QUIET PLEASE [Comedy/Films/Marriage/Music/Sex] A: F. Hugh Herbert and Hans Kraly; SC: a short story by Ferdinand Reyher; D: Russell Fillmore (under supervision of Henry Duffy); S: Everett Burgess; P: Jesse L. Lasky and Henry Duffy; T: Guild Theatre; 11/8/40 (16)
Three plays about Hollywood appeared almost simultaneously on Broadway in the fall of 1940, and all were clinkers. The others were Glamour Preferred and Beverly Hills. Quiet Please was "an inept and unattractive tale of amorous revenge," complained Rosamond Gilder ( TAM).
The play, which came to New York after a Los Angeles production, was an ill- assorted compilation of stock material put into service for a plot about Carol Adams ( Jane Wyatt), a screen star whose husband, Roland Pierce ( Donald Woods), is not only a class-B actor, but one with a roving eye. His various amours during filming drive his director ( Fred Niblo)--not to mention his wife-to distraction. To even the score, Carol flirts with a handsome auto mechanic, Michael Kilmer ( Gordon Jones, in his Broadway debut), who turns out to be not only musically talented but a college grad as well. He already has a girlfriend, but the film star's attentions begin to turn his head. Whether their relationship is consummated is never clearly stated. Roland returns and discovers what has been happening, but reveals that he has really been faithful all the while, only pretending to be a skirt-chaser because of the professional inferiority he feels being married to an actress of Carol's standing.
The only novel element in the production was its conceit that the audience in the theatre was actually a group of extras playing a New York audience during the filming of a movie scene set in a theatre. The theatre was actually supposed to be Sound Stage 18 at Imperial Studios, and the place was filled with all the expensive paraphernalia of movie-making. Everyone in the audience was given a page from the "film script" so they could respond on cue when required. Members of the actual cast made considerable use of the theatre's aisles in the course of the play. Most of the audience felt self-conscious about the concept. The beautiful and talented Wyatt was wasted in this turkey. The cast included Bruce MacFarlane, Anthony Kemble Cooper, and Ann Mason as a silent-screen star.
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Publication information: Book title: The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage, 1940-1950. Contributors: Samuel L. Leiter - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 519.