Howard Erskine had hardly reached maturity when it
became apparent to his family, his friends and his fellow
students at Williams College that the young man's primary
interest was the theatre with a capital T. As soon as he
had won his diploma he started commuting to New York
from the parental home in Bronxville and like all ambitious
thespians did the proverbial knocking on managers' doors.
With far-seeing wisdom he chose summer stock as a base
for his theatrical training, acting thoughout the East, in
Bermuda and eventually in California. After performing in
one Hollywood film called "Seminole," he returned to New
York, where he found employment in several major video
dramas. In 1953 Mr. Erskine entered the managerial ranks
of the theatre as associate producer of a comedy called
"Late Love" which boasted Arlene Francis, Neil Hamilton
and Lucile Watson in leading roles. A friend associated
with Random House gave him the galley proofs of a new
novel called "The Desperate Hours." He read it, entranced,
at one sitting, and decided it was material for a great play.
The next day, he flew to Florida where author Joseph
Hayes was vacationing and convinced the latter he should
adapt it for the stage and that they should present it jointly
on Broadway. The rest is stage history. Less than a month
after its gala premiere Howard Erskine, now acclaimed as
the youngest Broadway producer of a smash hit, married
lovely actress Lou Prentis and sailed with his bride to
London. "The Desperate Hours" is having its second
presentation in the British capitol, and with this event, Mr.
Erskine achieves another long-held ambition, for he
serves there not only as a producer but also as the
director of the British production.