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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A huge crowd loved the in-jokes and satire on display at the annual Spokane “minstrel” show, staged by a local athletic club. A comedian invented a dance called the Mayor Hindley Hop, a reference to the fact that the mayor was attempting to ban all ragtime and “suggestive” dances in the city.

To illustrate the problem, one girl was shown wearing “a big, spiked belt” to ward off any man who attempted to hold her too tight.

The crowd also loved a joke in which a comedian said a person can be arrested in Spokane for buying a shovel. The straight man scoffed at this assertion, to which the comedian replied that it had happened in Spokane, because authorities were afraid “he was going to start another diggin’s.” That was a reference to a notorious variety show called the Spokane Diggin’s, which ended with a controversial striptease.

The minstrel show included several songs, including “That Old Girl of Mine” and “I Love a Lassie.”

Oddly, the show concluded with several athletic demonstrations, including a boxing match and a wrestling match.

This provoked many remarks of “Isn’t that awful?” from the “society women” in the audience, to whom boxing was “more of a shock than a novelty.”