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1940_02_03--27_How_to_raise_a_child_part_iii

(C."t/"".d f,.m Pal. 40) Oil from ten A.M. unlil nearly midnight. He could not stnr·t rehearsals for 1\<I:\cbeth until after midnight. because the theater was in use ill Ihe evening. He would work in Harlem until eight A.M. or thereabouts. then hold It conference breakrast and ' then speed downtown for a len o'dock broadcas t. For several days running he was never out of his clothes. but this ended with his breakdown at :l radio recital of a poem of Browning·s. lie got not only every word wrong but every syllable wrong, and the station cut in wiih an organ recilld. Welles always tries t.o top everybo<:ly: 011 th is occa sion hc succeeded in adding obscurity to Brown- • IIlg. Welles produced the blnck l\ lacbeth in c<rOperation with .John Ilousrnnn. who was staging plnys for the ,,·PA. The idea of doing the tragedy with !l colored cast vms suggested by 1\lrs. Welles. Because Christophe, t he famous black emperor of I-Initi, had been :t man after 1Ilacbelh's OW1\ he:\rt, the action was transferred fl"Om Scotland to lIaiti. 'T'he Birnam \Vood timt came to Dunsirmne was :t jungle of Imllns and bananas. The three weird women were translated into sixty black witch doctors. Welles. always a prey 10 an exacting artistic conseience. obtained genuine voodoo practitioners who slew goats with strange l"ites in ol"der to j!ct sacred skins ror the witch drums. Welles made it a point of a ssembling a cast of persons who knew little or nothing of acting and nothing what.ever of Shakespeare .. ll e wanted a{'"tors WIIO. llfler mastering the import of the E:lizabcthnn ph ra seology, would utter the words in their own way, instead of imitating other aclors. I t was an arduous enterprise in vlIrious l'espeets, During" a rehearsal Welles t ried repeatedly to silell(>(l 0110 of Iris ('olor('d !lids who kept 011 holding a eonYer.:;atioll in the ('enter aisle. P inallv. Welles slJid, "If you won't be quiet.' I'll have to make you:' and eiimbl'(i over the footlight s. lie was seized and dragged away just in time. Dudng the early stages of Iho argument the aid hnd taken ou t his rawI'. opened it and thoughtfully tied the h:LlIdle to his wrist. so it would not slil) nfter the first s l:lI~h . .R Harlem He ro There were other trouhles. One f:I{'lion in lIariem thought tho whole idetl was rroL only a degradation of Shukesl>cnre but. a setback to the ('ultuml progress of t he l'\ej!ro ilL AIlLeriea. The rehears.:ds progressed in the midst of thrt!ats and inlr·igues. Welles was coml>clled to squandcr rnost of his large radio enrninb'"S 011 the show b<J(':IIISC the \\'PA nuditors loved 10 make a prolong cd diplonm tie ne/!"oti:ltion, with exchan!,,'"E!s of notes lind uitimllturns. over the matter of buying a )lIper of thumb l:1c:ks. But the opening- nighL of April 14 , 1936, wns a grand one. The polic:e hnd to be ('ailed ollL to hllndle olle of the furriest and IIIOst expensi\'e first-night crowds in hi story. All was forgiven: Welles becanle a Harlem hero. ;\ losL of Ihe critics wcre imprc!' se·d . The supernatural businei\S and th(' hattie scencs were tremendou s. The \'oodoo set proved to be thoroughpacL'( i t rOlq>crs. Oue dramatic eriti(' hnd If't loosca blast ag-ainsL I he Go\'crnmen I. for blowing the money of t:I~payers 011 this kind of thing. When tlLl~ was lranslntcd to the voodoo dQ(·tors. the\' held eeremonies around a \\ il("hes' ('aldl"OlI full of their OWl! ingredients. " Wo fix 'ilLl." explained the head THE SaTURDAY EVENINC POST doc:tor. "Give 'im beri-beri.'· Voodoo prestige soared when. a few dnys hIler. the critic died. An ailment of long stllnding. howe\'cr. not beri-beri. was z·esponsible. Welles and IIOll sman produced two other WPA successes- Doctor Fnustus and Jlorso Ents Ilat. 'l'hcyencountered trouble in 1\);37, however. with ),Iarc J3\ itzstein's operetta. 'rhe Cradle \rill Hoek, whieh undermined the capitalis tic system with light mlLsic. The Ol)(!reU: t had been allproved aud financed by the \\"PA. but that organization suddenly lost ils nerve. Before this date. the WPA chiefs had been fairly :ludacious in bncking pink thenter propagandn. but they became t horoughly frightened when c:ongrcssmen and others began to murmur'. The Blilzstcin Ol)(!retta was supposed to have all the dyn:lmj te of Beaumarchais' I.e Mnriage de Figaro, which. according to some historinns, touched otT the French Hevolution. After investing considerable sums in T he Crndle \rill Rock. WPA chiefs began to put obstades in the wny of producing it. \rhell \relies got ready to stage it anyway, they rushed emissaries to New York and pudlocked the t hefller n few hours l>cfore oJ}():nin/!" time. Welles nnd his IIctOrs found themselves locked out as the audience w:\s :lrri \'ing. 'I' his furnished Welles with :L chance for some typical Welles fir('works. Assurinj! tho mob of ti('ket holders that he would prodl!('O the show t hat nig-ht, Welles sent out a general 1L.iarm for theater owners. and finally engaged an empty showhollse. A piano was moved in. so that Blitzstein c.ould play his world-over·tul"IlillgmelodIes. With this exploit Welles ag-Hill hit the fronL I):I/.:"es or the New York papers. T he formerly audacious left.