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Audience eggs bad actors at Alcazar Theatre in Snohomish on March 25, 1909.
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On March 25, 1909, the Three of a Kind
Company of performers is forced to end its production at the Alcazar
Theatre in Snohomish at the end of the play's first act. So bad is
the performance that the actors are pursued into the street and
pelted with eggs by several disgruntled and aggressive attendees.
The Most Photographed Building in
The Alcazar Theatre building was constructed as a
box-house vaudeville theater. It opened on November 11, 1892, and still (2013) stands in its original location
at 609 First Street in Snohomish. In its first incarnation as a
theater, the auditorium had 350 seats and measured 33 by 45 feet in size. It was considered to be a first-class venue, its usual entertainment
in the early years consisting of short skits, musical acts, and
plays. In 1906, the young singer Al Jolson (1886-1950) played there after a
booking fell through in Everett. Since its construction, the building
has served as a theater, a garage, a junk store, and an antique shop.
When the Snohomish Historic District
was established in 1973, the Alcazar was upgraded from a junk shop to
an antique store. Longtime owner Jim McGinty (b. 1954) gave the
building a concrete foundation and a new roof but has refused to
paint it. He claims it is presently the most photographed building in
town so, in his words, "Why change it?" (Snohomish Then
and Now website).
"We'll Make it Eggs"
The Alcazar hosted many performers
during its time as a theater but perhaps no performance as notable as
the one that took place on March 25, 1909.
The Everett Daily Herald gave
the event front page coverage and a devastating review.
"Hasty Exit Made By
"They Leave Via
Back Window While Audience Waits For Their Appearance
Excites Ire of Portion of Snohomish Audience
Daily Herald, March 26, 1909, -- Snohomish went through another
sensational episode last night and came out somewhat scathed. The
members of the Three of a Kind were rotten and they left the theater
after giving one of the worst performances seen in the past months,
and that is putting it mildly.
"Manager Crippen [Charles H. Crippen, 1861-1929] has been known for booking houses.
Three of a Kind consisted of four girls and a group of young men
devoid of any acting ability, unversed in their lines and without
excuse for being on the road. The very first act was absolutely too
much for the audience and certain young men at the back of the house
were heard exiting. One was reported to have said, "Let's go out and
get some old lemons and soak 'em." Another, "We'll make it eggs!"
They left the house and a member of the company hurried to the stage
and reported the conversation.
"Flee Via Windows
"The curtain went
down at the end of the first act and never went up anymore.
was a long one. The people waited reluctantly for what was to come,
hoping against hope that something ahead would make up for the outlay
of money at the box office. At last someone suggested that possibly
the company had left by the back way. Several went on the stage and
found the company one by one dropping out the back window.
"A rush was made
for the street and then things broke loose. Many eggs were shattered
on the street and some probably hit some of the members in the
company. It was a race for life down First Street towards the hotel.
Two girls and part of the men went up a stairway and didn't come down
until 11 o'clock and the riot began at 9:30. No arrests were made but
a badly scarred troupe of "actors" faded away one by one as trains or
trolley cars left town. There is much criticism among the
conservative element directed toward those who threw the eggs but it
will probably end there, as the names of the parties cannot be
secured" (The Everett Daily Herald).
Would-Be Thespians Make Frantic Exit
A reporter from The Seattle Times
fills in details with this coverage of the event:
"BAD ACTORS EGGED IN
"Three of Kind
Company Forced to Drop Curtain and Jump from Windows of Alcazar
Special Service. Snohomish, Friday, March 26, -- The Three of a
Kind Company, a decidedly barn-storming aggregation, reached a
dramatic climax at the Alcazar Theatre last evening when the audience
rose en masse during the first act and threatened to present the play
actors with a choice selection of eggs as a mark of their lack of
"The stage manager
promptly dropped the curtain to prevent any further demonstration.
The audience waited a few minutes and as there were no further
indications that the play would be resumed, a few bolder spirits went
behind the scenes. They did so just in time to see the members of
the company -- four young women and several men -- making frantic
exits from handy windows.
"Three young men who
had threatened to furnish eggs in lieu of bouquets had already left
the house to prepare for the onslaught. The rest of the audience also
immediately made a rush for the street, where their leaders had
already gone into action and were pelting the would-be Thespians, who
were wildly running the gauntlet.
"Some of them rushed
into a stairway, where they were forced to linger for more than two
hours. During the night the members of the company left town singly
and in pairs by every train and trolley car that departed for neutral
"It was by all odds
the worst imitation of a show that ever held the boards at The
Alcazar. It was fierce. The manager says he had been given to
understand that it was a meritorious attraction.
"While the people of
Snohomish do not approve of the use of eggs excepting for gastronomic
purposes, there is a general feeling here that the company was
entitled to little consideration" (The Seattle Times).
The actors' dressing rooms were below
stage level, making it possible for them to exit through back windows
close to ground level, but a steep slope behind the building
nevertheless would have made their hasty escape quite difficult.
"Bad Actors Egged in Snohomish," The Seattle Times, March 26, 1909; "Hasty Exit Made By
Actors," The Everett Daily Herald, March 26, 1909, p. 1;
Warner Blake, "The Alcazar Theater," March 16, 2011,
Snohomish Then and Now website accessed December 21, 2012
Margaret Riddle conversation with David Dilgard, author of Mill
Town Footlights, the Theaters of Everett, Washington, on December 28, 2012.
Travel through time (chronological order):
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