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No Time for Comedy (1940) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Playwright Gaylord Esterbrook scores a hit with his first Broadway play, both with the critics and with leading lady Linda Paige. He and Linda are happily married until a patroness of the arts convinces Esterbrook to forget about comedy and concentrate on writing a tragedy. The end result nearly destroys his career and his marriage.

  • Broadway star Linda Paige Esterbrook was largely responsible for her now playwright husband Gaylord Esterbrook's success. His first play, a comedy about Park Avenue high society, written when he was an innocent Midwesterner from Redfield, Minnesota, who had never stepped foot in New York City, was abandoned by its producer, Richard Benson, partly because Gay would not stray from his artistic vision despite the problems that Linda, the show's lead, Richard and director Morgan Carrell saw with certain aspects of it. With the theater already booked and paid for, Linda, who saw something special in the play and in Gay, convinced the rest of the cast and the crew, including less than enthusiastic Morgan, to work solely for a share of the profit. The resulting success of the play led to Linda and Gay falling in love and getting married. Their personal and professional union has led to three subsequent successes in three successive years, all of them comedies with Linda in the lead. Now a New York sophisticate with the temperament and attitude to match, Gay goes on drinking binges during his writing dry spells, which is currently the case. But things change for the Esterbrooks when, at a party, they meet the Swifts, industrialist Philo and his wife Amanda. Mandy sees her role in life as nurturing the "latent possibilities" in men, always in those that are already a success and never in those that are currently not so. Philo, who loves his wife for what she is, understands this of her and thus allows her her time with these other men, knowing that they are always short term, and that Mandy will always come back to him while she searches for her next "victim". Gay wants to write something more serious than the comedies he has been churning out, and turns to Mandy for that inspiration she provides. Linda sees Mandy as an idiot but not stupid, and as such Linda and Gay's marriage may not survive Mandy meddling in trying to make Gay something he's not, regardless of his want to be so, and not the man that Linda married.

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