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Mr Seligmann 5. or mechanical entity than anyone else. They, however, chose to understand him to mean that I knew more about THE STAGE (meaning the theatre) than anyone else. He went into long stories about how I had been sent to Texas by the Music Hall and how I had been out for the dress rehearsals for the Cleveland Fair for Billy Rose. To make a long story short, they were delighted to have someone on whom they could pass the buck for a poorly lit, poorly timed and badly orchestrated show. So buckling on my shining armor of Ignorance, I plunged into the fray. I not only changed all the lighting but in the space of three days I had rehearsed the chorus with the dance director and changed some of the dance and show girl routines. Had very meatly [[neatly]] blue penciled out certain parts of the musical score. Removed very neatly and permanently certain all green lights in the proscenium and the overhead light booths. And, in general, raised havoc with the production. Everyone seemed pleased although I had seen very little of Ben Marden. Well, I was expected back at a rehearsal the next afternoon to fix up another number and I decided that fun was fun but I couldn't keep this up forever unless I were paid for it. So I went to Ben Marden and explained the situation to him. And how about some coin of the realm sez I. But counters he, you were supposed to fix the stage as part of your contract with us. Yes, I agreed, but I wasn't supposed to change dance routines, construction of lights, colors of lights and change tempo of orchestration. Well, it finally penetrated his skull as to what I had done and he nearly went through the ceiling. Who the hell asked you to do that? Do you realize that I had the best damned men on Broadway light and set the show? Well, bu this time there had been enough comment from all sources for me to realize that I had improved the show considerably so I got hurt and said that I regretted what I had done but it could all be put back as it was if he wished and, since that was the way he felt about it, and since my job with the stage was finished, I would appreciate a check. Whereupon he called over his third partner and asked him if he had given me authority to do what had been done and the partner hedged. So he left me and the partner in a huff and went looking for his chief partner. Jeeze, he's ruined it, sez Marden. Like Hell he has, sez the partner. You wouldn't know the damned show today it's so much better. By this time I was through talking to the third partner, so I started to go out. I saw Marden and he grabbed me and I thought that may last day was here. Instead of which he apologized and asked me to stay and finish what I was doing and I was to know that he would pay well for it. Very foolishly and being a bit pleased I forgot to have specified what I was to be paid. At any rate I finished up the job. To make a long story short, they haggled, etc., etc., and I wound up with a check for $190 for my efforts and with the request that if I were available next year they would like me to produce the show from the beginning. There is a great deal more to tell about this episode but I must admit that I haven't been so amused in many a long year, nor so amazed that a bluff could work so well. I don't know whether the telling of this story on paper is as amusing as it really was, but I can assure you that this was an extremely funny episode and not only that but should prove to be a profitable one. At any rate I have now had some experience which will serve me well when working with Johnson and with a new client whom we are about to take on - Billy Rose's customer designer - Raoul Pene duBois.
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