The Players' Bar: Friday November 22, 1963


By JAMES NELSON

Harry Gilbert walked in and said, “I heard on the radio that the President has been shot.”

Drew Amend and Eddie Bender moved the television set to the window sill above the bar. The bulletins were uncertain: “Was he mortally wounded; was he already dead?” So went Walter Cronkite’s speculation as he filled, waiting for facts from Dallas.

No drinks were ordered. Lunch was forgotten. The pool balls lay scattered.

The bar was a stage set with company frozen — Dennis King, Don Seawell, Paul Hollister, Jack Shuttleworth, Henry Carlton, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Bill Plante, others.

The Players had come to a stop, as it did when Mr. Booth died upstairs.

At 2:38 P.M. the television spoke with certainty: John F. Kennedy is dead.

“Whom the gods love, die young.”

He had been a friend of the theatre, of art, of music. His intellectual breadth was that of the charter Edwin Booth wrote for this place.

John F. Kennedy was the fourth assassinated President. The first President assassinated was deeply mourned by our fathers…at a time when this Club’s founder was alone in his personal sorrow, and without fellow members.


James Nelson joined The Players in 1947. Copyright 1968 by The Players, New York. Faithfully reproduced from The Players After 75 Years, edited by George Woodbridge Stewart, whose Editor’s Note reads in part: “…we defy any one to reveal the full nature of our Club. At best we can barely suggest the warmth and humor and disarming and refreshing nature of our association. The nuances, the chuckles, and for that matter the passing tears are the texture of our living membership.”