of the play
Adopted from the novel by Vern Snyder
Photo by Talbot Studios
dramatizing "Teahouse", John Patrick had already established
himself as a playwright of first rank with several productions
on Broadway. They include "The
Hasty Heart," "The
Curious Savage," "Lo and Behold" and several other plays.
in Louisville, KY, he spent his boyhood in boarding schools
all over the South and Far West, being expelled from most of
them for challenging authority.
college career was similarly nomadic - Harvard to Columbia
to N.Y. University. His first writing assignment was at a Hollywood
radio station, where he had been hired originally as a singer.
Hearing that there were to be auditions there, Patrick naively
believed this meant auditions for dramatic writers. When he
discovered he was expected to sing, he went through it for
fun-and got the job with his vocal efforts.
on the radio station's payroll, however, he was soon busy writing
playlets for production on the air. In addition he wrote a
play for the stage, "Hell Freezes Over," which he later called "one
of the world's worst." He didn't think this at the time, though.
market the play, he worked his transportation to N.Y. by chauffeuring
two old ladies east in their car. For months after his arrival,
while he peddled his play, he lived mostly on tea, with sugar "borrowed" from
managed to have the play produced (it was the first play to
be directed by Joshua Logan) but it closed quickly. The production "qualified" him
all the same for a job as a Hollywood screenwriter, and back
west he went.
came to a film studio on a six-week trial contract. He collected
his check every Friday, but wasn't assigned to write a line.
At the end of the six weeks, however, his agent told him that
the studio liked his work so much they were picking up his
option of six months. This gave him time to write two more
Book copyrighted 1952
he shelved because it became unsuitable with the outbreak of
World War II. The other was "The Willow and I," which was produced
with Martha Scott and Gregory Peck in the leading roles. Patrick
never saw a performance of that play. Before it could open,
he was on his way overseas, for he had enlisted in the American
Field Service, a corps of volunteer medical aides serving with
the British army.
served with Montgomery's Eighth Army in Egypt and then was
transferred to India and Burma. The idea for his next play,
destined to be his first big hit, "The Hasty Heart," was germinated
in hospitals for troops in the orient. This Far-Eastern experience
was also a qualification nine years later for his assignment
to dramatize "Teahouse."
wrote "The Hasty Heart" aboard the ship that brought him back
to the U.S. after the war. It was a big hit, and he followed
this up with "The Curious Savage" in 1950. His next play, "Lo
and Behold," in 1951, did not win so great a success in New
York, but has been popular in stock.
1953 brought him to the peak of fame and fortune. A subsequent
play, "Good as Gold," in 1957, had a brief run.
Patrick has adapted a number of notable stories for the screen:
Irving Stone''s "The President's Lady," John Secondari's story
of life in Rome, "Three Coins in the Fountain," Han Suyin's "Love
Is a Many Splendored Thing," and James Jones' "Some Came Running." He
also wrote the screenplays for two popular musicals, "Les Girls" and "High
the success of "The Hasty Heart" Patrick lived for many years
on a 65-acre farm called Hasty Hill near Suffern, N.Y. (except
for expeditions to Hollywood) where he wrote in rainy weather
and felled trees. Later he moved to St. Thomas in the U.S.
Virgin Islands where he continued to write plays. Most of Patrick's
plays have been welcomed by regional and community theaters,
but have not been produced on Broadway.
Patrick died in November, 1995, at the age of 90.