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Lost, then found: Rare J.M. Barrie play published this week

As mysteries go, "The Reconstruction of the Crime" is especially light, a stage farce billed as one "Sensational Scene" in which a man identified only as "The Victim" asks the audience to help find the culprit.

J.M. Barrie, the co-creator, was known for playing to the crowd.

Published this week in The Strand Magazine, a quarterly that has unearthed obscure works by John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many others, "The Reconstruction of the Crime" is a collaboration between Barrie and his friend and fellow man of letters E.V. Lucas, believed written during World War I and rarely seen since. The manuscript is part of the Harry Ransom Center archive at the University of Texas at Austin.

"It's very much a subtle and sly comedy and that's what Barrie really excelled at," Strand managing editor Andrew Gulli told The Associated Press. "Also, there is audience participation which echoes back to 'Peter Pan.' Who can forget that Peter asks the audience if they believe in miracles?"

The play's setting is a hotel room and the characters besides the Victim are "an asthmatic husband, a devoted wife and a doctor." The "weapon" is a mustard plaster, given to a man, the Victim, who doesn't need it. "The Reconstruction of the Crime" begins with the Victim poking his head through the curtains and asking for quiet.

"Please don't applaud," he says. "Of course I like it; we all like it. But not just now. This is much too serious. The fact is I want to take you into my confidence: to ask your assistance. A horrible crime has been committed. An outrage almost beyond description has been perpetrated upon an inoffensive gentleman staying in a country hotel, and the guilty person has to be found."

The Scottish-born Barrie was a journalist and popular novelist before turning to theater in the 1890s, his greatest success coming in 1904 with the premiere in London of "Peter Pan." He wrote or co-wrote dozens of books and plays and had a fondness for spoofs, parodying the works of Henrik Ibsen in "Ibsen's Ghost" and Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" in "The Ladies' Shakespeare." Besides "The Reconstruction of the Crime," he wrote a separate play with a similar title, "Reconstructing the Crime. A Strange Play in Seven Scenes."

Anne Hiebert Alton, a professor of English at Central Michigan University who has worked on a scholarly edition of "Peter Pan," said that Barrie was friendly with "Sherlock Holmes" creator Arthur Conan Doyle and that "Reconstruction of the Crime" reads like a send-up of his work.

"It has some of the same flavor of Doyle's work and some things in common with Victorian drama," she said. "And the play seems very polished. It doesn't seem like something he and Lucas just threw together."

Gulli notes that "The Reconstruction of the Crime" has a bumbling tone that might have served for an episode of "Fawlty Towers." When the Victim believes himself in mortal danger, he phones the front desk in a tone of panic and officiousness John Cleese became known for.

"Is this the office? I'm dying. Who is it? Number 53. He's dying. I'm dying. Number 53 is dying," the Victim cries. "Is there a doctor anywhere near? What? One staying in this hotel? Thank God! Send him to me at once. And a lawyer. I want a lawyer. There isn't one? What a rotten hotel. I want to make my will. I'm dying, I say. Number 53's dying."



Sarah Silverman's show asks divided US to give love a chance

Sarah Silverman is out to show that Americans can bridge their deep differences.

But the comedian is as eager to make people laugh as to encourage them to see what they have in common.

Speaking to a TV critics' meeting Thursday, Silverman said that's the goal for her fall Hulu series, "I Love You, America."

Silverman said the show is intended to be the opposite of an echo chamber, instead making connections with what she called "unlike-minded people."

The show is intended to be smart and moving, but also silly and "aggressively dumb," Silverman said, calling that her favorite kind of comedy.

White House aide's tirade tests editors and producers

A presidential aide's explosion of profanity while talking to a reporter about his new White House colleagues tested newsroom leaders Thursday, forcing decisions about whether to use the graphic language or leave much of what he said to the imagination of readers and viewers.

Anthony Scaramucci, the incoming White House communications director, aimed his tirade at chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. An account of his conversation late Wednesday with Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker was published in graphic detail Thursday afternoon on the magazine's website, complete with expletives and anatomical references.

Scaramucci used the language in suggesting to Lizza that Priebus had leaked information about him, and that Bannon was more interested in advancing his own agenda than President Donald Trump's.

