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Not lo be taken from the Library 

REF 792.079 Unl v. 16 

History of the San Francisco Theatre, Volume XVI 

Compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program 
of the Work Projects Administration 
in Northern California 

Sponsored by the City and County of San Pra; 


Official sponsor of the Northern 
California Writers' Project 

John M. Carmody, Administrator 


Howard 0, Hunter^ Commissioner 
Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner 
William R. Lav/son, Administrator for Northern California 








Eureka ( Piatt's ) Theatre 
Magulre's Academ y~ ~of Music 




The Willows 
^layes Park 
V.'oo'dwa r"gT "G ard ena 
C^ lty' ' Garden s 






Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

San Francisco Public Library 






Listing the early appearances of such 
later favorites as the Worrell Sisters, 
Lotta Crabtree, Joe Murphy and Johnny 
De Angelis 








To recaptvire the spirit of those days when 3nn Prancisco 
shared with New York and Chicago the glory of leadership in 
the Nation's theatrical affairs has been the purpose of this 
aeries. The present monograph is the second in a group of 
five devoted to San Francisco's more celebrated playhouses of 
the last hundred years. 

With this volume, sixteenth in the Theatre Research Se- 
ries, the Northern California Vi'riters' Project continues the 
v/ork begun by Project 465-03-3-236, sponsored by the City and 
County of San Francisco, which prepared the first 15 volumes 
in the series. The remaining volumes, }CVII-:CXI, will likewise 
appear as the wrork of the Vifriters' Project. 

The research and writing for this voluine were done under 
the direction of Lawrence Sstavan, Supervisor of the Theatre 
Research Unit, and under supervision of Kstherlne Jtistice, 
District Supervisor of the San Prancisco V.ritors' Project. 
The research was the work of Gretchen Clark, Matthew Gately, 
Michael Krepshaw, Elleanore Staschen, and Jack Wilson. The 
final manuscript was written by George Hanlin, For the lino- 
leum block cover cut, we are indebted to the National Youth 
Administration, Fred Brandt, Supervisor; for photographic re- 
production, to M. H. McCarty; and for miuieographing, to the 
Historical Records Survey Project. B'or critical reading of 
the manuscript thanks are due to Professor Frank Fenton of 
San Prancisco State College and to George Poultney, formerly 
of the Tlvoli Company. 

Walter McElroy, State Supervisor 
Northern California Vi^riters' Project 






Eureka ( Pleltt's ) Theatre 

Map;ulre ' s Academy of Husic 

V.'ithin only ten years, between 1859 and 1869, San Fran- 
cisco irushroomed from the riotous camp of the Argonauts into 
the metropolis of the Pacific Coast. The discovery of the 
Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859 not only brought nev/ prosper- 
ity to tho city but it began an era of v;ild speculation in 
stocks and real estate — chiefly engineered by VJilliam C. 
Ralston, president of the powerful Bank of California — from 
which rose the great financial figures of the late nineteenth 
century. The completion of the first transcontinental rail- 
road a decade l?,ter brought California into the National pic- 
ture. From an outpost, a fabulous place where men of all na- 
tions came together on more or less equal terms, San Francisco 
was transformed into a financial center, a city of the indus- 
trial world. This change naturally expressed lts«lf in the 
lighter side of the city's life, as seen in its places of en- 
tertainment • 


Very few theatres were built in the sixties. It was not 
until the erection of the California Theatre In 1869 that a 
revive! in thentre building began that was corapnrable to the 
mushroom growth of the early fifties. Two houses dominated 
the field dviring this period: liaguire's Opera House and the 
I'etropolitan Theatre, And one man v/as king — Tom Maguire, 
the gambler, Haguire of the reckless fifties, of the shoe- 
string -to-thousands-and-back-to-shoestring era. But a man of 
another age was to come, William Ralston, who gambled in mil- 
lions and eventually with his own life. He v;as followed by 
"Lucl^" Baldv;in, the "Bonanza King," To these men the theatre 
v.'as a plaything and a thousand dollars four digits # Tom 
O'Bedlam was stumbling into journey's end. 

