Leslie Howard Turns Satirist (1927)

Leslie Howard Turns Satirist

by George Halasz

It does not happen every day that an actor who is neither starred nor featured “runs away with a show.” And especially not when the star of the play is so gifted, experienced and beloved an actress as is Jeanne Eagels. Yet precisely this is what happened on the opening of Her Cardboard Lover, a light, airy, delicious French comedy by Jacques Deval, at the Empire Theater. It was young Leslie Howard who offered such a sparkling performance as the make-believe lover that the entire audience loudly and ecstatically applauded him for a long time even after the last curtain had descended.

Howard, the Satirist.

Leslie Howard is not only a fine actor, one of the finest hereabouts, to be sure, but also a clever and witty satirist. For more than a year now he has contributed a number of extraordinarily amusing sketches of the theater to Vanity Fair which have attracted wide attention. Authors, actors, managers, “angels” and dozen of others intimately or remotely connected with the theater have each come in for a friendly slap or two. And not a few sly smiles of his have been reserved for such amusing things as rehearsals, selection of actors, tryouts and the like. In the March issue of that magazine there is to be found the synopsis of an actor-proof play, as funny a piece of writing as your correspondent has read in many a long moon.
Unless my memory grossly deceive me, it was about a year and a half ago that Leslie Howard’s signature first appeared over a satirical sketch. It was after the premiere of The Green Hat that Howard contributed to the Equity Magazine, the official organ of the Actors’ Equity, a little piece describing 24 hours in an actor’s life, those 24 hours the climax of which is an opening night. And ever since some of us have been wondering why such a wit as Howard should not devote some of his free mornings and matinee-less afternoons to the writing of a play. It should be a very profitable investment.

(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 27, 1927)