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John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

The Frank Hayes gang of Waterbury




It was wholesale robbery and political corporation on an unprecedented unlike anything else the Nutmeg state has ever seen before or since. The Hayes gang of Waterbury were accused of stealing a million dollars but the actual numbers was probably $3,000,000. 00.

Timothy Frank Hayes, a powerful democrat boss in an overwhelmingly democrat state, was not only the mayor of what was then the very prosperous and wealthy industrial city of Waterbury he was also Connecticut’s first part time Lieutenant Governor in 1939, the position being a mostly ceremonial position.  For seven years, from 1930 until 1939, Hayes and his men robbed the city of at least $3,000,000.00

Frank Hayes was born in Waterbury to Irish immigrant parents who made a small but respectable fortune in the liquor store business. When his father died in 1913, Hayes took control of the family businesses while serving as a bank director of a local bank and president of the nationwide Lux (later renamed Timex) corporation. He also owned considerable real estate in mid-town Waterbury, a brewery and as the Jacques Theater. He graduated from Georgetown University (A sister graduated from Trinity College, a brother from West Point)
Hayes was, handsome and had an air of distinction as well as a certain Celtic √©lan that worked in Waterbury. He was a ladies man and life-long bachelor who lived with his mother until she died.  Ambitious, rich and politically savvy, and with the complete backing of the mighty Hartford based Spellacy political organization behind him, Hayes more than probably would have been governor of the state at some point.


Between 1927 and 1930, he sat as a deputy in the House of Representatives of Connecticut. In 1932 and 1936, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, chairman of the state council and in 1934 he was elected vice-governor of Connecticut under Wilbur Lucius Cross, the first in the state’s history.

Dan Leary, Hayes partner in crime who served as his comptroller, was also native Waterburian. He was independently wealthy and would remain owner of the Diamond Ginger Ale Company until his death.  He served on the board of finance from 1921 until 1929, then as a city alderman and finally as city controller. He also ran for and was defeated for Lieutenant Governor in 1930.

In his first bid for mayor in 1929, Hayes, a life-long political hack who billed himself as a business man who would run Waterbury like a corporation. Waterburian’s, fed up with raising taxes and poor city services, liked Hayes message and elected him and keep electing over the coming decade.

It was actually an easy win. Mayor Francis Guilfoile left the city in debt to the tune of $14,000,000 and a fair portion of that came from corruption, most of it in the form of overpayment/kickbacks to local building contractors. 

On his first day in office, Hayes got business stealing from the city. He created a no-bid city contracts system and handed out business to the highest bidder. On his first day in city hall, Dan Leary inspected each department and complained to Hayes that there were “To many records” around city hall and they and made it clear to the town book keepers that “certain people put us here and keep us and they need to be taken care of on time and in full”


So to answer that complaint, the first thing Hayes and Leary did was to take away all power from the city treasurer Edward Tuttle and hand the power of the office over to Thomas Patrick Kelly, the Mayors secretary and right hand man, acted as both the operations collector and distributor for graft and stolen cash. He also emptied 99 file filled boxes from the treasurer’s office and tossed them into the Naugatuck River. The 99 boxes were later entered as evidence against him.

A favorite trick of Kelly’s  was pay kick back money with unnumbered city checks which were all preprinted with the needed signatures of the mayor and city clerk. Dan Leary’s was the required third signature and he only signed checks after handling them, leading to the urban legend that Leary had duped Hayes into robbing the city blind.

When one book keeper, Joe Purcelll, asked too many question, Kelly had him sent to see Leary who threatened to have him “thrown out a window”. Mayor Hayes later chided Purcell by saying “You should not question the great integrity of Mr. Leary”

Seven years later when it was learned that Purcell kept his own set of true accounting books, Leary offered a him an extremely lucrative job “Doing nothing” at his beverage company. Purcell turned it down.

Hayes, Leary and Kelley got away with that sort of behavior because the average civil service was terrified of them, mostly because Hayes and Hayes alone could decide who worked for the city and who was fired from city employment.