- - - wingers of the ,,' PA turned out to be a lot of stutTed shirls under the skill. I n their zenl to save America from the \\'PA then tel'. the WPA sent an ax brigade to chop and smash their own stage settiu!,'"S in their own padlocked l)layhollse. Big glass pillars full of ncon lights and the other eXIX!nsive stage equipment of The Crndle Will Rock were destroyed in a. Carrie Nation raid. Seveml weeks later. Welles staged the show under Ilrivate auspk:es. Americ:~ survived. but the opcretla didn 't. The situation, ho .... ·ever, might ha\'e been reversed. except for the faet that Welles. by a typicnl miscaleula.lion, produced the piece in It t heater so small that, even if it were filled to cupncity at evcry I>crformnnce, the box-office receipts wou ld not Il:l)' run! ling eX llCnses. After this experience, Welles refused. to use his sUTj)lus rndio earnings to support the Government any 10Ilb"Cr, and devoted them to the l\ lereury Theater, Inc. , whieh he and 1-IOllsman orgnnir.ed. Welles set off Ihe fireworks agnin with :t seeneless Iliain-('lothes Julius C1\esar. made highly contemporary by the fnet lhnt the conspimt. OI-;; aPI>cared to be a lot of goldentonb'ued Chicago mobster;; rising ngainst a modern dicta torof tim II itler-)' I us,<;alilli tY I)C. Jl e stirred the critics, but not the publie, with h is impressionistic Dunton's Denti .. Presentations of the I':lil.abetimn farce. T he ShoolllHker'g Iioliday, and Shaw's Il eartbrcnk I louse lidded 10 his presti/!"c. Last !!pring, in rolbborntion with tho T heatre Guild. Welles Illude his most nmbitiolls elTort. Boiling down B: ichnrd II . the two parts of Il enry I V, lI enry V, Ihe three pllrts of II cnry VI lind B:ichnrd I II into one monstrous show ('tilled ~'i"e I<ings, he tried to slage the story of En/!"land from 1377 • 45 to 148.5. including the fall of chivalry and t he rise of the commoners. 'I'he producttoll money run out before it was half rehearsed, and this halfbaked CardilT Ginnt of a drnma failed in an eMly stage of a road tour. \\" elles played Falstaff. Ashton Stevens. who has soon nil the FalstnlTs of the last forty yellrs. said that Welles wRS the only nctor who hnd risen to the part during that J}():riod. Opinions of other critics varied. They generally agreed that Welles hnd mnrvclous gusto. The Golden Tou.ch One of the various departments in which Welles call lick all creation is thut of being I>crpetually penniless with an enormous income. Aftor Pive Kings. -he was full of theatrical projects lind in tzrgent nood of $ 15,000. He sough t to hock n. 40,000 inheritance whic:h comes to him next 1\lny. With his usual eccentric npproach to his problems. he took 'I'nllulah Bankhead for his fimlllcini agent. StfLrtilLg after her e\'ening a llPearunoo in 'rhe Li ttle "·oxes. she held banking hours from olle to s.ix A.M. Marc Connelly. who lived in the sume hotel. wns summoned to her apartment at three A.M., but ('ould not find $15,000 in his pujumn. poekels. Sherman Bill ingsley. summoned from his Stork Club. decided l hat ho witS not running l~ pnwnshop for iml>cnding inheritallces. Miss Bllllk hend kcpt on smiting rocks of finance tmti! dnybrc!lk. but 110 btlnk rolls gushed forth . Dashiell Hammett claimed to have :~ big bngmlul sW ked 0111, at The PIILza. T!lkillg Welles over there ltfter breukfns t. II Uilullett greeted the {Itlarry with ;' lI ello, sucker," Ilnd the mZln froze up like the go\'ernor of the Bank of En/!"Iand. Welles took:~ Illane for (,hieago. where his guard inn. Dr.l\laurice Bernstein. IIrr1Lnged to g-et the loan from a Chicago bank. Welles met two blink ex<:cuti\'cs who hehavl'<.i like hearts of gold: they were willilll-( to wui\'e teclmicnlities and fork o\'cr the 15.000 on eusy lerms, but during the conference a lelephone cull from lI ollywood came for Welles. A molion-pic l ure mllgnll te had ~Il trying to rell('h him. luul Welles hnd left word to switch the Cll1l lo the bank ir it cnme ut the confercll('e hour. 'I'he 1 lollywood mUll ofTerud Wclles 100,000 to I)roducc a picture. Welles refused . The nzagnnte askc<1 how much ho wnnled. ·· It isn't the money." snid WeUes. "A hundrc<l thOIlSllnd would be Illl right. Bllt there isn't :IIlY I>oint ill talking llbout it until I lmve It story that I think I clln do." The two Chicago bankers eyed each other and smiled sn.rdonically. It looked liS il Welles were having himself pagc<1 \\'ith the 100,000 offer ill oNler to build up his credit. 'rhey reconsidered on the Sl>ot and wouldn't lelld him :1 cent. Welles fhmlly raised. the money by :t brief vaudeville Il)l)Carall(.'(l in 'I'he Green Gadde- . Then. hitting 011 Ihe ide:\, of filming Heart of Durkness, he well I. to Hollywood. The immediate ambition of Welles is to develop his 1\lercury Comp:lnY four wllys-in pi(' tures, Bro..'1dway shows. radio presentations nnd phonGgm phie recordiJl~'S or classics for school use. Plllnning mooerllte-priced Brondway dnuna, he needs the lIollywood gaiils to otTsct the probable Brrnldw:Lv losses. 1-1 is ultima te bu L eonceaJed ambition, aeoording to sollie or his associa tes, is to be a (lollege presiden t. Edit.,..'. Not .. Thil il the Ialt ofthrtt article. by Mew •. Johnlton .00 Smith.


1940_02_03--27_How_to_raise_a_child_part_iii
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