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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The entertainment schedule for Spokane looked particularly intriguing this week. Upcoming acts included:

Roehm’s Athletic Girls – Their act included “boxing, wrestling, fencing and bag-punching.” The theater writer for The Spokesman-Review noted that “there are some perfect specimens of women in form and development.”

Loa Durbelle, Shadow Artiste – She “makes shadows with her fingers on a sheet with the aid of a strong light.”

Mr. Barnum, Hypnotist – Barnum was performing for a week at the Auditorium Theater, but he didn’t confine his wonders to the stage. One of his feats involved putting a subject “under the spell of sleep for 50 hours” and then installing him in the window of a Riverside Avenue store, “where he will remain in full view of passersby” until brought back to the stage and awakened in front of the audience.

Other promised feats included hypnotizing a piano player who will play popular tunes for hours while asleep.

The story does not say whether he is related to P.T. Barnum, but he clearly believed in P.T.’s most famous maxim: There’s a sucker born every minute.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1870: Joseph H. Rainey, of South Carolina, became the first black lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. 1963: Kenya gained its independence from Britain.

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