Everything that could be stolen was stolen. One part of the scam included distributing funds, about $100,000 that the city saved on electric bills to various city officials.  One pal of Hayes, billed as a trucker although he was a dentist who didn’t own a truck, received a payout of $75,000 from the administration, kept 10% and returned the balance in cash to city hall.

 A broker in New York supposedly earned $191,000 in two weeks selling city bonds. That would be the equivalent today of about $3,350,000.

 A local lawyer was paid $126,000 by city hall to lobby for lower electric rates. He washed the money in a bank that cleaned all of the Hayes bribe money, kept $20,000 for himself and kicked back $106,000 to the Hayes gang.

At least $600,000 in city funds were paid for contracting work that was never done and fees of $175,000 were split between the Hayes team and vendors and contractors.

Leary owned the Red Fox Brewery and every bar in town, if they wanted to keep their license, had to buy at least a couple cases of the beer, which was notoriously bad. 
Hartford Mayor and state democratic boss Frank Spellacy got a cut of the kickbacks as did former Waterbury Mayor Francis Guilfoile.

Those were the crimes that were accused of and then there are the alleged crimes that Hayes and his gang are supposed to have gotten away with are the yearly “cleaning and refacement” of the 2,500 pound brass statute of horse atop the Carrie Welton Fountain at the east end of the town green. Of course the statue was never actually cleaned by Hayes men had the invoices to prove that was clean…..invoices sent to a nonexistent, out of town brass cleaning company. And then there was the army of invisible cleaning ladies who polished the marble in the city hall building, payments on police cars that were never ordered and never arrived and it went on and on like that. 

Of course the epic robbery of Waterbury’s treasury wasn’t much of a secret. A lot of people knew about it because a lot of people were part the crime but even more people in government were willing to look the other way because the state’s Governor was 76 years old and in bad health and most assumed that it was only a matter of time before he died in office and the already powerful and notably vindictive Hayes would take the reins and the whole pillage of the state government would be begin.  Actually it has already begun, but on a small scale.  

Hayes was rolling in stolen dough so he invested some of in to a company called Electric Steam Sterilizer. Then he introduced a bill requiring the installation of electric steam sterilizers in all of Connecticut's public toilets but only after he had made damn sure that the only electric steam sterilizers were manufactured by Electric Steam Sterilizer. To make very sure the bill passed, Electric Steam Sterilizer’s salesmen promised that their machine would also stop the spread of venereal disease.


Governor Wilbur Cross (above) got wind of the scam and told the state health commissioner to test the machine’s claims and he did. He reported back that the machine not only did nothing to prevent the spread of VD, it also didn’t sterilize anything.

The Legislature let the Hayes bill die.

Yet, with the nerve of an ally cat Hayes actually started to refer to himself as a reform candidate, a reform democrat and a reform mayor.

In the 1937 election, with the city's solvency being questioned and with the hi jinks of the Hayes racket was known across most of the city and in a sort of rebellion that year’s election, several candidates rose up against him. Hayes beat them all but just barely, defeating his republican opponent by only 55 votes. The Republican American found that the voters listed on the city tally sheets were heavily padded. But even with that, Daniel Leary was defeated for city controlled losing the election by 33 votes to Republican Sherwood Rowland…the only republican in the city administration.

Within two weeks Rowland discovered that the Hayes gang had hidden kickbacks and illegal income by creating their own accounting books and sent the results of his investigation to the Republican American who began their inquiry into the case. The Hayes gang responded by having the Hayes appointed finance board issue a gag order on Rowland.

Hayes and the Republican American hated went back a decade when William Pape, (Above) publisher of the Waterbury Republican newspaper, became suspicious of the remarkable leap in the number of registered democrats in the city and sent two of his reporters to look into it. The reporters discovered what was, and continues to be, a long standing Waterbury political tradition; the voter rolls were filled with the names of long dead citizens. As a result of the investigation, the Democratic and Republican registrars of voters were removed from office and the silent war between the Hayes gang and the Republican American began.
Pape was also suspicious of the fact that during the Hayes administrations, Waterbury had somehow fallen into debt even though business was booming in the city and taxes were at an all-time high and Rowlands report conformed his suspicions.

