The "Vicious Circle" at the Algonquin Hotel

Odd Nugget Soc-done

What do you get when a number of prolific writers, actors and minds come together daily over lunch for the sole purpose of exchanging wisecracks?

In the curious case of the Algonquin round table or the "Vicious Circle" as they came to call themselves, you get a number of seriously entertaining newspaper columns and loads of historic creative collaboration.

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Throughout the 20's, big names in mainstream media met at NY's Algonquin Hotel for lunch and exceedingly witty pleasantries.

Prominent people of the era such as journalist Alexander Woolcott, screenwriting poet Dorothy Parker, Broadway producer Brock Pemberton, acting humorist Robert Benchley and more called the table their own. Oddly enough, the phenomenon began as little more than a mean-spirited joke.

Press agent John P. Toohey began the daily meeting as a prank celebratory congregation mainly meant to make fun of Alexander Woolcott for refusing to plug one of his clients in a column. The joke went over surprisingly well with Woolcott and the party agreed to meet there every day from then on.

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More and more people joined the fray and the hotel manager decided to give them their own room fitted with a large round table. On Saturdays, they'd meet for poker and charades as well.

We can thank such outings for a great many creations including the coining of Dorothy Parker's memorable line "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think."

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