Sunday, October 31, 2010

Muses in my midst VII

(Thornton Wilder is shown as Mr. Antrobus in a 1948 production of his play, "The Skin of Our Teeth." Photo by Carl Van Vechten.)

Last night, I had a dream: What would this pantheon be missing if we couldn't recruit the gifts of Thornton Wilder, novelist, playwright, historian, scholar and actor? A stage manager to explain things and put everything in perspective. Pet dinosaurs. Dolly Levi eventually descending a staircase in our perpetual Harmonia Gardens making matches, singing Jerry Herman songs and giving Shirley Booth, Carol Channing, Barbra Streisand et al a chance to browbeast crusty half-a-millionaires. Plus an uncanny ability to use a razor-sharp intellect to examine the wonder of a butternut tree in Grover's Corners and show us that "money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow." And we also need that gentle cynic to remind us of the following: "Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion."

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