As the newspapers investigation went on William Papp found two hidden microphones in his office and received one threat of blackmail from Leary who had hired a New York based private eye to dig up dirt on the publisher to which Papp answered “You may fire when ready” but the threat was never carried out.

Based on the newspaper stories, a grand jury was formed to investigate the missing record and Mayor Hayes and when that alarm sounded the very first thing that Hayes and Leary did was to painstakingly destroy virtually all of the direct evidence of corruption. It was a good plain and, for the most part, it worked.

In their "frantic endeavors to conceal their peculations" the Hayes gang started "three highly relevant fires," including one, supervised by the street department superintendent who burned duplicate truck rental vouchers. Another fire was set inside the bank that cashed the kickback checks.

A grand jury indicted Hayes and Leary and 21 others by describing them as ''a powerful, ruthless and corrupt group of men who had managed the affairs of the city for personal financial gain.''

 When asked to explain the charges against him, Hayes told the Governor ''Even the suggestion awakened his indignation. 'All of the charges against him have no foundation in fact. He was not responsible for acts in which he took no part, he said. The trial, which he hoped would come soon, would exonerate him. All of this was spoken with the air of an honest man whose honor is hurt.''

The governor called in the legislative leaders to consider a special session of the Legislature to impeach Hayes, but all agreed that an impeachment hearing could interfere with Hayes's trial and the matter was dropped. In the meantime, two prominent state Republicans bribed by Hayes to pass of the restroom sterilization bill were convicted and sent to jail.

In the summer of 1938, six months before his term was to end, the Governor demand Hayes resignation but Hayes refused of course. Hayes finally resigned as Mayor of Waterbury on September 2, 1939 with this statement “I state here and now, with all vigor at my command that I am absolutely innocent of any crime or crimes of which I have been accused and, at the moment, stand convicted. However, under the torrent of abuse to which I have been subjected before, during and since the trial, by those who are my political enemies, I feel that I can no longer do justice to the position from which I now resign.  

Because Hayes and Leary destroyed almost all of the evidence the state was left with little more than weak circumstantial evidence. However one piece of seemingly weal evidence was an accountant's document that pointed the finger directly at Hayes and Leary.
But by then, the entire state power structure was tired of having Hayes around. He was an embarrassment, a pillar to greed. Weak evidence or not, he was going to jail.  
The state Supreme Court found sufficient to support a jury's verdict against Hayes, Leary and 21 of their co-conspirators.

In 1940, in a behind the scenes deal, Hayes was finally convicted on the very weak charge of conspiracy to defraud the City of Waterbury. A handcuffed Hayes entered Wethersfield Prison on March 6, 1941. He would serve six year in jail.

Charged along with Hayes was state representative Charles E. Williamson who was a member of the Connecticut Republican State Central Committee. Williamson was convicted of conspiracy to cheat and defraud the city of Waterbury of more than a million dollars, sentenced to a year in jail and $500 fine.

Waterburian John H. Crary, another member of Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, alternate delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1928, 1932 and Waterbury city assessor was also charged and convicted and sentenced to two months in jail and fined $500.

Harry E. Mackenzie, an alternate delegate to Republican National Convention from Connecticut, 1928, 1932, 1936, was also charged with conspiracy. He admitted that he received large fees for lobbying, and paid half back as a kickback to the other conspirators. He turned state’s evidence and testified against the other defendants and was still sentenced to nine months in jail anyway.

