The Worst of 1923 

Reviews from 94 years ago can still get a laugh.

When posting about the return of the public domain, I said the world would be a better place thanks to artwork from 1923 losing its copyright restrictions. However, not all art from 1923 was good, or even just “not bad”. Slate has determined what some of the worst newly unrestricted artwork is, based on contemporary reviews.

The task of picking the worst play this year is easy. The honor falls to “The Talking Parrot.” No play could be worse in structure or in staging. Here would be a splendid opportunity for a reviewer to display his powers of invective, but what’s the use? “The Talking Parrot” will have breathed its last before these words hit print.

Even in 1923, reviewers were capable of some impressive, and hilarious, harshness.