[Davis, Bette. (1908–1989) & Sandburg, Carl. (1878–1967) & Merrill, Gary. (1915–1990)]

"The World of Carl Sandburg" - Original Program

Bifold program from a performance of The World of Carl Sandburg, a stage presentation of selections from the poetry and prose of the Swedish-American Pulitzer Prize winner.  The production, which toured nationally from 1959–1960, starred Bette Davis and her then-husband, Gary Merrill.  4 pp.  In fine condition, 6 x 9 inches (15.2 x 22.9 cm).

Davis, in the nadir of her career, signed on to The World of Carl Sandburg alongside her husband without having seen a script.  After its premiere at the State Theater in Portland, Maine, Davis and Merrill "took the show on tour... The strain of appearing as a loving couple onstage while being unable to bear each other's presence off—they stayed in separate wings of hotels while touring—wore thinner and thinner.  It finally snapped when Bette had Gary served with divorce papers.  The separation agreement gave Gary visitation rights with the children but took away his right to appear in The World of Carl Sandburg in New York.  Barry Sullivan took over initially...before the show opened in New York with Bette and Leif Erickson.  The show's married-couple appeal vanished, and The World of Carl Sandburg closed." (Ed Sikov, Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis, 2008, p. 326)

From the collection of Paul McMahon, a critic, photographer and artist who worked for more than 13 years touring with Marlene Dietrich as the icon’s stage manager, announcer, dresser, secretary and escort, and later spent 25 years as an arts and entertainment reviewer and photographer with Gay Community News, Esplanade, Tommy’s Connection, The Mirror, Bay Windows and other publications. (19377)

Program, unsigned