Johnny Johnston, a New York broker was also sentenced to five years. Other tried and convicted were Carl Olson, a banker who washed the stolen money, John Crary, the town chairman, Tommy Flemming, the superintendent of streets, Martin Dunn, the corporate counsel, Charles O’Connor, Thomas Shanahan, Mike Slavin, Phil and Ralph Coppeto, Ed Levy, a New Haven lawyer, Timothy Horgan, a city hall supervisor and Carl Olsen, the vice president of a small bank that provided money-laundering services.

Leary was sentenced to 10-to-15 years in prison. On March the 6, 1941, the state Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sent state troopers out to pick him up but Leary was long gone and would remain gone for five years. His $50,000 bond was revoked, put up by Elene Hayes, the mayor’s elderly mother because Leary’s home and most of his other assets, were in his wife’s name.

When it became obvious that he skipped town a state warrant was issued for his arrest.
Leary fled to New York first and stayed there for two weeks, then to Florida and finally to Chicago, arriving there in 1942 and living under the name James Donovan. He already had an uncertified birth certificate bearing the name of James Donovan. For the next five years Leary earned as, of all things, a Catholic bible salesman.

One of the reasons it took so long to capture Leary was that he was careful to never have his fingerprints taken as Danial Leary, although he did have his prints taken by the draft board as James Donovan.  However one day Leary was walking down Monroe Street near Michigan Avenue when he was spotted by George E. Palmer, a former Waterburian transplanted to Chicago. Palmer ran over to a nearby traffic cop who held Leary for questioning
Edward J. Hickey, (Above) commissioner of Connecticut state police, identified Leary in the detective bureau and Leary admitted who he was. “What’s' the use? You know me. I’m Leary. Its really been hell, Ed, and added “I might as well take my medicine and get it over with” he said as if he had a choice.

When Hickey asked Leary why he robbed the city he replied “If you can’t take care of your friends in politics, what’s the use of politics?”

When he arrested, Leary was carrying $4,500 in cash and a sheet that showed he had invested $78,532.81 in the Religious Mart, a Chicago company and made a profit of $10,071.53 in five months, a very large sum of money for the time.

He was sent back to Connecticut and served 7 years in prison and was released on March 6 1953.
Frank Hayes returned to Waterbury and remained a widely respected and well liked, in fact, loved character around Waterbury, a town that tends to forgive and overlook a lot when it involves one of its own. He died, shamelessly, following a heart attack while in St. Mary’s hospital in Waterbury in 1965 at age 81.

In 1963, federal agents raided Leary’s home and business and seized more than $172,000 in cash to satisfy a back tax lien. Two years later, on November 4, 1965, 73 years old Dan Leary also died in St. Mary’s hospital of a heart attack.

Oddly enough, Sherwood Rowland’s grandson, John G. Rowland, became governor of the state and  in 2004 was forced to resign due to fraud and served 30 months in prison.

In 1940 the Waterbury Republican newspaper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service for their coverage of the Hayes administration’s scandals.











Roberta Martin - He Knows How Much We Can Bear (Album 1969)



Wherever I go, people talk to me. I don’t know what prompts them to talk to me, I assume I look like someone they know or perhaps I just look like I won’t harm them or judge them….anyway I consider it a magnificent blessing because I have met so many wonderful, kind and interesting people that way. Some have become close friends.

Last week I met a guy named Mike Campbell who was playing piano in a hotel lobby and noticed that I was humming along with most of the music and he came over and asked if I would like to hear anything in particular. That led to a two hour conversation rambling on music.

It turns out Mike is retired professor of music, PhD, from a local university and we are both BIG fans of Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, the Pilgrim Travelers and many other early stars of what was called the Chitlin Circuit. (Southern Baptist Gospel music) and he was delighted to learn that I have dedicated my spare time this summer to studying Mozart, turns out he is a Mozart aficionado and played his way through a Mozart summary for me

Mike told me to check out Roberta Martin. Ever hear of her? She was a huge star in day within the black community. She’s YouTube. If you listen to her, the point is not the religious aspect of the music, although I feel that’s import, but rather to the timber, depth and passion to her song.

*** PLAYWRIGHTS OPPORTUNITIES ***


Little Fish Theatre is accepting scripts for our 15th Annual PICK OF THE VINE short play production to be presented in January-February 2017. There will be a $50 flat fee royalty payment to playwrights per play produced.

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Submissions are now open for full-length plays! Long one-acts, two-acts, three-acts if you think you have what it takes. Full-length submissions will be considered for our 2018-2019 regular theatre season (not for THEATRE ROULETTE. Information on THEATRE ROULETTE submissions can be found by clicking here). Bring it on, playwrights. We want you! 

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Owl & Cat Theatre seeks immersive plays
We are now accepting play submissions for our 2nd season of work. We are looking for 5 Immersive plays to produce:
Submission Guidelines
1. Scripts must be able to be performed in an ‘immersive’ environment.
2. Scripts must be set in Australia or be able to be relocated to an Australian context.
3. Scripts should be pdf formatted.
4. Musicals and ten-minute-plays are not accepted.
5. Successful playwrights will receive payment of AUD$100.

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the web site at http://www.nycplaywrights.org ***


*** THE THEATER MAGAZINE ***

Theatre served as the most popular form of entertainment during the early 1900s. The American Theatre was still in development during this time. From the 1880s to the early 1900s, Americans would experiment with multiple styles and forms of theatre. One magazine to capture this delicate process was Theatre, later renamed Theatre Magazine. Frank Mott in A History of American Magazines calls Theatre Magazine “quite the most ambitious attempt in American theatrical history to present adequate representation of the stage in a periodical.”

History

Our Players’ Gallery, first published in 1900, was renamed Theatre in 1901 in New York. In August of 1917, it was renamed again as Theatre Magazine. This change may have been to set the magazine apart from a new theatre magazine that started about the same time called Theatre Arts Magazine. The last issue of Theatre Magazine was published on April 1931. By 1925, this monthly magazine sold for 35¢ an issue and for $4 for a yearly subscription. Lois and Paul Meyer founded the magazine, with Arthur Hornblow serving as editor from 1901. The magazine had two other editors by its end: Perriton Maxwell and Stewart Reach.

In the first issue of the magazine as Theatre, the editors described the purpose of the magazine as being to win “favor among the great general public” in hopes that the public will become “always interested in the doings at the theatre and its people.” They also promised to only support that which would “elevate the tone of the stage and add to the dignity of the profession of the artiste”(V.1, n.3, pg 1). On April 26, 1925, a celebration was held in honor of Theatre Magazine’s 25th anniversary. This celebration, held at the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria, had over 1,000 guests including actors, actresses, playwrights, and critics. The magazine itself included an article in the June 1925 issue that covered this celebration. This celebration is proof of its acceptance by the theatre community as a whole and as the accomplishment of the magazine’s goal

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MAY 1901

AN ENDOWED THEATER
Discussed by MR. E. H. SOTHERN and MR. A. M. PALMER.

Mr. Andrew Carnegie was reported recently as saying that if he knew how to conduct a theatre as well as he understood how a library should be managed he would not hesitate to provide the means for the establishment of an ideal theatre with aims above the box-office standard. It has been denied since that Mr. Carnegie said this, but whether he said it or not there can be little doubt that all who see in the theatre more than a place of idle amusement and recognize its immense power as an educator and as a moral force; in short, all students and lovers of the Drama and of the art of acting are deeply interested in the present discussion regarding a proposed Endowed Theatre, and that sooner or later some wealthy man, or body of men will come forward in the absence of State or national aid and make this city the home of such a theatre, one that will become the central point of the dramatic arts in America and an object to us of civic pride. Meantime, let the discussion go on ; it may be fruitful. Let the cost be computed and a scheme of administration prepared. 

THE THEATRE will spare no efforts to foster and encourage the establishment of such a theatre, and our columns are open to anything that may further that object.
Below are presented two thoughtful articles bearing on this important subject. Representing as they do the opinions of two men prominently connected with the stage one a gifted and successful actor,the other the dean of our theatrical managers and a man of culture and experience - their views are peculiarly instructive.

