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Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Butcher-turned-preacher advocates temperance

From our archives,

100 years ago

The Rev. Billy Williams took a different approach to temperance evangelizing at the YMCA before a large crowd.

He wore a butcher’s apron, representing his original career, and then dramatically removed it to display a bartender’s apron, covered with blood. He also sported a diamond.

“When you look at the diamond on the shirt front of the bartender, stop,” he said. “It is your mother’s condensed tears. It is a wonder it don’t strike blindness to you and grow as large as a headlight on an engine.”

The Rev. Williams said he was “not proud of his history, because it touches the drink habit.” He said he “tells it with a touch of shame” and because he wants to save others who are “under the paw of the tiger.”

From the vaudeville beat: Lottie Mayer and her Six Diving Naiads certainly sounded like it would be a crowd-pleasing act at the Pantages Theater.

However, the critic for The Spokesman-Review was unmoved and so, apparently, was the audience.

“It was apparent from the silence that greeted the aquatic splashes yesterday, that the novelty has worn off,” the critic said. “Local plunges and nearby lake resorts seem to have taken the edge off the Mayer offering, and the difficult dives neatly done failed to arouse any thrills.”

The critic was more impressed with Laypo and Benjamin, who “affect Hebrew characterizations” while doing handsprings and strenuous acrobatics.

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