Wednesday, July 28, 2010


See you next week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hollywood Actors in New England Summer Stock 1950

Over on my Another Old Movie Blog tomorrow, we’ll be discussing the 1950 film “Summer Stock” with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Pretty much an overgrown “let’s put on a show” movie with grownups instead of kids, the simplistic plot paints a charming scene of what you can do with a New England barn besides keep cows in it.

Since enough New England summer stock companies began, or still play, in barns, summer theatre is sometimes called the Barn Circuit. Today, in conjunction with the movie “Summer Stock”, we’ll have a look at a couple of New England summer theatres, one of them started in a barn, that featured Hollywood actors in the summer season of 1950.

This information comes from two very interesting books, “The Cape Playhouse” by Marcia J. Monbleau, (Raymond Moore Foundation, Dennis, Mass., 1991), and from “The Ogunquit Playhouse: 75 Years” by Carole Lee Carroll, Bunny Hart, and Susan Day Meffert (Back Channel Press, Portsmouth, NH, 2007).

In the summer of 1950, Paulette Goddard appeared at the Cape Playhouse on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in “Caesar and Cleopatra.” The following show featured Shelley Winters in “Born Yesterday.” Later on that summer, Luise Rainer appeared in “Lady from the Sea”. Brian Aherne starred in “Dear Brutus.” Sylvia Sidney appeared in “Goodbye My Fancy.” The season concluded with Francis Lederer in “The Silver Whistle.”

Meanwhile, up in Ogunquit, Maine, among the Hollywood film colony appearing that summer was Stuart Erwin in “Harvey.” Leo G. Carroll starred in “Once an Actor.” Edward Everett Horton starred in “His French Wife.”

These and other plays that season also featured theatre veterans, some up and coming TV stars (like Imogene Coca), and many young apprentices to the acting craft.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heat Wave on Stage in Ogunquit

Reminiscent of our recent heat wave, Ruth Gordon remarks on a week’s engagement in Ogunquit, Maine where she appeared in “Saturday’s Children” in July 1936.

From her autobiography, “My Side” (Harper & Row, NY, 1976):

Hottest July day on record, read the headline in the Portland paper. The matinee had been a boiler, ladies sweated, fanned, sweated. On stage, we sweated.

Ah, those simpler, more rugged days, or How Air Conditioning Has Changed Theatre.

Photographs of the signboard outside the playhouse taking in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s plainly stating the theater is AIR CONDITIONED, under Elaine Cancilla starring in “Can Can”, and Michael Constantine ahd Lawrence Pressman staring in “A Walk in the Woods” and “Yes, There Were Giants” with Kitty Carlisle, John Raitt and Jo Sullivan. You can find these, and a marvelous historical retrospective, in the excellent book “The Ogunquit Playhouse: 75 Years” by Carole Lee Carroll, Bunny Hart, and Susan Day Meffert (Back Channel Press, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2007).

Ruth Gordon also appeared in this play at the Cape Playhouse in August 1935, see this previous blog post.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Off Topic - "Interfacing"

A brief plug for “Interfacing”, my short story, previously published in print and online magazines, is now available in e-book format from Smashwords.

It’s humor. It’s about communication. It’s about 2,000 words. It’s about 99 cents. If you don’t own an e-reader like Kindle or Nook, etc., you can still download it here and read it right off your computer. Here’s the blurb…

Susan, saved by her Heimlich maneuver-performing dog from death by choking, must remain silent until her infected throat heals. Shutting up has never been easy for her. Her job as a customer service supervisor, and her already strained marriage are on the line. Susan must learn to communicate before she goes crazy, or kills somebody, or both.