This Sunday, a revival of the classic comedy “Born Yesterday” opens on Broadway. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, its author, Garson Kanin, was responsible for a generous slice of American culture. Listen above to the next Fishko Files...
Although Garson Kanin was perhaps best known for Born Yesterday, he covered a lot of cultural territory.
During some of Kanin’s most productive years he was married to Ruth Gordon - an actress and writer. Among other things, Gordon starred in Thorton Wilder's The Matchmaker (1955)-- she received a Tony Award nomination for that role. She also won an Academy Award for her role in Rosemary's Baby (1968). She also appeared in the films Harold and Maude (1971), Where’s Poppa (1970) and Boardwalk (1979) – as well as the television shows Rhoda (1975), Taxi (1979) and Newhart (1983).
"She was very elegant, whimsical. When she was matron of honor at our wedding she wanted to cut her dress. I said do not cut the dress. You may not wear the dress above your knee as you’re walking down the aisle of a German-Jewish wedding. You may not. Everybody else is in top hats and she wanted to cut the dress. They had a great love affair the two of them. And they were openly affectionate and had public displays of affection at the rehearsal when she was distressed about things." - Tovah Feldshuh
More than a decade after his death, Kanin is still known for his witty quotations. Here's a selection of his most memorable quotes.
More Reflections on Kanin
John Rubinstein -- the son of the great pianist Artur Rubinstein -- got to know Kanin through his father and mother, who were very close with Kanin.
"He seemed to take great pleasure in his journey through life. Whatever it happened to be. He was a great storyteller. But the story telling always reflected his humor and his perception about people and about events. He seemed to be just having a good time. My father was like that in many ways, too. They both worked very hard and took their work very seriously. And took the world very seriously, too – politically and in every other way. They lived through those World Wars and all that. So they weren’t at all frivolous people. But they enjoyed the ride."
For more Information...
The revival of Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday opens April 24th. For more information, visit this website.
See the entire documentary True Glory (1946) here.
Listen to WNYC's Kanin Festival (from 2010) here.
WNYC Production Credits...
Mix Engineer: Wayne Shulmister
Assistant Producer: Laura Mayer
Managing Editor, WNYC News: Karen Frillmann