But Tom Y/as still to l-mov/ some years of glory, and the 
theatres to be treated in this chapter were the last of the 
many outposts of Maguire ' s Opera House, (Piatt built the 
Eureka but Maguire later leased the theatre.) They were not 
the Inst of Tom's ventures beyond V/ashington Street but by 
the time he had arrived in Bush street the heart of his king- 
dom Was gone. His Opera House had been destroyed to make way 
for a mere thoroughfare'. And the king had become a v;andering 

Both the p:ureka and the Academy of Music were short- 
lived houses but their lives were eventful, as any house of 
Maguire was bound to be. Both were or should have been 
profitable (Tlaguire insisted on indulging in that expensive 

obsession of his -- grand opera — at the Academy); yet both 
wound up their careers in dreary guise, one as a Museum of 
Anetoray and the other as a f-urniture store. 

Henry B, Piatt had found life as a street contractor a 
very profitable one. His Music Hall, built in 1860 and de- 
clared the finest concert hall on the Pacific Coast, likewise 
had encouraged him in the belief that the building cf theatres 
was no mean enterprise. So it is not surprising to discover 
this notice in the Bulletin of November 20, 1862: 

"Between California and Pine, the ep.sterly sidewalk of 
Montgomery Street is obstructed by a barricade, behind which 
a two-story brick building has suddenly shot up , . . . Be- 
hind the barricade, Piatt (the Music Hall man) is building 
a theatre which was commenced on the first of Octo>er, and 
is to be completed by the fourth of December, To the rear 
of the theatre from the Montgomery Street line la 206 feet. 
Prom the street nothing of it will be visible but the broad 
entrance with s store on either side, and a second floor. 
The theatre is modelled much after the style of Wallack's 
in New York, and is about the same size* An htmdred men afe 
at work on it night and day, and have already done so much 
that it looks as if the proprietor's promise that it shall 
be done in two weeks more were likely to be kept," 

The promise was not fulfilled, but on December 17 a further 
notice appeared in the Bulletin ; 

"Opening of n new theatre -- The Eureka -- The new 
the.-tre erected by Mr. Piatt on the east side of Montgomery 
Street, between California and Pine, called the Eureka 
Theptre, will be opened to the public tomorrow evening. In 
our advertising columns will be found a list of the dramatic 
company, which includes, among others: Mr, and Mrs. Leigh- 
ton, Mr. end Mrs. Locke, Mrs. Perry, Mrs. Burrill, Miss 
Land, Mr. Phelps, Mr. Mayo, Mr, Barry, Mr. Anderson, and 
Mr. Clifton. Mr. Leighton is lessee, Mr. Corbyn acting man- 
ager, and Mr, Phelps stage-manager. The pieces to be per- 
formed tomorrow evening are the comedy of Masks and Faces 
(in which Mrs. Leighton will appear as Peg V/off ington) and 
the farce of Mr. pnd Mrs. Peter White . Miss Viola, a vocal- 
ist, will make her first public professional appearance in 
this country, and sing an air, Mrs, Hayne vdll deliver an 
opening address. The prices are Vl J^or the dress circle 
and 50 cents for the parquet," 

The scenic artist v;ris A, Torning and it was advertised 
that "n new and superb act drop, from the pencil of the tal- 
ented p.rtist, Mr. C, Rogers, will be exhibited in the course 
of the evening," 

Leighton had recently commanded but poor success at the 
American Theatre and his luck at the Eureka was not much bet- 
ter. Maguire wrs enjoying one of his rare seasons at the 
Opera House, and Leighton' s sombre litany of dramatic pieces 

had little chpnce against the sparkle pnd impudence of Tom's 
burlesque r nd minstrel shows. Particularly bright among these 
v/ere Harry Courtaine's deft take off on Shakespeare in King 
Blear and Walter Leman's burlesque of state politics in King 
Caucus v/ith Jennie Mandevllle, V/illirm O'Neil, Billy Birch, 
Sam Wells, pnd Ben Cotton, In Februp.ry, Leighton gave up as 
manager and moved to the Metropolitan. He was succeeded by 
Charles Tibbetts, 

On I'^rch 16, 1863, occurred a solitary presentation by a 
French compnnj^ of i.iurger's La Vie de Boheme , In the cast 
were the v;ell-knovm actor, K. Bonnet, as Rodolphe and Mme , 
Fleury as Iviimi, supported by I.iessrs, Roncovieri and Adolphe 
and Mme , Leontine, This performance, taken from a Sixreka 
pror;;ram, is the first record of the French theatre in &an 
Francisco since 1859.* 

On Hrrch 23, 1863, the T^;ureka was closed for remodeling, 
featioring as a last attraction a giantess seven feet tall and 
only 23 years old. Then on April 13 there appeared in the 
Daily A It a this notice: 

