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The Off-Stage Acts That Gave
Added Comedy and Tragedy Wanted: A Corkscrew

The Kansas City Star Sun, 28 Jul 1935

Turning the pages of his big ledger Mr. Shouse came to the date on which Zach Mulhall's Wild West show gave a performance in the hall and he told how, in one of the scenes, the overland stagecoach, with four women and a man or two inside and drawn by four horses, upset as it was going full tilt around the outer edge of the arena. The women were spilled out and badly hurt.

"All four of them were carried in here and laid down. One had a broken collar bone, one had a broken hip. Lucille Mulhall, daughter of Zach, the Oklahoma ranchman, was lying here on this table, suffering terribly, and Norma, my wife, said:

"I wonder if a little whisky would help her!"

Instantly Lucille exclaimed between her groans:

"A little? Damn it, give me a whole bottle!"

"Years before, Johnny Speas, one of the directors of the hall, and an agent for whisky, had given us a quart bottle of pure rye whisky. We had put it in the vault and there it had stood unopened. Norma rushed in and got it and began looking for a corkscrew.

"Hurry up. Hurry up with that whisky," urged Lucille, eyeing the bottle.

"'We are hunting for a corkscrew," answered Norma.

"'To hell with a corkscrew; break the neck off the bottle,' cried Lucille, and we did that, cracked it off against the washstand and poured out a cupfull for Lucille. She drained it, and handed back the cup with the demand:

"'Another one.'"

When Mr. Shouse had finished his story, I said: "Louis, I'll tell you a supplement to that story that has never been told before. When that stagecoach overturned I was in the audience, and I rushed into your office. I recognized one of the men who was helping carry the women in as Henry Starr, the lone bandit of Oklahoma, who in his time had robbed scores of banks in that state single-handed. I had met him once after he and Kid Wilson were arrested in Colorado and came through here in charge of federal officers, on the way to Fort Smith, Ark., to be tried in the court of Judge Parker, who had sentence eighty men to death. I went down there to Starr's trial and was present when Judge Parker sentenced him to be hanged. But he got a new trial and escaped with life in prison, from which President Teddy Roosevelt paroled him. He went back to banditry again, and was shot while robbing a bank in Stroud, Ok., and again I went down and wrote more stories about him."

Starr and Mulhall were always friends, and Starr was one of the men on the box of that stage that night when it pset. He was unhurt. He recognized me as quickly as I did him that night in this office here, and he looked at me appealingly, and put a finger to his lips. There was a reward of $5,000 for him 'alive or dead' at that time offered by the Banks Association of Oklahoma, but I am telling now, for the first time, that Starr was one of the actors in that Mulhall's WIld West. It can't matter now, for a few years later Starr was shot dead as he was holding up a bank single-handed in Harrison, Ark.

"Yes," said Louis Shouse, "bandits, preachers, clowns, presidents, evangelists, horse tamers, archbishops, singers, explorers - they and many others have passed in long procession through this hall in the last thirty-five years. Al Jennings, Oklahoma bandit, pardoned from a life term in prison, returned to Oklahoma and ran for governor of that state, and came here to lecture in this hall. There was great opposition to his lecture and some sort of purity society tried to prevent it, but Jennings got an injunction against them and went on with his lecture, which did not pay very well.

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