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It Pays to Advertise

A Farcical Fact in Three Acts

by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter Hackett


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An American Classic

It Pays to Advertise opened on Broadway in 1914 at the Cohan Theatre and ran for nearly a year.

It opened in London in 1924 and ran for a year and a half.

In 1919, a silent film was based on it. And in 1931, a talking film starring Carole Lombard was based on it. There was also a French film (1932) and a Swedish film (1936) based on it.

It was revived on the stage in 2009, and one critic said about this production:

Not only is this piece ... delightfully clever and funny and startlingly up-to-date; it also feels to me like the forerunner of a couple of authentically American comic genres, namely the screwball comedy and the fast-talking sophisticated smart comedies that flowed from the pens of the likes of Kaufman & Hart and Hecht & MacArthur. ... a classic American play that deserves a much more prominent spot within the canon than it apparently has.
—Martin Denton,

It is also an early satire of American advertising, and the authors state that all the statistics in it were true at the time of the play and emphasize it by including the word “fact” in the subtitle. It is a serious look at American society of a century ago, as well as being a hilarious farce.