"This establishment v/ill re-open this evening under 
the management Charles Tibbetts. During the past week the 
house has been materially improved by raising the ceiling 
of the auditorium even with that of the lobby, nev/ decora- 
tions, etc, A new drop curtain from the pencil of Signor 

See French Theatre , Vol. IX, this series, 

Arrigona has been added. It is a beautiful picture repre- 
senting a Greek garden, ruined castle, reservoir, waterfall 
and a palace. Pew curtains extant are equal to this. The 
opening plays .^re the new drama of 'ATiite Lies in which Mrs. 
PIayne,rirs. Perry, Hiss i.iandeville and Messrs. Booth, Thayer 
and others vi 11 appear, and the military piece of the vol- 
unteers in which the ladies will appear as the military. 
J. 3, Booth was stage manager. The company was called 'The 
Metropolitan Star Company,'" 

The company was an excellent one, but still the Eureka 
failed to drpw, one reason being that Tibbetts was attempting 
to manag-^ the Hetropolitan at the same time. After two weeks 
he decided that one theatre was trouble enough and natiorally 
it WPS from the Eureka that he chose to withdraw, 


Not until Hay 25, when Maguire leased the house and 
opened v/lth the Sp.n Pren'^isco Minstrels, v/as the Eureka to 
enjoy its first taste, of success. Haguire at this time v/as 
supreme ?.nd almost without competition in San Pranciaco; his 
Cpera House was the leading theatre in the cityjhe had a half 
interest in its chief rival, the Metropolitan, and his min- 
strels were now drawing delighted crowds into the hitherto un- 
fortunate Eureka. Indeed, in his heyday there was never a time 
v.'hen Maguire could not make money; unfortunately he had an 
even greater gift for getting rid of it ♦ 

The San Francisco Minstrels wereat that time without com- 
petition in their line and their arrival at the Eureka was a 

turning point in the career of that theatre. Charley Backus, 
Billy Birch, Wambold and others in the troupe were later to be- 
come famous names in minstrelsy and their antics made the Eureka 
a center of uproarious enthusiasm ♦Adah Isaacs Menken's triumph 
in Mazeppa had inaugurated an epidemic of "sensation dramas" at 
the Opera House and the Metropolitan; The French Spy was suc- 
ceeded by East Lynne , which was followed by Lady Audrey' s 
Secret ; this in turn gave way to The Ticket of Leave Man , or 
Rookwood , or The Peep O'Day Boys , with Mazeppa weaving in and 
out of the picture like a v.agnerian leitmotif. But at the 
Eureka the San Francisco Minstrels continued without a break in 
their merriment, 


In the summer of 1864 liaguire purchased the E\ireka out- 
right, installing E, G, Bert as his manager. Bert, who had 
recently lost approximately !|20,000 in his New Idea Melodeon 
and had been tendered a benefit at the Metropolitan, was one 
of the most capable of variety managers and immediately pro- 
ceeded to add a new note to minstrelsy by the interjection of 
female performers in the troupe. Their only competition came 
from the Murphy and Bray Minstrels who had recently opened a 
season at the American Theatre, 

During the fall of that year Charles Kean, the eminent 
English tragedian, and his wife Ellen Tree, enjoyed a highly 
successful Shakespearean season at the Opera House. Charley 

Backus, Gvldently a hlchly talented mimic, put on several imi- 
tntionp of Kepn ?t the riureka.^-' At one of these performances, 
n tnke off on Hamlet , "can himself happened to be present. 
Here was one tragedian vith a sense of humor, for Kean was 
Interested enough to invite Backus to his rooms at the Occiden- 
tal Hotel and explain several points that the minstrel had 
missed, rv^n going to the extent of rehearsing the entire scene 
between Hamlet and the Ghost with minute observations on the 
subtleties of intonation, gesture, and modulation of voice. 
In January, 1865, i'iaguire moved the San Francisco Min- 
strels to his nev; /cademy of l.iusic and replaced them at the 
Eureka v.'ith a mediocre troupe of male and female performers. 
There followed bleak months ond it was not, ironically enough, 
until the return of drama to its stage that the Fureka was 
again to know prosperity, 


On June 8, Chnrles V'heatleigh leased the theatre and 
opened with a new Boucicault play. How She Loves Him , or 
Dying for Love , and the farce On the Sly . Included in the 
cast were Fanny Morgan Phelps, John Torrence, I'Irs. Judah, and 
Miss Gass. James Dowllng vjas stage-manager. 

