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Nora
 

Nora


Updated 19 January 2006

Publishing History | Summary | Characters

 

 


 

 

 

"the walls. . .were adorned with autographed pictures of six or seven of the more celebrated musical comedy stars and a too-perfect likeness of Brock's wife, whom he had evidently married in a dense fog."

"She could talk, too--probably better than the fish."

"the result of this bout was so nearly a foregone conclusion that even the experts had guessed it"

 

 

   
Publishing History Hearst's International Cosmopolitan 84 (February 1928):   36-39.

Round Up: The Stories of Ring Lardner, 1929.

{Portable Lardner, 1946

Best Short Stories, 1959

Ring Lardner Reader, 1963

 

   
Summary Setting: The opulent home of a successful musical producer; later Hazlett's apartment (not stated, but New York). 

Time: late 1920s

Story:  More of a satirical complaint than a story, "Nora," records a quick meeting between a would-be playwright, a producer, and a musical team.  Hazlett, the playwright has written an original play, a sort of anti-Cinderella story, and though he wrote it originally as a "straight" three-act play, he has adapted it as a two-act musical.  He is there to pitch it to the song writers, who, along with the producer, are excited to hear something new and original. 

Initially, Hazlett is to read the book, he is forced to give a short synopsis instead when Morris remembers he has an appointment to buy something in a half hour.  Nervous, Hazlett summarizes his story.  An Irish businessman tries to set-up his daughter with the son of a wealthier businessman so that he can secure greater financial advantage for himself.  He gets the idea when the son falls in love with a picture of his daughter.  He brings his daughter to America, and the two fall in love as planned.  When the son's family loses all its money, the father tries to set-up the daughter with another wealthy man.  The daughter chooses the poor man she loves rather than the wealthy one in a dramatic scene. 

Everyone loves the idea, but fixate on the scene in which the man falls in love with the daughter's picture.  The two song-writers begin "suggesting" changes--first, based on songs they have already written, and next based on contracts they have with various performers.   A Spanish star will have to be used, so the lead characters will have to be Spanish rather than Irish.  The businesses must be changed; the son will fall in love with a glimpse or her in person rather than a picture; there must be a scene in the South; somehow they will travel to Tokyo.  The changes continue until the play has no resemblance at all to the idea just described by Hazlett and everything in common with most other musicals being produced.  They describe these changes as minor and necessary, and continue to praise Hazlett for his original idea. 

At home, Hazlett calls his bootlegger and asks what he has.  He is offered good Scotch or Rye that the bootlegger is "kind of scared of."  He takes the Rye. 

 

 






Characters Mr. Hazlett: a slightly naive writer who has written a "straight" play, which everyone around him says is good. 

Jerry Morris: song writer. successful partner of Moon; "had set a new style in melodies and rhythms and whose tunes made up sixty percent of all dance programs".

Frank Moon: lyricist, successful partner of Morris.; "the ideal lyricist who could fit Jerry's fast triplets with such cute-sounding three-syllable rhymes that no one ever went to the considerable trouble of trying to find out what they meant."

Louie Brock:  a successful musical producer, who brings them all together.

 

   


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