Air Conditioning Pulls April Fool Trick during first play at Robinson Center in 1940

On Monday, April 1, 1940, Edward Everett Horton came to Little Rock in the comedy SPRINGTIME FOR HENRY.  This was a play in which he had appeared regularly on tours and in summer stock. He would create productions of it in between film roles from the 1930s to the 1950s.

The play concerned a industrial heir whose dalliances put his family’s business in jeopardy.  It was a boulevard comedy (or a sex comedy—without the sex).  Originally performed on Broadway in 1931, it was written by Benn W. Levy.  He would later serve as a member of Parliament.

By the time Horton arrived in Little Rock, he was an accomplished stage and screen actor.  He was a staple of many Astaire-Rogers films.

The performance at Robinson did not go off without a hitch.  Because it was Springtime for Little Rock, it was warmer outside.  This necessitated the air conditioner being turned on.   The fans rumbling through the vents made such a noise that it was difficult for the audience to hear the actors.  The air cooler was turned off for the remainder of the performance.  In the days after the performance, the Auditorium staff put buffering in the vents in the muffle the noise.