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Frank Duane Rosengren (1926-2010) was a playwright, poet, lyricist, screenwriter and producer. He started early. He was only ten years old when his first play, "The Nuts at the Roundtable," was published in Story Parade: A Magazine for Boys and Girls. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1944 and almost immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He served in Special Services from 1944 to 1946. He spent the next two years working in the editorial department at Churusbusco Studios in Mexico City, then attended the University of Chicago, graduating in 1951.

Frank married Emily Camille Sweeney on January 13, 1951. Frank's play, "Walls Rise Up," was produced that year by Margo Jones at Theatre 51 in Dallas. Frank became a staff writer on the CBS television series, "Omnibus." Some of his plays and screenplays written at this time include: "Suddenly, A Thief"(1952), "Faces for Charlie" (1954), "A Delicate Question" (1956), "Touch Fire" (1957), "Jimmy and The River" (1958), "Guitar" (1959), "A Smaller Joy" (1960), and "Teeth of the Devil" (1961). After returning to San Antonio, his plays "San Jose Story" (1962) and "Prophets of Light" (1966) were produced locally.

Frank was the editor of HemisFair '68's newsletter, El Abrazo, and Special Consultant on Theme Development. After HemisFair, he helped get San Antonio public television station KLRN off the ground, serving as an executive producer there for ten years. In 1974 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to narrate, write and produce "Pilgrims to the West," depicting Spanish colonization in the Southwest. Frank was simply a "jack-of-all-genres" when it came to theatrical, television, and film writing and production.

His obituary in the San Antonio Express-News concluded thus: "A wellspring of area historical lore, connoisseur of story-telling, possessor of a writer's observational skills, gifted conversationalist and blessed with ample wit, charm, curiosity and a diplomat's temperament, Frank Rosengren was the rare 'scholar and a gentleman' who truly lived up to the justly earned appellation." Indeed.


Publisher's Note: Frank Duane Rosengren wrote under the name Frank Duane. His parents, Frank and Florence Rosengren, were the owners of San Antonio's legendary book store, Rosengren's Books.

Known primarily as a playwright, he was also a producer, a lyricist, a columnist, a documentary screenwriter, a publicist ("when the need arose"), and an occasional poet. He loved wit, puns, word play of any sort, and rhyme. To meet him in the supermarket, as I often did over the last 30 years of his life, was always a treat. A true raconteur, he was often good for an on-the-spot limerick, and always full of wry observations on "the passing scene."

Extremely well-read­ — as one might expect of the scion of booksellers­ — he loved to satirize well-known writers, which he perhaps did best in poems. Being a playwright who loved musicals, Frank also wrote dozens of lyrics, always in the voice of his characters, which amount to flights of pure narrative fancy since there is no actual narrative text to tie them together. Like any writer, periodically he would gather his better efforts into collections, which he entitled, variously, "Anywhere from Orpheus," "Three Times a Baker's Dozen Poems, And Then a Few Songs," "Songs Unsung: Lyrics Without Music," and others. It is unclear whether he ever made any serious efforts to publish any of these collections. However, for one such collection, he wrote an introduction, dated 1961, in which he declares that he had given up writing serious poetry twelve years prior­ — which would have been at the ripe old age of 23!

Frank, or "Figgi" as he was called most of his life, was a loyal friend, an excellent mentor, a much-appreciated "fan" of my own poetry, and a keenly observant historian of San Antonio. The publisher wishes to thank Camille Rosengren, Figgi's wife, for handing me a shopping bag full of his poetry and asking, "Do you think you can you do something with this?"

­ — Bryce Milligan, Publisher, Wings Press

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