February 4, 1910
NEW VAUDEVILLE HOME.
Hippodrome Will Have Theater Large
Enough for Traveling Shows.
Extensive improvements will be made at the Hippodrome, beginning next Monday, and to be completed in ten days. The picture theater in the southwest corner of the building and the Vienna garden immediately south will be thrown into one theater, with a stage as large as any in the city, with possibly one or two exceptions. The theater will seat 1,200 people and will be the permanent home of traveling attractions, such as big vaudeville shows, Yiddish companies and theatrical attractions of all kinds. The marked success of the recent Yiddish productions was a demand for a regular theater in that part of the city, as Twelfth and Charlotte is in the center of a populous neighborhood and is ten blocks from the downtown theater district.
The Hippodrome theater will be ready within ten days.
Labels: Charlotte street, hippodrome, Jews, theater, Twelfth street, vaudeville
December 18, 1909
DOG MIND-READER IS
REMEMBERS SCORE OF THANKS-
GIVING GAME HERE.
Master Lives on the Money Earned
by Pet He Bought for Price of
a Drink Eighteen Years
Ago in Paris.
Pilu is a ragged little black-and-white dog, an Irish terrier, blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. He is eighteen years old. He was purchased from a drunken Englishman in Paris for a drink of whisky. Sig. D. Ancilotti bought him at this low price when Pilu was a clumsy little puppy and little did the purchaser know then that he was making his whole fortune out of his kindly impulse to take a fluffy, whining cur from a drunkard. But he was.
Pilu today earns more money than a dozen laborers working ten hours a day could earn. Pilu is the only mind-reading dog in the world and the large audiences that are frequenting the Orpheum this week are being boggled by the truly marvelous feats performed by the canine. The act is an absolute novelty to vaudeville and is so entertaining that the animal and its master are invariably fatigued ere they finish answering the repeated encores.
Pilu performs his tricks with the aid of a low, horizontal bar on which are hung a series of cards numbered from one to ten. A fence of green cord is strung around the poles and inside this fence, up and down the length of the pole, the dog mind-reader walks stiffly and tells you what you are thinking about.
Pilu is very fat and has a stub of a tail which wiggles as he walks. Now and then he looks at Ancilotti and smiles, slipping out a great length of pink tongue with a knowing leer.
THINGS PILU DOES.
Pilu tells how many babies there are in the family of the police headquarters man and he gives the ages of several persons in the audience.
Last night this wonderful dog attempted a new one when some football fan asked Ancilotti if his pet could remember the final score of the Missouri-Kansas football game.
"Certainly," responded the master. "Pilu, what was the score of the Missouri-Kansas football game?"
Pilu cocked his head over to one side and ran out a length or two of the pink tongue, batted his blind eye and marched twice up and down the length of the pole. Then he put up his fuzzy paw and knocked down the cards thus, 1-2-6. And that, it pleasant to recollect for the Tiger, was the score of that memorable conflict on the local gridior last Thanksgiving.
M. Ancilotti protested that he had not known the score and to show his good faith, went off the stage with a number written by a spsectator and shouted over the scene:
"Allons, Pilu. Allons."
"Allons," in French, spoken to a wooly old mongrel, means, "get on your job." And, Pilu got on the job by knocking down the figures 2, 5 and 8 -- 258, which was the number that had been written by the auditor.
Of course everybody watches Ancilotti closely in the hopes of catching him giving the dog signals, but no one has yet announced a solution of the mystery as to how the animal knows what to do so unerringly.
"My dog never makes a meestake," he shouted toward the close of his act. "To show you, here is a newspaper. Now, Pilu, how many letters are there in the name of this paper?" Pilu promptly knocked down a 2 and a 0, meaning twenty. Once more the mindreading wonder was correct, for Ancilotti held a copy of The Kansas City Journal, in which title there are twenty letters.
PILU WELL LOVED.
When the show was over Pilu trotted down to his dressing room to Mme Ancilotti to be kissed and patted. He was well hugged. He ought to be. For years he has been earning the living of all three of the Ancilottis.
Sig. Ancilotti says that it required ten years of hard, persistent training to teach Pilu the science of mind-reading, but he would not intimate his method of training. He insists that the dog possesses not a dog mind, nor a human mind, but a superhuman mind and that he has no set of signals by which he aids the animal in its tests. The king of Italy shares Ancilotti's opinion as to the superhuman qualities of the dog's mind, for he has presented the shaggy little fellow with a handsome gold watch, believing that he could and should know the time of day.
Pilu will tour America until July and then will be taken to London, where he will make his farewell appearance on the stage. Old age forces an early retirement and Ancilotti already has his eyes cast wistfully on another dog with which he hopes to continue his harvest of gold.
Labels: animals, sports, theater, vaudeville, visitors
November 3, 1909
NEW THEATER OPENS SUNDAY.
Musical Comedy, Vaudeville With
Burlesque Tinge at the Gayety.
The new Gayety theater will open Sunday afternoon with a matinee by the "College Girls" Company. The house is to be devoted to musical comedy and vaudeville with a burlesque tinge. It is owned by the Kansas City Theater Company of New York and will be managed by Thomas Hodgeman, the present manager of the Majestic theater.
The new theater is at Twelfth and Wyandotte streets and has several innovations. The dressing rooms are all outside the theater proper. On the Twelfth street and Wyandotte street sides business houses will occupy the fronts with the exception of the main entrance on Wyandotte street. The theater is surrounded on four sides by open spaces, which provide four exits from the ground floor and two each from the other two floors, in addition to two emergency exits from each of the top floors.
The interior is finished in "art noveau," the colors being gold and yellow. With the exception of the chairs the theater is entirely fireproof. It will have a seating capacity of 1,650. There are three floors, with 550 chairs on the orchestra floor, 400 on the balcony floor, 600 on the gallery floor and 100 in the twelve boxes. The stage will be protected by an ornamental asbestos curtain.
The auditorium of the theater is 72 by 108 feet, of which 40 by 70 feet is taken up by the stage. Inclines instead of stairs will be used to gain access to the first two floors.
Labels: burlesque, New York, theater, Twelfth street, vaudeville, Wyandotte street
September 26, 1909
PART OF BARNUM'S
FIRST FREAK SHOW.
PECULIARITIES OF THE LUCASIE
Burning of Museum in New York
Sent Joseph to Kansas City,
Where He Died of Dropsy.
Joseph Lucasie, the Albino, who died of dropsy at the General hospital Friday morning, had in addition to an exceptional gift of harmony the distinction of having been one of the original exhibitions of P. T. Barnum, the pioneer showman.
It was in 1858 that Barnum heard of the strange family in Holland.
The fact that an Albino named Lucase had married an Albino wife and that both had abundant silken hair was in itself nothing remarkable. Barnum could have placed his hand on at least a dozen such couples in different quarters of the world.
It was the phenomena of two white-haired, pink-eyed children, a boy and a girl, born of this union, that made the Lucasie family worth having. The offspring of Albinos are almost without exception normal in every way, and the condition of being an Albino is said not to be hereditary.
HERALDED FROM MADAGASCAR.
When the Lucasie family was brought over from Holland, Joseph was 8 years old and his sister a few years younger. They were assigned to Barnum's New York city museum in 1859-60, where they were featured as having come from Madagascar and being the last of the great race of Albinos made famous by the writings of H. Rider Haggard. In this role they excited immense interest in the metropolis, attracting large crowds daily.
FAMOUS ALBINO FAMILY THAT WAS SHOWN BY THE LATE P. T. BARNUM.
When the Barnum museum in New York burned the Lucasie family started out on its own resources and made money. They were picked up by the W. W. Cole circus and taken to Australia, where they were featured with success in a country popularly thought to be the home of the Albino.
