Mr. Howard Has a New One (1930)
Mr. Howard Has a New One
When “Out of a Blue Sky,” the play which Tom Van Dycke is presenting as his first invasion of the production field, comes to the Booth Theater Thursday evening, Leslie Howard will be established as a playwright as well as an actor. For it was Mr. Howard who adapted “Out of a Blue Sky” from the German of Hans Chlumberg.
Writing, however, is no new to the young Englishman who is appearing in “Berkeley Square.” “Out of a Blue Sky” isn’t even a first play. Just this year, Mr. Howard had presented at a semi-public performance a one-act play of his called “The New Morality,” with what success those who were there will vouch. And besides he will be remembered for his series of entertaining articles that ran in “Vanity Fair” a few years ago.
Mr. Howard always wanted to write. In a press questionnaire deeply buried in the passed days when he first came to America, he answers the query of “What was your youthful ambition for a career?” with “To be a writer–it still is.” And as an alternate answer he gives, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
This mouldering press record discloses other leanings. As his interests outside the theater, for instance, he lists literature, children, Mayfair, Scotch whisky, beautiful women and funny men. When asked why he became a player he says, “God alone knows. Probably owing to complete inefficiency at all other pursuits.” In reply to a query as to whether he is interested in sports he indicates a cryptic “Ha! ha!” When asked whether he is satisfied with the roles he has been playing, he counters with “Now, I ask you.” And to the question “Have you any suggestions for press material about yourself?” he merely says, “And how!”
And the same questionnaire shows that Mr. Howard has long had his own ideas as to what plays should be like. For he gives as his pet superstition the belief that what’s in the script will come out in the play–and nothing more.
In Mr. Howard’s own new play, what’s in script should be quite sufficient to carry the piece to success. For he took as a working basis the script by the aforementioned Hans Chlumberg, who had had his play produced in both Vienna and Berlin, and who had thereby roused shouts of hosanna from the stolid drama testers of Mitteleuropa. He was compared–and favorably–with Molnar, with Pirandello; and his play received 27 curtain calls on the opening night.
(Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 2, 1930)