First Thoughts

Alexander Woollcott

Alexander Humphreys Woollcott (January 19, 1887 – January 23, 1943) was an American critic and commentator for The New Yorker magazine and a member of the Algonquin Round Table.

Dorothy Parker New Yorker Harpo Marx Robert Benchley Algonquin Round Table


Everything I like is either illegal, immoral or fattening.-- Alexander Woollcott
"Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing." Alexander Woollcott
I guess I just assumed she was a general cultural critic, along the lines of Alexander Woollcott or Susan Sontag?
At 83 Shaw's mind was perhaps not quite as good as it used to be, but it wa...
All the things I really like to do are either illegal, immoral, or fattening. (Alexander Woollcott)
The English have an extraordinary ability for flying into a great calm.
There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day. ~ Alexander Woollcott
All the things I really like are either immoral, illegal or fattening. - Alexander Woollcott
I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it does...
The two oldest professions in the world - ruined by amateurs. -Alexander Woollcott
The scenery in the play was beautiful, but the actors got in front of it. -Alexander Woollcott
Alexander Woollcott There is no such thing in anyones life as an unimportant day. Ha
Alexander Woollcott I have no need of your Goddamned sympathy. I only wish to be entertained by some of your grosser reminiscences. yes
“Crawley is a town of thirteen neighbourhoods in search of a city - Gatwick City”. ~ Richard W. Symonds. (Hat-Tip : Alexander Woollcott)
Character is made by what you stand for; reputation by what you fall for. - Alexander Woollcott
Everything I want is either illegal, immoral, or fattening. Alexander Woollcott
I read Harpo Speaks recently. Harpo Marx was a close friend of Alexander Woollcott on whom the Whiteside character is based.
Alexander Woollcott and Harpo Marx: A Love Story. THANK YOU for sharing this gem.
half our time wishing." -- Alexander Woollcott, Critic and Commentator for The New Yorker magazine
Alexander Woollcott: "My friends will tell you that Woollcott is a nasty old snipe. Don’t believe them. Woollcott's friends are a pack of simps who move their lips when they read."
Old Hollywood Pipe Men Orson Welles His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was seven) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. Maurice Bernstein. In 1931, he graduated from the Todd School in Woodstock, Illinois; he turned down college offers for a sketching tour of Ireland. He tried unsuccessfully to enter the London and Broadway stages, traveling some more in Morocco and Spain (where he fought in the bullring). Recommendations by Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woollcott got him into Katherine Cornell's road company, with which he made his New York debut as Tybalt in 1934. The same year, he married, directed his first short, and appeared on radio for the first time. He began working with John Houseman and formed the Mercury Theatre with him in 1937. In 1938, they produced "The Mercury Theatre on the ...
"Once upon a time, before the income tax, the Great War, and Prohibition, Mr. Condé Nast bought a magazine called Dress, a potential rival to his four-year-old Vogue. A few months later, in 1913, he paid $3,000 for a musty British social, literary, and political review titled Vanity Fair, named after both the sinful place in John Bunyan's 17th-century allegory The Pilgrim's Progress and William Makepeace Thackeray's 19th-century satirical novel. Crossbreeding his two acquisitions, Nast created Dress and Vanity Fair, a hydra-headed flop. To salvage the situation, Nast sought advice from the most cultivated, elegant, and endearing man in publishing, if not Manhattan, Frank Crowninshield. The upper-crust aesthete—who, earlier the same year, had helped organize the landmark Armory Show, a succés de scandale which introduced Cubism to the American public—offered a remarkably simple solution. "Your magazine should cover the things people talk about," Crowninshield told Mr. Nast. "Parties, the arts, sports ...
Sharing Favorite Witty Quips, Quotes, Sayings and Proverbs: She was like a sinking ship firing on the rescuers - Alexander Woollcott. She's been on more laps than a napkin - Walter Winchell. She's got such a narrow mind, when she walks fast her earrings bang together - John Cantu. She's the kind of woman who climbed the ladder of success - wrong by wrong - Mae West (Witty Quips Devil). She's the sort of woman who lives for others - you can tell the others by their hunted expression - C. S. Lewis. She has been kissed as often as a court Bible, and by much the same class of people - Robertson Davies. She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake - Margot Asquith. She's descended from a long line her mother listened to - Gypsy Rose Lee. She never lets ideas interrupt the easy flow of her conversation - Jean Webster. She not only expects the worst, but makes the worst of it when it happens - Michael Arlen. She is a water bug on the surface of life - Gloria Steinem.
Oscar Levant (Dec 27, 1906 – Aug 14, 1972) American pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor. He was as famous for his mordant character and witticisms, on the radio and in movies and television, as for his music. Life and career-Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1906 to an Orthodox Jewish family from Russia, Levant moved to New York in 1922, following the death of his father, Max. He began studying under Zygmunt Stojowski, a well-established piano pedagogue. In 1924, aged 18, he appeared with Ben Bernie in a short film, Ben Bernie and All the Lads, made in New York City in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film system. In 1928, Levant traveled to Hollywood where his career took a turn for the better. During his stay, he met and befriended George Gershwin. From 1929 to 1948 he composed the music for more than twenty movies. During this period, he also wrote or co-wrote numerous popular songs that made the Hit Parade, the most noteworthy being "Blame It on My Youth" (1934), now considered a standar ...
December 27th, we celebrate the life and times of Clementine Hunter (December 27, 1886 – January 1, 1988); a self-taught African-American folk artist from the Cane River region in Louisiana. She was born on a plantation said to be the inspiration for Uncle Tom's Cabin worked as a farm hand, never learning to read or write. When in her fifties, she began painting, using brushes and paints left by an artist who visited Melrose Plantation, where she lived and worked. Hunter's artwork depicted plantation life in the early 20th century, documenting a bygone era. She first sold her paintings for as little as 25 cents. By the end of her life, her work was being exhibited in museums and sold by dealers for thousands of dollars. Hunter was granted an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Northwestern State University of Louisiana in 1986. Hunter was the granddaughter of a slave, born just two decades after the American Civil War. She was the eldest of seven children to Creole parents at Hidden Hill Plantation, ...
