January 10, 2014 in City

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

By The Spokesman-Review

From our archives, 100 years ago

More than 1,200 theatergoers packed the rebuilt New Auditorium Theater for its grand reopening after a devastating summer fire.

Mayor W.J. Hindley gave a dedication speech before the opening curtain. He noted that “some of the greatest artists of the world,” along with some U.S. presidents, had spoken from the same rostrum.

He said, “It would have been a calamity if the city had been deprived of its Auditorium when it was burned a few months ago, and there was serious doubt as to whether it would ever be restored to us.”

The proprietors of the theater summoned back the original ushers from the theater’s opening night, 24 years previously. Joseph Hagen, described by the paper as “colored,” officiated “at the carriage curb, as he did 24 years ago.”

The opening show was called “Bought and Paid For,” which The Spokesman-Review’s theater critic described as a dramatic comedy. It was about a telephone girl who marries a millionaire, but she soon discovers the millionaire is no bargain after all.

The critic was unimpressed with the drama, but he did enjoy the humorous parts.

“The comedy saves the play again and again,” wrote the critic.

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