V.Tieatleigh followed the Maguire policy of presenting nov- 
elties. For three months his ability as a manager and actor 
made the Eureka one of the popular houses of the city. It was 

■"^ Sec -instr^lsj. Vol, XIII, this seriei 

almost unfortunate for that theatre that he was so successful, 
for the disparity between the demand for tickets and the seat- 
ing capacity of the Eureka forced him to move his company to 
the Metropolitan in September. Thus closed the one and only 
successful season of legitimate drama at the Eureka and the 
last successful sea sen of any sort. 

Maguire seems to have abandoned the Eureka for anything 
but casual productions after the departure of Wheatleigh, for 
there is no record of any important engagement there after 
1865, However, Edward A, Morphy, writing in the Chronicle of 
May 11,1919, mentions an interesting event at the Eureka some 
time in 1865: 

"In the programme of a benefit given to D.C, Anderson 
in February of that year one finds a recitation 'Bingen on 
the Rhine' by Frank Mayo. Mayo afterward achieved fame in 
many roles and fortune in Davy Crockett . , , , On the same 
programme are the names of Miss Ella Hinckley, Mrs, G. E. 
Locke, Mrs, Emma Pastor and other old-time favorites, and 
also 'Feats of Strength' by the Orrin Family. The Orrin 
Family comprised among others the aubsequently great and 
powerful Qrrln Hermanos — Orrin Brothers --m*io subsequently 
obtained from the dictator, Porfirio Diaz, the monopoly 
of all circus rights in Mexico, The Circo Orrin was for 
decades the great and only show of its kind in the sister 


Thus the Eur f. lea -- brief though the life it enjoyed — is 
tlFdupnot only -rlth the highly important history of minstrel- 
sy in the nineteenth centviry and with the history of the circus, 
but with the intricate and volcanic history of Mexico. In 1867 
the Eureka disappeared from the theatrical scene vrhen it was 
turned into the Pacific Huseum of Anatomy, As a museum it con- 
tinued for several years, being last mentioned in the city 
directory of 1876. 


Maguire opened his Academy of Music, a small house located 
on Pine Street near Montgomery, on May 18, 1864, The opening 
was auspicious, for Maguire moved his excellent Opera House 
company into the new building for the first two v/eeks. In the 
company were Sophie Edwin, Agnes Perry, Mrs. Savmders, Frank 
nayo, Charles Thorne Jr., William Barry, David Anderson, 
Vv'illism O'Neil, Lulu Sv^eet, Katie Archer, and Fanny Howard, 

And then Maguire proceeded to put a curse on the house 
by moving the Richings- Opera Company from his Opera House to 
the new Academy. Poor Toml He tried hard to resist but, once 
he heard the trill of a coloratura or the ring of a tenor, he 
was as helpless ns a drunkard at the pop of a cork. Caroline 
Richings, who while at the Opera House had been called a "rare 
singing bird," was called by other names at the Academy; yet 
Maguire insisted on retaining her. Nightly the mangled scores 
of La Travlata. n Trovatore, and other Verdiana were piped 
and v/hooped through the empty halls of the unfortunate Academy 


of Music and still Maguire would not give up. It was not till 
November, after a change to English opera, that Tom decided 
the notes of Miss Richings were too high for his means. The 
irony wps that V/heatleigh was having a splendid season at the 
Opera House, the proceeds of which were immediately transferred 
to the Academy and poured down the golden throat of Miss 
Caroline Richings, 

In December Maguire reopened his Academy with a dramatic 
company, presenting a series of "sensation" dramas with the 
astute Sheridan Corbyn and A, R, Phelps as managers and with 
c&cts including Fanny Brown, Fanny Morgan Phelps, Mrs, Judah, 
Prank Lawlor, and John Torrence, This company had some suc- 
cess but, as in the case of the Eureka, it was not till the 
San Francisco Minstrels moved into the house in January that 
the Academy was to become something more than taxable property, 
Billy Birch, Charley Backus, Bprnard, and Vifambold were sure- 
fire entertainment wherever they appeared and their farewell 
benefits continued to fill the depleted coffers of the Academy 
until their depprture for Nev/ York in March, 1865, 