After their return to America they hired out to the Lemen Bros.' circus, touring the West with it until 1898. Then, Joseph's father, mother and sister died in quick succession, leaving him practically alone in the world. The disruption of the family, which had been such a drawing card as a whole, left Joseph Lucasie in rather poor circumstances. He had, however, one recourse which stood him in good stead up to the time of his death.
During the years he spent with Barnum in the museum business he had learned to play the violin. Later he had improved his talent by constant practice, so that when his father died here ten years ago he was able to go into vaudeville and make good. It is said that there are few professional violinists in the west who are not personally acquainted with Joseph Lucasie.
Mr. Lucasie at his death was large and thick-chested. His luxuriant growth of white hair had been shorn a year previous because it made his head ache and there was little of the Albino distinctions left about him apparently, with the exception of his pink eyes. He was very sensitive and disliked to be alluded to as "the Albino" or have any name applied to him indicating that he was different from other men.
His memory of P. T. Barnum was very vague, owing to the great lapse of time and his extreme youth when he was in the great showman's museum, and he could tell few anecdotes about him. Since 1894 he has lived at 1117 Norton.
Labels: circus, death, immigrants, music, New York, Norton avenue, vaudeville
September 26, 1909
NEW ACTS AT HIPPODROME.
East Side Place of Amusement Opens
for the Season.
The Hippodrome, at Twelfth and Charlotte streets, opened for the season last night and nearly 5,000 persons attended, the roller skating rink and the dance hall, both remodeled and redecorated, drawing the most patronage. Last night's visitors saw a brand new Hippodrome. There was a greater floor space, better illumination and a bigger variety of attractions than ever before. The new ball room, which has been latticed and banked with satin roses and artificial shrubbery, aroused the admiration of the Hippodrome dancers.
Last night's visitors found plenty outside the dance hall and the skating rink to interest them. There was the Vienna garden, a new permanent feature, which seems destined to meet with favor. Free continuous vaudeville is offered in the Vienna village, which is laid with tanbark and inclosed by lattice work. Elston's dog and pony show was another new attraction that offered many novelties.
The Great La Salle, one of the most daring of roller skate experts, was the big arena attraction last night. La Salle makes a thrilling descent on a 60 per cent incline from the roof of the Hippodrome, and his exhibition belongs in the division of hair raisers.
Numerous concessions along the Hippodrome "Boardwalk" offer plenty of diversion. The place will open this afternoon at 2 o'clock and the performance will be continuous until midnight.
Labels: amusement, Charlotte street, dancing, daredevils, hippodrome, skating, Twelfth street, vaudeville
August 30, 1909
JAPANESE CARNIVAL AT FOREST.
At Night Park Is Lighted With
An elaborate display of Japanese lanterns is to be seen this week at Forest park. Nearly 10,000 of these vari-colored transparencies are distributed over the park, and when illuminated at night make an imposing sight.
Owing to the cool weather the ballroom was the objective point yesterday. There is an entire change in the vaudeville bill.
A pleasing and difficult act is that of the Kaichi Japanese troupe of acrobats. "The Climax" is performed by Mlle. Gertrude La Morrow, who not only dances but sings as well. Elliotte an d Le Roy, in a comedy sketch, are amusing.
Tonight is souvenir night for the women at the carnival.
Labels: amusement, dancing, forest park, music, vaudeville
July 19, 1909
WRESTLES WITH CROCODILE.
"Alligator Joe" Gives a Novel Act
at Electric Park.
An attractive programme of amusements is offered by Electric Park this week. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Gargiulo's Italian band which has been engaged to prolong its engagement until next Sunday. Of the new things, however, the one that will probably attract the most interest is the nightly wrestling match between "Alligator Joe," proprietor of the alligator farm and one of the largest crocodiles in his collection. Costumed in a bathing suit "Joe" plunges into a tank of water and mounting the crocodile's back fights with it until it is sufficiently subdued to be led from the pool.
There is a new vaudeville show in the German village. The bill contains a wide variety of entertainment. The programme includes Kelly and Lewis in a novelty balancing and juggling act, Ethel Hunter, a Kansas City violinist, who has made a pronounced hit with music lovers; Murill Window, a singing comedian; the Hamlins, who dance, sing and play a variety of instruments and the American Singing Four, a splendid male quartet.
Labels: amusement, animals, daredevils, Electric park, music, theater, vaudeville
July 10, 1909
KANSAS CITY GIRL SHOT.
Alice Robinson Probably Will Die as
Result of Accident.
SHREVEPORT, LA., July 9. -- Miss Alice Robinson, a vaudeville singer of Kansas City, stopped over here last night to see some friends who were playing at the summer park. She was on her way to New Orleans to fill an engagement.
While she was walking behind the scenes a fancy shot turn was being performed by the Neill pair. There was a miss bullet fired by Miss Neill which hit her friend in the temple, shattering the skull and penetrating the brain.
Miss Robinson is still alive, but no hopes are entertained for her recovery.
Labels: accident, guns, New Orleans, vaudeville
June 29, 1909
RUBY KANE D'AUDRAE DEAD.
Kansas City Vaudeville Actress a
Victim of Tuberculosis.
Mrs. Ruby Kane D'Audrae, a vaudeville actress of 3944 Woodland avenue, died of tuberculosis after a four months' illness at 1:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Her husband, Robert D'Audrae, and her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. P. J. Kane, are in the amusement business, the two first named somewhere in Ohio. Mrs. Kane is in Wellington, Mo. Only the mother could be notified last night.
Mrs. D'Audrae was 23 years old. Seven years ago she graduated from the Academy of St. Aloysius at Eleventh street and Prospect avenue. Her voice, which is said to have been exceedingly strong and sweet, attracted considerable attention at school. Three years after finishing the academy she followed her father and mother to the footlights. She was heard in the Sparks theater in Kansas City, Kas., two seasons ago.
Funeral arrangements have not been made.
Labels: death, Eleventh street, Kansas City Kas, Prospect avenue, schools, theater, vaudeville, women
June 14, 1909
OLD MAID'S CONVENTION.
It Is the Top Liner of Fun at
Families with their baskets occupied the benches and tables under the trees on the lawn of Forest park yesterday and it was a gala day for the children.
The Old Maids' convention opened their regular sessions and soon got down to business. It is not a beauty show, to say the least. To call it such would be going from the sublime to the ridiculous, but their parody sessions on woman's rights and other subjects pertaining to woman, perhaps, furnishes the visitor with more genuine fun than most musical comedies. The idea is truly original, if nothing more. the convention hall was crowded all day and the Salome dance was a scream, being so different from the Gerturde Hoffman dance as to make it ridiculous.
For the first time there this season free vaudeville and new motion pictures were introduced. Quite a novel act was presented by Chris Christopher, a singer of German songs and a trick violinist. The Gee-Jays, the human marionettes, closed the bill. Two reels of motion pictures were also on the bill. The big new attraction is the exciting ride device known as the Humble Peter. It is built on the order of the tickler, only less jolting is the experience.
The entries for the aquatic sports on Wednesday are coming in fast and a large number of contestants competed for the prizes.
Labels: amusement, dancing, forest park, moving pictures, music, theater, vaudeville
June 9, 1909
IS WIFE OF A MILLIONAIRE.
Grace La Rue, Kansas City Vaude-
ville Actress, Weds in London.
Grace La Rue, a vaudeville actress, who formerly lived in Kansas City, was recently married to Byron D. Chandler, a millionaire of New Hampshire. The marriage took place in England and was known to only a few close friends of the couple.
