[Ads-l] Request help accessing New York Herald Tribune ProQuest database in 1951 (Variety 1951 would be helpful too)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 4 15:43:29 UTC 2015

ADS People: Your aid is requested for the exploration of a famous barb
aimed at an actor by a theater critic. Here is a common modern version
of the quotation:

He has delusions of adequacy.

Versions of the quotation appear in Cassell's Humorous Quotations
(2001), Random House Webster's Quotationary (2001), Oxymoronica
(2004), No Turn Unstoned (1983), and other references.

I think the theater critic was Walter Kerr, and the review was printed
in The New York Herald Tribune in October 1951. The target text was:

[Begin extracted text]
Mr. Robinson was game, all right. But what is gameness in a man who is
suffering from delusions of adequacy?
[End extracted text]

The goal is to gain access to the PDF containing the review so that a
complete and accurate citation can be constructed. In addition,
verifying the full name of the lacerated actor and the theater
production would be useful.

The ProQuest New York Herald Tribune database (in 1951) is apparently
available at the following institutions: University of Notre Dame,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New York City Public
Library, and Princeton. It is available at other locations, but
ProQuest does not release that type of information.

I found a match using the Variety database, but I do not have
subscription to that fine database which costs $600 per year. When my
book about quotations is transformed into a Hollywood blockbuster I
will gladly pay the subscription fee. Until then . . .

If you have access to the Variety database at varietyultimate.com (or
via ProQuest) and can share the PDF for the following article it would
be very helpful:

Date: October 24th, 1951
Periodical: Variety
Article: Unknown
Author: Unknown
Database: Variety Page Scans at varietyultimate.com (also ProQuest)
(Data obtained from search performed without database access. Page
scans were not examined)

[Begin extracted text]
Walter F. Kerr, guest critic of the Herald Tribune, after seemingly
being hogtied by "Sleep of Prisoners," hit his stride with the
"Ribbons" notice, getting off the prize quip of the week with the
observation that Robinson "is suffering from delusions of adequacy."
The reviewer has since maintained a readable, perceptive level in his
[End extracted text]

Thanks for your help,

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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