I'm fairly sure a similar sentiment is thought of myself. The tobogganing part. New Yorker founder Harold Ross was a brilliant magazine editor, but his personal appearance was distinctly unprepossessing. “His hair sticks straight up, his teeth stick straight out, his eyes slant, and his expression is always that of a man who had just swallowed a bug,” wrote Ogden Nash. Alexander Woollcott said he looked like a dishonest Abe Lincoln. Staff member Janet Flanner remembered, “His face was homely, with a pendant lower lip; his teeth were far apart, and when I first knew him, after the First World War, he wore his butternut-colored thick hair in a high, stiff pompadour, like some gamecock’s crest.” Indeed, Ross’ first wife said he was the homeliest man she’d ever met. “There was certainly a mismating of his head, his hands and his feet to his gaunt, angular body; his hands, though he learned to use them gracefully, were too large; so were his feet, and his ears and his mouth were also oversized ...
another very recent discovery - Harpo reading a book either by or about his friend Alexander Woollcott as there is artwork of Woollcott on the cover
He? It’s Harold Ross’s 121st birthday: like all the stories about him – how Alexander Woollcott once said that he ‘looked like a dishonest Abe Lincoln’; how Franklin P Adams, after a holiday in the mountains, was asked what Ross looked like tobogganing, and replied,’ Well, you know what Ross looks like not tobogganing’; how he got Nabokov to change the second ‘the’ in the phrase ‘the click of the nutcracker being passed’ to ‘a’; and all the rest. writers he attracted to the New Yorker – Thurber, EB White, Joe Mitchell, Perelman, Dorothy Parker, Janet Flanner, Benchley, John O’Hara, not to mention Salinger and Nabokov and Shirley Jackson and Edmund Wilson and Dwight Macdonald and the rest – still comprise an almost unbelievable set of exalted and varied talents. One of my favourite sentences from Thurber’s The Years With Ross, a book I first read fifty years ago and re-read every few years: ‘He read the Oxford English Dictionary the way other men read fiction.’ A dozen ...
Dennis Miller is still reaching for contrived, obscure references like Alexander Woollcott criticizing Proust at the Algonquin Round Table.
He looked like something that had gotten loose from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. ~ Harpo Marx about Alexander Woollcott
I had drinks with some newly engaged friends of mine last night at The Algonquin Hotel on West 44th. It was a lot of fun discussing the famed Algonquin Round Table. When asked why Harpo Marx was a member of the most famous literary circle of the 20th century,I replied, "Well, some of the famous musicians of the era also made the table their home, like the Gershwin brothers, Ira and George." Always fun to recite puns made by Robert Benchley and Alexander Woollcott. If you want a real laugh, go to YT and see Benchley appear in the 1929 film(let) "The Stock Report."
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Today is Wednesday, Jan. 23, the 23rd day of 2013. There are 342 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On Jan. 23, 1973, President Richard Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War, and would be formally signed four days later in Paris. On this date: In 1789, Georgetown University was established in present-day Washington, D.C. In 1845, Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In 1932, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 1933, the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the so-called "Lame Duck Amendment," was ratified as Missouri approved it. In 1937, 17 people went on trial in Moscow during Josef Stalin's "Great Purge." (All were convicted of conspiracy; all but four were executed.) In 1943, critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during a live broadcast of the CBS radio program "People's Platform." In 1950, ...
First, let me say that Dorothy Parker wrote the best reviews (in my opinion.) BUT, this one is a "Beaut" written by Alexander Woollcott. (reviewing a play that just opened)."Number Seven opened last night at the Times Square Theatre. It was misnamed by five."
Now that my play is scheduled to be performed at The Amateur Comedy Club on January 24th of 2013, I'd like to consider myself on friendly terms with George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly, Moss Hart, Groucho Marx, Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Irving Thalberg and Beatrice Kaufman, Franklin P. Adams, Leueen McGrath, and George Gershwin.
This is for all you Dorothy Parker fans: Alexander Woollcott leased an island in the middle of a lake near Bomoseen, Vermont. He would always invite the other members of the "Round Table" to spend weekends and holidays. Dorothy Parker arrived one weekend carrying a large hatbox. In it was a lady's garden hat. Mrs. Parker, who had an excellent figure, wore the hat and nothing else for the entire weekend.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs: Ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Alexander Woollcott (1887 – 1943), American critic/commentator & member of the Algonquin Round Table.
Hey everyone--It started out as a majorly trying week but improved greatly at the end. Picked up more library books today. Read the first book of a new series--The Algonquin Round Table Mysteries by J J Murphy. The book is titled Kill Your Darlings and involves the members of the literary elite of the 1920's--Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, etc. Includes a lot of their bon mots--and just plain mots. Don't know whether I thought was witty or contrived, though. Have also been reading some Max Allan Collins--my favorite writer from Muscatine, Iowa--he wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition that the Tom Hanks film was based on. Really, if you get the chance, read his latest in the Nate Heller series Bye, Bye Baby--it is about the death of Marilyn Monroe. His next one, Target Lancer, about JFK, is out this fall--CANNOT WAIT!! Am reading a book about criminal profiling now. I just finished a Criminal Minds novel by Max Allan Collins--Killer Profile. If you are a fan of Crimin ...
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New Yorker Dorothy Parker Harpo Marx