A Novel of the Fifties, When Hollywood Stars Brightened Straw-Hat Playhouses
by Eugene Brown
Masks of Summer may have a small historical significance in the annals of American summer theatre. For a very short time, roughly 1950-55, a phenomenon known as "The Hollywood Star Package" the so-called "straw-hat circuit" in the largest and best-known playhouses across some half-dozen states, notably New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The stars in the packages, motion picture actors and actresses beyond their zeniths, nevertheless were household names to movie fans coast to coast.
Eugene Brown, a native of Brooklyn, New York, graduated from New York University in 1948 after serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He received an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in 1949. After a short stint as an Archie Comic Book writer, he worked as a publicity writer for the Music Corporation and thereafter worked in the public relations field until 1997. For the past 25 years he has lived in Otis, Massachusetts.