Jim Kershner’s This day in history
From our archives, 75 years ago
The Spokane Daily Chronicle’s editorial page praised the late George Conniff, the night marshal in Newport, Wash., as an “unsung hero.”
Conniff had been gunned down earlier in the week after he accosted some men in a Newport alley. The gunmen escaped. The Chronicle speculated that “they were fugitives, possibly parolees.”
The editorial said that law officers in small towns are especially vulnerable because “outlaws seek these places for their depredations” knowing that police forces are small and undermanned.
The irony: This was the same case later made famous in Timothy Egan’s book “Breaking Blue.” The book argues forcefully that Conniff wasn’t shot by any “fugitive.” He was shot by a rogue Spokane detective.
From the movie beat: Here’s a perfect example of how a word has changed meaning over the past 75 years. A movie titled “Diamond Jim,” starring Edward Arnold, was playing the State Theater in Spokane. The tagline on the ad reads: “The Gay White Way’s Gayest Play Boy.”
It was a movie about Diamond Jim Brady and his romance with Lillian Russell.
Also on this date
(From the Associated Press)
1850: Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which created a force of federal commissioners charged with returning escaped slaves to their owners.