I wonder why I started to write down the names of actors/actresses. Maybe it's the 6 degrees of separation. For some of the below-named, they have been and gone by my time. Mr. Plummer really worked with the best. This book could be a text book for theatre history, early television history. Old terms I've not heard of before "the last of the great "actress/managers." His take on what tv was and what it was to become is spot on. And, may I say, actors could not get away with as much these days as they did back then. The day of instant upload from cell phones has hurt may actors/actresses. I think the real power in Hollywood are the PR people. They can spin anything.
"Those were the early warning signs that this explosive new invention was about to get out of hand and go too far, that one day soon it would tell us how to eat, how to dress, how to live. Drunk with power, it could dictate policy, bring down corporations, swing elections, topple governments. Newscasters [Edward R. Murrow, Brinkley, Cronkite] were turned into opinionated superstars.Nothing would be sacred anymore, neither the dignity of high office nor the sanctity of the ruling class. All would become an open book - what was caviar to the general was now popcorn for the masses. Today we have become quite accustomed to being fed intravenously with third-rate dogma; like some insidious germ warfare it all seems painstakingly planned, carefully calculated. Oh, sometimes, something fine comes along to momentarily redeem it, but not often enough."
This being said, if people didn't watch the 'third-rate dogma', it would stay on air. Are we the product of what tv/media tells us to like or do we tell tv what to produce? Unfortunately, I think it's the tv that has the control. For example, let's take breastmilk and formula (collective groan be gone). TV, with all the formula company advertising, makes parents, grandparents and children think formula is 'close' to breastmilk. That's like saying Michigan is better to live because it's closer to Hawaii than Ohio. Closer? Yes. As good as Hawaii? Not a chance (I love Michigan, by the way - I'm taking my daughter to Mackinac Island when she turns 13). TV commercials, adverts in parenting magazines, samples given out at doctor's offices...it's a great example of "it would tell us how to eat, how to dress, how to live."
Maybe this is why I want to read these plays. They were written, most of them I'm assuming, before the advent of tv. They made us look at life differently. Life was the reality and it was portrayed on stage, read in books, to cut us, make us think, make us laugh. I miss going to Stratford to escape my reality. This book is my escape right now...but I like it better when I'm alone reading and posting. I can't wait to get started on the plays, poems, and (other) prose.
My ticket (yes, I'm going alone) to "A Word or Two" is for August 22. Maybe the waiting for it will make my life slow down a bit. That would be nice.
If any of you who may read this have a copy of one of the mentioned plays, or know where I can find one/them, please, let me know. I'm going to have to start collecting them soon. I'm thinking it will be the plays which will be the most difficult to find compared to the books and poetry.
Odd bit of Mr. Plummer history in this section? He acted on soap operas! Yes, he did. Must pay the bills.
Eva la Gallienne
Frances Fuller - Worthington Miner's wife
Maurice Evans - Hamlet
E G marshall
Robert Webber - Mr. P's fave
Val Avery - Mr. P's fave
The Lunts -
Katherine Cornell - Mr P's sponsor (last great actress/managers)
Mrs Leslie Carter
Sir Ralph Richardson
Eva Leonard Boyne
Eva La Gallienne - Mr P's broadway debut of mr p at 24 yrs old - ran 1 night!
Peggy Ann Garner
George C Scott
Rose Tobias Shaw
Morris Carnovsky group theatre
S Lee Pogostin
Elaine Carrington - soap writer
W H Auden
T S Eliot
Richard le Gallienne - poet
Josephine Bartington (saved by le G)
Montherlant's Queen After Death
Rudyard Kipling's the light that failed
Robinson Jeffers' Medea
Pirandello's Henri IV
Les Oeufs de l'Autruche
Look After Lulu (Occupe-toi d'Amélie)
The Shanghai Gesture
Michael Arlen's Green Hat
Candida - Marchbanks
Chekhov's The Three Sisters
Behrman's No Time for Comedy
The Doctor's Dilemma
The Barretts of Wimpole Street
Antony and cleopatra
The Constant Wife - Somerset Maugham
Charles Laughton The Private Life of Henry VIII
Lewis Carroll's Red Queen
Émilie Zola's Thérèse Raquin
The Starcross Story - close in 1 night
Walter Macken's Home is the Hero
Christopher Fry's the Dark is Light Enough
Noël Coward's Present Laughter
On a soap opera!
Pepper Young's family
Life can be beautiful
The Riddle of Mayerling
Swinburne' Even the Weariest River
The Wwhooping Cranes
Monsieur Vincent - Yvonne Printemps
"I wasn't born I was squeezed out of a Rag at Sardi's Bar"
Method actors from the Studio
Stanley Gilkey (theatrical manager) 1955
John Cabot Lodge
Theatre companies around the world
Italy's piccolo teatro
Chinese Peking theatre
Kabuki from Japan
Paris:TNP, Jean Vilgar's classic company
Alfred de Musset
Michael Korda's Charmed Lives
Margaret Webster civic rep theatre