AT THE STAGE DOOR – NEWCOMER, OLDTIMER

Rick’s Journal    —    MY FILM CAREER

THEATER ALLEYS AND STAGE DOORS IN NEW YORK

One of my prime reasons for wanting to go to New York the first time was to see Richard Hart on stage.  He was appearing in Goodbye, My Fancy with Ruth Hussey.  I had been more than impressed by him in MGM’s version of Elizabeth Goudge’s novel Green Dolphin Street.  He was dashing and talented, and he was believable as dull, self-centered, good-hearted William, the center of two women’s worlds.  A new star was alight in the screen’s sky.  But he would make only two more films and die of a heart attack at thirty-five.  I would come to a re-evaluation of Green Dolphin Street as a botch of a lengthy but intriguing novel.

At the time I am recalling, though, Richard Hart was my latest discovery, and he was back on Broadway where, before his first film, he had achieved solid success playing the witch boy in Dark of the Moon.  And after his current play, I was sanding at the stage door with my Playbill.  I told him that I had come all the way to New York to see him.  He was unimpressed and was really interested only in the small attractive young woman on his arm.  But he signed my program and thanked me.

I watched them walk to the end of the theater alley and turn right; and I was still at the stage door when lovely Ruth Hussey appeared.  She signed my Playbill, too.  She was alone and looked tired through her prettiness.  She made an effort, though, and thanked me.

Finally Conrad Nagel, also in the cast, signed for me, too.  I told him that my mother had played hooky from school to see him in the silent film Three Weeks.  I fear he did not appreciate the comment of which I was so proud.   With a sigh he said, “That was a LONG time ago.”  Like Richard Hart, he too had a very attractive young woman on his arm,  But he did graciously sign my program.

NEXT FRIDAY POST June 9
Until then,
See you at the movies,
Rick

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