Chapter

Guys and Dolls

Ethan Mordden

in Coming up Roses

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195140583
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848867 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.003.0002
Guys and Dolls

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Damon Runyon, a sportswriter, all-around journalist, and short-fiction retailer of the gamblers, girlfriends, crooks, freaks, and other denizens of the Broadway Tenderloin, became one of the leading mouthpieces of hot-town New York from the 1920s to the 1940s. When the early talkie crime melodramas began to give way to comic or pathetic crime dramas, there were a number of Hollywood adaptations of Runyon's tales. Yet they were all B-budget programmers, as if the movies didn't get Runyon's uniqueness and mistook him for a conventional yarnspinner. In the late 1940s, Broadway producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin, looking for a successor to their first and very successful effort, Frank Loesser's Where's Charley? (1948), chose Runyon's “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown,” planning it not as a funny show but as a dark romance. This eventually resulted in the musical, Guys and Dolls, with not one but two exactly matched couples, their two stories ingeniously intertwined.

Keywords: crime melodrama; comedy; Guys and Dolls; Damon Runyon

Chapter.  3220 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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