Mr. Sothern’s Opinion

I have not the leisure just now to enter into this question of an Endowed Theatre with the detail its importance deserves for, of course, there ought to be such an institution. I may say, indeed, that I am personally deeply interested in the matter as every man must be who loves the Drama and regards acting as an art.

The object aimed at in seeking to establish such a theatre is, I take it, the
continual presentation of the standard plays by a company as nearly perfect as can be procured. Such presentation of the classic Drama would surely result in the elevation of public taste which would then demand a better class of entertainment than is now generally provided. It would also result in the cultivation of higher ideals in our writers for the stage and also in the actors who would graduate at this theatre and, indeed, in all those actors who would be able to witness the performances given there, for when an actor sees a fine production of a Shakespearian or any other play he is at once filled with the laudatory ambition to "go and do likewise." That our actors have so few opportunities of inspiration is to be deplored.

A theatre where the best plays in the language would be finely presented during each season, a theatre which did not have to depend on public caprice or expediency for its existence, but which would hold up the finest and the best in the Drama to constant view, would lift the art of acting in this country to a position of unexampled excellence and would enhance the artistic and social value of the actor's calling to an extraordinary degree.

If Mr. Carnegie and other wealthy men can be brought to recognize the educational value of the acted Drama, they may be induced to take a serious interest in the Endowed Theatre.

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JULY 1911

A PIONEERING WOMAN PLAYWRIGHT

CLEVER women are today writing for the stage everywhere, and some of them are making large fortunes with their plays, but even among the most successful none can match the extraordinary productiveness of Mrs. Inchbald, that remarkable actress-playwright of the beginning of the nineteenth century, of whose work Dickens wrote : "Mrs. Inchbald's 'Animal Magnetism' will go with a greater laugh than anything else. ... I have seen people laugh at the piece until they hung over the front of the boxes like ripe fruit." This was thirty years after her death. 

Elizabeth Simpson was born on a farm in Standingfield, near Bury, in 1753. Her father died when she was a child, leaving the family with very narrow means. The mother, a warmhearted but irresponsible woman, had little love for domestic drudgery, and day after day the farm was deserted, and she and the children went off to the theatre at Bury. Elizabeth was thus steeped in plays and play acting from babyhood. Having a natural thirst for information, she also devoured all the books of every sort that came her way. In spite of a stammer, which in later years was considered one of her many attractions, her ambition was to become an actress, and with the eagerness and energy that stood her in good stead all her life, this serious, determined little girl studied hard to improve her enunciation, going off to the fields to practice certain difficult words by the hour. 

From a child of twelve her plaint was, "I would rather die than live any longer without seeing the world." This dislike of country life never left her. She could enjoy the solitude of a London garret, but she dreaded the forced loneliness of fields and woods. 

In her later years, a friend suggested that she might live more cheaply, and be more comfortable, farther away from London.  Shuddering, she answered : "Never! Nothing happens in the country. There's such a noise of nothing in the country." 

Before she was sixteen, she had written, quite unknown to her mother, to the actor-manager of the Bury company, Mr. Griffiths, asking for an engagement. Letters passed between them, yet nothing else came of iZHJBhgvbt. After visiting one of her married sisters in London, and feeling the glamor of the city theatres and public gardens, life on the farm was duller than ever, and the young girl, full of determination, took her destiny into her own hands.

More…

Animal magnetism, a farce: in three acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent-garden By Elizabeth Inchbald

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JANUARY 1912

WHY I DON’T WRITE PLAYS

I am, or rather I was, a dramatic critic a modern Brutus in my special field. I
have been a prominent and much feared member of the dreaded theatrical "death watch." I have assisted at many dramatic obsequies, and with Brutus I have repeated those immortal words: "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."have been a prominent and much feared member of the dreaded theatrical "death watch." I have assisted at many dramatic obsequies, and with Brutus I have repeated those immortal words: "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him." 

