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Wednesday, September 20, 1960
Writers Needed George Norford's Story Tells How To Be Made By Alvin E. White NEW YORK (ANP) Everybody feels that writing urge sometimes! And from Broadway to Hollywood there's a need for new blood in the field particularly the playvvriting field. But even with talent, making the grade as a playwright is a hard weary job Let's take the story of George Norford as it was told to me it's rough but it's true! George, as we call him, or Lieut. Norford as the boys called him in the Pentagon where he was an information officer, is one of those rare birds, a chap who writes plajrs and a rarer bird because he happened to be non-white! Writers are a dime a dozen (what is that, Al) but a playwright is something different. Let's investi gate I In plays, not only do you have to create characters, you have to give them life, words and action. After you've decided upon your characters assuming you have a plot to work on, then come the technicalities that drive men nuts. A playwright must know the things to be used in his play. They are called props he has to de scribe them and enumerate them and tell where, when and how they are to be used he has to guide the footsteps of his charact ers on across, tip, down and off stage. He must be familiar with stage directions necessary to keep the traffic flowing freely and the icting forecful his words must be real he can't have too many fan tastic ideas, (a la Eugene O'Neill and his "Iiceman Cometh," etc.) Then, when the darned thing ready to be typed, the typist is further bedevilled. She has to type all action in red, all dialogue in black or vice versa (what ever it- is, it's a vice!) So much for that. Now back to our good friend, George. Impressed witfck the success of "Life With Father", George de veloped another angle minus any color business. It was straight comedy and he called it, 'Im told, I didn't see, "The Head of the Family." After playing around with the thing a couple of months or so George got a hearing from, fa mous George Abbott, who has produced more stage hits than dog has fleas. Abbott, was keen on the Nor ford idea and liked it immensely, He called in an associate, another man whose first name was George but his last name escapes us, they conferred on the Norford opus Both liked it. They wanted-it and pretty' soon the weekly papers which cater to our folk, were tell Hard Grade Is ing a story that the play had been purchased to be presented on Broadway this fall! Norford was hailed as a brilli ant, coming, playwright. His pict ure appeared' in all of our papers. Columnists heaped fulsome praise 011 Norford's head. So what happened? Norford was called in by the other two Georges. He was told his play needed a little doctoring. "We're experienced producers," they said, and we know what Broadway will take." Of course, Norford ac epted their judgement, he did not demur a whit when asked to re write the whole play. This time from an angle that appealed to the two white Georges! That was just the beginning. What else happened If I am not wrong, and George Norfard is too good a friend to do him an injustice, he re-wrote the damned play no less than six times. Each time a professional play typist put in ship-shape after he doctored it. The producers wanted George to let them take the play, hire a collaborator to do what they wanted and then perhaps, perhaps say, when the thing did hit Broadway, there would be no mention of George Norford as the play's author. George would have a fat bankroll, plus some of the royalties, but the white producers and collaborator would have an other hit to their credit. The last time I heard of "Head of the Fa mily" it was to be produced on the Straw Hat curcuit (summer theaters to you) sometime this month, September. But back again tothe producers and the author. If I make no mis take, Norford spent the entire a mount (five figures, I'm told) on trying to rewrite his play to suit somebody else's idea. Had Nor ford given in to the suggestion that a collaborator be permitted to rewrite the show, his name not appear anywhere as author and his play would not be a refer ence for future work. (That' why you see that long tiresome list of names on movies -who did this and who did that, how come and why they are reference for future jobs.) But George Norford would have been out in the cold like too many other colored writ ers, musicians and artists. He would have been living on the godness of some white person who reaped the bonanza made possible by another. If you don't get what I mean, let's go back to "Harvey" which is rated tops for Mary Chase, don't saw she did get the idea there, but lots of us remember the old vaudeville skit where the tall slim black face comedian walked THE OHIO DAILY EXPfttiSS Fights Own Dog To Protect -hildren CHICAGO (ANP) A fighting man wrestled his own pet chow dog last week to keep it from at tacking several children playing nearby. Risking his life, Oliver Jones fought his dog, Blackie, suffering several bites including a deep gash. None of the children were hurt. Rescuers had to apply a tourni quet to Jones to stop the fl:.w of blood and save his life. It all started after Jones had tied his pet to a truck while he was working. Blackie broke lose and started toward the children. Grabbing the dog the collar, Jones scolded him, but the dog turned on his master. To keep the dog away from the children Jones fought him, suffer ing bites in the left forearm and leg, and a gash in his wrist. The tourniquet was applied to stop bleeding in the wrist. Trie master was saved when police arrived in answer to a call by neighbors. He was rushed to Englewood hospital. into a "speakeasy". When he call ed for a drink, he also asked for one for his phanton friend who was standing beside him. The bai1 tender would come over and run his hand all over the spot where the phantom friend was supposed to be never finding him. Audien ces all over the south in jim-crow theaters roared over that gag 30 years ago. A similiar idea was of a ihantom rabbit was incorporated inlo the play "Harvey". It made Ml Chr^e jpendently rich. here's I Children trapped the dog in a garage later, and he was turned over to the Animal Welfare lea gue. The youngsters saved the dog's life when Police Officer John O'Donnell was about to shoot him. Sues School Prexy For Beating Son CHICAGO (ANP)— Suit was filed in superior court here last week by Mrs. Cora Lee Sawyer, mother of seven, asking $1-5,000 damages aginst Norman Anderson, principal of Webster Elementary school, for "knocking down and kicking her 10 year old son, Ar thur, two years ago. The incident took place when Arthur was a student in the filth aide. Arthur said the principal disciplined the fifth graders tor making too much noise by making them march up and down fi o n their third floor classroom to tin g-round. several times. Anderson is then said to have ordered e ciass back to its room with instru ctions to remain perfectely quiet. Several minutes later, Anderson entered the room and heard Ar thur humming to himself. Arthur said the principal grabbed him, beat, him with his fists, knocked hi. to the floor and kicked hint several times. The boy fled home and return ed with his mother, whom the principal told that he son was in corrigible. He denied beating o kicking the boy. Two students, Velma Murphy, 12 and Mary Lee Sawyer, 13, testi fied in support of Arthur's story, airs. Ruth Lattimer, the teacher, uiso corroborated the charge. Anderson, however, maintain his innocence. how Figi TEr*« Mississippi Fugitive Free LOS ANGELES (ANP) Federal Judge James Carter last week freed a Negro fugitive who es caped from a Mississippi prison in an extradition case. The libera ted man is Eugene Backstron, known in Mississippi as Nathan Scott. Backstron escaped from the Del ta prison in 193G while serving a life sentence on conviction of armed robbery. He told the court that he war forced to trial with out an attorney, and forced to confess. For best results advertise in LUCKY DATES Lucky Days -Lucky Hours MADAM LAMAR 5724 West Third St. Me-7607 READER and ADVISER My work speaks for itself. Special Reading $1.00 Guaranteed Satisfaction A B1C BAR-B-QUE 1-109 W. Fifth St. Friday, Sept. 22, 1950 GAMES FOR ALL FOR SALE HOME BAKED PIES Come One Come All Enjoy Yourselves Start 12:00 Noon Sponsored By The First Aid Club rm MPT "FT* O oys and Girls to earn money SCHOOL AMY WE MIL Y EXPRESS CALL AT 1007 GERMANTOWN ST.