No. 526
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 21, 2021

Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

The manager of a dizzy blonde troupe is lassoed by an indignant cowboy at Dodge City, Kansas.
January 18, 2016
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"Louisville Courier-Journal," May 8, 1881, via Newspapers.comWhen I started this blog, I hoped to focus on the smaller, obscure stories from the past--the long-forgotten bits of random oddities that, when taken together, show just what a strange world we live in.  In short, the "uncommon" is really quite commonplace.One such story is the death of one otherwise completely unmemorable young man. 
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Strange Company - 6/21/2021

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An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.Denver Tribune-RepublicanMay 14, 1885(Click image to enlarge)   n order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance"  Note how bad the Xerox copy at the top is. This was shared to my father, by his brother (my uncle) Joseph Jefferson Smith​ (1909-1977). Obviously, the copiers at the time did not do
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/13/2021

When railroad baron H.H. Cook decided to build himself a New York City mansion, he didn’t try to squeeze into a plot of land on Fifth Avenue in the 50s—an area that had been colonized by several Vanderbilt heirs and other Gilded Age moneymakers. Instead, he went to the then-hinterlands of Manhattan, purchasing the entire […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/20/2021
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Parental hostility drove Fanny Madison out of her home and into the arms of her cousin, Thomas Cluverius. It was not a wise decision.Read the full story here: Kissing Cousins.                                             Pictures from Illustrated Police News, May 2, 1885.
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/19/2021

Producer-director Ric Rebelo has today, in memory of LeeAnn Wilber, former co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, released this award-winning film for public view on Youtube. This was filmed in 2010, some of the participants in the production are no longer with us today. What was recorded in 2010 has not changed much today in 2021, only intensified in fascination.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/16/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A Winter Scene. | The Terrific Leap at Niblo’s Garden, From an Aerial Apparatus.

Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

Had him on a string

He Had Him on a String.
The manager of a dizzy blonde troupe is lassoed by an indignant cowboy at Dodge City, Kansas. [more]

One of the variety theatres at Dodge City had for an attraction a company composed of gaudy-stockinged blondes. The performance was awful in its wretchedness, and in no time the boys got uneasy and the whiskey in them began to call for fun. Joe Hooke rose gravely, called the performance to a halt and asked for the manager. The impressive gentleman came into sight on the staged and asked what he wanted. Joe told him that a show, to be a success, should be plentifully sprinkled with local talent. The manager haughtily declined Joe’s offer “to speak a piece.” But his indignation was soon cut short by the whizzing of a lariat and stern reminder that any kicking would speedily be followed by strangulation. Joe mounted the stage and ordered the orchestra to play somethin’ right sneaky like, and began a long piece to the effect that:

In de days of old
We ‘uns all had gold
      In fac’ till quite recen’ly
When we ‘uns held a wake
On New York Jake,
      But cudnt bury’im decen’ly

After that the performance proceeded until one of the boys, taking it into his head that the big fiddle was a nuisance, threw a lasso over the neck of it, and started for the door. The instrument was a complete wreck in a minute. The boys then began to lasso the girls on the stage, who were engaged in an American march, and in less time than it takes to tell it there was not a light burning in the house.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 24, 1887.