Horse Eats Hat

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Horse Eats Hat
Horse Eats Hat by Edwin Denby after Eugène Labiche.jpg
Written by Orson Welles
Edwin Denby
Based on the play
An Italian Straw Hat
by Eugene Labiche and Marc-Michel
Date premiered September 26, 1936
Place premiered Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York City
Original language English
Genre Farce

Horse Eats Hat is a 1936 farce play co-written and directed by the 21-year-old Orson Welles, and presented under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. It was Welles's second WPA production, after his highly successful Voodoo Macbeth.

The script by Welles and Edwin Denby was an adaptation of the classic French farce An Italian Straw Hat by Eugène Marin Labiche and Marc-Michel.

Starring Joseph Cotten, a mainstay of what would become known as the Mercury Theatre, the play premiered at the Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York City, on September 26, 1936, running until December 5, 1936.

Welles spoke to filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich about the production:

The farce Horse Eats Hat was the best of the Mercury shows — and, though successful, it divided the town. The press was mixed, yet it was always packed, and had an enormous following. Some people went to it every week as long as it ran."[1]


  • Freddy … Joseph Cotten[2]:182
  • Mugglethorpe … Orson Welles, Edgerton Paul[2]:182
  • Horse … Carol King and Edwin Denby[3]:34
  • Entwhistle … George Duthie[2]:182
  • Uncle Adolphe … Donald MacMillian[2]:182
  • Queeper … Dana Stevens[2]:182
  • Bobbin … Hiram Sherman[2]:182
  • Grimshot, Lieutenant of Cavalry … Sidney Smith[3]:34
  • Joseph … Harry McKee[2]:182
  • Gustave … France Bendtsen[2]:182
  • Augustus … Bil Baird[2]:182
  • Myrtle Mugglethorpe … Virginia Welles[2]:182
  • Agatha Entwhistle … Paula Laurence[2]:182
  • Tillie … Arlene Francis[2]:182
  • The Countess … Sarah Burton[2]:182
  • Daisy … Henriette Kaye[2]:182
  • Clotilda … Lucy Rodriguez[2]:183
  • Corporal … Bernard Savage[2]:183
  • Butler … Walter Burton[2]:183
  • First Footman … Steven Carter[2]:183
  • Second Footman … J. Headley[2]:183
  • Raguso … Enrico Cellini[2]:183
  • Berkowitz … George Barter[2]:183

Wedding Guests — Ellen Worth, Arabella St. James, Marie Jones, Hattie Rappaport, Anna Gold, Myron Paulson, Wallace Acton, Pell Dentler, George Leach, Bil Baird[2]:183

Tillie's Girls — Peggy Hartley, Terry Carlson, Lee Molnar, Gloria Sheldon, Teresa Alvarez, Opal Essant, June Thorne, Mildred Cold, Geraldine Law[2]:183

Countess's Guests — Georgia Empry, Solomon Goldstein, May Angela, Lawrence Hawley, Margaret Maley, Jack Smith, Mary Kukavski, Elizabeth Malone, Ann Morton, Helena Rapport, Helen Korsun, Nina Salama, Julie Fassett, Jane Hale, Jane Johnson, Michael Callaghan, Don Harward, Walter LeRoy, Harry Merchant, Warren Goddard<[2]:183:34

Citizens Night Patrol — Arthur Wood, James Perry, Victor Wright, Robert Hopkins, Craig Gordon, Harry Singer, Frank Kelly, Bernard Lewis, Henry Russelle, Charles Uday, George Smithfield, Henry Laird, Edwin Hemmer, George Armstrong, Jerry Hitchcock, Tod Brown[2]:183


  1. Welles, Orson, and Peter Bogdanovich, This is Orson Welles. New York: HarperCollins Publishers 1992 ISBN 0-06-016616-9 page 334
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 France, Richard, The Theatre of Orson Welles. Cranbury, New Jersey: Associated University Presses, Inc. 1977 ISBN 0-8387-1972-4
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wood, Bret, Orson Welles: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1990 ISBN 0-313-26538-0

External links