They say that March comes in like a lion but goes out like a lamb. In the Muse struggled to find the lamb in a cold and gloomy first week of spring. But if March went out like, say, a horse, perhaps it offered us a touch of mirth in the form of this week’s featured picture.
The 1936 WPA Federal Theater production Horse Eats Hat is based on the French farce Un chapeau de paille d’Italie. It was adapted by critic and poet Edward Denby and a fellow by the name of Orson Welles, who also directed. One can only imagine how the legendary film director might have translated this into celluloid magic. Horse Eats Hat starred one of his Mercury Theater regulars, Joseph Cotton, but the production’s stellar pedigree does not end there. Paul Bowles, best known for novels like The Sheltering Sky, composed the music; and the show was produced by John Houseman, who was involved with the production of Citizen Kane but is perhaps best remembered from the film The Paper Chase.
This image is one of thousands from the Federal Theater Project collection, subject of the exhibit currently in our lobby. You can peruse more images from this fascinating collection online, but it is just the tip of the iceberg — or the front of the horse, if you will.