John Hay Beith

John Hay Beith

Major John Hay Beith, CBE (Ian Hay) (April 17, 1876 - September 22, 1952) from Edinburgh, Scotland was a soldier, novelist, and playwright. He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh and St. Johns College, Cambridge.

Beith joined Durham School in 1902 as junior science master, and also coached the rugby and boating crews. Durham featured in his "The Housemaster" (1936).

Hay later taught at Fettes, spending much of his leisure time in writing. His light novels combined humour and shrewd observation, with an English tolerance of eccentricity and suited the taste of the age (he collaborated with P.G.Wodehouse)

He was a second-lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was in France in April of 1915 and was one of the first 100,000 of Kitchener's Army. He was awarded the Military Cross. He was Director of Public Relations at the War Office (1938-1941).

His work was well known for its wit; often quoted is this line from his play, "Housemaster": "What do you mean, funny? Funny-peculiar or funny ha-ha?" From the same play, two characteristic Hay lines, from masters' reports on their pupils:

*‘He can translate English into a Greek not spoken in Greece, and Greek into an English not spoken anywhere, with equal facility’
*‘Despite his natural levity he habitually gravitates towards the bottom.’

"The First Hundred Thousand" (1916) is his best-known work, and is marked by the same sharp sense of humor as his other work: "War is hell, and all that, but it has a good deal to recommend it. It wipes out all the small nuisances of peace-time."

"All In It K(1) Carries On: A Continuation of the First Hundred Thousand" (1917) and "Carrying On" (1917) were also popular books of his. Other works include "Tilly of Bloomsbury" 1919, "The Right Stuff", "A Man's Man", "A Safety Match", and "Happy-Go-Lucky".

In 1928 Beith adapted P. G. Wodehouse's novel "A Damsel in Distress" as a play. [Page 114 in [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9L2kjKQ8CvYC&pg=RA3-PA1116&lpg=RA3-PA1116&dq=%22A+Damsel+In+Distress%22+Milne&source=web&ots=mcJQgKojgc&sig=QuZS0UJZJtqor9nPDBFzAAKbL5k&hl=en#PRA3-PA1114,M1 P.G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master] by David A. Jasen (2002). ISBN 0825672759.] In 1929 Wodehouse helped to adapt Beith's Story "Baa Baa Black Sheep" for the stage [Page 116 in P.G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master] and in 1930 they again collaborated on the dramatisation of Wodehouse's "Leave it to Psmith". [Page 279 in P.G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master]

Beith served as Technical Advisor for Cecil B. DeMille's silent extravaganza, "The Little American" (1917), starring Mary Pickford, and was responsible for screenplays/dialogue of fifteen films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Thirty-Nine Steps and Secret Agent.

References

External links

* [http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/h#a4304 Works by Ian Hay] at Project Gutenberg
* [http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3AIan%20Hay%20-contributor%3Agutenberg%20AND%20mediatype%3Atexts Works by Ian Hay] at Internet Archive
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0370497/ Films and plays by Ian Hay] at IMDB


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