Following The New Yorker's lead, The New York Times printed all of Scaramucci's words. Times editors, including executive editor Dean Baquet, first discussed whether it was appropriate to do so, Clifford Levy, the newspaper's deputy editor, said on Twitter.

Levy said the Times concluded that it was newsworthy that a top Trump aide would use such language, and its readers shouldn't have to search elsewhere to find out what Scaramucci said.

The Washington Post similarly published the expletives Scaramucci used in reference to Priebus, but avoided the very graphic descriptor of self-love he used in reference to Bannon. Post analyst Aaron Blake called Scaramucci's outburst "vulgar, vindictive and volatile."

Julie Bykowicz and Jonathan Lemire of The Associated Press wrote that Scaramucci was "exposing West Wing backstabbing in language more suitable to a mobster movie than a seat of presidential stability." The service referred to Scaramucci's description of Priebus as a "f------ paranoid schizophrenic," using the dashes instead of spelling out the word. That was the AP's only direct reference to a profanity.

The AP's rules prohibit use of obscenities, racial epithets or other offensive slurs "unless they are part of a direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them." Scaramucci's words satisfied the first part of that restriction, but editors concluded there wasn't a compelling reason to use the profanity.

Television networks, knowing they would have to say the words out loud, generally stayed away from them. Anderson Cooper, in an interview with Lizza, let him describe the reference to Bannon.

"You're going to make me read this one?" Lizza asked.

"Use your judgment," Cooper replied.

Although CNN wouldn't use the words on the air, they were printed on the network's website, along with a stern warning that an article contained graphic language. In a column dissecting the remarks, CNN's Chris Cillizza, wrote that Scaramucci's phone call to Lizza was "bananas."

TV anchors used variations of "expletive" and "bleeping" in reading the words.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow said the reference to Bannon said that he "performs an anatomically difficult but not impossible act of a kind that suggests he is more interested in serving his own self than the president."

Fox News' Laura Ingraham called it a "stunning attack" that has "gotten everybody's attention tonight."

On NBC's "Nightly News," reporter Kristen Welker said Scaramucci attacks Bannon in such vulgar terms they cannot be repeated on television."

Major Garrett quoted the phrases used to describe both Priebus and Bannon on the "CBS Evening News," substituting the word "expletive." He said Scaramucci used language "more fit for the outhouse than the White House."

'Mindy Project' final season promises clarity on key romance

The producers of "The Mindy Project" say the series' final season will provide some clarity on the main character's key romantic relationship.

Creator and star Mindy Kaling and executive producer Matt Warburton said Thursday at a TV critics' meeting that the show will illuminate the relationship between Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano (Chris Messina).

The couple's romance has continued throughout the show's past five seasons, and they have a child together.

The producers said the final season will focus on parenthood, love and careers.

Kaling said Julie Bowen will guest star on the final season as a rival mom. Warburton added that popular guest stars from throughout the series' run will return for the final season.

Working with Cosby? Tiffany Haddish says she was joking

"Girls Trip" breakout star Tiffany Haddish says she was just joking when she said she wanted to work with Bill Cosby.

Haddish told reporters Thursday that she made the remarks during a day of interviews and was trying to be funny while reflecting a fearless approach to her work.

She said it was "not the best joke" and clarified: "I don't agree with what he did or anything."

Haddish later told The Associated Press that she had done more than 20 interviews that day.

"In every interview you have to be humorous because you're considered a comedian, right? So I was trying to be humorous and maybe it was not the best joke," she said. "It was a joke. But at the end of the day, the whole point of it was to say I'm not afraid of the big bad wolf."

Haddish appeared at the Television Critics Association's summer meeting to discuss her role in Tracy Morgan's new TBS comedy, "The Last O.G." Morgan plays a man just released from prison after 15 years. Haddish plays his former girlfriend who has moved on.

The actress is on a high after receiving overwhelming accolades for her performance in "Girls Trip," but says her bank account "don't show movie star yet."

"That's the part I'm waiting on," she said. "When do that happen? They say like nine months. It's like a baby. I'm waiting for the delivery."

Luke Bryan breaks no touching rule for terminally ill fan

Country singer Luke Bryan broke his famous “no touching” rule at meet and greets for one special fan.

