FIRST EDITION OF WINGED VICTORY, SIGNED BY MOSS HART AND FOUR ACTORS FROM THE 1943 BROADWAY PLAY AND 1944 FILM:BARRY NELSON, RED BUTTONS, WHIT BISSELL AND KEITH ANDES
HART, Moss. Winged Victory. The Air Force Play. New York: Random House, (1943). Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket.
First edition of writer/director Moss Hart’s script to his epic 1943 Broadway tribute to the Army Air Force, an exceptional association copy signed by Moss Hart and, on the same page, inscribed to Hollywood publicist Art Ronnie by lead actor Barry Nelson, “To Art, my very best, Barry Nelson,” along with the signatures of Keith Andes, Whit Bissell and Red Buttons—all four actors then serving in the Armed Forces, in scarce original dust jacket.
In April 1942, when the Army commissioned Moss Hart to “write a play about the flying branch of the service, Hart made a two-month air-tour of the national bases, collected background material and set to work… Three hundred Air Force officers, non-coms and privates” were in the cast—including the four privates in the Armed Forces who, along with writer/director Moss Hart, signed this exceptional association copy: Barry Nelson (Bobby Grills), Red Buttons (Whitey), Whitner Bissell (Lt. Jules Hudson) and John Andes (Army flyer). Produced by the Army Air Force, Winged Victory premiered in a brief run at Boston’s Shubert Theatre on November 2, 1943 and opened November 20 on Broadway’s 44th Street Theatre, where it ran until May 1944. Barry Nelson, Red Buttons, Whitner Bissell and Keith Andes were also featured in the 1944 film adaptation, which was directed by George Cukor from Hart’s screenplay adaptation. Like Hart’s play, the film earned high praise with critics calling it “one of the most successful films about this war… [with] all the poignancy and zeal that was tightly compacted in the episodes of Moss Hart’s original play” (New York Times).
Book fine; tape reinforcement to verso of dust jacket. A near-fine signed copy.