JOHN HOWARD LAWSON
I wonder how many people in the
Mastic Beach area in the '50's tuned into say the Million Dollar
Movie on WOR channel 9 or Picture For A Sunday Afternoon on CBS
on 2 or The DUMONT Network on 5 and caught a Humphrey Bogart ,
Hedy Lamarr, Charles Boyer , Jackie Cooper or Susan Hayward flick
and realized that the screenwriter of that movie once lived in
their town during the era those films were produced? I would think
very few including my father who helped TV Repairman Paul Fueling
install many antennas on Mastic Beach rooftops.
TV Listing For NYC metropolitan
area July 11, 1956
Or better yet
how many Mastic Beach summer residents
in the '30's & '40's may of driven west to Patchogue to catch
a first run of say "Sahara" at The Rialto or "Algiers"
at the Granada or east to the Centre Moriches Theatre to see Wally
Beery sail away as Long John Silver to "Treasure Island"
while the man who put words in Wally's mouth may of been sailing
over Pattersquash Island?
The first time I ever heard the name
Lawson Estate was from Mrs. Estelle Schulz. Estelle's father,
Bill Parr as web site readers should know by now, was the chief
auto and marine engine mechanic for all the estate owners back
then. He made house calls and little Estelle often went along
with him, so she got to know who was living where back then. I
was asking her about the Clune Family as I thought they might
of been taking care of the Knapp estate in the 1920s and very
early 30's prior to The Schluders. She told me No ... that the
Clunes worked for The Lawson Estate...which now makes perfect
sense as I have since found out that they also worked for both
the Roberts and the Laniers prior to that on Doctors Point.....
nothing like staying on the ranch. I've been told that it's a
Clune resting under the tree in the 3 kids & 5 corners photo
taken circa 1912. So now I had another name of another estate
owner to look into and unlike the ultra private Knapps, who so
few ever even heard of, John Howard Lawson's life was literally
an open book, play and movie both during his life time from 1894
- 1976 and continues far beyond into the 21st Century with recent
movies that have made references to him and about him.
According to the deed I have of when they sold
it, John and Susan Lawson purchased the now Richard Floyd / Dr.
Robert and Robert Family et al / John L. Lawrence ?/ Henry &
Josephine Lanier / Sydney Raphael / Ludwig Freudenthal / estate
in August of 1930 from one Ludwig B. Freudenthal . Ludwig who
did a whole lot of horse trading with the Smadbecks on property
all over New York, was a real estate speculator as I believe Sydney
Raphael was. (Sid conveyed the joint Lud). Between Raphael &
Fruedenthal both of them only owned it for less than three years
In the 1920's & early 30's John Howard
Lawson lived in New York City where he was working as a playwright.
In 1933 he moved to Hollywood and was one of the founding members
of The Screenwriters Guild. He still continued to vacation and
retreat to Mastic.
greatly enlarged from a 1937 photo
of the manor house that
appears here, that is most likely John Howard Lawson (arrow)
walking out his front door with his
guests in Mastic Beach.
CLICK HERE TO READ A LETTER HE WROTE
TO THE NY TIMES FROM THE ESTATE IN 1935
Poster from 1936..... 25 - 83 cents
for a seat off Broadway
Born September 25, 1894, Lawson graduated
from Williams college and was an ambulance driver in WWI along
with Ernest Hemingway and poet / playwright e.e. cummings. His
plays began to appear in New York in the early '20's. He also
became a civil rights activist participating in demonstrations
at the Sacco -Vanzetti trial in Massachusetts during that time
and writing articles condemning the State of Alabama and The White
Legion, a Ku Klux Klan group in connection with the Scottsboro
Boys. He was arrested in both states.
IN 1939 HE WAS NOMINATED FOR AN ACADEMY
FOR HIS SCREENPLAY "BLOCKADE" A FILM THAT STARRED HENRY
ABOUT THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
HERE IS HIS 1942-43 LISTING FROM THE
MASTIC BEACH DIRECTORY
NOVEMBER 11, 1943
CLICK HERE FOR FULL PAGE AD FOR "SAHARA"
"See 'Swinging' Lawrence Welk In Person"
LAWSON HAD TWO SCREENPLAYS ON THIS NY TIMES LIST
Click Here To Read The Article
Things seemed to go very well for the
Lawsons during the years they spent in Mastic Beach.
But soon after the close of WWII something
happened that would change their lives forever.