Miss La Rue was a Miss Parsons and lived with her mother, Mrs. Lucy L. Parsons, at 1319 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. She ran away from home when a child and joined a vaudeville company at St. Louis. Later she married Charles H. Burke, from whom she was divorced several years ago.
Mr. Chandler was recently divorced from his first wife and married Miss La Rue shortly after leaving America. Mr. and Mrs. Chandler are at a hotel in London. The announcement of the marriage was made accidentally while Mr. Chandler was being interviewed upon his scheme of driving a coach in opposition to Alfred G. Vanderbilt, between London and Brighton.
Labels: Broadway, England, St Louis, vaudeville, wedding
June 7, 1909
SWIMMING RACE AT PARK.
Two-Mile and Half-Mile Contests
in Fairmount Lake.
Several thousand persons lined the banks of the lake at Fairmount park yesterday afternoon to watch the boat races and swimming races that were a part of the park's free attractions for the day. And while these thousands were watching these attractions, a few more thousands were seeing the vaudeville show, and others were keeping the concession men and ticket sellers busy.
Sunshine, a rising temperature and the knowledge that no rain was in sight -- that was the reason for the crowd.
There were boat races of a half-mile, a mile and a mile and a half. Then the big event, a race of two miles, was pulled off. It was between William McPike of Warrensburg and C. L. Gardner of Hannibal, Mo. As the contestants fought for the first place the crowd on the bank cheered and picked winners. After several spurts, Gardner finally won the race. A swimming race of one half mile was also one of the interesting events. It was between J. J. Williams and F. R. Polland of this city. Polland won.
The vaudeville show yesterday afternoon was entertaining. The bill included Huffell and Huffell, singers and dancers, McLane and Simpson, comedians and Arthur Browning, a dancer.
Zimmerscheid's orchestra gave two concerts, one in the afternoon and one at night.
Labels: amusement, boats, fairmount park, music, races, swimming, vaudeville
May 31, 1909
MORE ROOM FOR VAUDEVILLE.
Bandshell at Fairmount to Be En-
larged to Accommodate Crowds.
The vaudeville show at Fairmount park for this week was well liked yesterday and last night. workmen will begin today to construct more tiers of seats in the bandshell amphitheater, so that the extra crowds will be accommodated. The bill this week includes Rand's dog circus, Meyers and Mason, comedians and kickers and Tachakira, a Japanese wire walker.
Although the weather was a bit cool, that didn't interfere with the opening of the beach yesterday and several hundred persons were in the water.
Special preparations have been made at the park for the crowds today. At 9 o'clock tonight a fireworks display will be shown on the side of the lake opposite the boathouse. The vaudeville show will be given twice in the afternoon and twice at night.
Labels: amusement, fairmount park, fireworks, theater, vaudeville
May 30, 1909
SWIMMING AT FAIRMOUNT.
"Come On In, the Water's Fine,"
Says the Press Agent.
If the sun shines today -- and the weather department says it is sure to this afternoon -- it will bean the beginning of the swimming season at Fairmount park. The sunshine of the last few days has warmed the water to a very comfortable degree and with the improvements that have been put in on the beach, the water should be very enjoyable today.
Today a new weekly vaudeville bill begins at the park. Rand's dog circus is one of the principal acts, consisting of a troupe of thirty dogs that do nearly everything except talk. Of course, they bark as a substitute, but that isn't admitted as conversation. Among the dogs is "Marvelous Ted," a wire-walking dog. Meyers and Mason are comedians of the unusual kind. Tackahira is a Japanese wire-walker and does many things that are novel. There are to be two shows this afternoon and two at night. Between the shows Zimmerschied's orchestra will give a programme.
Tomorrow is Decoration day and that means a large crowd at Fairmount park. Because of this and because of the day, the park management has arranged a fireworks display which will be given at 9 o'clock at night. They pyrotechnics are to be fired from the balloon grounds, across the lake from the boathouse, and will include about everything in the fireworks line that can be exploded at night. Of course, there will be the usual pinwheels, skyrockets in bunches. Roman candles by the box and many novelties. Four vaudeville shows will also be given tomorrow.
Labels: amusement, animals, fairmount park, fireworks, holidays, music, swimming, vaudeville
May 23, 1909
FAIRMOUNT PARK OPENS.
A Balloon Race One of the Features
Advertised for Today.
Fairmount park opens today. This afternoon at 3:30 o'clock, the free attraction that has given the park a part of its popularity -- a balloon race -- will be given. The race is between L. M. Bales of Kansas City and R. V. Porter of Minneapolis. The management of the park has announced that there will be a regular schedule of races at the park this summer. The free vaudeville which will take the place of the band this year is also to be another one of the important features of the park. The bill is to be given in the band shell, twice in the afternoon and twice at night on Sundays and once in the afternoon and twice at night on the week days. It includes this week the Gee Jays, a European novelty troupe, Anisora and Leonita, M'lle Triende, a rolling globe artist, who has been featured for several seasons with circuses and Abdallah, the Arabian gymnast.
There are several new concessions at the park this year and among them is "Darkness and Dawn,' something new in the scenic line.
Of course the lake is still going to form one of the main amusement places this year. Last season, at the early part of the season, many thousand small fish were brought from the fish hatcheries at St. Joseph and placed in the lake. These have grown considerably during the winter and have made fishing much better. The bathing beach has been improved and the boating facilities have also been made better.
Labels: amusement, balloons, fairmount park, fishing, vaudeville
May 3, 1909
NEW VAUDEVILLE THEATER?
Report That William Morris, "The
Independent," Will Enter Kan-
sas City Field.
That William Morris, Inc., the independent vaudeville magnate, who is fighting the vaudeville houses controlled by the Orpheum, Keith & Proctor, Kohl and Castle and others of the so-called United offices, will have a theater in Kansas City next season is reported on excellent authority.
It was said last night that the man who owns the property at the northwest corner of Twelfth and McGee streets contemplated to build a 15-story office building on his site, the building to face on Twelfth street. Back of it will be erected a $100,000 theater, a separate structure which will face on McGee street. A Twelfth street entrance to the theater will be arranged through the office building.
Theodor D. Marks, who is affiliated with the Morris offices, was in Kansas City a month ago when the negotiations were begun. It is said that a Morris representative is due here next Saturday to close the lease on the property.
William Morris, Inc., now has vaudeville theaters in New York, Brooklyn, Boston, Newark and Chicago, and besides, is affiliated with Sullivan and Consadine vaudeville people in the distribution of certain of his bookings. Sullivan and Consadine have a circuit of theaters extending from coast to coast, but have never entered the Kansas City field on a big basis.
By jumping acts from his Chicago theater, Morris could give Kansas City a new vaudeville bill every week without the loss of a performance.
Labels: Chicago, McGee street, real estate, theater, Twelfth street, vaudeville
May 1, 1909
OPENING OF FOREST PARK.
There Was Good Attendance in
Spite of Cool Weather.
After 200 men and boys had worked from daylight until 7 o'clock last night, Forest Park was put in readiness and opened to the public. In spite of the cool weather there was a good attendance. The riding devices, which are now 5 cents instead of 10, were liberally patronized. The admission to the park has also been reduced to 5 cents this year.
In the Jolly Follies building there are 100 free devices. The pavilion was opened last night and free vaudeville was given in the open air theater. The vaudeville bill will be given at the park this afternoon and evening.
Labels: amusement, forest park, theater, vaudeville
February 8, 1909
PAT BOYLE'S TRAINED CAT.
Black Stray Called "Tom," Does Cir-
Policeman Patrick Boyle, shortstop at police headquarters, feels certain that by accident he has come into the possession of a trained cat. Some weeks ago, according to Boyle, he found at his back door a coal black male cat, which he promptly called "Thomas." The feline appeared hungry, and seemed to state that fact in a manner different from any other cat Boyle had ever seen.
