Hit-the-trail holliday

   George M. Cohan's breezy four-act farce based on an idea given to Cohan by George Middleton and Guy Bolton, who collaborated with him, was produced by Cohan and Sam H. Harris at the Astor Theatre for 336 performances beginning on 13 September 1915. Billy Holliday (played in the original production by Fred Niblo, Cohan's brother-in-law) is a New York City saloonkeeper who arrives in a small New England hamlet with the intention of opening a hotel. When he runs afoul of the local liquor distributor, he becomes a prohibitionist and is so good at it that he runs all of the saloons and hotels in the area out of business. His strict "no alcohol" stance aids him in his romance with Edith Holden, the local minister's daughter. Some critics and audiences believed that Cohan was satirizing evangelist Billy Sunday, but Middleton claimed in his autobiography that the inspiration for the story was a bookmaker he knew who similarly crusaded against racetracks to ensure clients would bet with him. Cohan himself acted the role in a 1918 motion picture version.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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