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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Vaudevillian Nancy Fair’s case against attacker and fellow performer Georgia Hall was starting to backfire

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

Actress-singer Nancy Fair demanded that Georgia Hall be removed from the vaudeville bill because Hall had slapped her backstage at the Pantages Theater.

Instead, Fair was the one who was gone. The rest of the company moved on to Seattle without her.

Two conflicting explanations were offered. Fair claimed that she had asked Alexander Pantages to be separated from the circuit “because of disagreeable associations” with the other performers, including Hall.

Yet the other performers said they had in fact issued an ultimatum to the management: Either Miss Fair was gone, or the rest of the cast would quit.

“The trouble with Miss Fair is professional jealousy, and she was becoming more disagreeable right along until she precipitated the trouble this week,” said one of the other performers. “When the prosecuting attorney, through her suggestion, referred to this company as the ‘scum of the earth,’ that was the breaking point.”

That insult was uttered in court, but cast members said the same phrase was used frequently by Fair since she joined the circuit.

Far from being the “scum of the earth,” members of the Russian headline act said they had performed to acclaim in front of the “crowned heads of Europe,” including the late Russian czar, the king of Spain and the late King Edward of Great Britain. They recently performed for the late President Woodrow Wilson.

They vigorously defended Hall against charges of being an “unfit mother,” which is what Fair had called Hall because she was spanking her 3-year-old son.

“That child has never been abused,” said one of Hall’s fellow performers. “The fact is, he is idolized and petted by his parents and members of the company until he may have been a little spoiled.”

The stage director of the headine act said Fair “has the swelled head.”

“Mrs. Georgia Hall is one of the finest little mothers I have ever met and I glory in her spunk in slapping this Miss Nancy Fair,” he said.