"Thomas, like all other stray cats," said Boyle yesterday, "proceeded to make his home where he was getting his bread and butter. Some time ago I happened to be out in the yard -- and say, that cat follows me everywhere I go. I was stooping over picking up some rubbish. While in that position, noticing Thomas close at hand, I said: 'Come on, Tom,' just for fun, you know.
"Well, sir, that cat made a leap and jumped right through the open space made by my arms. Before I could realize what he was about he turned and jumped back. That seemed funny to me, so I gave him all of that he wanted and he made the leap every time I gave him the chance.
"Then I set about trying him on other tricks, sitting up, walking on his hind feet and so on. Thomas can make a few strides on his front feet now and Lord only knows what he can't do."
Boyle seems proud of "Thomas," and said he hoped soon to have him doing tight and slack wire work and making high dives. The cat is also a ball player, Boyle says. That is, he is half a ball player. He will catch a soft ball, but he hasn't learned yet to throw it back. It is Patrolman Boyle's opinion that Thomas must have escaped from some vaudeville or circus troupe. When he gets Thomas trained up to the proper standard for intellectual cats, Boyle intimated that he would either take the cat onto the vaudeville stage himself, or sell him for a "neat sum," or "a bunch of crisp greenbacks."
He has arranged to give a special performance for the benefit of the members of the police department the end of this week.
Labels: animals, police, vaudeville
January 11, 1909
LAST-MINUTE CHANGE AT
Australian Trick Skater Repla-
ces Vontella and Nina.
Owing to the fact that Vontella and Nina, who were to appear at the Hippodrome this week, were called away at the last moment, the management secured for a free attraction Hector De Silvia, the champion trick and fancy skater of Australia. De Silvia accomplishes all the tricks that the skating devotees are used to seeing and then goes them one or two better and introduces several of his own origination.
De Silvia will introduce his coast of death at tonight's performance. In this act De Silvia coasts from the top of the auditorium blindfolded, on the toe rollers of one skate.
As an additional attraction, Signor Frisco, a Mexican aerial performer, does some very clever work.
In the wild animal show, Captain Cardona introduces a new leopard act. Ricardo has staged one of the new acts in which he uses pumas and leopards. Miss La Rose continues with her lions, and is this week working all six of the beasts in the arena at the same time. Professor Snyder continues with the Rocky mountain goats, and "Hess," the wrestling bear, is meeting all comers. The management has offered $10 to any one who will throw the shaggy grappler.
In the vaudeville theater, illustrated songs, music and motion photography make up the bill.
Labels: animals, daredevils, hippodrome, skating, theater, vaudeville
October 24, 1908
IT'S A SAD BLOW TO ARGENTINE.
Aileen D'Armond-Clemm Will Not
Vaudeville on Its Broadway.
If the D'Armond sisters, vaudevillians, attempt to sing in Argentine tonight, they will do so at their peril. At least this will be true in the case of Aileen D'Armond, or Aileen Clemm, 1515 East Twelfth, who is half of the vaudeville team. The first families of Argentine are doomed to disappointment.
The Argentine impresario who desired the services of the girls called up the Detention home again yesterday. He was told that Judge H. L. McCune had said, "nothing doing" in the case of Aileen. Grace Stafford, the other half of the team, being over age, may appear in Argentine, or Sugar Creek, if she pleases.
Incidentally, Judge McCune ordered Aileen brought into court again, to find out why her mother did not keep her agreement to move to Braymer, Mo., where the electric lights do not twinkle.
Labels: Argentine, detention home, Judge McCune, Sugar Creek, Twelfth street, vaudeville
October 10. 1908
TRAGEDY BREAKS UP
A VAUDEVILLE TRIO.
ALL BECAUSE AILEEN WROTE A
SWEET LITTLE NOTE.
It Was to a Married Man, and the
Forest Park Beauties, in Colors
Which Made a Noise,
Get Into Court.
Notice is hereby given that the partnership mentioned below, heretofore at Forest park, has been dissolved by order of court:
Dorothy -- Aileen
Song and Dance Soubrettes
A letter caused it all. This missive, couched in tender terms, was from Aileen D'Armond, otherwise Aileen Clemm of 1515 East Twelfth street, to F. K. Weston, or John King, manager of the flicker-flicker theater at Forest park, where the "sisters" gave afternoon and nightly exhibitions of terpsichorean and musical skill (See billboards for further adjectives.).
Dorothy, or, more properly, Grace Stafford, had nothing to do with the mailing of missives. It was companionship that brought her into the juvenile court yesterday afternoon with Aileen and Mrs. Henry C. Clemm, mother of one of the"sisters."
There might have been no trouble at all if Weston or King -- his wife called him King -- had not been married. But wives will see their husband's letters, and things began to happen shortly after Mrs. King got her eyes focused on the written page.
COMPLAINED AGAINST AILEEN.
To the probation officer for her with a complaint against Aileen, who confesses to being 14 and who, until last year, was a pupil at the Humboldt school. Result, the D'Armonds and the mother of half of them before Judge H. L. McCune. The case was heard in chambers.
Such an insight into theatrical life as was given by the two girls. For her part, Grace Stafford, or Dorothy D'Armond, had a word or two to say from the depths of a deep blue poke-bonnet-scoop combination, trimmed with blue and white feathers.
"How much do you make a week?" asked the judge.
"I have been offered $30, but would not take it because I would have to appear alone," she said with the wisdom of 19 years. "I make $15."
And then Grace, who is a comely girl, told the judge of how, as her parents wanted her no longer after she was 15, she had struck out for herself. She had done housework, and was making a success of it on the stage. In the end, as she expressed a desire to go home, but said in the same breath that she would not be welcome there, Mrs. Agness Odell of the Detention home was detailed to care for her and find her a home. Her parents live in Oklahoma.
With Aileen it was different. It developed that she was an impressionable girl. As her "sister" said:
""Mr. King was so influensive. He seemed to have Aileen hypnotized."
However, this could not serve as an excuse, Judge McCune being a non-believer in the occult.
It turned out that Mr. Clemm is at Braymer, Mo., where he has the management of a store. Mrs. Clemm expressed her disinclination to move to Braymer, preferring the city. In the end, choosing between rejoining her husband and having her daughter sent to Chillicothe, she voted for Braymer.
"I'M AFRAID SHE'LL KILL ME CHOILD!"
The mother and foster mother got a scolding from the judge for dressing the girls, one in vivid blue and her own child in bright red.
"Red always was so becoming to her," she pleaded. The judge was obdurate in favor of quiet tones for dress.
Up to this point the hearing had progressed quietly enough. But when it was announced that Mrs. King was about to appear, the sisters and Mrs. Clemm plainly were flustrated.
"I am afraid she will kill my child," said the mother in genuine alarm. "She has threatened to take her life."
So Mrs. King, a frail little woman, testified with an officer of the court at each side, ready to stop any offensive maneuvers. She said her husband was now tractable and providing for her, paying no more attention to the girl.
"I did say to the girl that 'when I get through with you you won't be such a pretty soubrette behind the footlights," she admitted, "but nothing more, Aileen dear."
When it was all over, Mrs. King thanked the court, thanked George M. Holt, deputy probation officer, thanked everybody, and went her way. As for King, who had sat all afternoon in the courtroom, he was not called nor did he linger after adjournment.
Labels: children, clothing, courtroom, forest park, Judge McCune, juvenile court, marriage, oklahoma, theater, vaudeville, Weston, women
August 27, 1908
KANSAS CITY BOY AT CARNIVAL.
