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ELMER RICE - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 03/21/1944 - HFSID 18616

ELMER RICE Rice sends a letter to a friend regarding his family Autograph Letter Signed: "Yours,/Elmer", 2p, 8½x10¾. Stamford, Connecticut, 1944 March 21. On his personal letterhead to "Dear Jo

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ELMER RICE
Rice sends a letter to a friend regarding his family
Autograph Letter Signed: "Yours,/Elmer", 2p, 8½x10¾. Stamford, Connecticut, 1944 March 21. On his personal letterhead to "Dear Jo". In full: "It was fine hearing from you and Betty and I greatly appreciate your good wishes. Judy is nearly two months old now, and Johnny sixteen (months!) and toddling about, so we're really getting to be quite a family. We are all leaving for Hollywood early in May, as Betty is still under contract to Paramount and I may be doing some screen work out there, too. Meanwhile I am working on a dramatization of Ira Wolfert's work, Tucker's People, for -- don't laugh! -- Jed Harris. The Playwrights' Company is in on it, and I'm waiting to see what happens. You are missed around the theatre and especially around the Playwright's office. We had a rather bad year. Max's Storm Operation didn't get over, at all, and while the play had a fairly good run, it never got out of the red. However, we are still solvent and hope for a better break, next year. It's very quiet at the office. As you probably know, Bill Fields is a captain in the Canadian Army (and thoroughly fed up with it) and Sherwood devotes all his time to the OWI (He's in London now.) I suppose you have been reading about the City Center of Music and Drama. So far, in spite of many handicaps, the public response has been tremendous and I have great hope for the future of the enterprise. As you know, it's an old dream of mine to see the establishment of a great theatre where fine things can be done at popular prices, and this may be the answer. I'm sure that when you get back, you'll want to interest yourself in it. One of the objectives is a resident repertory company, and that takes some shrewd planning on the production side. Your job sounds very interesting -- and important, too. Is Jean with you and how are those youngsters? My son Robert is in the Seabees and has just been transferred to California, so I assume he'll be shipped soon to the Pacific Zone. It's not a pleasant prospect. If you come East before the middle of May, I wish you'd run out to see us. Or if you're going to California, this summer, do look us up. Our address (after May 15th) will be 1632 North Laurel Avenue, Hollywood. Best regards from us both to you and to Jean." American playwright ELMER RICE (1892-1967) had his first success with On Trial (1914). Rice, who won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Street Scene, also wrote novels and essays. From 1942-1956, he was married to stage and screen actress BETTY FIELD (1913-1973); the couple would eventually have three children. In the year of this letter, Field appeared in Tomorrow the World and The Great Moment, but there is no record of screenwriting credits for Rice at this time, although he had written the screenplay for Holiday Inn in 1942. IRA WOLFERT had published Tucker's People in 1943, receiving praise for the work from "The New York Times". That year, he had also won a Pulitzer Prize for his war reports from the Solomon Islands, and he would later win acclaim for his 1948 work, An Act of Love, which "Newsweek" called "the best novel of WWII." JED HARRIS (1900-1979) was an Austrian-born producer, director and screenwriter. "Max" was MAXWELL ANDERSON (1888-1959), whose play, Storm Operation, had opened at the Belasco Theatre on January 11, 1944 and closed on January 29. Despite his lack of success that year, Anderson would later be nominated for four Tony Awards, including for 1956's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The City Center mentioned in this letter staged its first play in 1949; a later City Center of Music and Drama presented its first play in 1980. 2 file holes at upper blank margin of first page and lower margin of second page (nicking the "s" of Yours). Fine condition.





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