March 3, 1909
THE BILLBOARD SALOME, TO WHICH OBJECTION WAS MADE.
"Will I stop the Salome dance?" Robert L. Gregory, acting mayor, repeated as he held the telephone receiver to his early yesterday afternoon. His answer was a decided "No."
When he was finished speaking over the telephone the acting mayor turned to the members of the board of public works, with whom he was meeting, and said, "Now what do you think of that? That fellow wanted to know if I, as acting mayor, would clamp the lid on that dance if the court refused the injunction. If Gertie wants to dance with a little lace wrapped around her she is welcome to, and the police won't interfere. Those who believe it is not right can stay at home while those who do can plunk down their money and take a front seat for all I care. Why should I stop a Salome dance or an y old kind of a dance?"
Disappointment sat deep on every face, and there was not an "I don't care" expression in the crowd which went to the court house yesterday to see Gertrude Hoffman do a stunt with a string of beads. Gertrude, you know, does the Salome dance in "The Mimic World" at the Shubert theater, or rather, she did until the courts stopped her Monday night.
The restraining order granted at that time was made returnable yesterday, and large was the crowd that came to see and hear. Judge James H. Slover, in whose division the case fell, heard affidavits and speeches and more speeches, and then said he would decide today whether to make the restraining order permanent or dissolve it. Meanwhile, of course, Salome will not dance.
All hands had expected to see, as evidence, the whole dance as performed at the theater. But the dancer did not come, only lawyers.
"It costs $80,000 to create this show, and the weekly expense roll is $6,000," said Clyde Taylor, appearing on behalf of the theater. So maybe it was too expensive to have Miss Hoffman.
"To stop this dance, which is strictly a moral affair," continued Mr. Taylor, "would entail large financial loss. If the show was not clean, it would never have been put on the boards and have received favorable comment everywhere."
On behalf of those who secured the restraining order, John T. Harding, Ellison Neel and H. M. Beardsley spoke. Affidavits made by George E. Bowling, Nathanial Dickey and D. A. Trimble were read. These men had been appointed by the Independence Avenue Methodist Episcopal church to make a report to the court. In substance they said the dance was immoral and demoralizing to the mind of the spectator. Photographs were taken of posters put up by the show also were introduced as evidence.
Mrs. E. D. Hornbrook said she saw the dance in New York, and thought it not proper. She had made up her mind, she said, to try to suppress it if it came to Kansas City. She had not seen the dance at the Shubert. William D. Latham of the board of trade disapproved of the dance, as did also Omar Robinson, a lawyer, and I. B. Hook and others. A painting of Maud Allan as Salome, to give the court an idea of how the Hoffman dance is said to be carried on, was also introduced.
Dr. George L. A. Hamilton, for the defendants, said the dance was art, and could not be objected to. John B. Reynolds, manager of the company, was represented by an affidavit giving the expenses of the show.
Also there was a statement from Miss Hoffman herself. The dances she employs, she said, were copied from those of the Far East, and patterned after the Oriental idea of grace. She said it was in no sense a "hootchie-kootchie," as some of the objectors had said.
Then there was a great deal of oratory, and the case, known officially as the state of Missouri, at the relation of Elliot W. Major, attorney general, against Earl Steard and others, went over until today. Judge Slover did not say that he had been at the Shubert. He goes to the theater infrequently.