Earl Flynn, in Dancing Stunt, on
Next Week's Bill.
The stars of the free vaudeville at Carnival park next week will be Mazuz and Mazette, the comedy acrobats who have been seen several times at the Orpheum theater. Earl Flynn, the Kansas City boy, who has played the last two seasons with the Al G. Fields Minstrels, and formerly with the West Minstrels, Ward and Vokes, "Fiddle-Dee-Dee" and other companies, will have a novelty dancing stunt on the same bill.
Flynn was born in Kansas City and attended the Lathrop school. His father, William Flynn, was in business here and in Kansas City, Kas., for nearly twenty years. Flynn lives at 3334 Prospect avenue. Others in the bill are Clifford and Robbins, character singers, and E., J. Olson, banjoist, formerly of the Olson brothers. The bill is up to the standard of the Napanees, who are making a great success this week in the free vaudeville at Carnival park.
Labels: Carnival Park, Prospect avenue, theater, vaudeville
July 20, 1908
LITTLE RUSSIAN PRINCE
FINDS HIS AFFINITY.
BUT THE PRINCESS WEE-NEE-
WEE LOVED ANOTHER.
Case of Love at First Sight at the
Circus Grounds Yesterday --
Public Proposal by Midget.
"Big Top" is Up.
THE RUSSIAN PRINCE.
He is 32 Years Old, 26 Inches Tall, and Weighs 16 pounds.
It as a case of love at first sight with the Little Russian Prince. Often he had heard of Princess Wee-nee-wee, but he had never seen her until yesterday afternoon.
The Little Russian Prince is 32 years old, weighs 16 pounds and is 26 inches high. His affinity is a dark skinned young woman of similar dimensions, though somewhat smaller. Her height is 17 inches, she is 18 years old, and weighs 7 1/2 pounds. Princess Wee-nee-wee travels with the Barnum & Bailey circus. The prince is connected with the vaudeville circuit which makes the parks.
Last week the prince heard that Wee-nee-wee was to be in Kansas City yesterday and so delayed his departure from Carnival park in order to pay her a visit. Out at the show grounds the freaks' tent had just been raised when the prince walked in and inquired for Wee-nee-wee. When the princess's maid brought her out to see the prince they stared at each other for a moment, then the prince boldly put out his hand in greeting.
So struck was he with the midget's appearance that he immediately proposed marriage.
"How do you like me?" he asked. "Wouldn't you like to be my wife?" The prince had made his little speech without a blush and seemed dreadfully in earnest. Wee-nee-wee was painfully embarrassed and, despite her dark color, she even blushed. Meanwhile, a crowd had gathered about the midgets and the little woman was becoming very uncomfortable. She wasn't used to receiving proposals among so many people, so she took her suitor into another part of the tent. From behind the curtain, parts of their conversation could be overheard.
"I have lots of money," urged the prince, "and I can show you a fine time. You need not go with the circus any more."
She is 18 Years Old, 17 Inches High and Weighs 7 1/2 Pounds.
"I have lots of money, too," answered the princess, "and I don't need you or your money. Anyhow, I am in love with Captain Jack Barnett, and he loves me, too."
Captain Jack Barnett is a midget just about the size of the prince. He is exhibited in the freak tent with the princess and they have been traveling companions for many months. So, when the prince learned that an ordinary captain had been the successful suitor for the little princess's hand, he gave up in despair.
As he left the tent he was heard talking to his manager who had gone with him to the circus grounds.
"I supposed that Wee-nee-wee would not be as small as they all said she was or that she would be mighty fat," he said. "But she is not fat and she is just as small as anybody can be. She just came up to my shoulders when she stood up by my side. Wouldn't we make the prize couple, though?"
Outside the freak tent there were thousands of persons who had visited the grounds to see the circus unload and to catch an occasional glimpse of the elephants and camels as they were being led to the menagerie tent.
Inside of the menagerie tent, or jungle top, as the circus men call it, the animals were being fed and the wagons polished for inspection which they will receive today. One of the most interesting sights inside the jungle top was a baby camel, 6 weeks old. When this camel was only two days old his mother stepped upon his left foreleg, breaking it above the fetlock. The camel would have to be killed, but since it was white and there is no other white camel connected with the circus, a great effort was made to save it.
It was placed in a cage and as much care taken of it as if it were a child. Every hour the little camel has to be given milk from a bottle, and he usually insists upon two bottles.
Next to the baby camel is a baby elephant, 2 weeks old. The baby elephant is also fed from a bottle and has a special attendant. These young animals created much excitement and amusement among those who were standing near the tent.
The circus train was late in its arrival yesterday morning and the "roustabout" gang worked overtime. Within fifty-five minutes after the tent gang as on the circus grounds, the menagerie tent had been raised. Quickly in succession were put up the cook tent, the stable tops and some freak tents. All day yesterday the gangs of men were busy getting the big tent in order and it will be stretched today. The tent for the big show i said to e the largest circus tent in the worked and from the looks of the ground which it is to cover it seems as if there were much truth in the statement.
It was necessary for five patrolmen under a sergeant to be present on the grounds yesterday in order to take care of the immense crowd which had gathered. The curious people insisted on getting in the way of the workmen and in taking an occasional peep under the menagerie, but the officers handled the crowd well and no more serious disturbance was reported.
Labels: amusement, animals, circus, police, romance, vaudeville, visitors
April 15, 1908
WITH JOE STEIBEL
SAYS HE COULDN'T MAKE HIM
"Apollo" Bergfield, the Big Copper,
Also Suffers at the Hands of
the Visiting Artist.
CARTOONIST LEVI'S LIBEL OF "JOE" STEIBEL, THE POPULAR PRESS AGENT OF THE ORPHEUM THEATER, WHOSE SMILE IS PERENNIAL.
"Behold the man who never smiles, or to whom it is at least painful to smile," said Bert Levy, as he pointed out one of his drawings of Joe Steibel, the affable pres agent of the Orpheum. "I tried every way in my power to make him even look pleasant, and at last he turned on me, serious as he could be, and said, 'Levy, I can't smile; I'm a sick man.' But I know the reason why he is so doleful -- it's because he has been working too hard this season.
"Why, just look what he has been up against all year, another vaudeville house in town, a bank suspension and lastly, Judge Wallace. It's enough to take the humor out of anybody."
"In this man you see the one who has made and unmade vaudeville stars and Kansas City. He doesn't care whether the actor was headliner in the last city or whether he was put in the most inconspicuous place on the bill; if his act has merit, Joe will pick him out and begin work on him at once. Honest, he is the busiest man about the Orpheum theater -- no wonder he can't smile. He hasn't had time to practice.
The other picture here with the cop as centerpiece is true to life," continued the artist. "I made a sketch of this picture while standing out in the foyer of the theater, and this is just what I saw. People look upon this genial officer of the law, Joseph Bergfeld, I believe is his name, with real fear in their faces. What there is for them to be afraid of is more than I can see, for during the three years that Joseph has watched the box office window to see that the ticket seller does not take in any bad quarters, not an arrest has been made. At least that is what Joseph himself tells me.
THIS IS JOSEPH BERGFIELD, THE WEST NINTH STREET APOLLO, CAUGHT IN HIS FAVORITE POSE BY CARTOONIST BERT LEVY, WHO LABELED THE DRAWING "INTIMIDATION."
"It may be that the reason for this is that the benign cop is put together in such wonderful and fantastic proportion that the 'con' men prefer to risk arrest in some other quarters. Just what would be your feelings when you march up to the box office window and have to pass between it and a ferocious looking cop, slowly balancing himself first on his heels and then on his toes, his heavy club swinging behind his back in time to the musical movements of his body?"
