77.1 Intro Arthur Hopkins bio

Ron Thoman rgthoman at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 9 18:04:38 EST 2002

For those of you, like me, who are fascinated with some of the more obscure
(to me anyway) people who wrote intros for ML books, I offer the following
on Arthur Hopkins, who did the intro to 77.1 "Tolstoy's Redemption and Two
Other Plays."

What about starting a section on Scot's dogeared.com of biographies of
those who wrote introductions, prefaces, etc.  Also, what about biographies
of dj illustrators?  If we all would contribute from time to time, as with
the dj illustration pages, we soon would have a complete list of bios. 
Anyway, food for thought.  Or has this been done already and I just haven't
seen it?

Anyway, if you're curious about Arthur Hopkins, here's the brief scoop:

( b. Oct 4, 1878 Cleveland, OH, USA - d. Mar 22, 1950 New York, NY, USA )
Producer, Writer, Director, Theatre Owner/Operator.  He produced
"Redemption" at the Plymouth Theater on Broadway, New York, in the
1918-1919 season.  There we 204 performances.  The play was also performed
on NBC's radio program "Arthur Hopkins Presents" (radio anthology dramas
10:30-11:00 PM, April 1944-January 1945 - total of 36 programs) on April
26, 1944, the second program in the series.  A copy of the program (and
much more) can be purchased at http://otrsite.com/.

>From "The Oxford Companion to American Theatre",
second edition, 1992.
Hopkins, Arthur (Melancthon) (1878-1950) 
One of the most distinguished of Broadway producers, he was born in
Cleveland, and spent time as a newspaper reporter before turning to the
theatre.  As a newsman, he was the first to uncover background material
on Leon Czolgocz, President McKinley’s assassin.  He left the
newspaper field to become a vaudeville press agent, and later worked
with Irene and Vernon Castle.  His first production Steve (1912) was a
failure, but The Poor Little Rich Girl (1913) gave him his initial
success.  Later hits included On Trial (1914), produced in association
with George M. Cohan and Sam Harris; Good Gracious Annabelle (1916); A
Successful Calamity (1917); The Jest (1919); Anna Christie (1921); The
Hairy Ape (1922); The Old Soak (1922); What Price Glory? (1924);
Burlesque (1927), which he co-authored; Paris Bound (1927); Machinal
(1928); Holiday (1928); The Petrified Forest (1935), produced in
association with Gilbert Miller and Leslie Howard; and The Magnificent
Yankee (1946). He was also responsible for bringing John Barrymore to
the stage in Richard III (1920) and Hamlet (1922), as well as for Ethel
Barrymore’s Juliet in 1922 and Lionel Barrymore’s Macbeth in 1921. 
As a rule, Hopkins directed all his own productions. His play Conquest
(1933), which retold the Hamlet story in terms of modern-day, commercial
New England, was highly praised, but failed. In conjunction with the
Shuberts, he built the Plymouth Theatre in New York.  He also wrote two
books:  How’s Your Second Act? (1931) and an autobiography, To a
Lonely Boy (1937). In the latter he expressed a philosophy of producing:
“It would seem to me that the final test of producers or producing
groups is the amount of new talent they have brought into the theater.
It was the joy of old producers like Belasco and Tyler to develop new
talent. That was the high adventure of the theater. To the extent that I
have succeeded in doing this I can assure you that therein lies the
chief joy of producing.” John Mason Brown remembered him as “that
amazing, moon-faced little cherub…looking like a small town banker and
thinking like an artist.”

Ron Thoman
rgthoman at earthlink.net

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