Higher and Higher opened at the Shubert
in New York on Thursday, April 4, 1940. Backstage Josh Logan sensed
the audience's reaction was less than enthusiastic, although everyone
seemed to love the performing seal. After the show, as the audience
crowded the center aisle to leave, there was a small but perfect silence.
Then into that silence, Logan said, an enthusiastic voice rang out.
"Darleeng, zat was zee muss vonderful fuck in zee world!" Many
people turned to see who was talking. It was the young French wife of
an American lawyer. She was using the French word for "seal"
which is "phoque". Her husband tried to keep her quiet, but she
protested, "I deed not say zee show was good-I shuzz say zee fuck
was good-zee fuck, only zee fuck, and oh, how I loved zat fuck"
By this time the whole aisle was laughing. I stood in my box saying
to myself, "At last, a funny scene but it's not onstage" Next
morning the notices were as gruesome as I knew they would be. The show
ran as long as the advance sale lasted, a few months.