Our Sheltered Ancestors

Truth is funnier than fiction. Stefan Kanfer writes in the New York Times:

… Boris Thomashefsky, the quintessential impresario-entertainer, … billed himself as “America’s Darling.”…

Thomashefsky held forth at the National Theater, where he and his wife, Bessie, staged everything from pageants to Shakespeare. Threatened by Thomashefsky’s ambition, his personal playwright once declared, “I will write you a better play than this ‘Hamlet’!”

The boss played the troubled Prince of Denmark, anyway, and received tumultuous applause from a naïve audience. The ticket-holders called, “Author! Author!” According to the Thomashefsky memoirs, Bessie explained to the audience that “Mr. Shekspir lived far away in England and could not come to see his play.”…

[Hat Tip: Dr. Gershon Mendel.]

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