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BY GEORGE: The Collected Kaufman Ed. by Donald Oliver by George S. Kaufman

BY GEORGE: The Collected Kaufman Ed. by Donald Oliver


Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's

Editor Oliver has neither arranged this potpourri with any apparent plan or purpose nor has he deigned to provide more than one or two explanatory notes--but Kaufman is Kaufman, and it's nice to have his lesser-known magazine/ newspaper/theater output between covers. Especially welcome: the text of the stage version (1925) of The Coconuts (Irving Berlin's song lyrics are omitted)--which Marx Brothers buffs will surely want to compare with the later movie version; Hollywood Pinafore (or ""The Lad Who Loved a Salary""), the 1945 Broadway curiosity featuring such paradigms of Gilbert-and-Sullivan parody as ""Louhedda Hopsons"" singing ""Words she will splutter up/ No one can shut her up/ Sweet Little Butter-up, me!""; plus inspired revue sketches from the Twenties and Thirties. And there's hardly an entry among the rest--New Yorker musings, mock-serious confessions and inside scoops to the New York Times, joke calendars from the early (humorous) Life, etc.--that doesn't contain at least one good twist of the self-deprecating, skeptical, snappish but somehow warmhearted Kaufman wit. A bit of dead wood among the snatches of magazine light verse, perhaps--and nearly every piece would have benefited from a Broadway-history savvy that Oliver apparently lacks (he gets credit, however, for not including bits of witty Kaufman conversation, which never read well). Still: lots of happily un-dated laughs, and a solid reminder that Kaufman's reputation as a comic genius wasn't based only on the famous plays (none of which are included here).