Mr. Levy is cartoonist on the New York Morning Telegraph. In speaking of his life work he said:
"My career as an artist began when I was but 13 years old, in the rear of a dingy little pawnshop in Melbourne, Australia. It was a pawnshop which belonged to my brother-in-law. I was put in to mark the tickets which we used in the show window, an I would delight in cutting them out in heart-shaped and different designs. The letters I would form as artistically as possible. This gave me a start, and as days went on I began to sudy the faces of the men as they peered in through the show window looking at the articles for sale. Then I began to copy them, and I am afraid let my pawnshop business pass iwth little attention. Soon my brother in law caught me at the drawing and I was forthwith discharged. I was them put into school, and after much pleading with my father I was allowed to take a course in art.
"Two and a half years ago I left Australia and came to America. When I arrived in New York I was penniless. I had nothing save my portfolio of drawings and a courage which was born of centuries of persecution. Immeidately upon my arrival in that great whirlpool of hope and despair I went to the editors of the New York papers and tried to find a market for my work, but because I was poorly dressed, and I was, for my shoes were almost off my feet and my coat was in rags, and because I was a Jew, I was given no hope, no chance to show that I could draw.
"For five days I wandered about the Ghetto, hungry and in dire want. My meals were picked up at the free lunch counters, and my sleep, what little there was of it, I got any place htat I could find. Then after many efforts, I succeded in getting a trial on the New York Telegraph, and, well, I am still on their staff, and do work for many other large publications. I won out after a terrible struggle, but I think of the thousands of talented artists, geniuses, who are almost starving in New York simply because fate wills it."
Labels: arts, immigrants, Jews, Joe Steibel, Judge Wallace, New York, Ninth street, theater, vaudeville, visitors
March 27, 1908
HE WAS A FAKE WILLIAMS.
Person Who Collected Money Here
Not the Veteran Minstrel.
After using burnt cork on his face for thirty-eight years to appear in almost every variety of stage performances, saving a small bank roll, raising a family and being comfortably well off, Billy Williams, the old minstrel, finds than an impostor had been visiting every city in the country, using the name of Billy Williams and depending on charity for support. Billy Williams, the original and only, is at the Auditorium theater this week with "The Way of the Transgressor."
A man who claimed to be Billy Williams came to Kansas City last fall. He said illness caused principally by drink, had forced him to quit the stage, and his wife and children, as well as himself, were in need of money to keep them from starvation A benefit was given for him and he secured a tidy sum from local sympathizers. He then disappeared and was heard of in other cities playing the same game.
The original Billy Williams is 53 years old and has been on the stage since 1870. Besides his minstrel career, he was seven years with the Gray & Steve company, five years with the "South Before the War" company, five years in vaudeville with his daughter, who is now the wife of a well known showman and five years with "The Way of the Transgressor" company which is now playing at the Auditorium theater. It will be remembered that the "Billy Williams," who was an object of charity here last fall, delivered a temperance lecture in a local church, and stated it was from his own experience that he was able to speak. The is one reason the real Billy Williams is indignant.
Labels: con artist, theater, vaudeville
January 12, 1908
ACTORS ON LONG JOURNEY.
Shubert Discontinues Vaudeville and
Players Go East.
Last night closed the last week of vaudeville at the Shubert, and Kansas City was the scene of a "leave taking" among performers which was unusual. Vaudeville artists do not usually journey far between performances, but with the closing of the Shubert every performer was sentenced to a term on the Atlantic seaboard. Some of the longest "jumps" recorded in vaudeville were announced last night, when all the players had been placed by the syndicate.
It would be impossible for any of the Shubert performers to reach their destination for the regular Sunday show, but each will open with a Monday matinee. Long and Cotton go to New York. Vasco to Boston; Greene and Werner to Johnstown, Pa.; Quigley Bros. to New York; Barnold's dogs and monkeys to New York; Alexander and Bertie to Rochester, N. Y.; Lilly Fleximore to New York, and Newbold and Carroll to Syracuse, N. Y.
The performers, whose traveling expenses are paid by the theatrical syndicate, will travel in most luxurious appointment, but the dream will end at a half a score of stage doors when the curtain goes up on Monday's matinee in the East.
Labels: Boston, New York, theater, vaudeville
January 4, 1908
"LEGITIMATE" AT THE SHUBERT.
Its Days as a Vaudeville House
Numbered, Says Lehman.
Promptly at the beginning of the performance this evening the Shubert theater will pass officially from the control of the Klaw & Erianger-Oppenheimer regime into the hands of the Orpheum circuit management. Martin Lehman, manager of the Orpheum, will at that time assume actual control of the other playhouse and a new order of things will be instituted for the Shubert. After being buffeted about for more than a year, the theater will at last settle into what seems destined to be its future as a home of legitimate drama of the highest class. Its days as a vaudeville house are numbered.
To a Journal reporter last night, Mr. Lehman made a semi-official announcement that next week's bill would be the last of the vaudeville bookings at the Shubert. He declared that the one remaining bill had been contracted for and that after its finish the new engagements scheduled would be of the "legit."
"There remain three contracts to be filled after next week's show," said Mr. Lehman. "The first of these will be be Bertha Kalich in "Marta of the Lowlands," which will begin a week's engagement January 13. On March 9 Ibsen's drama of "Rosmersholm," with Minnie Maddern Flake, will begin a week's engagement, and the "Rose of the Rancho" will play the week beginning April 6. These three contracts will finish the bookings of the old company. Aside from them the bookings for the rest of this season will be entirely new.
"While our management has not instructed me to give out any advance notices of the rest of the season's engagements, I think I may safely say there will be no more vaudeville. We shall doubtless try to secure the best possible productions in the legitimate drama, and hope to offer strong bills for the rest of the season. I think there is little or no foundation for the rumor that the theater will be closed. There will be no changes in the working forces at the Shubert. All the old employees will be retained."
Labels: theater, vaudeville
December 8, 1907
211 THEATER INDICTMENTS.
146 Arrests Yesterday Afternoon
Did Not Discourage Managers.
Indictments were returned yesterday morning against 211 theatrical persons, including actors, actresses, musicians, managers, ushers, stage hands, and all employes.
The clerk of the criminal court prepared 211 warrants and delivered them to Al Heslip, county marshal, for service. The marshal then conferred with Frank M. Lowe and Senator A. L. Cooper, attorneys for the theaters. It was agreed that yesterday's afternoon matinees should not be disturbed. Judge Wallace said he was willing to accommodate them, but that he didn't wish to hold court far into the night in order to arrange the bonds.
The county marshal assigned two deputies to ever theater yesterday afternoon. The attorneys agreed to have everyone for whom there is a warrant to go the the criminal court immediately after the matinees and answer to Judge Wallace.
The theaters and theatrical companies, for whose players and employes indictments were reported, are: Auditorium, "Texas," Gilliss, "Gay New York;" National, vaudeville; Grand, "Dion O'Dare;" Century, California Girls' Burlesque company in "The Sultan's Wives;" Shubert, vaudeville; Orpheum, vaudeville; Majestic, Gay Masqueraders in "Mr. Dopey's Dippey Den."
None of the players at the Willis Wood was indicted, because Walker Whitesides Company that played there last Sunday, had only a half week's engagement and left the city Thursday.
Although there were 211 indictments, only 145 actors, actresses, managers, and other theatrical persons, including the orchestras, were arrested yesterday afternoon, but every theater in Kansas City except one, the Majestic, will be open to-day. The difference between 211 - the number indicted - and 145 - the number arrested, represents the players of several degrees who left town to avoid arrest.
