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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

“Ben Hur,” one of the most spectacular stage shows ever mounted, was wowing Spokane audiences at the Auditorium theater.

The show included:

• A fully rigged Roman galley with 40 men at the oars.

• A life-size gondola, moving “across the stage in stately grace.”

• A camel.

• The famous chariot race, in which eight horses attached to two chariots speed “at full gallop” across the stage.

The show usually used 12 horses, but a lack of stage room at the Auditorium made it necessary to scratch four horses.

The crowd didn’t mind. The packed house “cheered and applauded” the efforts of the respective drivers.

The acting talent was also first-rate in this national touring show, according a reviewer. The lead actor was “handsome, virile, lithe and supple” and the lead actress was a fine example of the “pulchritude” of the company.

This popular show had played Spokane several times before, but demand was unflagging.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1778: The American ship Ranger carried the recently adopted Stars and Stripes to a foreign port for the first time as it arrived in France. … 1859: Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.