Oral Histories

Interview of Gilmor Brown

Actor, director, and co-founder of the Pasadena Playhouse.
Subtitle:
Pasadena Playhouse Pioneer
Series:
Pasadena Playhouse Oral History Series
Topic:
Theater
Interviewer:
Lane, Charles
Interviewee:
Brown, Gilmor, $d 1886-1960
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Length:
2.5 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series documents the founding and early history of the Pasadena Playhouse.
Abstract:
Early childhood on North Dakota tree-claim farm; move to Denver; school experiences; first contact with theater in Denver; father's fondness for theater; Minnie Maddern Fiske and George Arliss in Becky Sharp; establishing neighborhood theater in cellar; writing musical comedy at age twelve; play productions at St. Mark's in the Mountains; Florence J. Adams; attending drama school in Minneapolis; studying at Mrs. Adams's studio in Chicago; first professional acting experience with Ben Greet Company, Chicago; Shakespeare productions; Sybil Thorndike; touring Canada; Elizabeth Patterson; repertory companies; Mae Stewart; black-market scripts; promoting Shakespeare festivals in small towns in Kansas; brief stay in New York; organizing road company; Archie "Virginia" Lykins; "Big Bill" Bittner; operating theater school in Hutchinson, Kansas; diamond dye scenery; touring Utah; meeting Mrs. J. B. Durand in Hutchinson; move to Pasadena, 1916; establishing stock company in old Savoy Theatre; promotion of Community Play-house; early supporters: C. Churchill Clarke, Alberta Jones, Sybil Eliza Jones, Sam and Dorothy Hinds, William Reis, Jr., George Reis, Evalina C. and George Ellery Hale; first production, series of one-acts, November 20-23, 1917; early financial problems; help from Aline Barnsdall; first teaching at Summer Art Colony, 1922; Frayne Williams, Lenore Shanewise, Andy Campbell, Cy Kendall; Brown as sole director and primary actor in early days; brother, Frank Brown, business manager and publicity agent; family, including parents, help with scenery, box office, etc.; Community Playhouse moves to Pasadena Playhouse, 1925.