The Majestic gave no matinee yesterday and no performance last night. The company playing there left the city about noon, Clinton Wilson, the manager, said, without telling him anything about it. "And this house," the manager said, "will henceforth and forever be closed on Sunday while Judge Wallace reigns. Glory be."
All other managers said their theaters would be opened every Sunday in the future, or at least until it had been decided that to have them open would be illegal.
NOW FOR A LAW TEST.
With the first arrests disposed of, the attorneys for the theatrical interests will begin at once to try for an opinion from the supreme court as to the constitutionality of the law, creating Judge Porterfield's division of the criminal court. They hope in this way to bring few of the indicted persons to trial immediately. With a few acquittals, which the attorneys predict as the result, they believe the attempt to close theaters will cease.
Judge Wallace allowed the deputy marshals so to time their actions yesterday so that none of the performances was interrupted. In the future, he said, he will not be so considerate.
"It is not the fault of the attorneys that many of the players ran away," the judge said, "but in the future I will not accomodate the theaters. They will have to time their actions with the court. As soon as indictments are returned and the warrants prepared, the marshal will be instructed to serve them immediately and bring the offenders into court, no matter if a performance is in progress. The court will take no more chances on players running away."
Managers and actors and actresses and other theater employees began coming into the criminal court room shortly after 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Judge Wallace has promised to be there then to accept bonds. By 5 o'clock the courtroom held a queer looking crowd. Chair space was exhausted. Men sat in windows and others pushed a way within the railing. The aisle was crowded and the latest to arrive from the theaters got into the room with difficulty. The crowd was estimated at 300.
"I am ready to take up this bond matter now," the judge said.
There was much interest in this announcement. The actresses grasped one anothers' hands and the men leaned forward nervously expectant.
THE SAME ARGUMENT.
First came ten employees from the Willis Wood theater. There were no players from the theater because the company that opened an engagement last Sunday played only a half week and ran away before the grand jury returned indictments. Frank M. Lowe, Senator A. L. Cooper, attorneys for the theaters, tried to file applications for change of venue, a proceeding that would have prevented Judge Wallace from hearing the pleas or fixing the amount of bond.
"The arraignments first will be filed and the bonds fixed," the judge said. "Then you may file your applications for change of venue."
Then Mr. Lowe said to all who were indicted, "Don't any of you make a response when the prosecutor asks you if you are guilty or not. Stand mute."
The attorney, then addressing the judge, said, "We wish to withdraw the plea of 'Not Guilty' and refuse to plead. Our position is that we have filed a plea in abatement and an application for a change of venue. That is our course in every case. We think that by reason of the application for the change of venue, this judge has no right to fix the bond or take any further action in these cases."
BUT THEY WERE MISTAKEN.
"That might be right," the judge said, "if you were running the court. It's a poor judge who doesn't control his own court. You may think you have filed the motions, but you haven't. This court decides when motions and papers shall be filed, and they are not filed until the court instructs the clerk so to do. You may file your applications for a change of venue after the arraignments, and after the prisoners have said whether they are guilty or not guilty. That's the practice and the rule in all criminal proceedings, and that's the way it is in this court."
The actor from the Auditorium was the only person who had a speaking part in the proceeding. All the others stood mute while the attorneys did the talking.
When Dr. Frank L. Flanders appeared before the clerk, the assistant prosecutor asked him where were the members of his company.
"They skipped," he said. "There was no one to make bond for them and they left the city."
TOOK THEM IN BUNCHES.
The arraignments were made in bunches. The whole company from a theater lined up in front of the clerk at one time. As the bonds were made for one crowd and they were released, one of the theater attorneys called the next theater on the list, and its players and employes came forward.
An actress from the Century entered the courtroom carrying a dog. She gave it to a friend to hold for her while she was being arraigned. The dog jumped to the floor and someone stepped on it. The dog yelped piteously and the crowd, or some of it, laughed. The judge admonished the marshal to keep order and the court bailiff beat his desk with his mallet. An intense silence prevailed for fully a minute. In such circumstances the judge usually threatens to clear the courtroom of spectators, but this was impossible yesterday because it was impracticable to weed out the spectators from the prisoners.
Walton H. Holmes qualified on 9 bonds and Bernard Corrigan on ten for persons from the Century. The other theaters had these bondsmen: Majestic, John W. Wagner; Orpheum, Andrew J. Baker and Charles Wiel; National, Dr. Frank L. Flanders; the Grand, Leo N. Leslie; Shubert, C. S. Jobes; Gilliss, Edward Costello; Willis Wood theater and Auditorium, E. F. Swinney.
Labels: attorney, burlesque, County Marshal Heslip, criminal court, Judge Wallace, Texas, theater, vaudeville
November 3, 1907
HOUDINI AND MARTIN LEHMAN.
The Orpheum Manager Gave the "Hand-
cuff King" His Start in Vaudeville.
Harry Houdini, the feature attraction at the Orpheum theater this week, got his start in vaudeville in Kansas City. In the early days of his career Houdini was a contortionist, trapeze performer and general utility man with the Jack Hoefler Circus, and later a member of a company of barnstormers.
One of his turns was to permit himself to be tied to a chair with ropes, from which he would extricate himself. One day while playing in Chetopa, Kas., with a small traveling show, Houdini asked for volunteers to come up and tie him. A sheriff, who happened to be present with a pair of handcuffs, cried out, "If you let me come on the stage I will tie you with these so you cannot escape." Houdini had never seen a pair of handcuffs before. The idea of using them as a feature suggested itself to him and he hence took up the study of locks. He acquired several pairs of handcuffs and in a short time acquired the faculty of extricating himself from them.
He went to Chicago where he met Mr. Walters, then president of the Orpheum circuit, and importuned him to give him an engagement on the circuit.
Mr. Walters, impressed with the young man's eloquence, sent him to Kansas City with a letter of instructions to Martin Lehman, manager of the Orpheum. Instructions in the letter were to "try this Houdini, and if his act was good to book him on the circuit." On receipt of the letter Mr. Lehman coached Houdini thoroughly and put him on the bill. Houdini met with such pronounced success he was given a contract over the entire Orpheum circuit. Since that time he has traveled all over the world.
Labels: arts, Chicago, circus, daredevils, theater, vaudeville
October 7, 1907
ALL OF THEM OPEN
THEATERS DO BUSINESS SAME
SOME ARE PACKED TO DOORS
POLICE PREPARE TO REPORT TO
Penny Arcades Put on Passion Play
and Sacred Music -- Judah Says
There Are Sermons in His
Bill -- Cigars Sold
Kansas City theaters really give Sunday performances. Bold policemen, acting under orders which came directly from the police board, found this out last night. Such a rumor had reached police headquarters, but Chief of Police Ahern diplomatically sent out policemen to learn the truth after the police board pledged support to the criminal court in putting on the Sunday lid.
Regarding the rumor of Sunday performances -- the policemen found "It is even so." They will report to their superior officer today the evidence they collected in the playhouses. The supreme court decisions, shipped in from Arkansas, do not say it is a crime for an actor or an actorine to act, any day of the week. But with the managers it is different, and the police caught 'em red handed last night. The manager who includes Sunday performances in his contracts with the public "works" during the show.
Down at the Grand a policeman caught A. Judah working -- smoking numerous cigars and nodding "yes" or "no" to the doorman when a friend of the house applied for free admission. Judah is a long-headed manager. He saw the reform cloud on the theatrical horizon and send down East for a fitting show for the first tabooed performance. "Arizona" is the bill, and Mr. Judah's public flocked to the show like girls to a marked-down carnation sale. The house was sold out before 7 o'clock for the night performance, and half an hour before the curtain went up the "admissions" were exhausted, too.
