An extremely interesting and no doubt rare deck of skat cards, maker unknown, that was apparently distributed as a "program" to those attending performances in 1967 of "My Fair Lady" at East Germany's Stadtische Theater in what was then known as Karl-Marx-Stadt, known since German reunification as Chemnitz. In the first place, I am surprised by the fact that an American musical was even performed in Communist East Germany in 1967, though perhaps I am assuming a greater hostility toward the West, and a greater level of censorship, than I should. Also, I can't help but wonder whether it was performed in English or in translation. If in English, it speaks volumes about the command of the English language in East Germany at that time. If in German, one would think that "My Fair Lady" would lose a lot in translation, driven as it is by linguistics, British accents, and the like (i.e., "The rain in Spain . . . etc."). Certainly, the "program" information on the cards is all in German, including words of dialogue and the lyrics of one of the songs.
In any event, this deck consists of 50 total cards, as follows: (i) the 32 cards of a standard skat deck; (ii) 10 "lection" ("lesson") cards with a variety of information on them about the musical (i.e., akin to "program notes"); and (iii) 8 additional cards with advertising and information relating to the play and performance. In addition, the skat cards themselves contain information about the cast. The cards are bridge size, measuring 90mm x 60mm. The cards come in the original "wrapper" – actually a paper bag apparently distributed at the performance.
These cards and bag are in excellent condition for what they are. The cards are not made of expensive materials, and the ink of the cards has "run" a little bit, noticeable because so much of the ink is red. However, given that they are 45 years old, and were distributed as a theater "program" and thus invited handling, I suspect that the condition of this particular set is as good as it gets.
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