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The American Way

I have covered a number of novel adaptations, and film adaptations were already being done, but so far as I know, The American Way is the first Broadway play adapted for a comic.  Serialized into 6 chapters, the play spans from 1896 until the late 1930s, following a German immigrant family who settle in Ohio.

Each installment opens with a blurb announcing that it is based on the Kaufman and Hart script of “a Samuel Harris and Max Gordon production, now playing at the Centre Theatre in New York City.”  The play was apparently a huge success for actor Frederic March, and the main character, Martin Gunter, is drawn to resemble him.

The story itself is kind of rah-rah-americana.  They come to the US, get rich through hard work.  World War I brings the family to crisis, unsure about fighting against other Germans, but the father gives a big speech about the wonders of being American, so his son goes off to fight and dies.  The grandson grows up and flirts with nazism, but the dad gets another big speech about the glories of the US, and the kid relents.

I can understand how it would have been popular at the time, but it’s so overdone it makes Forrest Gump look anti-american.


American Way:  All-American 5 – 10 (Aug 39 – Jan 40)


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