MR. ABBOTT by George Abbott


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The relentless confessions of Mr. Abbott, Master Director, Producer, Play-wright and Sometime Actor, who, at seventy-five, is still a force to be reckoned with in one form or another in any Broadway season. The author opens up the long view into the past with obvious relish -- the taste of chestnuts long ago in Salamanca, New York; the passing of Coxey's army on a hot July day; bunking with cowboys on a Wyoming ranch; training a hawk; an abortive attempt to run away from home. Abbott's view of his parents reveals a manful struggle for clarity but the portrait emerges -- a courageous, buoyant mother, a wavering alcoholic father. In discussing the early years Abbott probes for crises past but long remembered -- entering at last the University of Rochester; his marriage to his high school French teacher, Ednah Levis; drifting into playwriting after taking Prof. Baker's course at Harvard and winning a contest; two years of doldrums while writing and waiting for acting jobs. The tale of Abbott's later years is less rewarding. There are familiar names with familiar quips and cranks -- Belasco, Engels, Bankhead and Woollcott's coterie etc.; there are balance sheets of feuds with Golden and others; there is a generous portrait of Neysa McMein, at whose home Abbott resided for some years; there is a report on the disastrous second marriage. However, remarks about the theatre per se are curiously sparse. A sparkling boyhood portrait, but for the theatre Mr. Abbott is not Mr. Hart.

Publisher: Random House