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Craven, who stars in the piece, wrote the One of ihe acts in “The Wheel" shows a original script, and it was good; but there was stirring scene in a gambling house, with roua little too much of it. Winchell Smith and lette wheels going full blast. That scene is John Golden, the producer, were a little luke- giving its creator what he says is the most warm as to its value, but thought they would difficult task in his experience. Among other at least break even on it. Smith slashed it perplexities, the lines have been written to vigorously, made a few changes here and there, synchronize with the spinning of the ball on and then wove the peculiar magic of his direc- the wheel. In other words, the ball must stop tion into it. His work on the first act is an rolling and drop into its pocket just at the interesting example of the sureness of his touch. proper point in the dialogue. Any one who His artistry in creating a situation is the marvel thinks this is easy to arrange is welcome to try of modern dramaturgy.
it. But Winchell Smith gloats over such “We cut out at least fifty per cent of the difficulties. Because it is the hardest task of lines,” he says. “The first and third acts take his career, he says it is the most fascinating. place in the living room of a country-town He never writes his last act until he is well home in the evening, and at such a time and along with the rehearsals of those which go place very little happens, as a rule. The before. Things nearly always develop during characters sit about, exchanging a word now those earlier acts which change the concluding and then, but the realism of the scene is due lines somewhat from his first concept of them. largely to the long pauses. I almost had to use I saw the players when, for the first time, they a baton on the players to get them to slow read the last act of “The Wheel.” After a down to the desired tempo. Now that they rehearsal of previous scenes, Mr. Smith passed have the swing of it, you could hardly get them around the parts for the last act, and the to play it rapidly if you tried. To show you players sat about him, in a semicircle and read how much silence there is in the play, after the act through, each actor then reading his we had cut out fully half the lines and estab- own part. I had never supposed that actors lished the tempo, it took us two minutes longer would so heartily enjoy the written humor in a to play the act than it bad taken us in its orig- manuscript. They laughed uproariously at the inal form.”
comedy lines of Sam and Nora. If the play
gets as many laughs from the audience as it did ATTENDED some rehearsals of. Mr. from the actors that day, there should be much
Smith's new play, “The Wheel,” and al- good cheer in the box-office. But Smith says, though the scene was the bare, cluttered stage “You can't tell! It may fall flat." of the Gayety, with the scenery of “Lightnin' stacked apparently helter-skelter against the HERE is no more fascinating mystery in real wall, although the players all wore street
the world than that of the box-office," he attire, and though the scenes were played in went on. “Why do people go to see a certain fragmentary, disjointed style, yet I thought I play and refuse to accept another that, by all could see a strong, gripping story showing tests, is a better one? I wish I knew! Psycholothrough the chaos, The story paints a vivid gists have made exhaustive studies of human picture of the horrors of the gambling mania, beings, and have figured out largely what they and establishes a great moral lesson. There is a will do under many given conditions, but not rich auxiliary vein of comedy carried through it, one of these exper s could read a play or see its too.
dress rehearsal, and tell with any degree of accuWhen directing, Mr. Smith is the same calm, racy whether or not the people are going to like it. easy-going, good fellow that he is elsewhere. “Another fellow and I once figured out a His patience and good humor are unlimited, formula for a successful play. I don't remember and the players seem to respond with an eager- the figures, but we had a certain percentage of ness to satisfy him. There is no lack of firmness, importance for plot, another for dialogue, and however. He insists upon a line being spoken
The figures don't matter, as they just as it should be spoken, and if the actor probably weren't strictly accurate, anyhow; but does not get the proper inflection at first, he we felt pretty certain that-on a basis of one kindly and patiently repeats it again and hundred per cent as perfection-if a play could again until it is given just as he wants it. muster sufficient merit of plot, dialogue, scenery, When he finally says, “That's fine!” or “That's or character, to score sixty per cent, it would bully!" sometimes accompanying the remark be a money-maker; if sixty-five or seventy, with a clap on the shoulder, the approbation is it would be a great success. so hearty that it is like a decoration.
(Continued on page 116).
