A Song and Dance Team (recently graduated from a Salt Lake City picture house) got eight weeks booking on the Cort Circuit out through the Northwest. The first show told the story. They were bad: awfully bad. But they had an ironclad, pay-or-play contract and as the management couldn’t fire them, it was determined to freeze them out. The manager started in giving them two, three and four hundred mile jumps every week, hoping that they would quit. But no matter how long or crooked he made the jumps they always showed up bright and smiling every Monday morning.
Finally they came to their last stand: and it happened that the manager, who had booked them originally, was there and saw them again. He could hardly believe his eyes, for, owing to the fact that they had been doing from six to sixteen shows a day for the past eight weeks, they now had a pretty good act. As they were getting about as near nothing a week as anybody could get and not owe money to the manager, he wanted to keep them along. He was fearful the memories of those jumps he had been giving them would queer the deal, but he determined to see what a little pleasant talk would do; so he went to them and said,
“Now, boys, you have got that act into pretty good shape; and if you like I can give you some more time. And,” he hastened to add, “you won’t get any more of those big jumps either. I was awful sorry about those big fares you have had to pay.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” replied one of the boys; “we belong to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and always ride on the engine free anyway.”
Lagniappe ~ CLOSING NUMBER
As I don’t know whether this effort is going to get applause enough to take a bow, I am going to finish with a story that has got two bows in it.
There was an old English actor who had struggled all his life for recognition; and never got it. He had never been in a decent company—never had a decent part in his life. And for years he had been reading of the wonderful success many of the English players were meeting with in America, so at last he sailed for that Land of Promise.
But it was the same sad story it had been at home. And dollar by dollar, and penny by penny his money went until at last he was penniless. And then came that longing for HOME that cannot be resisted. And one dark night he went down and stowed away on a steamer bound for Liverpool.
The next morning he was discovered, and put to work helping in the kitchen. This was the last straw; there he sat, in his fur lined overcoat and silk hat, peeling potatoes. That night he decided to end it all. So at midnight he said “Farewell vain world” and went over the rail.
“Man overboard!” cried the Lookout.
The life belts were thrown over. The powerful electric search lights were thrown upon the waters. These life belts as soon as they strike the water begin to burn a bright red light.
The poor old actor came up for the last time—and just between the two life belts with their red fires burning. At the same moment the dazzling stream of light from the search light fell full upon him. The old man opened his eyes; and a look of ineffable joy came over his face. For the first time in his life he was in the spot light.
So he took two bows—and went down—forever.