Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Theatre.
(1888-1959) US journalist, teacher, screenwriter and playwright, active from around 1910, his first play "White Desert" being performed in 1923; he frequently espoused pacifist arguments in his work, and gained perhaps a reputation for steely intransigence that the plays themselves, which combine the homely and the sonorous (occasionally in blank verse), did not entirely warrant. He wrote the script for one fantasy film, Death Takes a Holiday (1934) directed by Mitchell Leisen, in which the Devil (see Mysterious Stranger) comes to earth and falls in love with women. Some of the plays produced during Anderson's most successful decades (late 1920s to around 1940) are Timeslip fantasies like High Tor: A Play in Three Acts (performed 1936; 1937) (see Mysterious Stranger; Ruins and Futurity) or Knickerbocker Holiday: A Musical Comedy in Two Acts (performed 1938; 1938), with music by Kurt Weill (1900-1950) (see New York).
Of more direct sf interest is The Star-Wagon (performed 1937; 1937), in which the Invention of a Time Machine inspires its creator to travel back in time to dissuade the girl he loved then from marrying him. [JC]
James Maxwell Anderson
born Atlantic, Pennsylvania: 15 December 1888
died Stanford, Connecticut: 28 February 1959
works (highly selected)
- High Tor: A Play in Three Acts (Washington, District of Columbia: Anderson House, 1937) [play: first performed 30 December 1936 Hanna Theater, Cleveland, Ohio: hb/uncredited]
- The Star-Wagon (Washington, District of Columbia: Anderson House, 1937) [play: first performed 16 September 1937 Erlanger Theatre, Buffalo, New York: hb/]
- Knickerbocker Holiday: A Musical Comedy in Two Acts (Washington, District of Columbia: Anderson House, 1937) [play: first performed 26 September 1938 Bushnell Memorial Theatre, Hartford, Connecticut: music by Kurt Weill: hb/from watercolour of Nieuw Amsterdam]
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