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Count the house

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on May 02, 2008 at 21:41:

In Reply to: Count the house posted by DO on May 02, 2008 at 20:24:

: Does anyone know the meaning of the phrase "count the house"? I can't find any examples online where someone uses this phrase, but I have heard people say it. The closest example I can find online is in J.D. Salinger's short story "For Esme, with Love and Squalor," when he writes, "She stared back at me, with those house-counting eyes of hers, then, abruptly, gave me a small, qualified smile." This doesn't give much insight into the meaning. Can someone help me out here?

I don't know the story, so this may not be relevant, but in theatrical terms to "count the house" is to estimate by eye how many people are in the theatre (and hence how many tickets have been sold and how profitable the show is). Does that help? (VSD)