Spotlight on Lee Falk - Other writings - Jean Lafitte

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Clara and Coloman Katona
picture from [1]
Country: Mini usa.gif USA / English

Lee Harrison Epstein and Coloman Katona copyrighted the "Jean Lafitte" (a romantic operette i 3 acts) July 20, 1933 [2].


Coloman Joseph Katona (1886-1955) was a composer and music teacher in Budapest before he came to St. Louis in 1922. In St Louis he found himself unable to make a living at music and he went to work in a shoe factory. In 1931 the factory closed and Katona became jobless. A friend of him, Elmer Gesner, insisted that Katona had to write a march for the Veiled Prohet ball. Katona wrote it down without any musical instrument, simply setting the notes on paper, and the march was played at the Veiled Prohet ball in 1932.

Lee Falk and Coloman Katona meet late 32 through a critic who knew of they parallel ambitions. Falk[footnotes 1] wrote the book and lyrics for "Jean Lafitte" and Katona worked high speed for six weeks. Then he had turned out 20 marches, love songs, dirges, waltzes and descriptive airs, -again without any musical instrument [3] [4].


Deals with the swashbuckling adventures of the brothers Lafitte. The buccaneering of the pair, Jean and Pierre, terrorized shippers on the gulf and lower Mississippi untill they went to the aid of Andrew Jackson in the battle of New Orleans.


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  • Hidden Things
  • I Dreamed of a Pirate City
  • The Song of Death



Manager of the Municipal Opera Association, Paul Beisman, did go over the book and music to see if it was possible to produce the operette for the 1934 season [3].


At the theatre in Fores Park the Muncipal Opera orchestra played for the first time all songs from "Jean Lafitte" befor the Producing Director, Laurence Schwas. He opened for a possible premier production in 1936 [4].


  1. said to have written another opera and a unpublished novel


  1. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), 06 Oct 1932, p 3
  2. Catalog of Copyright Entries (Washington D.C.) Part 1, Group 3, Volume 6 No 1 1933, p 203
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Jobless Shomaker Writes an Opera about Pirates", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), 23 Apr 1933, p 15
  4. 4.0 4.1 "St. Louian Writes Music for Opera", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), 18 Aug 1935, p 4