[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 20:46:47 UTC 2015

Great thanks to GAT and DanG who accessed the New York Herald Tribune
database and relayed the pertinent information. The natural database
query "delusions of adequacy" did not work because hyphenation was
mishandled by the OCR algorithm. Nevertheless, GAT and DanG succeeded.

Below are details that provide some context for the quotation. Also,
thanks to Bill for the IBTD data. It is odd that Jay Robinson was not
listed in the cast. In fact, the cast listing in the newspaper article
also omitted Robinson.

Date: October 18, 1951
Newspaper: New York Herald Tribune
Newspaper Location: New York, New York
Article: The Theaters: Won't Win Any Ribbons
Author: Walter F. Kerr,
Description: Review of the play "Buy Me Blue Ribbons"
Note: Walter F. Kerr, drama critic of "The Commonweal," will be the
guest critic of the Herald Tribune during the fall season.
Quote Page 20
Database: ProQuest

[Begin excerpt]
JAY ROBINSON, producer and virtually star of "Buy Me Blue Ribbons," is
a young man of twenty-one who was last season dispossessed of a
leading role in a play which he had himself financed. Mr. Robinson is
apparently not bitter about this. He has had Sumner Locke Elliott
write a play for him a comedy about a young man who is similarly
thrown out of his own production, and he is offering it, for his
mortification and for ours, at the Empire Theatre.

. . . skip text . . .

It is no fun to poke fun at so ambitious and industrious a young man.
But he has asked for it, and to let him off would render no service to
a theatre which is already in serious enough straits. Mr. Robinson is
not up to the course he has set for himself. In the play, the
character concludes by giving up his dreams of overnight stardom and
deciding to learn his trade from the bottom up. All Mr. Robinson can
honestly do now is to take his own advice. At the moment, he is
suffering from delusions of adequacy.
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 10:43 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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]

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