SERMONS IN HIS SHOW.
"Did you ever see such a turn-a-way," said Harry S. Richards, manager of the show.
"No," answered Judah. "But it's the show which brings 'em out this Sunday night. There's a good sermon in 'Arizona' -- the kind that sends the public home with better thoughts to dwell upon through the week. For a show with a sermon coupon, 'Arizona' is a scream."
"But does Judah really own the Grand?" asked a uniformed policeman of the ticket seller early yesterday morning. He was getting the evidences for the police board. It was his first stop. He finally departed with the information that the place is managed by Mr. Judah.
Policemen did not visit many of the theaters until after the matinee hour in the early afternoon. They then called at each of the first class houses and later made the rounds of the penny arcades and moving picture shows, taking names of manager and locations of the places of amusement.
HE HEARD A HYMN.
At many of the arcades the policemen, who are to make a report also on the character of the performances, were astounded to find the "Passion Play" in progress. Down on Main street an officer put a penny in the slot, adjusted the tubes to his ears, and then turned pale when the phonograph struck up a hymn instead of the ballet medley he had expected. He did not want the proprietor to think he did not like the place, so he ground his teeth and heart it "clean" through.
The officer assigned to vaudeville houses got blind staggers before he caught the right tip and performed the duty assigned him. At the Orpheum he found that Martin Beck is a Chicagoan. He went over to the Shubert and found a vaudeville service in progress, but a kindly disposed man outside told the blue coated officer that Mr. Klaw isn't expected here for a fortnight at least. No, Mr. Erlanger wasn't in town, either.
"Well, who is manager of this house?"
"I'm trying to be," answered Walter Sanford, the local representative of the theatrical syndicate of Klaw & Erlanger.
Chief of Police Ahern at first assigned regular theater patrolmen to bring in the evidence wanted. The men had the information already, and did not bother the managers, but they did "peep in" to see that the show really went on. Others, drawn to the theaters by curiosity, questioned employes. A policeman in uniform stood in front of the Willis Wood last night with the negro attendant who looks after the carriages.
"Who does run this house?" asked the policeman.
"The manager is Mr. Buckley, sir," answered the employe.
"Well," said the policeman, I thought Frank Woodward runs the house."
"No, sir, Mister Frank is business manager, and Mr. Buckley is the manager, sir."
"What's the difference between a manager and a business manager," asked the bewildered policeman.
"That's easy. Mr. Buckley, he runs the business. The business manager signs checks."
"Where does O. D. Woodward come in?"
"Why! He's the governor. He runs the whole business."
HIST! SAID HE.
When two officers in plain clothes applied for admission last night at the Century, Manager Joe Donegan stepped to the door of his office. Then he turned and said:
"Hist! We're pinched." He had forgotten he had occupied the office alone and was only talking to an empty room. But the officers merely wanted to see if a show was in progress, and they soon departed to round up the arcades and outlying playhouses.
Cigar stands continued yesterday to sell newspapers, cigars and other stock. It's alright to sell newspapers, but it's considered Sunday labor to sell cigars, and the cigar stands which stay open to sell newspapers are preparing to put the lid on everything else if the grand jury so orders. But the police made no attempt to close either cigar stands or grocery stores.
Labels: A Judah, Arkansas, cigars, grocers, moving pictures, police, police board, theater, vaudeville
May 6, 1907
GONE AFTER ATTRACTIONS.
President Horton to Bring Them to
the Carnival Park.
John C. Horton, president of the Carnival Park Company, Kansas City, Kas., left Sunday morning for an extended tour of the East to investigate vaudeville attractions and other amusement propositions. He expects to be gone at least two weeks, and will visit the parks of Chicago, Buffalo, New York and Charleston, S. C. Mr. Horton may also take a hurried look around the Jamestown exposition grounds for new features and ideas in park building.
Although the rain fell with scarcely an intermission all day Sunday, work of construction on carnival buildings was carried on as usual. Officials about the grounds say the doors will open at the scheduled time, May 18.
Labels: amusement, Carnival Park, Kansas City Kas, vaudeville
January 5, 1907
HOW TO STOP EM.
HOTEL GUESTS WHO SWIPE
LINEN AND BRIC-A-BRAC.
THE BANE OF THE BONIFACES.
SUSPECT EVERY MAN, WITH OR WITHOUT BAGGAGE.
Members of the Missouri-Kansas Hotel Men's Association
Relate Their Grievance Because of
Souvenir Collecting Guests.
It was late yesterday afternoon. The Kansas-Missouri Hotel Men's Association was nearing the close of its annual session at the Midland hotel. Discussions of various kinds, following papers, were had.
"Any unfinished business?" asked Charles Wood, of Topeka, proprietor of the National hotel.
Mit Wilhite, famous in Kansas because he runs the Mitway hotel at Emporia, and because he is one of the biggest baseball fans in North America, and usually runs a team of his own during the summer to entertain himself, caught the chair. "There is a question that I want to ask of this convention," he said. "My wife has asked me to solve it. I can't. What do you do when guests at your house swipe towels? We have lost just an even six dozen since October 1. What in the name of Charles Cominskey do you do to get them back or get some sort of redress?"
There was a shout of laughter from all over the hall. The 100 or more dellegates appreciated the situation. They just threw back their heads and shouted.
Allen J. Dean of htis city is president of the association. "I can give you a dead certain relief," he said. Name it, shouted Wilhite. "I'll pay you for the prescription."
"Buy six dozen more," answered Dean. Then there was more merriment.
It's a funny proposition," said Dean, "a mighty funny one. Just last week I got a big package from a town in Wisconsin. I opened it and found a sugar bowl, of an old colonial style that we used about six years ago. Accompanying was a letter but unsigned. The writer said: "I have been attending revival meetings, and have experienced a change of heart. I herewith return to you a sugar bowl which I took from your hotel when a guest there a number of years ago. It is with me a matter of principle."
"But over at the Hotel Baltimore we had a strange experience. A guest there bought a new trunk, had it taken to his room, filled it with all the stuff from the room that he could cram into it, blankets, carpet, rugs, dresser scarfs and knick-knacks and he got away."
"The Bellvue-Stratford hotel has a remedy," said a member. "On every floor is a glass lookout. A young lady is placed in each one of these day and night, and can see, without being seen, all persons who come and go. When a guest leaves a room an inventory is immediately made of the room, and if anything is missing, the guest can be caught before he gets his bill paid at the office."
"In my hotel at St. Joe," said George Boone, "I had some gas stoves. One day I missed the silver ornament from one in room 11. I found that the occupant had just checked out, but that his grip was still at the check stand. It was not locked. I opened it, took out my ornament, but it back on the stove and closed up the grip. That guest never stopped at my hotel again."
"I got an envelope here a few days ago," said Frank Miller, of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas eating houses. "It contained $5. The note was unsigned, but the writer said he owed me that much for something he had taken. I never knew what it was or who took it."
And so they related experience after experience, but the final verdict was in harmony with that of A. J. Dean: "Go out and buy; six dozen more. That is the only sure remedy."
The meeting opened yesterday morning. Mayor H. M. Beardsley made the welcoming address. Reports of officers and a great deal of routine business was transacted. Frank Miller and D. C. Smith, of Kansas City, read papers. A number of other papers were read from members on the programme, who were unable to attend. The delegates will be here over tomorrow, and are down on the programme, as printed, "For good fellowship."
The banquet was held last night at the Savoy hotel. James A. Reed was the principal speaker. A programme of vaudeville from local theaters was put on.
Labels: Hotel Baltimore, hotels, James A. Reed, Mayor Beardsley, Midland, Savoy, Texas, Topeka, vaudeville
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