January 28, 2012 in City

Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

By The Spokesman-Review
 

From our archives, 100 years ago

The “banned” play, “The Devil,” went on as scheduled at the American Theater in Spokane – despite the fact that Mayor Hindley had declared the play “unmoral” and issued an edict banning it.

Yet while Hindley was out of town, the city commissioners ruled that the show must go on, for the very good reason that neither mayor nor commission had any legal authority to ban a play. The city attorney said that under state law the producers of an “immoral show” could be fined and their license revoked. But the mayor couldn’t simply take on the role of censor and prohibit a show before it opened.

The mayor, when he returned to Spokane, was incensed about the commissioners’ revocation of what The Spokesman-Review gleefully called his “ukase.” Ukase was the word for imperial decrees in czarist Russia.

From the acting beat: John Laraway, a teacher at Gonzaga College, abruptly resigned to take on a new profession: actor.

In fact, Laraway had been playing the “Old Man” under a pseudonym for three weeks in a play called “The Charity Ball” in a Spokane theater, but even “his most intimate friends” didn’t realize it was he.

His identity was revealed only when he announced he was resigning to become the leading man in a Walla Walla theater troupe.


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