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Coming up RosesThe Broadway Musical in the 1950s$
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Ethan Mordden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.001.0001

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Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls

(p.28) 2 Guys and Dolls
Coming up Roses

Ethan Mordden

Oxford University Press

Damon Runyon, a sportswriter, all-around journalist, and short-fiction retailer of the gamblers, girlfriends, crooks, freaks, and other denizens of the Broadway Tenderloin, became one of the leading mouthpieces of hot-town New York from the 1920s to the 1940s. When the early talkie crime melodramas began to give way to comic or pathetic crime dramas, there were a number of Hollywood adaptations of Runyon's tales. Yet they were all B-budget programmers, as if the movies didn't get Runyon's uniqueness and mistook him for a conventional yarnspinner. In the late 1940s, Broadway producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin, looking for a successor to their first and very successful effort, Frank Loesser's Where's Charley? (1948), chose Runyon's “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown,” planning it not as a funny show but as a dark romance. This eventually resulted in the musical, Guys and Dolls, with not one but two exactly matched couples, their two stories ingeniously intertwined.

Keywords:   crime melodrama, comedy, Guys and Dolls, Damon Runyon

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