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

100 years ago in Spokane: After a parenting critique that led to blows, there may have been more drama between two Pantages performers than there was on the stage

 (S-R archives)
Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A fistfight between two Pantages Theater entertainers landed one of them in court on assault charges.

Georgia Hall, the Pantages bill-opener, admitted that she smacked Nancy Fair, a singer, after Fair told her she was “not fit to be a mother.” Fair had been remonstrating Hall for spanking her 3-year-old son.

“She says I hit her 16 times,” Hall said. “She’s crazy. I only slapped her twice, but I wish had hit her harder. She can’t tell me I’m not fit to be a mother. My child needed punishing and I’m not going to have anyone else tell me how to bring him up.”

Fair responded that Hall was simply jealous “because I receive more applause.”

“My jaw is so sore today that I can hardly masticate my food,” Fair said. “The idea of a woman doubling up her fists to strike a person! I think it is terrible and I didn’t attempt to return the blows. I guess she would have beaten me terribly if my mother hadn’t interfered and held her.”

But that wasn’t all the mother did in response to the attack.

“My daughter is a Broadway star and we don’t have to play Pantages,” Fair’s mother said. “I wired Mr. Pantages 150 words tonight, informing him that those persons (Hall and her parents) would have to be taken off the bill or my daughter would refuse to go on. And they’ll take them off, too, for they beg my daughter to play this circuit. She gets real money.”

Hall’s husband scoffed at that idea and bet Fair $50 that she had never been on Broadway. Georgia Hall added that Fair was a well-known troublemaker and that “no one on the bill speaks to her.”

“She can’t even get along with her own accompanist,” said Hall, who predicted that Pantages would take Fair off the bill, not her.

Fair retorted by saying, “Unfortunately, traveling on a vaudeville circuit, you are brought into contact with persons not at all of your own class, but in spite of their continued abuse, I have simply ignored them.”

Both women were still on the bill the night after the fight and both smiled and performed as if nothing had happened.

Hall was charged with assault and posted bond pending a trial.