By Bill Higgins: Karel Capek’s play R.U.R. — which gave the English language the word “robot”– was a hit in Prague in 1921, and came to the U.S. soon afterward, with a Broadway production in 1922.
Among the New York Public Library Digital Collections I found photos of a later traveling production of R.U.R. by the Theatre Guild Tour Company. They’re dated 1928 to 1929. They’re part of the collection “Vandamm Theatrical Photographs, 1900-1957”.
One actor whose name I recognized in a small part: Sydney Greenstreet, whose later Hollywood career included appearances in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. (He turns up at the right-hand edge of this image.
If you’re curious what sets, costumes, and actors looked like in a 1920s version of Capek’s famous play, take a look.
There’s probably all kinds of SF-related stuff in the NYPL’s collection of public-domain images.
“One actor whose name I recognized in a small part:” and Henry Travers (on the extreme left) played Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, Mr. Bogardus in “The Bells of St. Mary’s”, and the riverboat captain in “The Naughty Nineties” with Abbott and Costello.
In 1933 Travers also appeared in Universal’s Invisible Man. Sylvia Field many years later was Mrs . Wilson on Dennis the Menace.