Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN whom I was to marry three years after the death of my first wife, Alice Brady's mother. One of the curses ol being a theatrical producer is, of course, the way your acquaintances are always dragging round inexperienced youngsters who want to go on the stage. I don't think a day has passed in my last forty years that somebody—all the way from presidents of the United States to doormen in theaters I once played— hasn't phoned or written or dropped in to tell me how much this bright girl or nice boy would appreciate my giving him or her a chance. The girl or boy then turns up, scorns my meek suggestion of a possible walk-on in a road company, and lets me know that Hamlet or Juliet is their idea of a proper way to begin. This looked like just such another occasion, but it wasn't. The visitor was Honest John Kelly— baseball umpire, referee of the Corbett-Mitchell fight, by this time a big-time gambler and all-round sport. He brought along a young girl for whom he wanted me to do something and left her in the outer office while he came inside to give me the works. I cocked my eye at him and grinned suspiciously. "Nothing like that, Bill," he said. "This is a straight proposition. Daughter of an old friend of mine— I just want to see her get a break somewhere." I looked out through the plate-glass window into the outer office and saw an amazingly pretty girl smiling straight at me— a smile that immediately assuaged my resentment over being bothered again about the daugh 193