MARY SINGER'S NEW STORY
I've lost my job”
Have you lost your job? Then throw up your arms and yell, "Three cheers!” Many a man's eyes are opened to his true ability only when he does lose his
job. David Pritchard's surely were
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN R. NEILL
NIRED! Dismissed after twenty years of He had grown up with the works, had David faithful service! Discharged with a scant Pritchard. They were part of him. He knew
two weeks' pay to serve in lieu of notice. every detail of the great organization, from the David Pritchard stared hard at the pink slip buying of the raw materials to the shipping. At that so summarily severed his connections with a moment's notice, he could jump in and fill any the Winthrop Hardware Works. He couldn't man's place. And the last seven or eight years quite comprehend it. Surely, there must be a had been particularly peaceful ones. He had mistake. It couldn't be! Someone had found his niche as a sort of supervisory bookblundered somewhere. Why, old man Win- keeper. It was an easy post, quiet, methodical, throp would rise from his grave if he knew and it brought him fifty dollars weekly. Strikes
Ab! But he didn't know. That was the rub. never affected him; he had under him men who He didn't know that his two young sons had were rather like old friends than coworkers: hardly waited for the ground to close above there was nothing to throw him out of his usual him, before they literally tore down the great routine; he performed his duties leisurely, system he had labored twenty years to erect. regularly, like an old habit. They had ruthlessly dismissed men who had And now—now he was fired! And the only given the best part of their lives to the growth thing he had to show for twenty years of labor of the factory, and had installed in their places was á paltry two weeks' salary. No spoken a lot of new men and women who bustled good-by, no explanations, not even a written around all day, disturbing one's peace of mind. word of regret. Just dismissed. There were new machines, new devices in the furnace rooms, new contraptions in the book
ECHANICALLY, his mind filled with keeping department - new things that clattered
brooding thoughts at the injustice of and made too much noise for all their record of callous world, David Pritchard took his usual efficiency.
way homeward and turned in at his own gate. David Pritchard had watched all these In the hall, he hung his hat on its accustomed changes; but, somehow, he had never thought peg and started toward the kitchen at the back. of them as affecting him. That he should be “That you, Dave?" discharged! When one has worked in a place “Yes." twenty years and has seen it grow from a one- “Oh! Come in, quick! I've got my hands in room affair to a ten-story factory, with similar this dough and can't budge. Dave!" as he apbuildings in three other cities, the thought of peared in the doorway and met the flushed face dismissal is very strange.
that was turned eagerly toward him, "You'll He had come to John Winthrop, senjor, as a never guess what has happened! The most young man of twenty-five, just married and wonderful thing!” just starting out in a life's work. Why, he David Pritchard approached his wife quietly remembered the times when this very same and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. John Winthrop, junior, who now ruled so high- “Dav-id! Look out! You'll get all messed handedly in his father's place, had toddled into up with this flour! Aren't you even anxious to the old factory and begged to be carried on his know?" back. He had made his first sled for him- "Sure. What's happened?" hammered it together out of boards used for "It’s Helen! She's engaged to Rob Gilmore! crating, and then taken half of his lunch hour to Isn't that wonderful? To think that he'd choose ride him about the snow-covered streets.
our little girl of all the smart girls he knows!
He's a fine boy, Dave, young, strong, full of ambition. Just think! He's hardly twentyseven and he has his own car, a big bank-account, a fine job, and he's so good to his mother! Everyone remarks on the way he treats her. David, I never thought such wonderful luck would come to our Helen. Don't you think
“Yes, yes!” agreed David Pritchard, but there was no enthusiasm behind his words. His wife chattered happily on:
E was here just a while
ago. They went down town for something. And he wants Helen to stop work right
He offered to pay her board and food until she marries. But I told him right off we were well able to take care of her ourselves. Helen's so happy, she can hardly stand still a minute. They're coming back here to supper, so you better go upstairs and change.”
The unreasoning dislike which David Pritchard had always felt for Robert Gilmore, now crystallized itself into a definite grievance. He was one of those new hustlers-bustling, energetic, mad to get to the goal in one breathless rush, stepping ruthlessly over obstacles, crushing everything that rose to say them nay-even the men who had once carried them on their backs and taught them to spin their first tops. He had no sentiment, no heart. Typical of the new generation, he was cold and calculating. He took what he wanted and forgot whom he took it from.
