A Period Comedy by Lindsay and Crouse
COMEDY, BY ITS VERY NATURE, belongs to its own day. But Life with Father--which Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse turned into the most enduring comedy in American theatrical history--really belongs, not only to Clarence Day (happy pun), but to the day and age it depicts, to the day and years when it was written and produced, and to our own and days to come. It pictures New York in the late 1880's; it amused and heartened America during all the years of World War II; and it remains to kindle our laughter and understanding of family life.
Each of the three authors of Life with Father contributed significantly to its substance as a period comedy.
Clarence Day, Jr., who wrote the autobiographical and family sketches upon which the play is based, was born in New York in 1874, the son of Father ( Clarence, Sr.), a Wall Street broker, and of Mother ( Lavinia). He was grandson of a newspaper man, Benjamin H. Day, founder of the New York Sun, and nephew of Ben Day, who gave his name to the printing process long in use. Clarence, Jr., went from St. Paul's School to Yale, graduated in 1896, then entered business with his father. A turn in the navy during the Spanish-American War left him with the arthritis that by middle life completely crippled him. He married in 1928, and fathered a daughter. He carried on some business from his bed, but gradually developed himself as a humorous essayist--in prose, verse, and illustration--and ran a book column for the Metropolitan Magazine. His first volume, This Simian World ( 1920), was harder on the humans than the apes. His family sketches, written for various journals, were published as God and My Father ( 1932), Life with Father ( 1935), and Life with Mother ( 1937). Father Day, who lived to a ripe age and long enough to read some of the first of these