This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for July 18, 2017: The Pleasures of Hating

July 18, 2017: birthday: Clifford Odets

It’s the birthday of playwright Clifford Odets (books by this author), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1906). Odets left school at the age of 15 to go into radio and found work as an announcer, actor, and writer. He joined several repertory companies, and in 1931, became one of the founding members of the Group Theater in New York. Although he originally joined as an actor, Odets was soon the Group’s main playwright. In 1935, the theater produced Waiting for Lefty, a story about labor unions based on the 1934 New York taxi driver’s strike. The play included flashbacks by union members and “plants” in the audience, which made it seem as if there was a real strike meeting going on. It was a great success, as was Odets’ next play, Awake and Sing! (1935), a look at Jewish family life in the Bronx during the Depression. Odets went on to write several more plays — and screenplays including None But the Lonely Heart (1943), The Country Girl (1950), and Sweet Smell of Success (1957; revived on Broadway in 2001).