HAIRPIN HARMONY, Legendary Broadway Flop

Theater expert Laura Frankos Turtledove says:

[The critics] all commented on the audience fleeing the scene of the crime at intermission. They, alas, were stuck with the second act.
The plot? Of course I can tell you the plot. There’s a baby food manufacturer who is looking for an act he can use to promote his product on a radio show. This guy has a sixteen member all-girl band, the Hairpin Harmonettes, led by his girlfriend and singing triplets. The trio consisted of the real life teenaged Clawson sisters, who billed themselves as Triplets, but actually Barbara was a year older than twins Doris and Dorothy. (These girls were managed by their dad, who got some radio spots for them before and after this disaster. Poor Barbara was professionally renamed “Dawna.” They were named Miss Subways in May 1944, which brings to mind a whacked out alternate version of ON THE TOWN, in which Gabby falls for all three of them…)
Anyway, the band promoter himself is the one who gets the gig (ooh, spoilers!) because he has a fine falsetto. So he wears diapers (for a radio spot? Well, maybe PR photos?) and talks baby talk, thus saving the day for everyone.
Except Harold Orlob.

Source of text.

     Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 02, 2022
     Category: Entertainment | Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art | Music | 1940s

Where's the Frankos Turtledove quote from? I searched inside Broadway Revival (via Amazon) and nothing came up.
Posted by Winston on 10/02/22 at 01:37 PM
Sorry about the misleading connection between link and quote, Winston. The Turtledove quote was from a Facebook post she made. I linked to her novel as the nearest thing to grab, figuring folks who liked the way she wrote might be interested in her book. L F Turtledove, BTW, is part of a two-writer family, with her partner being the famous SF guy, Harry.
Posted by Paul on 10/02/22 at 02:05 PM
Ah, OK.

(I did see her name and think "hey, like the author"...and then I realized they were likely connected somehow, given how uncommon the name is.)
Posted by Winston on 10/02/22 at 10:05 PM
The German version, Turteltaub, is more common.
Posted by ges on 10/02/22 at 10:30 PM
With lots of men off to war, the "man"-power shortage surely also affected the performing arts. I can easily envision a Broadway show with a sixteen member all girl group. The writers and producers would have to come up with some plausible explanation / plot device for having more women than men on stage. That being said, this show does sound like a stinker.
I wonder if any Broadway historian has done a study of the World War Two years to see if there was a gender imbalance on stage?
Posted by Patrick on 10/07/22 at 06:50 AM
@ges: well... less uncommon, I'd say.

@Patrick: I don't think it's the sixteen women who made this a flop. It's the adult man in a diaper.
Posted by Richard Bos on 10/08/22 at 07:55 AM
Richard Bos - I totally agree on why it was a flop. When it comes to entertainment, seeing an adult man in a diaper is not my thing. Not at all. No. Never.
Also, when I wrote my original post, I wasn't thinking about all of the shows with all-female dance lines such as Ziegfield shows, etc. I was just wondering if during 1941 through 1945 there were fewer men available for Broadway and other live theater shows. If so, how did the producers go about putting shows on stage, working with the talent that was available.
Posted by Patrick on 10/08/22 at 08:04 AM
@Patrick: true - see also the film A League Of Their Own. IIRC that was WWI, not WWII, but still, same principle.
Posted by Richard Bos on 10/08/22 at 09:48 AM
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