People reported that the rule gained attention when Bryan appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016.

>> Read more trending news

At the time, Bryan said fans got a little too handsy with his back end at shows and meet and greets before the show.

KSHB reported that before the singer’s show Friday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, Francis Stanaway, 88, was able to break the rule.

Stanaway, who is under hospice care at Crossroads Hospice, was able to coordinate a meet-and-greet with her family and event organizers before the show. 

“We’re excited for her because she used to love country so much before she went to the nursing home,” daughter-in-law Linda Sokolaski said. “She doesn't get to experience it much more.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Stanaway was able to meet and pose with the 41-year-old singer and give him a pat on the behind in the photo.

Crossroads Hospice was able to make the encounter happen through its Gift of a Day program, according to KHSB.

June Foray, voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, dead at 99

Foray died Wednesday at West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles of cardiac arrest, but she had been in fragile health since a car accident two years ago, niece Robin Thaler said Thursday.

Foray was the best-known woman among the voice performers who contributed so much to the classic cartoons of Warner Bros., Disney, Hanna-Barbera and other studios. She had a galaxy of ways to create funny but believable characters, but could also be warm and wise in Disney's "Mulan" or, in a memorable "Twilight Zone" episode, chilling.

She had over 300 credits as a voice actress, most recently doing one last turn as Rocky in a 2014 short.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Foray was a teenager when she moved with her parents to Los Angeles. She had begun performing in radio as a child in Massachusetts and, once in Hollywood, became active in major radio programs such as "The Jimmy Durante Show." She later called old-time radio a great training ground, forcing her to learn to be versatile and quick-thinking.

Among the legends she worked with were Chuck Jones and the other famed Warner's animators; Jay Ward, creator of "Rocky and Bullwinkle"; Rod Serling, creator of "The Twilight Zone"; radio and recording satirist Stan Freberg; and such cartoon voice talents as Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound) and Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Sylvester).

In his 1989 memoir, "Chuck Amuck," Jones noted "the highly talented and versatile Mel Blanc" did voices for Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety, Yosemite Sam and others, "except female voices, which were done by the equally talented June Foray."

Perhaps inevitably, Rocky — with his trademark exclamation "Hokey Smoke!" — was Foray's favorite.

"Everybody asks me that," she said in a 2000 Associated Press interview. "I think the fans kind of answer that for me. Everybody loves Rocky. I get letters from Belgium, Germany, all over. People don't think of him as a squirrel. They think of him as a person. And he's a good little person."

The diminutive Foray wore a gold Rocky pendent around her neck that she delighted in pointing out to people.

She was also fond of Rocky's pal, voiced by Bill Scott, as well. "Bullwinkle was a very sweet creature," Foray said. "He was not a stupid person. He was extremely ingenious. He was very faithful."

The original "Rocky and Bullwinkle" aired in 326 short installments as part of a series featuring other cartoon creations by Ward. The Cold War conflict pitted the moose and squirrel against the bumbling spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, to whom Foray also gave a voice.

"Rocky and His Friends" ran on ABC weekday afternoons from 1959 through 1961, and then "The Bullwinkle Show" was on NBC from 1961 to 1964, first in prime-time and later in daytime.

Besides Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel, the show featured such sequences as "Fractured Fairy Tales"; "Peabody's Improbable History"; "Aesop and Son"; and "Adventures of Dudley Do- Right."

"The shows were on two plateaus," Foray once said. "The children enjoyed it because of the humorous look of the characters and the sounds of the voices. The adults find it so inventive because of the puns, the satire. ... It was a show that was different from everything that came before it or after it."

In 1966, Foray was the voice of Cindy Lou Who in the much-revived TV holiday special "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," based on the Dr. Seuss book, directed by Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff. She worked with Jones on another classic children's story in 1973, voicing the mother in "The Cricket in Times Square."

Earlier, she worked with Freberg on his 1953 hit record, "St. George and the Dragonet," a parody of the "Dragnet" series, and teamed with Freberg again for his acclaimed historical comedy records "Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America. Vol. 1" in 1961 and "Vol. 2" in 1996, portraying a host of historical characters. She also contributed her voice talents to one of the best-known "Twilight Zone" episodes, a 1963 chiller about a talking doll that turns murderous.

