Hits Are a Habit With The Fabulous Team Of R & H
The 70mm Newsletter
by: Showmen’s Trade Review, October 15, 1955
Chance brought Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II together as
creators of a new type of musical play. And chance, plus creative
ability, has favored them to the point where they are firmly fixed in
the mosaic of the American theatre as the team that breathes magic into
shows whose words and music blend to carry out a plotted story.
Since the success of "Oklahoma!" R&H have come up with "Carousel,"
"South Paciflc," "Allegro," "Me and Juliet," "The King and I", all plays
which have approached the theatre primarily as theatre and all plays
which have not feared to face the tragic and to send the audience away
with a tear-and a thought about life.
This successful literature of the theatre comes from two men who have
much in common, and some characteristics that differ. Both loved the
theatre from early youth and wanted to be part of it; both dislike night
life and like home life; both are said to be very careful to keep
appointments and both are hard workers. Rodgers is a careful dresser;
Hammerstein likes work clothes that fit in with his Bucks County farm.
Rodgers studies the script of a play, assimilates each situation and
then marshals the platoons of sixteenth, thirty-second, quarter, and
half notes into ascending and descending patterns in his mind, so that
when he sits down to compose, the music flows from his pencil to the
ruled notes on his music paper. Hammerstein sweats and struggles with
words, standing at a desk, fearful that a terminal consonant will cause
a singer to contract his larynx with ruinous effect and ponders if it
were not better to end with a liquid vowel. Rodgers is a good business
man and a good administrator. Hammerstein just doesn't want to be
bothered and is more interested in his white Herefords or the produce of
in 70mm reading:
The Todd-AO Projector
Showmen’s Trade Review, October 15, 1955:
Oklahoma! in Todd-AO
Philips Collaborated On Projector Design
Todd-AO Projection and Sound
Six track recording equipment
All-Purpose Sound Reproduction
Rodgers & Hammerstein II
Six track recording equipment
Guild Turns To Rodgers
work today extends from the satirical "Connecticut Yankee" to "Victory at
Sea," a musical score for a television series, came to collaborate with
Hammerstein when the Theatre Guild wanted a musical to be made of "Green
Grow the Lilacs." Rodgers' lyricist, Lorenz Hart at that time was too ill to
undertake the task. Rodgers turned to Hammerstein, whom he had known at
colleges and the two turned out "Oklahoma!"
Rodgers was born in New York City in 1902, the son of a physician who liked
music and who with his wife would spell out the scores of operas. At the age
of four, he was already listening to this music with enthusiasm: at the age
of six he could play the piano, and at 14 he had written his first number
for a summer camp show, "Auto Show Girl." While a freshman at Columbia, in
association with Lorenz Hart, he wrote the 1918 Variety Show, "Fly with Me."
Somewhat to his parents' disapproval, he shifted to music in his sophomore
year, enrolling under the late Dr. Walter Damrosch at the Institute of
Musical Arts in Columbia, which is today the Julliard School.
Later, on his own he turned professional with such dreary results that he
was seriously thinking of taking a job with a baby underware firm. Then
chance again intervened, and the Theatre Guild commissioned him and Hart to
do a special show, which turned out to be the fabulously successful "Garrick
Gaieties." So he stayed with composition.
Hammerstein conceived his first love for the theatre at the same age that
Rodgers conceived his love for music-four. At the time, the young
Hammerstein, who was born in 1895, by dint of repetitious pleas, persuaded
his father, William, a successful theatre manager, to take him to
Grandfather Oscar Hammerstein's Victoria Theatre on Seventh Avenue at 42nd
Street, where the Rialto Theatre stands today.
Oscar was one of the fabulous showmen of his day, a high-hatted,
cigar-smoking impresario who made money in vaudeville to lose it in opera.
But it was the vaudeville young Hammerstein saw from a box that day, and
from that time on the theatre was his dream.
His father didn't want him in the theatre, so he dutifully studied law at
Columbia and even dutifully practiced with little success for a single year.
Then he went to his uncle Arthur, who produced successful musicals, and
persuaded him to give him a job as assistant stage manager. That was the
beginning of a career which led to eventual collaboration with Vincent
Youmans, Rudolf Friml, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg-and
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