Not so very long ago there was in this city a theatrical manager, a veritable despot, whose fleshy hand was greedily outstretched to grasp the entire theatrical world. I regarded him as a species of theatrical vampire and, virtuously indignant at this wrong done the drama, I felt it my duty to down him, and "down him" I did. 

As the season progressed, my attacks grew more furious, more venomous, and people who knew him came to me and said he was nearly at the end of his resources. His backers were withdrawing their financial support because my criticisms had opened their eyes to his many blunders. 

Today the dramatic art is becoming a serious matter with the public. Business men, who formerly opened their morning paper at the stock quotations or European cables, now eagerly seek their favorite dramatic critic and swallow his article with their coffee. And as to their wives, before the dear things thrust their  dainty feet into their slippers, and put their warm bodies into breakfast negligees, even before they look for the latest underwear sale, they eagerly seek the notice of the new "show." The drama has come into its own. It has won its place in the hearts of the people, "Allah be praised !" There is but one god the Show. And the critic is its prophet! 

One afternoon I was sitting in my private office, writing my regular feuilleton on the week's failures. I had asked for a little place for myself, for I have not the courage to designate that dimly lit corner a room. The editor and sub-editors were beginning to treat me with deference. My star was in the ascension. A card was handed to me. Upon it was the name of Manager , the despot who was under the ban of my displeasure. 

For a moment I was startled. What could he want with me? Greatly perturbed, I told the attendant to show him in. My embarrassment was not unnatural. At that time I was still young ; my conscience was not so hardened as it became later in life. Had I done this man an -injustice? Guiltily I thrust my "cppy" into a drawer. I was writing, for the -Sunday paper, a "roast" of his plays and his company, which everyone, who might have overlooked my. earlier attacks during the week, could not fail to notice. My, heart beat tumultuously with pride. Was I really, then, so important that this great theatrical Caesar should come to me ? Yes I was the tribunal! 

Quickly I outlined in my mind what my attitude should be, and what I would say. I would be very dignified, very stern, very aggressive. I must continue to be the Brutus who buries and does not praise. 

He entered. To my utter astonishment, his manner, instead of being hostile, was well, have you ever seen a poor old father welcome his long-lost son believed to be dead? Thusly was I greeted by Manager S . There were even tears of emotion in his watery eyes. He gave me no chance to speak. He poured out effusively how incomprehensible it was that we two congenial souls could have lived so long in the same city and not gravitated to each other before. He had felt irresistibly impelled to take the first step. He spoke of my family, he had known my father casually, as a boy, of my great talent, and my greater future. 

Not a word about my attack upon his theatre! 

More…


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JANUARY 1914

AS OTHERS SEE US

The statements printed below are extracts from an article written by the French actress, Madame Simone, for the Paris newspaper, Le Temps. The freely expressed opinions of a foreign "star," addressing her own countrymen, and not merely exchanging perfunctory commonplaces to a group of New York reporters, are likely to be frank, and therefore of more than ordinary interest. In the words of Burns: "Wad some power the gifties gie us, to see ourselves as others see us."

SCENE: Any Monday night on Broadway between May and October. It is eight o'clock. Split up among the seventy theatres, situated sometimes next door to one another, are five, six, eight or ten "first nights." There will be two or three tomorrow, and as many the following days. This is without counting the matinees when they try out the amateurs, the charity performances, or simply an offering of an unknown piece in four acts. Neither the critics, the actors or the public are ever out of work in New York. The shows are advertised to start at 8:15 8:20, 8:25, or 8:30. This time-table, which would make us smile in Paris, is rigidly followed in New York. There are many, many shows and they must all finish at  eleven o'clock. Everybody sups in New York, and supper takes some time; besides, it is necessary to find time to dance for a while after supper. 

