To Jerome Mayer [Letter 280]

Item Reference Code: 143_MCx_045_001

Date(s) of creation

November 3, 1946


Jerome Mayer


Jerome Mayer (ca. 1910–65) was a theatrical producer who produced and staged numerous Broadway plays between 1931 and 1954. In 1937, he contracted with AR to produce a stage version of We the Living.

November 3, 1946 

Dear Jerry: 

Thank you for your letter—and please excuse my delay in answering. This will always be my trouble, as I hope my friends will forgive me.

No, I don’t agree with you about IDEAL. The play is about the people’s attitude toward the movie star—not about the movie star. She has to be only a symbol. The theme is the relation of men to the ideal, and the various things for which they betray it—the theme is not the inner life of a great artist. If the theme were to be this last, an entirely different play would have to be written, with an entirely different plot. The pattern of visiting one fan after another would not fit at all; it would become totally irrelevant. A great artist’s problems are not her fans. 

I hope you find a play which you like—I’d be sorry to see you leave the theater.[*] I know plays are harder to find than ever now, but I’d say keep on trying, maybe there are some better playwrights coming up among unknowns—I know that the ones available now are awful. As to your question about Hal Wallis—he has no playreaders (just one story editor), and no assistant producers, because he produces only three pictures a year, himself, without subsidiary production units. If you’re interested in that, you would have to get in with a major studio. But are you really interested? I always thought that the stage was your real love. 

I’m sorry that we won’t be able to come to New York this year. I most fervently hope to, next year. If you return to Hollywood before then, I’ll look forward to seeing you again. 

Best regards from both of us, 



P.S. Thanks for the clipping of the Brooks Atkinson story on Russia. That was interesting!

*Mayer had one further Broadway credit, Lullaby, a play that he produced and staged and had a run of 45 performances in 1954. Mayer remained in the theater, producing plays mainly for community theater companies until his death in 1965.