By Robert E. Tevis
Recently, the American Theater of Actors, in conjunction with Dr. Harriet Fields, presented a theatrical reenactment of the 1928 trial of W.C. Fields for the murder of a Canary. Entitled “The Real Transcript of W.C. Fields Murder Trial (Of A Canary),” the thirty minute production is based upon a true story of the night that Fields was arrested for the inhumane treatment of a canary in his act at the Earl Carrol Theater by two New York City policemen attached to the Humane Society.
Fields had been appearing in Earl Carroll’s Vanities and was performing a routine that is immortalized in his 1932 film “The Dentist.” In the routine, a man with a huge brisling beard comes to see Fields, the dentist. As Fields pokes around the man’s beard in an attempt to locate the man’s mouth, birds fly out, at which