No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

The manager of a dizzy blonde troupe is lassoed by an indignant cowboy at Dodge City, Kansas.
January 18, 2016
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
A Winter Scene. | The Terrific Leap at Niblo’s Garden, From an Aerial Apparatus.

Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

Had him on a string

He Had Him on a String.
The manager of a dizzy blonde troupe is lassoed by an indignant cowboy at Dodge City, Kansas. 

One of the variety theatres at Dodge City had for an attraction a company composed of gaudy-stockinged blondes. The performance was awful in its wretchedness, and in no time the boys got uneasy and the whiskey in them began to call for fun. Joe Hooke rose gravely, called the performance to a halt and asked for the manager. The impressive gentleman came into sight on the stage and asked what he wanted. Joe told him that a show, to be a success, should be plentifully sprinkled with local talent. The manager haughtily declined Joe’s offer “to speak a piece.” But his indignation was soon cut short by the whizzing of a lariat and stern reminder that any kicking would speedily be followed by strangulation. Joe mounted the stage and ordered the orchestra to play somethin’ right sneaky like, and began a long piece to the effect that:

In de days of old
We ‘uns all had gold
      In fac’ till quite recen’ly
When we ‘uns held a wake
On New York Jake,
      But cudnt bury’im decen’ly

After that the performance proceeded until one of the boys, taking it into his head that the big fiddle was a nuisance, threw a lasso over the neck of it, and started for the door. The instrument was a complete wreck in a minute. The boys then began to lasso the girls on the stage, who were engaged in an American march, and in less time than it takes to tell it there was not a light burning in the house.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 24, 1887.