M: X-Men Classic #77 (November 1992), art by Adam Hughes
R: Rogue #9 (May 2005), art by Scott Eaton and Dan Hillsman
(Click picture to honey-and-magnolia-size)
'I say, you aren't shirty because I spoke to you?'It's love at first sight for Barmy. (Takes a few more glances later on from Dinty for her to feel the same twinge of Cupid's burning panatella). As often happens in these cases, the two part without exchanging license information, so Barmy hasn't a clue where to find the girl of his dreams again or even what her name is. Dinty heads off to her job as secretary for blustering Broadway producer Joe Lehman, who cries for Dinty when she returns:
'A little displeased.'
'Oh, my aunt. I'm frightfully sorry. I wouldn't have done it, but a rather serious situation has arisen and I thought I ought to clarify it.'
Barmy marshaled his thoughts, as well as his emotion would let him.
'Well, it's this wayI'm staying at a hotel round the corner'
'Good. It makes me very happy to know that. Yes? You were saying?'
'Well, I was coming out for a stroll, and I bought a cigar at the hotel counter'
'Fine. Proceed. When do we get the big situation?'
'I'm just coming to it. You see, I was smoking this cigar, and I chucked it away with a careless gesture'
'Like the fellow who shot the arrow into the air. Did you ever meet him? It feel to earth, he knew not where.'
'It did, eh? Yes, one can see how that might be so. But between that arrow and my cigar there is a substantial difference, because my cigar didn't fall to earth, not by a jugful. It fell on your hat.'
He had arrested her attention. His story had gripped her.
'That's right. And I have a growing suspicion that it's on fire.'
'You mean that at any moment I may be going up in flames?'
'I wouldn't be surprised.'
'Why couldn't you have told me that at once?'
'I was sort of leading up to it.'
'You needn't have tried to break it gently. Girls like to know these things. Have a look,' said Dinty, bending down.
Barmy removed the cigar, flung it aside, hit a passing pedestrian, said 'Oh, sorry' and issued his bulletin.
'Well, you seem to have stopped smouldering'
'Hey, you!'Wow. How could you not fall in love with a sassy girl like that?
'Where you been?'
'You've taken your time about it. And don't call me Admiral. Think I pay you to sit and stuff all day?'
'You don't pay me at all. You owe me two weeks' salary. And listen,' said Dinty, feeling that this sort of thing must be checked at the outset. 'The contract calls for an hour for the midday repast, and an hour's what I've had, no more, no less. So lay off, Simon Legree, and drop that cowhide whip. Don't you know that Lincoln has freed us slaves? Don't you ever read the papers?'
Barmy blinked. The story, as outlined, seemed to him to lack dramatic complications. A bit on the short side, too. Raise the curtain at eight-forty, Eastern Standard time, and it would fall, he estimated, at about eight-fifty-three.Neither have we, because as you might have all been expecting, the scene of Barmy in Wonderland soon changes from bustling Manhattan to opening road show preview night in...can you guess? Syracuse, New York. Now, I'm too young a little bull to remember the great days of Syracuse's importance on the Broadway theatrical trial circuit, but Wodehouse certainly knew it or at least of it: he'd been on the road with companies performing his own plays in preview in upstate New York. We do know Wodehouse was in Schenectady, at least, for the road previews of Oh, Boy!, which also played Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo in the great Golden Age of stage shows along the former Erie Canal. Most of what could be called "Act II" of Barmy takes place in his room (#726) at the (fictional) Syracuse hotel the Mayflower following opening preview night, which has been a disaster all around after Mervyn Potter refused to appear owing to a broken heart at a failed love affair. Now, Wodehouse doesn't tell us what the name of the Syracuse theater Sacrifice played at, and I'm sure there were many of them, but for no particular reason at all I like to imagine it ran at what was then the Loew's State on South Salina Street, built in 1928 (barely a year before the stock market crash) and, in words from the history of the Loew's State on the official website:
'Is that the end of the play?' he asked.
'End of the play? Wait!' said Mr Lehman. 'You ain't heard nothin' yet.'
Audiences were ushered into Lamb's exotic world through the main lobby, which boasted a chandelier designed by Louis Tiffany for Cornelius Vanderbilt's mansion, and the grandest of the theatre's several huge murals. The Musician's Gallery, located over the front doors, featured quartet serenades as intermission entertainment during the '30s. Patrons who ascended the grand staircase reached the promenade lobby, where they delighted in finding a fishpond with a Japanese pagoda fountain. The main auditorium, which houses 1,832 of the theatre's 3,300 seats, was decorated in rich reds and golds and accented with wall ornaments throughout. The 1,400-pipe Wurlitzer organ offered its own exotic flavor, treating patrons to such sounds as a glockenspiel, marimba, bird whistles, hoof beats and surf sounds.Now, if that don't sound like a place that Wodehouse woulda liked, I don't know what is.