Herman Shumlin

QUESTION:  Herman was not the name of which of the following personalities?
A)  A giant rabbit from Germany
B)  A big green good-natured Frankenstein monster
C)  A bespectacled comic strip character
D)  A type of aircraft used during World War II

Have you ever heard of Herman Shumlin?  If you answer honestly, and your answer is yes, then color us very impressed. He was, in his day, a very accomplished Broadway director and producer accredited with forty-seven different productions over a long and productive career. However, most of his shows were presented during the 1930's through the 1950's.  Arguably his most successful venture was Inherit the Wind in 1955, which enjoyed over eight hundred performances.

Born in 1898 in Atwood, Colorado, Shumlin had moved to New York by his late-twenties to realize his passion for the theater. We mention him here, though, not because of his impressive stage resume.  He also dabbled in Hollywood exactly twice.  His first film was an adaptation of a play he had directed, the highly regarded 1943 drama Watch on the Rhine.  It starred Bette Davis and Paul Lukas.  Davis, a famously challenging actor, did not make Shumlin's directorial debut an easy one.  Lukas, by contrast, won the Academy Award for his performance. Then, Confidential Agent, the poster for which is on display in our Toy Box, proved his sophomore effort and his cinematic finale. Perhaps he was affected by the negative reviews, or he preferred to stay with something he knew, Broadway.  Shumlin passed away in 1979. His name may be little remembered by lovers of film, but visitors to the American Treasure Tour can give an appreciative nod to our poster of Confidential Agent and symbolically acknowledge Mr. Shumlin.

ANSWER:  D)  A type of aircraft used during World War II.  Of course, C) acknowledges a character in numerous syndicated newspapers; B) refers to Herman Munster from the 1960's sitcom; and A) Herman.