Oliver Theophilus (center) Publicity Director, Triangle Guild Players


Martin's Dad wrote a letter to famous actors and actresses about his theatre group celebrating their 10th anniversary by producing the play "Three Cornered Moon" by Gertrude Tonkonogy. He wanted to surprise the group with a few responses. Instead he receive personal notes from many famous actors. 

  Letters were received from  Bob Hope, Charles Laughton, Darryl Zanuck, Deanna Durbin, Eddie Cantor, Edward G. Robinson, Fred Allen, James Marion Fidler, Joan Crawford, Joe E. Brown, Lionel Barrymore,  Olsen & Johnson, Basil Rathbone, Sheilah Graham and Spencer Tracy.


Martin's Dad wrote a letter to famous actors and actresses about his theatre group celebrating their 10th anniversary by producing the play "Three Cornered Moon" by Gertrude Tonkonogy.  He wanted to suprise the group with a few responses.  Instead he receive personal notes from many famous actors.  This is his letter to greta Garbo.

We have taken my Dad's letters and attempted to find period photos that reflect what the actors were doing at the time the letters were written and subsequently in their careers.

December 1,1939  My dear Mr. Theophilus: I should like to wish you and the cast and crew of "Three Cornered Moon" the best of success.  I am sure this clever comedy will be enthusiastically received, and hope future productions of the Triangle Guild Players will meet with continued success.  Sincerely yours, Spencer Tracy.  Picture also shows scenes of Spencer Tracy in Stanley and Livingstone, Boys Town and Mannequin with Joan Crawford and Spencer Tracy. 

December 12, 1939, Dear Oliver Theophilus, To you, my heartiest congratulations upon the celebration of your 10th Anniversary and with it goes all my good wishes for the continued success of the Triangle Guild Players.  Very sincerely yours, Edward G. Robinson.  Picture also includes images from Edward G. Robinson's movie Brother Orchid

December 12, 1939, Attn: Oliver Theophilus, May I take this means of congratulating your organization, on this your tenth anniversary, on the fine work you are doing in keeping alive interest in the theatre.  You have shown fine discrimination in the selection of plays presented.  The very best of luck in all your future endeavors.  Sincerely yours, Bob Hope.  Also images of Bob Hope in various movies from that period including:  Never say Die; Thanks for the Memory and Give Me A Sailor with Bob Hope and Martha Raye.

Los Angeles Calif, Triangle Guild Players, I hope I am not too late in wishing your organization every success in your undertaking seasons greetings.  Lionel Barrymore.  Also image of Lionel Barrymore in poster Good News 1939

WESTERN UNION   Los angeles Calif, Nov 28, 1939 10:30 PM, Oliver Theophilus, May I on this tenth anniversary of your organization congradulate it for the ambition enterprise and devotion to the advancement of the drama that have brought the Triangle Guild PLayers their past success.  And may I also wish you continued success and adbancement for the future.  Sincerely, Darryl Zanuck.  Also images of movies Darryl Zanuck directed including: Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone, Jesse James with Henry Fonda; All About Eve wih Bette Davis, Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton & Rex Harrison: The Longest Day with Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Leo Genn, Peter Lawford, Gert Frobe, John Wayne, Irina Demick, Curt Jurgens and Robert Wagner; and Rin Tin Tin

Deanna Durbin, Universal Studios, Universal City, California, December 6, 1939.  Dear Members of the Triangle Guild:  Congratulations and best wishes upon this, your tenth anniversary.  Your organization is worthy of the highest praise for keeping alive an interest in the little theatre movement.   I am sure you have lots of fun working together, and I don't know of any avocationwhich gives as much pleasure to others as well as those who participate in the work itself.  I hope you will have many more happy anniversaries.   Most sincerely yours,  Deanna

Three-Cornered Moon  Gertrude Tonkonogy
by Gertrude Tonkonogy
was made into a 1933 film starring Claudette Colbert after its enormously successful run on Broadway that same year. It is a screwball comedy about an eccentric Brooklyn family trying to survive the Great Depression and was reportedly written in less than three weeks.

The main character, Elizabeth Rimplegar,whose mother, Nellie, has lost the family fortune in the stock market. Elizabeth is caught in a love triangle  between her novelist fiance and the more practical Dr. Alan Stevens. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s brothers are forced to look for work, each vying for positions for which they are unqualified.

426 North bristol Avenue, West Los Angeles, California, December 3, 1939,  My Dear Mr. Theophilus: Your brief description of the Triangle Players sounds as if you have an organization which is doing excellent work.  Please allow me to wish you well with your project.  I hope you have many successful years.  Sinceely yours, Joan Crawford.  Also includes images of Joan crawford with James Jimmy Steart

Fred Allen, December 18, 1939, Attn: Mr. Oliver Theophilus, Ladies and gentlemen:  Thank you for your letter.  From the information contained in your letter you have done some of my favorite plays, and the play you chose as you Anniversary Program is a very amusing one.  Since you did not mention the exact date when the play was being given, the only thing left for me to do is send this letter as a "congratulations" letter for all plays of the past, and "good luck and success" for your future.  Cordially yours, Fred Allen.  Also images Fred Allens career during that period including the movie We're Not Married with Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, David Wayne, Eve Arden, Paul Douglas, Eddie Bracken, Mitzi Gaynor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Marilyn Monroe

Western Union, New York, NY, Oliver Theophilus CARE OLSON AND JOHNSON YMCA, 238, AN ANSWER CLEVE = 48+2 OK= Olsen & Johnson, plus images from Pardon Our French, Little Red Riding Hood, Hellzapoppin and All Over Town

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TRIANGLE GUILD PLAYERS ON THEIR TENTH ANNIVERSARY    MAY THEIR GOOD WORK CONTINUE FOR MANY YEARS TO COME,  CORDIALLY  = BASIL RATHBONE, plus images from Basil Rathbone movies including: Tower of London; Son of Frankenstein and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

New York, New York, December 4, 1939. Dear Mr. Theophilus:  May I take this opportunity of congratulating the Triangle Guild Players of the Central Y.M.C.A. of Cleveland on achieving their Tenth Anniversary and celebrating it by producing an excellent play - "Three Cornered Moon."  Sincerely yours, Charles Laughton    Also images of Charles laughton and Clark Gable in Mutiny On The Bounty; Jamaica Inn with Maureen O'Hara and Robert Newton; and Charles Laughton in the Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hollywood, California, November 28th, 1939, Dear Mr. Theophilus: I congratulate the Triangle Guild Players of the Cleveland Y.M.C.A. on the celebration of their tenth anniversary.  I wish we had more theatre groups of this kind in Hollywood, but here it is pictures for breakfast, pictures for lunch and tea, dinner, and supper.  I was in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago and had a swell time.  It certainly does one good to get away from Hollywood and see how the world really lives.  I hope to make your acquaintance on my next visit to Cleveland.  Yours sincerely, Sheilah Graham   Also images of Sheilah Graham and from movies Intimate Lies, also Sheilah Graham and Marilyn Monroe at a party at the  Graham house in Beverly Hills in 1953. Graham was  at the height of her career, with her column syndicated  in 178 papers across the country.

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