The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, 1940-1950

By Samuel L. Leiter | Go to book overview

I

I GOTTA GET OUT [Comedy/Gambling/Romance/Sports] A: Joseph Fields and Ben Sher; D: Joseph Fields; S: Raymond Sovey; P: Herbert H. Harris and Lester Meyer; T: Cort Theatre; 9/25/47 (4)

A racily vernacular racetrack farce about bookmakers that was annoyingly maladroit in writing and production. It focused on Swifty ( Reed Brown, Jr.), Bernie ( David Burns), and Radtke ( Hal Neiman), three bookies who operate out of a stable, from whence they keep a sharp eye out for the cops. Two of them have manicurist girlfriends ( Peggy Maley and Eileen Larson). Involved with them is a college boy named Timmie ( John Conway) who wants to earn enough to get married to Mary ( Peggy Van Vleet), although she disapproves of his acquaintances. The lad, needing money for his nuptials, is too much in debt to the bookies to quit. The cops get wise to the operation, so the trio of bookies leave the stable. They set themselves up in the Long Island kitchen of Mrs. Clark ( Edith Meiser), Mary's aunt. The aunt is supposed to be gone for the summer but returns before the phones are installed. The bookies use various ploys to talk her into renting them her place. Since she wants to raise funds for a charity, she is persuaded to visit Belmont Park with them to place some bets on her own behalf. The bookies themselves lose, but Mrs. Clark wins, although she is arrested as a front for the gamblers. However, all works out and Timmie and Mary get married.

"The authors seemed more concerned with pyramiding a number of gags and wisecracks than with evolving an interesting story," insisted Thomas R. Dash ( WWD). "It is not sufficiently inventive to stand on its own four legs in the theater," cracked George Freedley ( NYMT).

I KILLED THE COUNT [Comedy/British/Crime/Mystery] A: Alec Coppel; D: Frank Carrington and Agnes Morgan; P: Frank Carrington and Agnes Morgan i/a/w Messrs. Shubert; S: Emil Holak; T: Cort Theatre; 8/31/42 (29)

This murder-mystery comedy was first staged in London in 1937, had a hearing at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, and was well produced on Broadway, but the effort was considered wasted. Ibee. (V) attacked the play as "repetitious to a degree and quite incredible."

The body of a slain foreign nobleman, Count Victor Mattoni ( Rafael Corio), is found in his London flat. Divisional inspector Davidson ( Louis Hector) questions the three prime suspects ( Robert Allen, Guy Spaull, and A. J. Herbert), one by one. Each confesses, and each confession is followed by a fadeout and the reenactment of the crime before the Scotland Yard detective and his assistant ( Bertram Tanswell). The explanations are all plausible and supported by circumstantial evidence, which is corroborated by Samuel Diamond ( Clarence Derwent), resident of a nearby flat. The grumpy Davidson's frustration grows greater when a woman ( Louise Rogers) also confesses. All becomes clear upon the eventual revelation that the multiple confessions are part of a plot to get rid of the dastardly count by a

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