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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Controversial film shown at the American Theater

From our archives,

100 years ago

The American Theater in Spokane opened Edward Sheldon’s controversial drama about the South, which had a title that we can only represent euphemistically as “The N-Word.”

The Spokesman-Review’s critic said the production was “more an arraignment of the liquor traffic than a vehicle for Negro-baiting, although there is much of both elements.” The critic said it is “less offensive in the latter regard than the picture (film) version.”

The show’s advertisement called it: “A Drama of Love and Race Hatred. See the Ku Klux Klan.”

One unusual element of the show: The entire auditorium was sprayed with magnolia perfume, in an attempt to create the proper Southern aura.

From the prohibition beat: Ole Hansen, a Seattle resident and former U.S. Senate candidate, told a Spokane crowd that “Seattle is wet again.”

By that, he meant that the statewide prohibition laws were not being enforced.

“Since the election there has been no trouble in getting whisky almost anywhere on the main street, from drugstores, ‘prohibition’ bars, and cafes,” said Hansen. “Men working for me at land clearing, strangers to Seattle, have come to my office drunk on their first day in town. Saturday night, I paid the fare to Ellensburg of a man who had spent his ticket money in drink. Sheriff Bob Hodges made a few grandstand raids of private homes and the Rainier Club, but accomplished nothing.”