Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace opened on Broadway on August 18, 1941. New York Times theatre critic Brooks Atkinson praised the play: "At some time there may have been a funnier murder charade than Arsenic and Old Lace … But the supposition is purely academic. Joseph Kesselring has written one so funny none of us will ever forget it.” The play was an immediate success, and has remained so ever since.
However, the inspiration for Arsenic and Old Lace came decades before. A Connecticut woman named Amy Archer-Gilligan ran a nursing home in the early twentieth century. She was
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