LP0350. SMILIN' THROUGH (Allan Langdon Martin [Jane Cowl's pseudonym]), dramatic play reading, w.Jane Cowl. (10" LP) 10" early green Decca DL 7011. [Extraordinary to find an LP of this vintage as unplayed.]
“SMILIN' THROUGH is a 1919 play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin, written under a pseudonym, Allan Langdon Martin. Cowl also starred in the play in a double role and co-directed it with Priestly Morrison. SMILIN' THROUGH was produced by The Selwyns and opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway on December 30, 1919. It included in the cast Orme Caldara as Kenneth and Jeremiah Wayne, Henry Stephenson as John Carteret and Ethelbert D. Hales as Dr. Owen Harding. Scenic design was by Joseph Urban. The play was a popular hit and ran for 175 performances. It also played for a long run on the road, and was one of Jane Cowl's greatest commercial successes.
‘Smilin' Through’ is also the title of a 1919 ballad with lyrics and music by Arthur A. Penn. The creation of the song and play were independent but intertwined. According to Isidore Witmark in his history of the Witmark and Sons publishing house, Cowl's play was partially rewritten after the song was published, based upon the imagery of the lyrics. Both the title and the music of the song were incorporated into the play when it was completed and produced.
Jane Cowl was an American film and stage actress and playwright ‘notorious for playing lachrymose parts’. Actress Jane Russell was named in Cowl's honor.
She made her Broadway debut in New York City in SWEET KITTY BELLAIRS in 1903. Her first leading role was Fanny Perry in 1909 in Leo Ditrichstein's IS MATRIMONY A FAILURE?, produced by David Belasco, and then she played stock. This was followed by THE GAMBLERS (1910), her first great success, and by WITHIN THE LAW (1912), COMMON CLAY, and other successes (New International Encyclopedia). She was known for her interpretation of Shakespearean roles, playing Juliet, Cleopatra and Viola on Broadway. She made Broadway history by playing Juliet over 1000 consecutive performances in 1923. Cowl's affecting performances led her to be described as having a ‘voice with a tear’. Biographer Charles Higham admired Cowl's ‘marvelous bovine eyes and exquisite genteel catch in the voice ....’
In 1930 Cowl appeared with a young Katharine Hepburn in the Broadway production of Benn W. Levy's play ART AND MRS. BOTTLE, and in 1934 she created the role of Lael Wyngate in S. N. Behrman's RAIN FROM HEAVEN opposite actor John Halliday. Noting the challenges posed by Behrman's heightened dialogue, critic Gilbert Gabriel noted approvingly that their scenes together were ‘models of aristocratic parlando’. She also starred in Noël Coward's EASY VIRTUE.
Cowl was the lead in two silent films, THE GARDEN OF LIES (1915) and THE SPREADING DAWN (1917). Then, after nearly 30 years away from films, she returned for several supporting roles in the 1940s. Her final film was PAYMENT ON DEMAND (1951) with Bette Davis.”