But Maguire was soon to restore his Academy to its right- 
ful place on the ledger, Ihiring May there occiirred another of 
those operatic feuds in which everybody took interest but the 
public. The Bianchis were appearing at the Metropolitan and 
immediately the old singing fever in Maguire 's bones began 


anew. On May 2 he nnnovmced the engagement of a new operatic 
company at the Acndemy of Kusic, headed by Signorina Olivia 
3concin and Slgnors Orlandino and Sbriglia. No Italian gentle- 
man could Ignore auch a challenge, ;nd Signor Bianchi was no 
exception. The vendetta began. On May 3 the Bianchia offered 
La Traviata and the next evening the Magulre troupe gave the 
same opera. On I-'ay 17 it was Faust night at the Metropolitan, 
bTit this time the signers and signorina s of the Academy 
countered with a new attraction, T^ Ballo en Ma sc her a , which 
they produced on Hay 25. It was the Bianchis' turn to follow 
suit, and they offered the same piece on the following night. 

To the casual reader this competitive f older ol would 
indicate good times at both the rival theatres; unfortunately 
the facts tell a different story. Early in June came the mem- 
orable announcement by Elvira Brambilla that, not having been 
paid, she refused to sing. 

Since c^ignora Brambilla was the prima donna of the Bianchi 
troupe, this action v;as the signal for the close of the Met- 
ropolitan opera season, A week later J, H, Warwick, the tra- 
gedian rnd embryo legislator who was then stages-manager for 
Maguire at the Academy, announced the engagement of the Bian- 
chi principals to join the Maguire troupe, Maguire proceeded 
to make things worse by advancing the price from 50jzf to $2 in 
spite of public allergy and the wurnlngsof the Bulletin critic. 
Among other things pointed out by the critic and ignored by the 
melodious Maguire was the balance sheet for the week ending 
June 6, which showed a loss of !|i;.1634. But finally a total 


loss of $20,000 convinced even Maguire that opera was something 
that the San Prnnclsco public could very well do without, and 
at the end of August he dismissed the company and turned his 
thoughts to more mundane matters. 

Dan Setchell, described earlier in the year by the Bul - 
letin as a "master in low comedy," was the next attraction at 
the Academy, Setchell and his company really livened things 
up at the battered Academy and made one great "hit" in their 
burlesque of Boucicault's Irish melodrama, Arrah -na- Pogue , 
which in the original form had been produced with sensational 
success by V;Jheatleigh at the Metropolitan. The burlesque was 
entitled, not very brilliantly, Arrah - no - Poke , or Arrah of the 
Cold Pomme de Terre . The success of this piece must have 
been a great comfort to Maguire, for early that year he had 
attempted, with dismal results, to steal a march on Wheatleigh 
by producing the Boucicault piece under another title. The 
Wicklow Rebel , at the Opera House. Wheatleigh' s presentation 
of the original, a few days later, immediately had r\m Ma- 
guire ' s poor rebel off the boards, 

The Academy was again a desolate place during the first 
months of 1866, operatic troupes and even the minstrels falling 
to lure the public into the halls. On April 23 Maguire moved 
his Opera House troupe temporarily into the Academy, while his 
Opera House was being redecorated in honor of Edv;in Forrest, 


who there made his first appearance in San Francisco on May 
14. Forrest was then ranked as the first tragedian of the age 
and the town was really excited in expectation of his famed 
histrionics. But Forrest was getting old and ravaged by trouble 
and temper and his engagement was a shocking disappointment. 
The only notable thing about his arrival was that he brought 
with him John I.lcCul lough. But failure or not, Forrest ' s engage- 
ment at the Opera House definitely took all attention away from 
the other theatres during his six weeks in the city. 

During the summer Maguire went off on one of his oper- 
atic sprees again, with the Bianchis at the Metropolitan once 
more supplying the competition. Maguire 's protagonists v/ere 
the young and inexperienced members of the Howson English and 
Italian Opera Troupe. But the feud was not so spirited this 
time and in September the Hov/son troupe moved from the Acad- 
emy to the Metropolitan, where by a friendly arrangement they 
alternated with the Bianchis during the fall season. They 
were followed at the Academy by a makeshift company of black- 
face artists calling themselves the San Francisco Minstrels, 
This was an unfortimate choice of names, since it invited com- 
parison with the old rollicking Backus and Birch combination. 
It was a bad year for the Academy; yet the Internal Revenue 
figures for Decem.ber, 1866, show its receipts at $8,000 as 
compared v/ith only Cll,219 at the much larger Maguire 's Opera 
House. The expenditures, however, are not given. 


