, poet and social activist Marge Piercy, playwright Arthur Miller, and gay novelist and essayist Edmund White.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 26th of September, Solar Year 2018
Cable Knit Sweater
September 26, 1877 was the birthdate of character actor Edmund Gwenn.
In 1901 Edmund Gwenn went to Australia and acted on stage there for three years, not returning to London until 1904. There he took a small part in “In The Hospital”, which led to him receiving a postcard from George Bernard Shaw, offering him a leading role as Srtaker, the chauffeur, in Shaw’s “Man and Superman”. Gwenn accepted and the play was a success. He spent three years in Shaw’s company, performing in “John Bull’s Island”, Major Barbara”, “The Devil’s Disciple” and other plays by Shaw.
Edmund Gwenn made his first appearance on screen in a 1916 British short “The Real Thing at Last”, followed by a silent version of “The Skin Game” in 1920 as the character Hornblower. This role he would reprise in a talking version by Alfred Hitchcock, released in 1931. After these films, Gwenn worked steadily until the end of his life, appearing in English stage pays and films, eventually doing more and more on Broadway and in Hollywood.
In 1940 Edmund Gwenn played a delightful Mr Bennet in “Pride and Perjudice”, then played a completely opposite role as an assassin in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 “Foreign Correspondent”. He later played a comedic role in the 1941 “Charley’s Aunt”, in which he romanced Jack Benny, masquerading as a woman. Gwenn was in the 1945 “Bewitched”, “Of Human Bondage” released in 1946, and the 1947 “Green Dolphin Street”.
Then in 1947, Edmund Gwenn became a super star. Twentieth Century-Fox was planning the film “Miracle on 34th Street”. The studio had offered the role of “Kris Kringle” to Gwenn’s cousin, the well-known character actor Cecil Kellaway, but he had turned it down with the observation that the role was too whimsical. Twentieth Century-Fox then offered it to Edmund Gwenn, who immediately accepted. His performance earned him at the age of 71 an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor and, because it is rerun every Christmas season, Gwenn would become for many their all-time favorite screen Santa.
Though rotund, Edmund Gwenn didn’t feel he was rotund enough to look like the jolly old elf most people expected after having read Clement Moore’s “The Night before Christmas”, in which Santa “had a broad face and a little round belly”. He could of course worn padding, but he resisted that as too artificial. So Gwenn gained almost 30 pounds for the role, a fair amount for a man of his short stature, and added nearly five inches to his waistline.
Gwenn’s final days were spent at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California. Having endured terrible arthritis for many years, he had suffered a stroke, and then contracted pneumonia, from which he died at age 81 on September 6, 1959. His body was cremated, and his ashes are buried in a vault at The Chapel of the Pines in Los Angeles.
A Year: Day to Day Men: 6th of September, Solar Year 2018
Crates of Lathe
September 6, 1642 was the day that theater experienced both a major closing and a major reopening 277 years apart.
The major closing was the banning of all theater at the start of the English Civil War. On September 6, 1642, by an act of Parliament, all theaters in England were closed. This meant specifically that the great playhouses and theatrical companies of London, many from the Elizabethan age, ceased operations for good. The reason given for the ordinance was that attending theater was “unseemly” during such turbulent times.
The real reason was that the playhouses had become meeting places for the Royalist opposition, a group against the Parliament. Their Puritan rivals, who controlled Parliament, understood this and closed the theaters. Within a few years most of the grand old structures, now abandoned, had decayed beyond use or were dismantled altogether, leaving no visible trace of the playhouses of Shakespeare’s day.
Theatre would remain illegal until the end of the Interregnum in 1660, when the Puritans lost power and the monarchy was restored. Almost immediately, playhouses reopened and theatrical entertainments resumed. Theatre returned full force with the Restoration of the English monarchy under Charles II, leading to a revival of English drama and performance that paved the way for the great age of acting and wit during the eighteenth century.
it was also on this day, September 6th, that theaters reopened. On September 6, 1919, the great Equity Strike in New York and Chicago by theater actors came to an end. Broadway producers had finally reached an agreement with the upstart actors’ union, the Actors’ Equity Association. The only exception was Broadway’s biggest star and largest employer George M, Cohen who was granted a singular exception to continue as before without unionization.
The strike lasted a month and had closed nearly 40 major productions across the city, with revenue loses in excess of three million dollars. The two sides reached a five-year deal that finally recognized Equity as the professional actors’ union. Over the next few years working conditions improved and Broadway flourished for nine years until the 1928 season. The advent of “talkies” caused a decline in the theater with a noticeable lack of attendance and thus profits. The stock market crash of 1929 reset the commercial theatre’s entire economic picture for the next several decades.