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Once in a Lifetime


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A: Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman Pf: 1930, New York Pb: 1930 G: Com. in 3 acts S: New York, a Pullman car, and Los Angeles, 1927 C: 23m, 15fBecause the vaudeville act of Jerry Hyland, his fiancée May Daniele, and their somewhat dim-witted friend George Lewis is failing, the three decide to leave New York to seek their fortune in the expanding film industry in Los Angeles. The cinema business is in chaos, wasting money, devoid of any artistic policy, and now facing the crisis of the new ‘talkies’ with actors unused to speaking. The three wholly unqualified new arrivals set up a school of elocution and persuade movie mogul Herman Glogauer to employ them. Jerry becomes so obsessed with Hollywood that May leaves him to return to New York. Despite his incompetence and impudence, George Lewis is made production supervisor. His bungling efforts, including the casting of the utterly untalented girl he fancies in the lead role, are responsible for a dreadful film, which is an immediate critical success. He appeals for May and Jerry, who has pursued her, to return. May and Jerry will marry, while George looks forward to further successes in his new career.

A: Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman Pf: 1930, New York Pb: 1930 G: Com. in 3 acts S: New York, a Pullman car, and Los Angeles, 1927 C: 23m, 15f

Predictably, at a time when live theatre feared its survival was threatened by the ‘movies’, a play satirizing the commercialism and philistinism of Hollywood and its sycophantic critics was bound to be a success. However, its endearing trio of central characters and their success, achieved despite rather than because of their efforts, can still delight audiences today.

Subjects: Theatre — Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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