Item #16-5565 Original Poster for the Broadway production of John Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down." First edition of the poster. Howard Bay, production designer, author John Steinbeck, Oscar Serlin, producer, 1902 -1968.

Original Poster for the Broadway production of John Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down." First edition of the poster.

New York: Martin Beck Theatre,1942. 2 color letterpress on board. 22 x 14 inches....


"Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars.”
― John Steinbeck, The Moon Is Down....The Moon is Down was John Steinbeck's second attempt at writing a novel in play form (Of Mice and Men was his first). It was composed while on assignment from the Foreign Information Service, a division of the Office of Strategic Services charged with combating Nazi propaganda. His original story, depicting a small American town invaded by enemy troops, was rejected by the FIS, who feared that it might demoralize the civilian public..... In his revised manuscript, published by Viking in 1942, Steinbeck kept the same plot but set it in an unnamed Scandinavian town rather than the United States. Despite mixed critical reception, the book was a remarkable public success, outselling The Grapes of Wrath two-to-one in pre-publication; it would eventually pass through 76 editions. Shortly after publication, the producer Oscar Serlin purchased the dramatic rights to The Moon is Down (Herman Shumlin initially bought them but passed them on, saying he “did not care for [The Moon is Down’s] politics.” Serlin, known for his production of “Life with Father,” accepted the challenge, believing Steinbeck’s play would attract a large audience. “The Moon is Down” premiered on Broadway in April 1942, starring Otto Kruger as Colonel Lanser and Ralph Morgan as Mayor Orden. Like the novel before it, the play was publicly adored but critically lambasted. Life magazine reported that it was “trumpeted louder than any literary event of the season,” while the critical consensus was that “Steinbeck was too easy on the Germans, too optimistic about the ultimate victory of the Allies, [and ultimately] too moralistic." Despite its initial Broadway run lasting only nine weeks, the play was immensely successful on the road and abroad, especially in London and Stockholm. Rather surprisingly, it was nominated for Best Play by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and placed second.....

Provenance: From the estate of producer Oscar Serlin. Item #16-5565

Price: $200.00