By FREDI WASHINGTON PV's Theatrical Editor February 2, 1946 p. S-6
THIS IS THE ONE MONTH out of the year when everyone is asked to dig deep into his change purse and deposit as many dimes as he can afford into a receptacle for the victims, black and white, of infantile paralysis. This the majority of Americans do gladly.
The "March of Dimes" is a campaign particularly dear to the hearts of the people of the theatre world, for they feel a keen alliance with the man who instituted the fund and who himself was a victorious "victim" over the dreaded disease. There is not an actor or performer who does not jump at the chance to honor the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt by making appearances to help raise funds for paralysis victims.
And this is all the more reason why the sight of top flight actors speaking from a step-ladder in front of the Apollo theatre last Thursday at noon, with none but the usual passersby in attendance, was a sight pitiful to see.
Pitiful first, because the primary purpose (to collect money) of the street show was missed. Secondly because it is an imposition to get actors out in the bitter cold to perform when no provisions have been made to create an audience. When I got to the Apollo, Melchor [sic] Ferrer, the lead in Strange Fruit, was on the ladder. Waiting with chattering teeth to perform were Gordon Heath of Deep Are The Roots, Fred O'Neal and Valerie Black, both of Anna Lucasta, and Kenneth Spencer, who because of a bad throat, was not certain as to whether he would be able to sing his role of 'Joe' in Show Boat that night.
I say no effort was made to create an audience because no announcement that these artists would appear came to this office. And evidently, none of the other local papers knew of the event since there was no mention of it in their papers.
It is about time the people who are responsible for putting on these affairs give some consideration to the artist who is called on continuously to give his service for this or that charity. The least that can be done for him is not to take him for granted and send him out on wild goose chases. If these organizations cannot arrange their affairs so that they serve the purpose for which they were meant, and give the artist the feeling that he has made a real contribution, then it would be better not to call on him.
As one who has had long experience in the theatre with benefits, I resent the lackadaisical manner in which the artists are treated. It would seem that many of these organizations have the feeling that the actor and performer are idle people with nothing more to do than await their calls to do a benefit.
Please let us do a good job of raising money for the "March of Dimes" by giving the needed amount of publicity to [...] shows. The money is sorely needed on the humane work which the [?] Roosevelt started.