The Theatre: WPAyoff

"What's that statue over there?"—"That ain't no statue; that's a WPA worker."

"How old are you?"—"Eighty-four; I would have been 86, but I was on WPA for two years."

To each of its 10,000 members the American Federation of Actors said peremptorily last week: Thou shalt not crack wise about the WPA, on pain of fine or suspension. Aware that 1) many of its members were working on WPA; 2) many WPA workers had walked out on gags at their expense, the Federation termed all such wisecracking "degrading and injurious," compared it to making jokes at a funeral.

The Federation's ban on wisecracking produced...

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