Friday, June 3, 2016

ACT ONE

I love the play I watched on PBS tonight: Act One, based on the memoir of playwright Moss Hart (please disregard the 1963 film of the same name that stars George Hamilton).

Without Googling his name, how many of you know who Moss Hart was?

Do you know any plays or screenplays he wrote?

I haven't yet found DVDs of Act One or streaming services that carry it, but it seems the entire play is available on this PBS site: http://www.pbs.org/arts/pbs-arts-festival/2015/act-one/

The production is well done, and the acting is superb. Oi! Such a set! I recommend Act One to you, especially if you have an interest in writing and enjoy the theater.

I've wondered about Moss Hart for years. When I was quite young--twelve? thirteen?--my father mentioned that when he was a pilot during World War II,  Moss Hart took my dad and some of his colleagues out for a beer because he wanted to interview them.

Did a play, or a scene in a play, come out of that meeting? I have no idea, but I wish I knew. Perhaps my father made some brilliant/amusing comment that became a line in a play. He was prone to making brilliant/amusing remarks.

I did a little research on Moss Hart and found him to be quite interesting, and not as suave and educated as his public face.

Here's Moss Hart with his wife, Kitty Carlisle, and their children, Christopher and Catherine.



Now here's another question: How many of you can tell me who Kitty Carlisle was without, of course, Googling her name?

Carlisle outlived Hart by many years.

I enjoyed learning more about Hart today.

But I wish I had a recording of that interview with the pilots.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


34 comments:

  1. I definitely remember Kitty Carlisle--blindfolded--guessing occupations or who people were and you always liked her. (Also a sweet guy named Bennett Cerf/Serf--never knew what any of the panelists actually did or had a clue who they were married to.) It had to be either What's Your Line (my first guess) or I've Got a Secret. Both were great shows! I had no idea she was married to Moss Hart (which vaguely rings a writer-bell).

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    1. I remember Kitty Carlisle, too. She was a panelist on many shows, including What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth. She was also an actress, singer, and longtime patroness of the arts. One of her movies was A Night At The Opera with the Marx Brothers. She was very well educated and seems to have been happily married to Moss Hart, in spite of questions about his sexual orientation. She became a very wealthy widow. She lived to be 96 or 97 and was active in public up to a short time before her death.

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    2. Rita, I think you would like the play.

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    3. I finally took the time to watch it.
      You were wrong. I loved it!! ;)

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  2. Moss Hart - I knew nothing before this post. Kitty Carlisle sounds familiar but no idea why.

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    1. I think you're the sort of person who might enjoy this play.

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  3. I never heard of either of them. Although I recently said that about an actor lately and was pleasantly surprised when I looked them up!

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    1. You might be pleasantly surprised if you look up Moss Hart. In addition to writing many successful plays and screenplays, he won a Tony Award for directing the original production of My Fair Lady on Broadway.

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  4. He was a playwright (often with George S. Kaufman) & she was an actress & TV personality.

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    1. Yes! Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman were writing partners on some successful plays, probably best known for You Can't Take It With You and The Man Who Came To Dinner. When their partnership ended, Hart went on to write many more plays. Hart wrote the screenplays for Gentleman's Agreement and the 1954 version of A Star Is Born. Kitty Carlisle was also a singer, including opera.

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  5. Hi Janie,

    I remember watching Kitty Carlisle, when I lived in Canada, on, "What's My Line?"

    Thanks for the memories.

    Gary

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    1. I think she was my first exposure to someone cultivated and polished.

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  6. I knew the name, not the history......enjoyed this and my subsequent google

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  7. Kitty was on several quiz shows. I think I remember her on To Tell the Truth. She always dressed like she was off to the opera.

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  8. I actually knew that Moss Hart was a playwright, but only could think of The Man Who Came to Dinner . I also knew he was married to Kitty Carlisle, who I thought was the epitome of grace and class. Since I only "knew" her from To Tell The Truth, I have no idea if what I thought was accurate or not.

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    1. I think it's accurate. She was educated and talented, sang opera and promoted the arts for decades. Her marriage to Moss Hart may have had some oddities, but she never remarried because no one could take Hart's place in her life. Their two children seem quite successful.

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  9. I remember Kitty Carlisle from a game show I used to watch but I can't remember which show. She was classy.

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    1. Quite classy and had quite a varied career.

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  10. Yes
    Yes
    and Yes to many of your questions but then I am older than dirt and have the wrinkles to prove it !
    I have always liked "The Man Who Came To Dinner"
    Quote...
    All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say 'No" and said "Yes"

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. I've never seen The Man Who Came To Dinner on stage, but the movie is hilarious, as is You Can't Take It With you. I, too, am older than dirt. I join you in dirtism.

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  11. I've never heard of Moss Hart, but that's so cool that your dad met him! I know Kitty's name but couldn't tell you why. Well, I guess I COULD tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

    -andi

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    1. What method would you use? Hire a hit man or do it yourself? I probably won't put up much of a fight. Franklin would invite you in.

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  12. ackkk I think my comment was lost from yesterday ? or I hit the wrong button again

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    1. Your comment is there. I responded to it.

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    2. dur, I wrote that before you posted.
      Lately I am writing fabulous comments that could change people's lives !
      But usually hit the red goodbye button instead. So I thought that is what I did again.

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  13. He wrote plays and she was a strong personality on TV shows in the early 1960s. I don't think I liked her very well. Was she a bit brash or am I thinking of someone else? So funny to only remember people in black and white, due to only seeing them on those B/W TVs back then.

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    1. I wouldn't call her brash. She was well educated and knew a lot of celebrities and intellectuals. Maybe that came off as brash to you. I liked her.

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  14. Moss hart was a big cheese in his day. I never heard of Act One though. Of course I know Kitty Carlisle.....she was I. A Marx Brothers movie did you know that?? It was A night at the opera. She was famous for her voice, being on many art programs from the Met to the Museum plus she was a long time on To Tell the Truth. She was known for her fashion as well.

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  15. The names are familiar but alas, I'd have to google both to know exactly who they are.

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  16. Hi Janie,

    I think at some point I'll have to watch it. I love PBS shows; I always think they are well done.

    Love,
    Jessica

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  17. I've never heard of him, but I know who he is now. I love shows on PBS!

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