As at the Graphic, he rarely wrote detailed theater criticism, but he often passed pithy one-line judgment on new Broadway shows (which, if positive, were used in the show’s advertisement). “By far the smartest premiere of the winter season…Was the inaugural performance of “Design For Living,” featuring Noel Coward, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne,” he opined. But even in these hit-and-run reviews he usually spent more ink on the evening’s social scene than on the dramaturgy.
In the Coward opening, he went on to list many of the well-heeled theater patrons in the audience. “Coward’s play delights this audience of the elite…it as light as champagne bubbles, and produces the same gayety…You leave the theatre and mounted cops are holding back the curious sidewalk onlookers…There is a double line of cars in West 47th street, waiting for their mesdames and messieurs…Most of them are Rolls Royces…it was that kind of opening,” Ed observed, displaying, as he often did, his sense of being a reporter looking at the privileged from afar.
One of his column’s constants were bite-sized descriptions of famous people, opinionated portraits of those with whom he rubbed elbows. He would string together a number of these, as if bringing the reader to an exclusive Broadway party.
“Jack Benny, stage, radio and movie comedian…Sleepiest of all Broadway personalities…He invites 20 people to 55 Central Park West, and then curls up on the living room couch and goes to sleep…On the level…If he could learn to sleep standing up, he’d make a fine cop…Estelle Taylor, ex-frau of ex-champ Dempsey…one of the keenest wits I’ve ever encountered…With a marvelous sense of humor that bewilders plenty of Coast dumbbells…[actress] Lupe Velez, madcap of movieland…Whose 70 coats, 230 dresses and 126 pairs of shoes don’t mean a thing because she bought them only for ONE man…And then Gary Cooper wasn’t the fellow she thought he was.”