Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tyrone Treks Triumphantly to Theater Territory in his Transport


A pair of very handsome young people flew West from Boston to San Francisco recently . . . their names were Mr. and Mrs. Tyrone Power . . . (if they had wanted to be very society about it they could, quite accurately, have signed their names Mr. and Mrs. Tyrone Power, III)







Tyrone Power and French actress Annabella (real name Suzanne Georgette Charpentier) were married April 23, 1939 until January 26, 1948.  Annabella later said their marriage fell apart to due war and acting separation - not incompatibility.  As many may know, Tyrone served in the Marines as a pilot in World War II.  He was a transport pilot, well liked by fellow Marines.  He did not fly combat missions because he was considered too old.  





Power became interested in flying and earned a pilot's license after flying in director and friend Henry King's private plane.  Depending on the source, he earned it in 1937 or 1938.  





The Powers were flying west from Boston where they had just witnessed Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Lunt in a new play entitled "There Shall Be No Night"



Robert E. Sherwood (standing)  with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
during rehearsal for There Shall Be No Night.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Lunt were well known theater actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.  The 1940 play There Shall Be No Night, written by Robert E. Sherwood, was about a possible Soviet invasion of Finland, and the family drama that ensues when a couple's son enters the service.  Husband and wife Lunt and Fontanne often acted together in plays.  Two of the well known people appearing in the play when it was on Broadway were Montgomery Clift as Erik Valkonen  and Sydney Greenstreet as Uncle Waldemar.



Lynn Fontanne, Montgomery Clift, and Alfred Lunt in There Shall Be No Night

 . . . to go to San Francisco to see Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier (who aren't, of course, yet Mr. and Mrs. Olivier but who will be just as soon as it is legally possible) in an old and great play, "Romeo and Juliet"




For those who don't know, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier had been seeing each other on the sly when both were married to other people.  Leigh was married to Leigh Holman since 1932 and Olivier was married to Jill Esmond since 1930.  Both finally divorced in 1940 and were able to marry each other on August 31, 1940.  Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier are known as one of the most famous Hollywood couples in history.  Unfortunately their marriage only lasted 20 years.




Apparently their turn in Romeo and Juliet was poorly received.  In addition to starring as Romeo, Olivier produced this project.  It appeared at the 51st Street Theater from May 9, 1940 to June 8, 1940, for a shockingly small 36 performances.  The cast also included the amazing talents of Cornel Wilde as Tybalt, Edmond O'Brien as Mercutio, and Dame May Whitty as Juliet's Nurse.   The cast sounds amazing.  On paper, this seems like the perfect play.  Contemporary reviews greatly disagree.  The play had an incredibly short run for the talent and money put into the production.  Critics found the acting terrible.  Shocking, because it should have been amazing with so many talented people.



Well, I hope There Shall Be No Night was good.  I found no poor reviews of it.  It did have two runs and played almost a year, so perhaps the Powers' enjoyed at least one performance.



Sources

Ruth Waterbury, Close Ups and Long Shots, Photoplay, July 1940
Tyrone Power Military
Military Museum
Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne Always Wonderful
Internet Broadway Database 
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. "Lynn Fontaine, Montgomery Clift, and Alfred Lunt in the stage production of There Shall Be No Night" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1940

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