The Isst year of the Academy is equally dismal, produc- 
tions varying from the Japanese Jugglers in June to the last 
defiant season of grand opera during July and August. On 
August 31 the unfortunate house v/as sold to Goodv/in and Com- 
pany for $90,000 and tiorned into a furnitvire store, in which 
capacity it v/as doubtless much more complacent thanasa place 
of entertainment. At an auction of the fixtures Samuel Tetlow 
bought the seats of the late lamented theatre for installation 
in his new Bella Union, that place of low amusement which knew 
not opera nor the glories of classic drama but only the sound 
of coin and the laughter of crowds. It was the beginning of 
the end for Magulre, but the Bella Union had still a long v/ay 
to go. 



ii^)Zi^M onun: 


Chapter II 
The "^.lllowg , Hayes Park, 
Woodv;ard3 Gardens , City Gardens 

San Francisco's amusement "Gardens" occupied such an im- 
portant part In the life of the city that — though they were 
not properly theatre buildings -- they belong In the city's 
theatricnl history. They were not so much gardens as amuse- 
ment parks on the outskirts of the city, where a family could 
spend the entire day looking at strange beasts such as the 
camelopard, watching the Messrs. Buislay take off in balloons 
for parts unknown, or the "one and only" Blondin defy gravity 
on a wire high above their heads, listening to a German band 
compete with a 600-pound cannon -- anything that the Ingenuity 
of Messrs. Hayes, Pioche, and Woodward could concoct for the 
delectation of the wondering multitude. Besides this, the gar- 
dens v/ere all provided with pavilions in which minstrel shows, 
burlesques, musical and even dramatic performances were given 
from time to time . 

One of these spots, VUoodward's, enjoyed a fame far more 
than l^^cal,and is remembered still by those v/ho were children 


in its heyday -- as testified by the crowds of elderly people 
congregated nround the recreated rninifture of V/oodward's, ex- 
hibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939-40, 
Of the repl n^tiire of these ''gardens" John P. Young in his 
3an F rancisco ; History of the Pacific C oa s t Metropolis speaks 

"Throur'.hout the ^renter portion of the sixties and well 
do^im toward the close of the decade 1880-1890, the desire 
for open air recrertion was ministered to by the enterprise 
of a man V.'oodv.'ard, whose gardens, laid out on a more 
,'5cnerous sc'le than those of Russ, soon became the resort 
of the pleasure seeker on Sundaj^s and holidays. The pro- 
prietor was under no illusions concerning the public taste. 
He recognized that the common folk, and they were all com- 
mon in the Sixties, when they took an outing were in quest 
of amusement, and were not seeking fresh air. There viraa no 
lack of the latter in the denser parts of the City at any 
time in the Sixties, and except in the Chinese quarter there 
was not even s remote approach to congestion. 

"Hence the trrm garden must be liberally interpreted. 
Not that there were no flowers, for there were a few, and 
there was some green grass which clothed terraces carefully 
guarded from encroachment. The real feature of the place 
was its attempt to provide as many and as varied forma of 
amusement as possible. There was a menagerie and an aquarium 
an p.rt gallery and a muae\im; there were swings and other 


provisions for the nh±ildren and regular performances were 
given in a pavilion, and the visitor v/as afforded everj op- 
portunity to refresh tjie inner mrn 'vith liquids pnd solids 
in fi restaurant. -An entrance fee of 25 cent 3 for adults y/"£ 
charged, but the bi[4 '-rov/ds on Sundays to witness balloon 
ascensions and to the other attractions of the garden 
show that peopl-. did not begrudge the price. . . . 

"Its attractions appealed to the farniljr mr.n, and papa 
andmairana v/ith their pro^t^eny thronged the resort on bundays 
and holidays and to some extent divided their Saturday af- 
ternoon betv/een it and the theatre matinees. The p;-:rforni- 
ances in the prvilion of the garden, a grert bf^rn-like 
stru.cture, guiltless of decoration of any kind,v.'ith wooden 
stationary benches, x-erc- not neglected by the people, but 
from the stress laid upon the special attractions of the 
menagerie such as the acquisition of a 'Japanese rooster 
with a t; il tvirrnty-six feet long,' ■ nd other astonishing 
natural history frecks, it is reasonablr to suppose that 
the management regarded the histrionic featvires of their 
concern as subordinate to the main pixrposc of inducing the 
citizens of San l^ancisco to take some recreation in the 
open sir vfhich he had to do if he wished to take in all the 
sights, as the monkeys and other r-.nimals, those in cages 
and those in paddocks, were not crowded into a stuffy en- 
closure, but were placed where thej?- could be seen without 
the accompanying infliction of bad odors. Then there was 
the aquarium and the aviary, both creditable in their 


