Archive for June, 2009
I generally don’t post links to reviews of Tarkington’s books because they’re almost all about The Magnificent Ambersons, and they tend to be two-paragraph blog entries with lots of misspellings. But Linda Aragoni at Great Penformances offers up a rare and concise yet insightful read on this small Tark novel. Here’s some of what she has to say: “Readers can — and will — laugh at Claire’s self-absorption. But they will realize long before she does that it’s not funny.”
Flickr user Truus uploaded a fine vintage postcard image of Grace Lane and Lewis Waller, including an excellent biographical summary of the two. Here’s some of what Truus included about Lewis: “Lewis Waller (1860-1915) was best known as something of a matinee-idol in the popular romantic plays of his day. He also worked as a playwriter and a stage manager. … He had his greatest successes, however, in romantic roles, such as Monsieur Beaucaire, a dramatic adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel. He married Florence West, an actress who appeared often with Waller in his most successful romances.”
Artdaily.org reported yesterday that a Renaissance artwork held in storage for 40 years at the Indianapolis Museum of Art has been restored and will once again be on display: “The altarpiece has significant provenance, having belonged to popular American novelist and Indianapolis native Booth Tarkington. It was donated by Mrs. Tarkington in honor of her late husband in 1951, and was displayed at the John Herron Museum of Art.”
I’ve gotta say: the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library is one classy joint… and they’ve got a pretty spiff website, too. They’ve got a very nice photo slideshow up of the new mural that was installed last October. I heartily recommend checking it out. Their blurb on the installation that ran in their “Reader’s Connection” newsletter also has some interesting tidbits about the contents of the Tarkington section of the Special Collections room.
Playbill News runs a regular “Today in Theatre History” column. The entry for June 21 includes this item: “1951: Audience members are taken back to Indianapolis circa 1907 as Seventeen opens at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre. Based on the novel by Booth Tarkington, the new musical features a book by Sally Benson. Singing the Walter Kent- Kim Gannon score are leads Anne Crowley and Kenneth Nelson. The show will run 23 weeks.” The book, of course, was published in 1916.
I am woefully remiss in bringing this article to your attention. Last fall at The University Bookman, Jeremy Beers published a fine extended essay evaluating the literary legacy of Booth Tarkington. Here’s part of his opening salvo: “Dreiser was not even the greatest twentieth-century author from Indiana. In fact, in Beer’s Genuinely Objective Rankings of Indiana Authors, Twentieth Century Division, Dreiser ranks third, just a smidgen ahead of Ross Lockridge Jr. (who wrote Raintree County and nothing else) and considerably behind runner-up Kurt Vonnegut. The champion, several lengths ahead of the field, is Newton Booth Tarkington.” I can’t recommend this essay highly enough. It’s literate, passionate, and informed. And it praises Tarkington! So in Wright’s Truly Objective Rankings of Online Tark Essays, this one ranks behind only those I have yet to write.
An archivist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art recently ran across a Roman bust, and is intrigued by the provenance.
I advised Chelsey that “Tarkington probably picked this up while sojourning either in Rome or on Capri (1905). If you browse through his published letters in Your Amiable Uncle, you might even find a reference to this specific piece. He often commented on such purchases.”
The website Hollywood Heyday does an interesting job of aggregating tinseltown news from vintage magazines and newspapers. (At least, I think that’s what the site does!) The following is from a report dated March 2, 1932: “Which is the ‘bad sister’? The answer to this question will be found on the screen at the National Theater, where the Booth Tarkington story, ‘Bad Sister,’ with a cast including Conrad Nagel, Sidney Fox, Slim Summerville and Zasu Pitts is the feature film. The picture tells the story of an inconstant girl who trifles with the affections of many men, and who finally comes face to face with a bitter disillusionment.” The film was actually adapted from Tark’s novel The Flirt.
I was remiss last holiday season in failing to pass along reviews of Keen Company’s adaptation of Beasley’s Christmas Party, which played off Broadway. So I’ll collect them here as I run across them again. First up, a review from EDGE New York City: “Based on a little known story by Booth Tarkington, the American author of ‘The Magnificent Ambersons,’ the small-casted but big-hearted Beasley’s Christmas Party is a tasty little morsel of a show which bursts in, makes light of the nature of man and doesn’t overstay its welcome.”
JAC Cinema has completed their short adaptation of Penrod, focusing on the Tark youth hero’s pageant turn as the Child Sir Lancelot. Here’s a description of the DVD: “Twelve year old Penrod is a typical boy with a typical problem; he can’t stay out of trouble. When his mother makes him wear an embarrasing [sic] costume in a play, the result will [sic] nothing short of hilarious.” One can hope that the video editing is cleaner than the site’s text editing. Click through to watch the trailer.
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