A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 20, 2012
“Actor: What’s my motivation? / Director: Your salary”

A classic acting joke, told both on Broadway and in Hollywood, has an actor reading a line and asking the director, “What’s my motivation?” The director snaps back with a terse answer—“Your job/salary/paycheck!“The joke has frequently been attributed to film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), but it’s not certain if he ever said it.
New York’s Actors Studio is famous for teaching of method acting. The acting joke has been cited since at least 1959, with an Actors Studio actor asking about the motivation and Broadway director George Abbott (1887-1995) answering, “Your job.”
Wikiquote; Acting
When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, ‘It’s in the script.’ If he says, But what’s my motivation?, I say, ‘Your salary.’
. Alfred Hitchcock
Wikipedia: George Abbott
George Francis Abbott (June 25, 1887 – January 31, 1995) was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned more than nine decades.
Wikipedia: Actors Studio
The Actors Studio is a membership organization for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights at 432 West 44th Street in the Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It was founded October 5, 1947 by Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, Robert Lewis and Anna Sokolow, who provided training for actors who were members. Lee Strasberg joined later and took the helm in 1951 until his death on February 17, 1982.
9 October 1959, San Mateo (CA) Times, Leonard Lyons entertainment column, pg. 24, col. 5:
George Abbott, the veteran Broadway director, told an Actors Studio member of his cast: “In this scene you walk from stage left to stage right, and then you say, ‘I’m sure he’s not in’”...The Actos Studio man replied: “The line’s fine. But when I cross the stage—what’s my motivation?”...Abbott told him what the motivation would be: “Your job.”
Google Books
18 January 1960, Life magazine, ‘The Perennial Hatcher of Hits and Talents” (George Abbott),  pg. 61, col. 2:
When one actor, versed in the psychological jargon of the Actors’ Studio, asked him, “What’s my motivation?” Abbott replied, “Your job.”
Google Books
The New People:
Desexualization in American Life

By Charles Winick
New York, NY: Pegasus
Pg. 76:
A Studio member asked George Abbott, who was directing him in a rehearsal, “What is my motivation?” Mr. Abbott answered briefly, if unfashionably: “Your salary.”
Google Books
Orson Welles:
A Biography

By Barbara Leaming
New York, NY: Penguin Books
Pg. 140:
“An actor would say, ‘Why am I over here?’ — the old cliche of what’s my motivation? He gave clich6 answers: ‘It’s your salary on Friday!’”
Google Books
1001 Funniest Things Ever Said
By Steven D. Price
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
Pg. 122:
When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, “It’s in the script.” If he says, “But what’s my motivation?” I say, “Your salary.” — Alfred Hitchcock
New York (NY) Times
Excerpts From the Spanish Diary
Published: August 20, 2008
Scarlett came to me today with one of those questions actors ask, “What’s my motivation?” I shot back, “Your salary.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Saturday, October 20, 2012 • Permalink

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