Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: The derisive title of one of George Bernard Shaw's plays was changed after it wreaked havoc on theater attendance.
Origins: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was one of the most fascinating intellectual figures of both the 19th and the
Perhaps the lowest point of Shaw's remarkable career was the World
Shaw's sardonic wit was not restricted to the text of the play, however. The drama, Shaw's first new work in several years, was eagerly anticipated by a London theatre-going crowd finally freed from the
The Savoy re-launched the play under the title Heartbreak House, and it has been known by that name ever since. Shaw himself professed innocence, of course, but there was little doubt that the results of his unfortunate choice of title were exactly what he had planned. As always, G.B. had the last laugh. (Fortunately, his play Quarantine remained unfinished at his death and was never produced.)
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