Emeline Roche, Ernest Schrapps, Irene Sharaff, Julia Sze, and Miles White. As in previous decades, it remained the practice not to credit a costume designer when the garments worn by the actors were purchased at local retail establishments. The principal exceptions were when an actress's gowns or ensembles were the creation of a famous fashion designer, such as Mainbocher or Valentina, both of whom regularly provided striking outfits for Broadway's leading ladies. In fact, one reason that Mary Martin agreed to do One Touch of Venus was because Mainbocher said that he would design her clothes.
The forties was a fascinatingly divided decade, beginning with a nation just emerging from the Depression and then plunged directly into a catastrophic world war. Broadway's theatre was there to do its job, and it did so nobly, engaging in practical war work as well as attending to the duty of cheering up the populace at large. That entertainment is desperately sought as a crucial form of escape from worldly troubles was never more in evidence than during the conflict, when lighthearted presentations dominated the Great White Way and every night--despite the blackouts--seemed like New Year's Eve. Then the war ended and the citizenry were forced to take stock. Business declined, although some of the most exceptional plays in American history were produced. Television, projected as being of minimal potential damage to the theatre, was now every American's dream. One nightmarish view of reality it soon would offer was of what could happen to those who had seen a pink- shaded destiny for the nation. How that reality was to affect the stage during a period that began with renewed military conflict, moved ahead into an ever more chilling cold war, and cast a shadow of fear over would-be dissenters will be discovered in the plays described in volume four of this series.