Inherit the Wind is not history. The events which took place
in Dayton, Tennessee, during the scorching July of 1925 are clearly
the genesis of this play. It has, however, an exodus entirely its own.
Only a handful of phrases have been taken from the actual
transcript of the famous Scopes Trial. Some of the characters of the
play are related to the colorful figures in that battle of giants;
but they have life and language of their own - and, therefore, names
of their own.
The greatest reporters and historians of the century have written
millions of words about the "Monkey Trial." We are indebted to them
for their brilliant reportage. And we are grateful to the late Arthur Garfield
Hays, who recounted to is much of the unwritten vividness of the Dayton
adventure from his own memory and experience.
The collision of Bryan and Darrow at Dayton was dramatic, but it
was not a drama. Moreover, the issues of their conflict have acquired
new dimension and meaning in the thirty years since they clashed at the
Rhea County Courthouse. So Inherit the Wind does not pretend to be
journalism. It is
theatre. It is not 1925. The stage directions set the time
as "Not long ago." It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow.