Art, Glitter, and Glitz: Mainstream Playwrights and Popular Theatre in 1920s America

By Arthur Gewirtz; James J. Kolb | Go to book overview

12
Playwrights and Power:
The Dramatists Guild's Struggle for the
1926 Minimum Basic Agreement

T. J. Walsh

You know, Middleton, it's art when you are writing a play, but business
when you are selling it.

George Bernard Shaw to George Middleton

A closed-door meeting of the Dramatists Guild was held at the Actors' Equity Association headquarters on 7 December 1925. The New York Times reported: “Nearly fifty playwrights, including practically all of the authors of current successful plays, met yesterday afternoon at the offices of the Actors' Equity Association, 45 West Forty-seventh Street, and took their first formal steps to block the plan of the Fox Film Corporation to obtain film rights to plays by financing play producers.”1 The significance of this meeting was that it brought the dramatists of America together in a unified organization with a specific financial common cause: what George Middleton, a journeyman playwright and officer of the Guild, had earlier called a “pocket book issue.” The silent movies and the big profits of a frontier Hollywood forced playwrights to band together to protect their financial interests and, perhaps more important (though at this point in time of secondary concern), gain artistic control over their work.

The formation and evolution of the Dramatists Guild has not been looked at in any comprehensive manner. The scholarship on the Dramatists Guild is sparse, with the exception of a few chapters from George Middleton's autobiography, These Things Are Mine, and a short, conversational pamphlet he wrote for Dramatists Guild members, The Dramatists Guild: What It Is and Does … How It Happened and Why. Other information regarding the formation of the Dramatists Guild comes from a variety of sources ranging from biography to autobiography to newspaper and journal reports of the day. This chapter tries to bring these rather wide-ranging and scattered sources together to form a narrative of personalities, issues, and chronology to cast light on what, until now, has been a neglected (though significant) dynamic in the evolution of twentiethcentury American theatre. It can be argued that the creation of the Dramatists Guild and the negotiation of the Minimum Basic Agreement of 1926, described in the following text, helped set the course for the American theatre of the twentieth century to become a playwright-dominated, text-based theatre.

-107-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Art, Glitter, and Glitz: Mainstream Playwrights and Popular Theatre in 1920s America
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 244

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.