a trained monkey, Tutankhamun's mummy, and a drunken sailor muttering into his beer?
September 22, 2006 7:59 AM   Subscribe

a trained monkey, Tutankhamun's mummy, and a drunken sailor muttering into his beer

I can still remember a brutal piece by a theater critic in the NY Times from decades ago,
& a review of 'All the Kings Men' brought the recollection back to me.

I'd like to get it right, but the Times online doesn't go back so far.

Any suggestions?

fyi: the quote as I remember it was:
[the actress's] performance combined elements of a trained monkey, Tutankhamun's mummy, and a drunken sailor muttering into his beer, surely inaudible beyond the third row, a blessing though that may have been to those seated in the rear.
posted by dragonsi55 to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
How far back are you talking?
posted by jroybal at 8:18 AM on September 22, 2006


I'd like to get it right, but the Times online doesn't go back so far.

The NY Times online goes back to 1851, but you need to pay to see articles older than one week. There are several theatre reviews in the late 1970's (but not before or since, interestingly enough) that contain both "tutankhamen" (which seems to be the NYT's preferred spelling) and "monkey" (search results). But none of these have a free preview. Maybe you can use the dates to find the articles at the library.
posted by winston at 8:19 AM on September 22, 2006


It's this article.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:21 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


The article comes up as a scanned PDF, so I can't copy and paste. I'll retype the relevent info, any types are surely mine:

"Mr Freedman, to be sure, is the kind of directore whose natural propensity for horseplay turns everything he touches into farce. Here, though, he has been beaten to it by the casting of Ruth Groden in the title part. It is a generous role for womanly and impassioned actresses, and many performers have essayed it. I can think of for, however, who have not: Totie Fields, W. C. Fields, tutankhamens mummy, and a trained monkey. Not until now, that is; Mis Gordon's performance combines elements of all four.

...

But it is with her "performance" that Miss Gordon truly shocks. She sounds mostly like a drunken sailor muttering into his beer, surely not audible beyond the eight row, a blessing though that may be to the people in the rear.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:25 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


"
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:26 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


sohcahtoa, that is the answer, thank you
posted by dragonsi55 at 8:59 AM on September 22, 2006


So was that John Simon's line or was he quoting Shaw, as I know Shaw was a theatre critic as well.
posted by witchstone at 9:45 AM on September 22, 2006


Would've had to be Simon's, I believe Shaw predated W.C.
posted by dragonsi55 at 8:42 PM on September 22, 2006


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