Partner Avery Hopwood

Queer Places:
Columbia University, 116th St & Broadway, New York, NY 10027

John Floyd (1900-1962) was an American playwright. Avery Hopwood was an American playwright of the Jazz Age. He had four plays running simultaneously on Broadway in 1920. First introduced to the homosexual scene by Carl Van Vechten in the early 1910s, he had an ongoing, tempestuous, and often physically abusive (to Hopwood) relationship with a young playwright, John Floyd. Thirteen years his junior, Floyd's passport application indicates that he had known Hopwood from an early age when both lived in Cleveland. Floyd eventually had one successful play on Broadway, The Wooden Kimono (1926), no doubt due to Hopwood's guidance.

The Wooden Kimono opened on December 27, 1926, at the Martin Beck Theatre. The New York Times maintained that "it kept the audience in alternate gasps of horror and gales of laughter. it bears all the marks of a successful mystery play, comparable to 'Seven Keys to the Baldpate and 'The Bat.'"' The New York Herald Tribune stated, "The auditorium echoed with delighted shrieks of fear from the audience and nervous titters were heard even when the lights were up." The New York American chirped, 'There are detectives, lovers, sheriffs, murderers—indeed, The Wooden Kimono is so packed with excitement that you may wonder why it doesn't explode. But, bless you, that's just what it does!"

Wooden Kimono ran for 201 performances. John Floyd was twenty-five years old at the time. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father was postmaster for many years. By the time Floyd had graduated from Lakewood High School, he knew what he wanted. He became involved in a Cleveland stock company, the Prospect Players, and played juvenile roles as well as character parts with made-up beards. He went to New York and enrolled at Columbia University, taking courses in playwriting. His melodrama Wooden Kimono was rejected by many theatre managers and he was packing to try his luck in Hollywood when a message came from producer Jacques Froehlich, followed by an advance royalty.

Floyd's only other contribution to Broadway did not fare as well. Queer People, which he adapted from a novel by Carroll and Garrett Graham, is a satire about Hollywood nepotism, back stabbings, double crossings, and the casting couch. The plot revolves around a boozing press agent who takes the blame for a murder committed by a starlet-client. Queer People opened at the National Theatre on February 15, 1934, and closed after only thirteen performances. A comedy titled Mrs. Cook's Tour, depicting warring relatives who will do anything for the inheritance of $1 million, tried out in the provinces with Mary Boland in the title role, but it never made it to New York.


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