Place and Imprint: (New York, 1941-42).
Condition: Overall condition is very good.
Book ID: 27107
Physical DescriptionEight original gouache on paper art works, with text and illustration, for different trial versions of a theater poster for Oscar Serlin’s production of the Broadway debut of John Steinbeck’s play The Moon is Down, New York, 1942. Together with one version of a printed poster. Nine variations, all demonstrably different and by several different artists, only one of whom is identified: Witold Gordon, who was known for his New Yorker magazine covers. His signature is on two of the versions. Sizes vary from approximately 13 x 9 to 28 x 20 inches; all are mounted on pasteboard or cardboard.
CommentsThe Moon is Down was John Steinbeck's second attempt at converting one of his novels into a play (Of Mice and Men was the first). It was originally written while Steinbeck was on assignment from the Foreign Information Service, a division of the Office of Strategic Services that was charged with combating Nazi propaganda. The first draft of the story, depicting a small American town invaded by German troops, was rejected by the FIS, who feared that it might demoralize the American public. In the second draft, Steinbeck kept the basic plot but changed the setting to a fictitious Scandinavian town. Despite mixed critical reception, the The Moon is Down was a popular success and a bestseller. Shortly after its publication, Broadway producer Oscar Serlin, who thought the story would attract a large audience if made into a play, purchased the dramatic rights. In April 1942, The Moon is Down premiered on Broadway, with Otto Kruger as Colonel Lanser and Ralph Morgan as Mayor Orden. Its initial run lasted nine weeks, and the play was well received on the road and abroad, especially in London and Stockholm. The Moon is Down was nominated for Best Play by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and placed second. Provenance: The collection of producer Oscar Serlin.