"I'm Talky Tina ... and I'm going to kill you," the doll says to the hapless victim (played by Telly Savalas, later famous as "Kojak.")

For Walt Disney, her contributions included the voice of Lucifer the cat on his 1950 "Cinderella." At Warner Bros., she was the voice of Witch Hazel in several Jones films and Granny, the owner of Tweety Bird and Sylvester, in many cartoons, though Bea Benadaret (the voice of Betty Rubble on "The Flintstones") also voiced Granny in some early cartoons. For Walter Lantz she was Woody Woodpecker's nephew and niece, Knothead and Splinter.

Later generations might know her voice best as Grandmother Fa in Disney's "Mulan" from 1998.

As cartoon characters were recycled by Hollywood, Foray remained active into her 80s. She did Granny on "Tiny Toon Adventures" and reprised her Rocky role in the 2000 big-screen adaptation, "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle," a mixture of cartoon and live action starring Rene Russo and Jason Alexander. The film was poorly received, but she thought it had a good story line and "all the charm of Rocky and Bullwinkle."


Wallace reported from Dallas. Associated Press Writer Andrew Dalton and former Associated Press writer Polly Anderson contributed to this story.

Showtime sets a Donald Trump cartoon from Stephen Colbert

Showtime has elected to air a cartoon series about the Donald Trump White House.

The 10 half-hours of what Showtime calls a workplace comedy will be executive produced by Stephen Colbert for premiere this fall. No date was specified.

Showtime says the series, so far untitled, will satirically deconstruct life in the White House-hold with family members, insiders, world leaders and even rival Democrats taking part.

This animated portrayal of Trump is a popular recurring feature on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." The Showtime series will team Colbert with his "Late Show" executive producer Chris Licht. Production turnaround time will be swift, enabling current events to play a role in the show.

Rx for Dr. McDreamy: Boxing lessons this summer in Maine

Actor Patrick Dempsey is working on his boxing skills this summer in his native Maine.

Dempsey played the role of Dr. McDreamy on the ABC drama "Grey's Anatomy." He has been training in the ring since June with firefighter Jason Quirk, who's also a professional boxer.

Quirk tells the Portland Press Herald that Dempsey approached his coach at the Portland Boxing Club.

Fellow firefighters posted a picture of Quirk and Dempsey on the Munjoy Hill Fire Station Facebook page on Thursday.

Quirk won't say where they're working out or why Dempsey wants boxing lessons.

Dempsey is the creator of the Dempsey Challenge bike-run-walk fundraiser to raise money to help families affected by cancer. His most recent film was the romantic comedy "Bridget Jones's Baby."

Tracy Morgan relishes post-crash chance to be 'better man'

Tracy Morgan has a ready answer when asked about getting a second chance after his near-fatal crash three years ago.

"Thank God. That's all I've gotta say," Morgan told a TV critics' meeting Thursday, where he was promoting his new TBS comedy "The Last O.G."

In 2014, the former "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live" star suffered severe head trauma when a truck slammed into the back of the limo van he was riding in. Comedian James McNair, his friend and collaborator, was killed.

Morgan said his brush with death had a profound effect on him. That includes the kind of sitcom he's doing. In "The Last O.G.," Morgan plays an ex-con, Tray, who finds the life and the Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood he left behind is gone.

Morgan has surrounded himself with a strong cast, including "Girls Trip" breakout star Tiffany Haddish and Cedric the Entertainer. Why didn't he just go with a "Tracy Morgan Show" that gave him all the laughs?

"Maybe I'm just a better man since the accident. Maybe I'm just a better man," he said. "It ain't about me. It's bigger than me."

He indicated the physical effects of the crash may not be entirely in the past, saying people around him on set makes sure he takes regular breaks during the workday.

"The Last O.G." co-stars Haddish as Tray's ex-girlfriend, Shay, the mother of twins he didn't know he had. In the 15 years he was imprisoned, Shay moved on, marrying a successful man (Ryan Gaul) who is helping raise the children.

Gaul's character is white, and Morgan said the sitcom is deliberately inclusive.

New York is home to more than black people, and all lives matter, he said.

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