New York: Greenberg, 1952. First Edition.
Quarto (12 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches; 310 x 230 mm) in black cloth, titles in gilt to spine, in an illustrated dust jacket.
SIGNED on the front free end paper by 15 stars of Broadway, including Fritzi Scheff, Eli Wallach, Uta Hagen, Maureen Stapleton, Blanche Ring, Francine Larrimore, Leonore Ulric, Margaret Phillips, Bert Lahr, Constance Collier, Judith Evelyn, Frances Starr, Douglas Watson, Charles Nolte, and Dorothy Gish.
The signers are among the 150 stars featured in this heavily illustrated tribute that reaches back to Lillian Russell and Sarah Bernhardt but also includes more recent stars, such as Maureen Stapleton, Eli Wallach, Marlon Brando, and Carol Channing. Daniel Blum, the author, was an authoritative journalist and historian of theatre who published an annual review of the season called Theatre World. Needless to say, he knew many of the actors profiled in the book.
Especially interesting are the author's comments about the actors. Marlon Brando: "He is a nonconformist and likes to shock people...He dislikes cats, interviews, shoes, and large parties." Maureen Stapleton: "She dislikes spooky movies and books." Beatrice Pearson: "When she is depressed she spends money like a drunken sailor." Charlton Heston: "He is frank, genial and outspoken, but thinks actors should keep quiet on any other subject but their work." (That was the Charlton Heston of 1952. He dabbled in politics later in life.)
Copies signed by so many of the stars are not often found in the market. Presumably, a previous owner obtained the signatures during a book party at Brentano's in 1952. A Publisher's Weekly article about the party is pasted into the book. SCARCE signed.
CONDITION: Cloth lightly rubbed, article pasted onto verso of front end paper and to title page, light toning to end papers. Near Fine in a Very Good dust jacket that has a half-inch chip at the bottom of the front panel where it meets the spine, a few small chips on the rear panel, some edge wear and soiling. Item #844