APRIL 19, 1952
NEW YORK, Friday—On Thursday night I took an English friend of mine who was here just for the night to see a most entertaining play called "Venus Observed" by Christopher Fry. I will be frank to say that I was a bit hesitant to go to this play because the last play by Christopher Fry that I saw I could not understand. I fooled myself into thinking that the real reason for my inability to understand it was that I couldn't hear, but when I bought the book and read it I did not understand it any better than I had on seeing it!
"Venus Observed," however, is quite different. The lines are delightful, entertaining and amusing and, of course, it is beautifully acted. Lilli Palmer and Rex Harrison are wonderful, and the whole cast gives them excellent support.
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I have just had a rather unusual letter from Alice Merritt Petracchi, who lives in Cassopolis, Mich. She wants to take over American and foreign students to attend Casals Music Festival in Prades, South France. She says the whole trip can be taken, covering a month in France, for $350, but this may mean cheap housing and food while they are there. She will guide them through the mazes of inexpensive travel but she will only charge them $10 each for her services.
There is an official committee, called the Official Committee for the Prades Festival for 1952, with an executive secretary of the American Committee, who is Miss Thea Dispeker, at 35 West 53rd Street, New York City. Miss Petracchi has no official connection with this committee but it will vouch for her and she has had experience before in working with student groups.
In her letter Miss Petracchi expresses such enthusiasm in the belief that young students who love music should be able to attend these concerts at a moderate cost that it has given me the feeling that the readers of this newspaper might like to know of this opportunity.
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We continue to read in the papers day after day of the horrors in the flood areas and last night I saw that Omaha feared its dikes might collapse.
I wonder whether the people in these areas will be aroused enough by what has happened so that they will get their Representatives and Senators to work with the members of Congress from other areas to stop this foolish waste of our money and natural resources. No matter what it cost us it would be cheaper than this annual loss.
Of course, the cost for whatever measures are undertaken to control the unruly waters of these rivers would be paid by people all over the country. But, on the other hand, none of us should fool ourselves by thinking that when a large number of people suffer great losses in any part of the country, all of us are not going to suffer in some way.
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I wonder if many of my readers noticed that an organization that seems to stem somewhat from the old America-Firster group was formed the other day to prove that General Dwight D. Eisenhower is closely associated with Communists. This type of thing is becoming so ludicrous that each time it happens we should point it out and say to ourselves: "How stupid can we be? Is hysterical fear turning us all into morons?"