Broadway is always full of people. It is the Boulevards a boulevard without trees, ploughed up by little yellow tramcars, from which descend well-dressed, bare-headed ladies. While going to see a show, and all along the way, you can read the illuminated advertisements over the doors of the theatres. In letters, alternately red and green, you will learn that "The Siren" intoxicates, or that "The Enchantress" is the most irresistible musical comedy of the year, also "The Garden of Allah" is the most beautiful piece ever offered since the world's creation, etc., etc. Six stories high you will notice the portraits of the celebrated actors who are playing in New York at the moment. 

These portraits are reproduced very much bigger than life-size and are lit by electric reflectors in the same way that we light pictures of the old masters in France. The wording beneath the pictures is not lacking in exaggeration, either in the size of the letters or the statements made. It is rare to find an actor who is not "the greatest," or, at least, "eminent." Does this candid and far-fetched advertising deceive anyone? They tell me it does. I can hardly believe it. 

You enter the theatre. The smallest is as big as the Porte St. Martin and the biggest as big as the enormous amphitheatre of the Paris Sorbonne. The auditorium I mean the orchestra stalls is on a level with the streets. The vestibule is immense, carpeted and marble lined. The seats are comfortable, the theatres are steam-heated and the corridors are wide. There are neither boxes or loges. On each side of the stage a part of the orchestra is raised. Here are placed six large armchairs. These are used by the "Four Hundred." On a typical "first night" the auditorium is full of critics who have chosen one out of perhaps ten other shows offered them. Compared with a Paris "premiere" there are present few actors, and even fewer dramatic authors. A few friends of the author and the actors and the public that's all. 

New York does not know the "repetitions generales" and the dressmakers' rehearsals." As soon as the words are learned sometimes before the piece is produced. The curtain rises. The public is extremely attentive. The proximity of the street so reassuring for people who fear an outbreak of fire and the absence of doors to separate the auditorium from the vestibule, are little inconveniences. You hear the tramcars pass, the sirens of the automobiles, the newspaper boys shouting the news, the noise of the overhead railroad. In the heart of the winter, when the gilded pipes of the warming apparatus start working, there is the noise of the steam to be added to the noises above mentioned. But nothing troubles Americans. They are used to it, so I'm told. 

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JANUARY 1916

STAGE WHISPERS

CONSTANT theatregoer, the other day, remarked that he thought he was growing deaf. He had been to see a number of plays and in almost every instance had experienced great difficulty in hearing all that was spoken from the stage. The physician he consulted declared his Eustachian tubes were in perfect shape. It was not his ears at fault but the careless, indifferent speech of the actors that made the playwright's words inaudible. 

There is absolutely no excuse for this palpable affront to the playgoer who has paid his good money to see and hear. Sometimes it is the stage manager's fault. In this effort to secure that intimate reserve of polite conversation he so tones down the dialogue that it becomes entirely confidential. But for the well-paid player, too lazy to exert himself, too ignorant to train himself in the art of intelligent and refined diction, there is no excuse. From those in front "Speak up ! Louder ! Louder !" would be a fitting and just rebuke. 

MRS. LANGTRY (who objects by the way to being called Lily Langtry) is talking about writing her memoirs. She has been offered $2,500 a week for a year, to write one spasm for every day in the year, she says. A stupendous figure! They will be written, it is said, in the form of letters from a Court Beauty to her most intimate friend. A gossamer veil of fiction will serve to satisfy the prudish and the exact. 

AT present Mrs. Langtry is playing in vaudeville a sketch by Sydney Grundy called  "Ashes." Although her author remains unchanged, the piece, the manager and the scene of her return are sadly different from what she expected. She came over to play in "Mrs. Thompson," drama version of a novel by the son of Miss Braddon, made by Grundy. Two young managers took her as their first great venture, and when they cabled over to Mrs. Langtry for a copy of Grundy's play the Jersey Lily cabled back: "Grundy's plays are made to act, not to read." This play was evidently not made to act long for it turned out to be a monologue and lasted almost a week. 

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