Ferenc Molnár

(1878–1952)

Ferenc Molnár

Anecdote 1...

Molnár and a friend had been given complimentary tickets for a particularly uninspiring play. After the opening scene, Molnár decided to leave. “You can’t walk out,” hissed his friend. “We’re guests of the management.” Molnár reluctantly returned to his seat and sat through a few more lines of dialogue. Then he stood up again. “Now where are you going?” asked his friend impatiently “To the box office,” replied Molnár, “to buy two tickets so we can leave.”

Anecdote 2...

Molnár was a late riser, never emerging until 1:00 p.m. On one occasion in Budapest, called as a witness in a lawsuit, he had to present himself at court by 9:00 a.m. The combined efforts of his servants got him out of bed and dressed, and they propelled him out of the house at 8:30 into the rush-hour crowd. Molnár looked in amazement at the hurrying workers and exclaimed, “Good heavens, are all these people witnesses in this fool case?”

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Anecdote 3...

Ferenc Molnar

While Molnár was living in a hotel in Vienna during the 1920s, a large contingent of his relatives came to see him in the hope of sharing some of the fruits of the playwright’s fabulous success. They were prepared for a hostile reception, but to their surprise Molnár greeted them kindly, even insisting that they all sit for a group portrait to mark the occasion. When the print was ready, Molnár presented it to the hotel doorman. “And whenever you see any of the persons in the picture trying to get into the hotel, don’t let them in.”

Anecdote 4...

An old friend of the Molnár’s listened in amazement as the couple argued violently over some trivial matter. Both were too busy shouting to hear what the other was saying. “Is this the way you always argue?” asked the friend, when the storm began to show signs of abating. “Of course,” replied Molnár, “it saves time. Now that we’ve both unburdened ourselves we can enjoy some delicious silences.”

Anecdote 5...

Another friend of Molnár’s once arrived just as the playwright was going to bed. He watched, fascinated, as Molnár took off his slippers and carefully placed them toe to toe beside the bed. “What’s the idea of that?” asked the visitor. “Well, you see,” explained Molnár, “if you put them side by side, both staring straight ahead, they look like a married couple who have just had words. It depresses me. But see how friendly they look nose to nose. They cheer me up and I sleep better.”

Biographical Note: 

Ferenc Molnár was a Hungarian playwright and novelist. He gained international success with such plays as “Liliom” (1909) and “The Red Mill” (1923), and also wrote novels and short stories.