07 Aug It’s a wonderful day, Nov 22 & 24, 1944
In this first letter, my Dad is praising the day for no other reason than it’s the 6th anniversary of the day Mary said she would marry him! But especially interesting is a reference to a pal of his from back in New York City that he saw in a film. They were both in the Group Theater together. This is really exciting to me, as I had a vague knowledge of my Dad’s involvement with this prestigious group, but this verifies it! Here’s a brief snippet from Wikipedia, with a mention about Golden Boy, which my Dad was in as well.
The Group Theatre was a New York City theater collective formed by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg in 1931. It was intended as a base for the kind of theater they and their colleagues believed in — a forceful, naturalistic and highly disciplined artistry. They were pioneers of what would become an “American acting technique” derived from the teachings of Konstantin Stanislavski, but pushed beyond them as well. The company included actors, directors, playwrights, and producers. The name “Group” came from the idea of the actors as a pure ensemble; there were to be no “stars”.
The New York-based Group Theatre had no connection with the identically-named London-based Group Theatre founded in 1932.
In the ten years of its existence, the Group Theatre produced works by many important American playwrights, most notably Clifford Odets and Irwin Shaw. Its most successful production was the 1937-38 Broadway hit Golden Boy, starring Luther Adler and Frances Farmer.
The Group included Elia Kazan, Harry Morgan (billed as Harry Bratsburg), Stella Adler, Robert Lewis, John Garfield (billed as Jules Garfield), Canada Lee, Franchot Tone, Phoebe Brand, Ruth Nelson, Will Geer, Howard Da Silva, John Randolph, Joseph Bromberg, Michael Gordon, Paul Green, Clifford Odets, Paul Strand, Morris Carnovsky, Sanford Meisner, Marc Blitzstein, Anna Sokolow and Lee J. Cobb, Roman Bohnen and many others.
In the November 24th letter, he speaks about the great food they had on Thanksgiving!
22 NOV 1944 V-MAIL
IT’S A WONDERFUL DAY. IT’S BEEN DRIZZLING AND COLD AND BLOWING, BUT IT’S A FINE DAY. I DIDN’T GET A SINGLE LETTER, HAD C RATIONS FOR BOTH DINNER AND SUPPER, BUT IT’S A GOOD DAY. WHY? BECAUSE SIX YEARS AGO TODAY YOU OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED OUR ENGAGEMENT TO BE MARRIED, THAT’S WHY. AS ANY FOOL WOULD PLAINLY KNOW. AH KNOW, DON’T I?
NOT A BIT OF NEWS, EXCEPT THAT I JUST CAME BACK FROM SEEING JEAN ARTHUR IN “IMPATIENT YEARS” —A VERY GOOD MOVIE, FOR MY MONEY. THE KID WHO PLAYED HENRY (IN CASE YOU SEE, OR HAVE SEEN IT) THE BOARDER, IS A FAIRLY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE FROM GROUP THEATER BUNCH. I THINK HE DOES A DARN GOOD JOB, AND HE HAS A PRETTY BIG PART. A NICE BREAK FOR HIM. ISN’T THE NEWS FROM THE WAR FRONT GOOD TONIGHT, THOUGH? (WHAT AN INTERESTING THING TO TALK ABOUT!) THOSE FRENCH FIRST ARMY BOYS ARE REALLY GOING TO TOWN OVER THERE, JUST SO WE GET TO HELL OUT OF HERE, AND FAST. EACH DAY GETS MORE BORING THAN THE LAST. AND TOMORROW IS THANKSGIVING. HMMM. VERY INTERESTING.
I CAN’T THINK OF A THING TO WRITE, SWEETHEART. I LOVE YOU TO BEAT ALL GET OUT, AND I MISS YOU AND KAREN TO BEAT ALL HELL, BUT DARN IT, THERE IS JUST NO WAY TO EXPRESS IT IN A CENSORED LETTER NOT THAT I GIVE A DAMN WHAT ANYONE THINKS OF HOW I FEEL ABOUT YOU GUYS, BUT WHEN I FEEL ANYBODY LITERALLY LEANING OVER MY SHOULDER I DRY UP. BUT —LIKE I SAY, IT’S A GOOD DAY, AND I LOVE YOU
YOU KNOW WHO
24 NOV 1944 V-MAIL
HELLO CUTIE, LAST NIGHT I GOT OFF A PICTURE OF ME TO YOU FOR XMAS. ALSO, SAME TO MOM, DAD, YOUR FOLKS, AND FREDDIE DE, AND TONIGHT ANOTHER ONE TO LI’L OL’ MISS K (IN CASE YOU THINK OF ANY ONE ELSE WHO MIGHT LIKE ONE YOU CAN USE ONE OF THEM). ALSO XMAS CARDS (OF A SORT) TO BILL & ELLEN HAROLD & RENE, THE ARNOLD KAROS, CORNY & TEENIE, FLOYD & ELSIE AND THAT’S ALL FOR NOW, BUT I INTEND TO SEND A FEW MORE. TOOK THE PLACE OF LETTERS IN MOST CASES. OH YES, THE LEMONTS AND THE BOARDMANS. YESTERDAY WAS JUST ANOTHER DAY EXCEPT FOR THE EATING DEPARTMENT. FOR BREAKFAST WE HAD ONE REAL, HONEST FRIED EGG (ALONG WITH USUAL STUFF). FOR DINNER WE HAD BIG HELPINGS (CAFETERIA STYLE IN OUR MESS KITS AS USUAL) OF TURKEY, DRESSING, DEHYDRATED SWEET POTATOES, CARROTS AND PEAS, BREAD & BUTTER, PIE & ICE CREAM, COFFEE, TABLE CLOTH AND CANNED CREAM ON THE TABLE!! AND VERY GOOD IT WAS TOO, OH, YES, A HANDFUL OF HARD CANDY AND APPLES ON THE WAY OUT. FOR SUPPER WE EACH GOT TWO EXTRA PACKS OF CIGS, AND GOOD STEAK! SO YOU CAN SEE THAT THE DAY WAS REALLY SUMTHIN WITH THE VITTLES. OTHERWISE I WORKED SAME AS ALWAYS, INCLUDING MY NIGHT TO BE ON TILL NINE PM. BUT THEN, TAKING MY LAST TEN GULDEN IN HAND, I DECIDED TO TAKE ANOTHER FLING AT POKER, AND WON THIRTY-FIVE GULDEN (ABOUT FIFTEEN BUCKS) SO YOU SEE I HAVE SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR AFTER ALL** EXCEPT THAT I AM NOT IN THE INFANTRY AND HAVE, WITHOUT A DOUBT, THE FINEST WIFE AND BABY IT HAS EVER BEEN THE JOY OF THESE TIRED OLD EYES TO BEHOLD (ARE YOU READY TO BEHELD COME ARRIVAL HOME DAY?) ALL OF MY LOVE TO YOU, DARLING