I’ve done a post of the movie Harvey before, but here I am again. I’m a classic movie fan, and a small collector of vintage movie posters and lobby cards. In my inbox today was the newsletter from Conway’s Vintage Treasures, featuring a rare jewel: a full vintage movie poster for the 1950 film Harvey, staring Jimmy Stewart.
Are you familiar with this old classic? I’ve watched it possibly fifty times throughout my life. I can remember some of the dialog when I watch, yet I invariably find some new nuance. My writer fantasy would be to be the author of the story. The real author was Mary Chase, who wrote the play upon which the movie was based and that also stared Jimmy Stewart. Then she got billing on writing the screen adaptation, too.
Of course I had to go look up Mary Chase. I find such inspiration from reading the stories of writers who write the unforgettable stories that make my heart soar. Mary Chase was a writer in the days when writers worked hard. (Reading about her made me wonder what she ate, or did she swill bottles of Geritol?) It took her 2 years to write the play of Harvey, and she reportedly found the writing quite difficult. I can imagine her crying in frustration, but returning to the typewriter and tablet again and again. Maybe something wanted that story written.
Imagine taking that amount of time today to write a story? And you know she had no idea if it would sell, much less be a booming success. She had to have written from the love of writing. From the desire to say something, and oh, Harvey says a lot, and makes one smile. I imagine if Mary Chase had never made the effort, and I shudder. My world would have quite a hole in it.
Mary Chase persevered and Harvey was written. It opened on Broadway in November of 1944 and captivated a war-weary crowd, even if the play version was supposedly a lot darker than the movie. It was a smash hit. The movie debuted in 1950. So long ago, but it is a timeless tale, as pertinent to life today as it was then.
You can read my other post about Harvey, entitled The Wisdom of Elwood P. Dowd, here.
Thank you, Mary Chase.