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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

Fri., March 25, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

A crowd of 5,000 gathered at Riverside Avenue and Stevens Street to witness a spectacular act of derring-do: A guy catching a turnip with a fork.


Yep, Jean Bedini, a vaudeville performer appearing at the Orpheum, announced that he planned to snag, with a fork, a turnip dropped from the top of the 11-story Old National Bank Building.

People crowded the streets and watched from windows during lunch hour.

Bedini cleared the crowd away from an “improvised circle” on the pavement. Then Bedini’s assistant dropped two turnips – you could call them test turnips – from the roof into the circle.

“When the third turnip was dropped, Bedini raised his right hand and stepped into the circle,” reported the Spokane Daily Chronicle. “The turnip missed his fork and hit the performer on the chin.”

Then descended a fourth turnip, which was blown off course by a gust of wind. Yet Bedini was up to the challenge.

“Bedini was forced to stretch over several small boys in order to pick it off with his fork,” said the Chronicle. “A mighty shout went up from the thousands of people.”

The turnip had been successfully forked.

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