A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“There was a fight at the fish and chip shop. The fish got battered” (12/21)
“If you’re white, it’s all right” (12/21)
“Courtesy Counts: Manners Make a Better Ride” (bus and subway slogan) (12/21)
Manspreading (12/20)
“I can’t breathe” (anti-police brutality slogan) (12/20)
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Entry from August 24, 2014
“One of my chief regrets is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me act”

John Barrymore (1882-1942) was an American actor of stage and screen. The following barrymore comment was cited in print in 1938 about his many years in the theatre:

“One of my chief regrets during my years in the theatre is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me act.”

Many theatrical performances are now recorded on video, but the line is still popular in the acting community.


Wikipedia: John Barrymore
John Sidney Blyth (February 15, 1882 – May 29, 1942), known as John Barrymore, was an American actor of stage, screen and radio. He first gained attention as a handsome stage actor in light comedy, then high drama and culminating in his portrayals in Shakespearean plays Hamlet and Richard III. His success continued with motion pictures in various genres in both the silent and sound eras. Barrymore’s personal life has been the subject of much writing before and since his death in 1942. The most prominent member of a multi-generation theatrical dynasty, he was the brother of Lionel and Ethel, and was the paternal grandfather of actress Drew Barrymore.

31 Decemer 1938, The Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica), “Comment,” pg. 12, col. 7:
John Barrymore: “One of my chief regrets during my years in the theatre is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me act.”

Google Books
Scribner’s Commentator
Volume 8, Issue 5
1940
Pg. 51:
“One of my chief regrets during my years in the theater is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me act.” — John Barrymore.

4 June 1942, Evening World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 25, col. 7:
John Barrymore once said in a radio broadcast: “My chief regret during my years in the theater is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me act.”

Google Books
Modern Grammar at Work
By Bertha M. Watts
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
1944
Pg. 157:
One of my chief regrets during my years in the theater is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me act.—John Barrymore

Google Books
The American Treasury, 1455-1955
By Clifton Fadiman
New York, NY: Harper
1955
Pg. 225:
One of my chief regrets during my years in the theater is that I couldn’t sit in the audience and watch me.
JOHN BARRYMORE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theater • Sunday, August 24, 2014 • Permalink