The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

November 30, 2013

November 30, 1977

Terence Rattigan (June 9, 1911 to November 30, 1977),  a British playwright, set his plays in that social strata labeled 'upper middle class.' It was his own background, and the theatre was his earliest and last enthusiasm. He became renowned and enriched by his artistic dedication, but the public proved fickle when angry young men acquired the spotlight.

Heart to Heart (1962) was one Rattigan work. In it we read:

Lady Johnson's cat has strolled into the room through a window and has jumped up onto the desk.
"Get it out of here, do you mind? Can't bear touching the things myself."

This is spoken by the character David Mann,  a reporter looking for dirt on a politician.

This BBC televison play was a success. Yet the height of Rattigan's fame had passed. One commentator labeled 1956 as that height. Separate Tables had been playing for two years to rave reviews, preparing to open in New York, and the script had been sold to Hollywood. Another work of his (The Sleeping Prince) was in production with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier at that time. Separate Tables would soon win two Oscars. A height not to be recovered.

In Separate Tables you see how the dramatist, by confusing women with homosexual men, can produce unlikely scenarios. Yet Terence Rattigan's grand insight into the human heart itself, a gentleness in his genius,  lacking in, say, Tennessee Williams, lets one skip right over some details.

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