|Time Magazine's review of Scandals of 1924
|Monday, July 14, 1924
Scandals. George White has clapped together the best revue since he initiated his series to relieve visiting
buyers and firemen of the Summer doldrums. More, he has presented one of the best revues of a season that
has not been without its high-water mark in this aspect of our civilization.
The new musical show has been staged with the requisite regard for pace and variety, gives no opportunity
for a yawn to get started. Thus, the Williams Sisters perkily berate the audience in a chanted number for
being late and missing the opening chorus—which does not exist. Then comes a series of skits wherein the
mortifying consequences of being tardy are revealed, generally with a sly double entendre sneaking in.
The production has more than its fair share of novelties, chief of which is a deceptive lighting effect which
changes girls in varicolored bathingsuits into marble statues in a wink. It also, by a painless amputation,
obligingly transforms a damsel into the armless Venus de Milo.
The imported Paris costumes are in admirable taste and profusion, but Mr. White does not hesitate to
strike at the eyes of a revue audience with the luxury of sheer simplicity. One of his most satisfying scenes
is attained by the use of nothing more sensational than a huge bank of flowered parasols. And the chorus
whom these trappings adorn are the comeliest that have stretched the necks of metropolitan audiences
this year. Each one would be the ace of any ordinary revue ensemble. White has again wisely limited his
coryphees to intoning their lyrics clearly rather than blurring their point in the yelp of the usual song.
Therefore the chorus scores one of the spontaneous hits of the performance by boldly asserting its reasons
for not being one of the ubiquitous troupes of Tiller girls.
There are fewer dancing solos than usual, and the ordinarily elastic Lester Allen and Tom Patricola have to
restrict the natural exuberance of their limbs to a few hoof thumpings. But in that way no one is ever on the
stage long enough to wear a crease in the audience's patience. The show has two fine singers in Richard
Talbot and Helen Hudson, the latter showing one of the sweetest voices this side of grand opera.
White again shows a regrettable tendency to lapse into invective against blue-law reformers (now
somewhat of a dead issue). Perhaps this inverted tendency to preach is a consequence of the juvenile
spiciness in some of his skits. But these are galloped through at such speed that the offhand presentation of
"low taste" can hardly give offense.
The sketches themselves at times are rather forced to beat a dishpan to excite humor. But Winnie Lightner,
abetted by the insouciant Will Mahoney and the boisterous Patricola, carries them along by dint of magnet
ic personality, sometimes called high animal spirits. And the revue contains two of the best travesties on
darky melodies ever perpetrated.