Three wise fools

   Austin Strongs drama, doctored by copro-ducer Winchell Smith, received mixed reviews, but became a long-running success due to marketing efforts by its other coproducer, John Golden, who released unsold tickets through Leblang's Ticket Office and with enormous signs touting the play's merits placed outside the Criterion Theatre where Three Wise Fools opened on 31 October 1918. It subsequently racked up 316 performances despite its slight story of three old bachelors reminiscing about a lost love shared by all three. The woman married a man falsely convicted of a crime and she has since died. The bachelors are rejuvenated by the appearance of Miss Fairchild, the grown child of their old sweetheart, who attempts to take the blame for the crime that convicted her father. Gordon Schuyler, a nephew of one of the bachelors, is able to prove the innocence of the girl, as well as of her father, and they are subsequently married. Golden produced a 1936 revival featuring legendary actor-playwright William Gillette in his last Broadway appearance, but the production managed only nine performances.
   Motion picture versions of Three Wise Fools appeared in 1923 and 1946, with Lionel Barrymore appearing in the last.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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