Seven Keys to Baldpate (play)

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Seven Keys to Baldpate
Written by George M. Cohan
Date premiered 22 September 1913
Place premiered Astor Theatre, New York
Original language English
Genre comedy mystery
Setting Office of Baldpate Inn.

Seven Keys to Baldpate is a 1913 play by George M. Cohan based on a novel by Earl Derr Biggers.


Novelist Billy McGee makes a bet that he can write a 10,000 word story within 24 hours. He retires to a summer mountain resort in the dead of winter and locks himself in, believing he has the sole key. However he is visited during the night by a variety of other people, including a girl reporter and a gang of criminals.

Original novel[edit]

Seven Keys to Baldpate
Author Earl Derr Biggers,
Country US
Language English
Publication date

The play was based on a popular novel by Earl Derr Biggers.


The play premiered on Broadway on September 22, 1913 and ran for 320 performances. The New York Times drama critic called it "melodrama of the good old fashioned sort".[1]

Cohan and his daughter were severely injured in a car crashing during rehearsal of the original production.[2]

Although a 1935 revival, starring Cohan in the lead, was less successful[3] it remains Cohan's most popular play.[4]


The play was filmed several times, with versions appearing in 1916 (from Australia), 1917 (starring Cohan himself), 1925 (with Douglas MacLean), 1929 (with Richard Dix), 1935 (with Gene Raymond), 1947 (with Phillip Terry), and 1983 (as House of the Long Shadows). Television adaptations appeared in 1946 and 1961.

The play was also adapted for radio in 1938 (for Lux Radio Theatre with Jack Benny) and 1946 (for Theatre Guild on the Air with Walter Pidgeon).


  1. ^ COHAN'S NEW PLAY LIVELY MELODRAMA: His Dramatization of "Seven Keys to Baldpate" Is Full of Startling Incidents. PLENTY OF COMEDY, TOO Wallace Eddinger, the Novelist, Who Writes on a $5,000 Wager and Holds "Only Key" to the Inn. New York Times (1857-1922) [New York, N.Y] 23 Sep 1913: 11.
  2. ^ GEORGE COHAN HURT IN AUTO SMASH-UP: Daughter Seriously Injured and Wallace Eddinger and Francis Hope Also Hurt. GEORGE COHAN HURT IN AUTO SMASH-UP Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1857-1922) [New York, N.Y] 05 Sep 1913: 1.
  3. ^ 1935 production listing at IBDB
  4. ^ Article on the initial production of Seven Keys to Baldpate

External links[edit]