Now he wanted Helen, and, characteristically, he was taking her by every power known to man, buying her affection with gifts and promises. But he couldn't make her happy. Such men never could. They married, not out of love, but out of the desire to fill a need. They were selfishly motivated. They couldn't make the fine sacrifices; they couldn't be as considerate, as patient, as forbearing, as the older generation who took their women out
Most men, at his time of life, were busy reaping the profits of a useful
of love and labored in a thousand ways to make them happy. He would have a long talk with Helen. He would put the whole thing clearly
And on the heels of his thought, the front door snapped shut. Faintly, he heard excited talking downstairs; then footsteps pattered toward him with a click-clack' that announced high French heels.
But before he had time to go to the door, a radiant vision in summery white flew into the room and almost strangled him in an embrace of soft, warm arms.
“Oh, daddy! I'm the happiest girl in all the world! Look!"
N spite of himself, David Pritchard was
drawn into an exclamation at sight of the great, sparkling diamond she proudly exhibited. It certainly was big enough and brilliant. Such a ring must have cost-, His eyes traveled to his daughter's round, sinooth face and were held by her own glorious eyes that glowed with a new light. Their radiance fairly dazzled him and quite obliterated his previously formed intention to have a long talk, to explain matters, to point out the foolishness of marrying a man like Robert Gilmore. Instead, he took his very young, very pretty daughter in his arms and kissed her.
“Are you sure you love him, Helen?" “Dad! What a question! He's wonderful! He says-oh—the nicest things! And everybody else thinks so much of him. You ought to see how every one down at the bank shook hands with him and congratulated him. The president told me I ought to be a very happy woman with such a man. Why don't you like him?"
"Wha--what? Why—why I do like him, Helen."
“Oh, daddy, that's a whopper! You know you don't. And you can't fool me. I felt it all along."
"Nonsense. It's your imagination. I've got nothing against the young man. Moreover, if he makes you happy- Come now! There's mother calling. We'd better go down stairs."
Somehow, David Pritchard managed to get through that day and the Sunday that followed. Numberless thoughts seethed through his mind; grievances poisonously brooded in his soul; and silent revolts at the irony of fate tore at his consciousness. Wasn't it just like the very contrariness of things for him to lose his job just when he needed it most?
What was he to do now? Where was there a
place for a man approaching middle age? Most men, at his time of life, were busy reaping the profits of a useful business career. They weren't rushing about trying to find new jobs. How could he hope to compete with the energetic youngsters who were everywhere bucking the game? He was used up. He was old. He ought to be sitting in a rocker on his front porch, living on the interest of his savings. Where could he turn first?
Monday morning came, and sheer force of habit drew him from his bed at seven o'clock. He had not yet told Evie, his wife, that he had been dismissed; so when he came downstairs, his breakfast was, as usual, ready for him. Silently he ate, then rose, kissed Evie, and departed. With his accustomed precision, he snapped the front gate and started down the street at the same regular stride that brought him, within three-quarters of an hour, to the Winthrop Hardware Works. And so perfectly, so automatically, did habit perform its function, that he had almost turned in at the door when he checked himself with a start and realized that he no longer belonged here.
He crossed the street and sat on the steps of a brownstone house, lifting his eyes to the great, white factory. How tall a building it was! How many windows it had! Never before had he realized what an imposing structure was this place where he had spent the better part of his years. Up to now it had been but a large door through which he had passed twice a day. He had never stood off and viewed it. He had lost his perspective. He was like the forester who is so engrossed in clearing the small road before him, that he fails to grasp the beauty of the great woods that surround him.
HAT were those words above the door?
industry and progress. Funny that he had never noted them before. Dully, he wondered whether the other workers had ever thought of their meaning. As he stared at those words, a shade went up in the building and the blonde head of Miss Newcomb, the secretary, appeared at the window for an instant.
What an enigma she was! In his day no one ever saw women like her in such positions. She dressed like a fashion plate, with a subdued elegance that befitted women of high station. Her nails were always glisteningly polished, her face carefully powdered to present at all times an appearance of freshness, and her hair smooth, sleek, and artistically coifed. Yet she worked with the efficiency and smoothness of a welloiled machine.