Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Sunrise at Campobello

Dear Friends,

Since we’ve been celebrating American history all week, we thought we’d share this post with you again, as it is where history and theatre intersect!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Certainly one of the most exciting plays we ever produced was Sunrise at Campobello, the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the early 1920s.

We were extremely happy when Dore Schary, a prominent head of MGM, decided to leave Hollywood to concentrate on writing and producing plays in New York!

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His first play, Sunrise, was excellent!  We opened the play on what would have been Roosevelt’s 76th birthday—January 30, 1958.  It was directed by Vincent J. Donehue and starred Ralph Bellamy as Roosevelt, along with Mary Fickett, Henry Jones, Anne Seymour, Mary Welch, Alan Bunce and more!

The play ran for 16 months with 556 spectacular performances.  It was nominated for 6 Tonys in 1958 and won Best Play, Best Actor, Best Director…

  • Best Play (winner)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Play—Ralph Bellamy (winner)
  • Direction—Vincent J. Donehue (winner)
  • Featured Actor in a Play—Henry Jones (winner)
  • Featured Actress in…

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Ed Asner & Ron Nash in the FDR Presidential Car

Dear Friends,

As we head into the holiday weekend, we wanted to share this great photo with you!

Happy July 4th!

Best regards,
Philip & Marilyn

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Ed & Ron

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Taj Mahal by Moonlight.

Two weeks ago President Obama had to bypass his and Michelle’s visit to the Taj Mahal at full moon when he needed to visit Saudi Arabia because of the death of King Abdullah.

Of course, this sparked our memory:

My actress wife, Marilyn Clark, and I had the greatest time visiting the Taj Mahal 20 years ago.

We had finished a trip to Nepal, where we had visited – if you can believe – a place we decided to invest in, called Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge.

philip elephant

Here I am in this picture herding elephants at Tiger Tops.  Unfortunately, it later closed and we never did get our investment returned!

At any rate we were heading back to the U.S. and decided to take a few days to see the Taj Mahal by moonlight!!!!

Certainly the most beautiful sight we have ever seen in our lives!

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The picture here says it all–and proves that a picture really is worth a thousand words!

Do try if you can!

Philip Langner

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Oh Othello!

This Throwback Thursday features a great photo of Paul Robeson in his garb as the well-known character of Othello, which The Theatre Guild produced on Broadway in 1943-1944.

Robeson’s portrayal of Othello was so masterful and well-performed that John Dover Wilson—one of the premier Shakespeare critics at the time—commented that Robeson’s Othello was the best performance of the century!

When I was about 10 years old, I used to spend wonderful times wrestling and playing with Paul’s son, Paul Jr.!

Paul broke through so many barriers coming from the son of a former slave, and knowing him and his family was indeed an honor!

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Moulin Rouge

For this Throwback Thursday, we thought we’d share one of our favorite posters!

moulin rouge

Au Joyeux, indeed!

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James O’Neill

As we all know Eugene O’Neill was very sad about his father, James O’Neill.  Gene—and many others—felt that James was a wonderful actor and that he could have a major part in any American play he cared to be in!  Alas, James O’Neill chose to spend his theatrical life in a potboiler, The Count of Monte Cristo.  He played it all over the U.S. year after year—over 6000 performances in 40 years!

Gene was quoted as saying:

My father was really a remarkable actor, but the enormous success of “Monte Cristo” kept him from doing other things. He could go out year after year and clear fifty thousand in a season. He thought that he simply couldn’t afford to do anything else. But in his later years he was full of bitter regrets. He felt “Monte Cristo” had ruined his career as an artist.

While a bit faded, this 1897 advertising poster still adorns our living room—talk about a Throwback Thursday from way, way back!

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Catfish Row, Circa 1935

A look at Catfish Row: aka the set of Porgy & Bess, designed by Sergei Soudeikine.

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Not Just a Producer…

…but a Director (of Elephants!) too!

philip elephant

India, circa 1970s

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Jean Stapleton Stars As Eleanor Roosevelt

We recently came across this photo of Jean Stapleton, who was one of our most beloved actresses. She starred in the play Eleanor Roosevelt by Rhoda Lerman, performing all over the United States for 37 weeks.  While everyone may recognize Jean in her prominent role of Edith Bunker, it is her stage presence and her warm and darling personality that makes us miss her so!

—Marilyn & Philip

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