Friday, September 15, 2023

WC Fields -- In the New Musical Comedy Poppy -- September 15, 2023

New York Daily News, 03-September-1923

100 years ago this month, WC Fields appeared in the Broadway premiere of a new musical, Poppy. Dorothy Donnelly wrote the book and lyrics, and Stephen Jones and Arthur Samuels composed the music. Fields wrote some of his own material. After a long career in vaudeville, WC Fields made his film debut in 1915, but then returned to the stage, including the Follies, the Passing Shows, the Vanities and the 1922 edition of the Scandals. His film career would revive in 1924. He played a mildly crooked carnival barker, Professor Eustace McGargle.

Star Madge Kennedy had a long career on stage and in movies. She played the Professor's daughter, Poppy. 

Robert  Woolsey later teamed up with Bert Wheeler as Wheeler and Woolsey.

When DW Griffith adapted Poppy as a movie called Sally of the Sawdust in 1925, he had no choice but to cast Fields as the Professor. Carol Dempster played Poppy, renamed as Sally.

In 1936 Eddie Sutherland directed a talkie adaptation of Poppy. Fields played the Professor and Rochelle Hudson played Poppy. 

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