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October 19, 2001

One more story about the old Grand Opera House, which used to be in the middle of the block on the east side of the Perry square, and then we’ll put the subject to rest, until something new comes along.

In the early years of this community, probably about 1916, “the National Troubadours” presented a program on the stage of the Grand Opera House featuring an all-local cast of players. The event was under auspices of the Baptist Young People’s Union of the First Baptist church. I have a copy of the souvenir program that was handed to guests that evening, and details of the production are contained on its pages.

The compact little booklet is eight inches from top to bottom and pages are three and one-half inches wide, but they contain a wealth of names and other information Let’s start with the cast of characters: Prof. Zoaring (aviator) – Mr. Homer Hart; Miss Dolly Dean – Bernice Guthrie; George Washington (Prof. Z. Valet) -- Mr. Earnest Housh; Johnny Bell (Englishman) – Mr. George Edwards; Deutschland Troubadours – Misses Edith Farris, Twila Wadsworth, Bernice Pert, Merle Watson, Ruth Ringler and Hazel Scott; Spanish Troubadours – Misses Lola Moore, Faythe Eby, Hope Eby, Mabel Ringler, Mary Watson and Dolly Wadsworth; Soloist – Miss Lilyan Laird; Italian Troubadours – Mr. Raymond Woodruff, Miss Mildred Tate, Russell Harbaugh, Misses Evelyn Geiger, Alma Tate, Etta Scott, Annabel Hendren, Mamie Tillman and Bernice Ross.

During intermission, the audience was entertained with a trumpet solo played by Mr. Earnest Brookhart. In an “English tea garden scene,” these singers were heard – Margurite Monroe, F. Jones, N. Vandevener, L. Ellis, J. Tillman, George Edwards, Lilyn Laird, Faythe Eby, Mary Watson, Mabel Ringler, Lola Moore, Hope Eby, Dolly Wadsworth, Martin Robinson, Charles Shultz and Dean McKinney. The “Indian Troubadours” were composed of Homer Hart, Tillie Ringler, Olive McMeeken, Wanda Johnston, Mary Tate, Cecil Maloch and Winifred Brengle.

When “the American Troubadours” performed, they included soloists Homer Hurt and Bernice Guthrie; Uncle Sam – Ora Hall; Liberty – Francis Weber; Chorus composed of Hazel Scott, Martha Mugler, Anna Mugler, Edna McCracken, Martha Jensen, Twila Wadsworth, Martin Robinson, Charles Schultz, Dean McKinney, Mr. Straus and H. Hurt. The business and talent committee for the night’s performance consisted of Rev. Hurt, R. Lattin, Tillie Ringler, Mrs. C. Harbaugh and Mrs. Weber. Piano accompanist was Miss Ione Geiger, and director of the whole shebang was Mr. F. S. Fluke, who was not otherwise identified.

Some of the merchants who purchased ads in the program were Lattin’s News Stand (“most modern ice cream parlor in the city”); the Famous Department Store (“Palm Beach suits, mid-summer hats, fancy parasols and wash suits”); Charles Huffman Cash Grocery (“We Don’t Deliver”); Lobsitz Hardware Store (“The Leading and Best Hardware Store in the City”); Exchange Bank (“Loans Money and Receives Deposits; Will Sell You All the Liberty Bonds You Want”); First National Bank; A. Kraemer (“Dealer in Boots, Shoes and Clothing; High Grade Merchant Tailoring”); and the City Drug Store, Fred W. Beers, Proprietor (“The Best Cold Drinks in Town”). Numerous other merchants also had ads in the program. Thanks again to former Perryan David Foster of Albuquerque, N.M., for passing along to me this program and other memorabilia from the past.