arrongemcnts nnd the variety of their exhibits, so on the 
whole Woodward's in the Sixties waa pretty well abreast of. 
th*-. times, and sjrved as an excellent substitute for a pub- 
lic park even if an entrance fee was exacted." 

Though Wo odv/ard's was the Iprgest, longest-lived and most 
widely known of these institutions, it by no means monopolized 
the trade. The City Gardens and Hayes Park (the latter es- 
pecially popular with the Irish and therefore especially lively) 
also had their partisans. These gardens were all run more or 
less on the same lines, but they had their dif ference3;and for 
e contemporary survey we can do no better than quote Figaro of 
June 17, 1868: 

"No city is more dependent on private enterprise for 
its places of resort, for outdoor recreation, than San 
Francisco. Vtfithout the City Gardens, and Woodv/ard's Museiim 
and grovinds, we should not have an acre of land devoted to 
the amusem'^nt, or health, of the inhabitants, young or old. 
Without these places, our children's knowledge of zoology 
v/ould be confined to the acquaintance with animals to be 
derived from illustrated school-books ;their Information on 
horticultural subjects would be that obtained from pictures, 
or from struggling specimens of fuchsia and geranium raised 
in earthen pots, or the half -withered shrubs found fighting 
agpinst dust nnd ill-usage in the little courts at the 
front or rear of their parents' houses. 


"For boys and girls who have been imrnured all the week, 
in a close, ill-ventilr ted schoolroom, whnt r>- treat is a 
Saturday at the Gardens! The little misses delight in 
making a day at Vifoodward ' s -- peering into the glass cases 
which protect the stuffed birds snd beasts froH prying 
fingers; admiring the specimens of butterflies rnd beetles, 
or indulging in a lounge in the picture rg lie ry, where they 
gaze on the pale faces of dark-eyed beauties, and wonder 
what was the story the painter meant to tell on canvas," 

The reporter's ides of little girls S'-oms to have been 

gleaned from those same illustrated books of which he was 

lately so scornful; but he is a little more realistic about 
the boys : 

"The boys prefer City Gardens -- in thoir language, 
♦It's jollier, far.' If the girls want walks, there are 
more; if they \7ant live creatures, there are bears by the 
dozen; monkeys, from the big baboon to the littlo old man 
with white beard and v/hiskers who lives with the Happy 
Family. But there is better fun for the active ones; there 
are the boats on the lake, two ponies to ride, and, above 
all, a camel -- a real, live camel, Y/ith humps and £ll;and 
proud is the boy vvhen, unbending itn kn3es,the br;ast rises 
v/lth him, for the first time serted on its shag-;y-coated 
back. V;hen he has fed th: parrots, watched the bears, 
hazed the monkeys, looked at the rabbit?., rowed and ridden 
to his heart's content, is hot there the roundabout, and 


flnnlly the sv/lngs, where a boy may beguile half a day 
without knowing how the hours pass away? 

"But the City Gardens are not for the young alone. 
Let the elders try it. Por the broker and merchant who 
want a quiet Sunday morning's breakfast, there's no place 
like the City Gardens. Try it next Sunday: walk out with 
a couple of friends about 9 o'clock; tell Pollard to have 
a breakfast laid up-stairs — the front room if you can 
get it -- and put a couple of bottles of champagne on ice, 
and then bowl in the alley for an hour while the cook prac- 
tises his skill in the kitchen. At 10, go to breakfast. 
Commence with oysters on the half-shell; trout broiled or 
fried in oil; a squab when there are no quail; a cutlet or 
a steak — but don't forget the sausages . They are not the 
common sausages -- try them. Finish with a cup of coffee 
and a glass of curacoa. Having drunk your bottle of good 
claret, you are already sipping champagne I If you are a 
great smoker, light one of Moss' best. If not, put yo-ur 
legs on an empty chair and look out through the open win- 
dow over the garden, with its bowers, its shady vistas and 
its fountains. Before you have finished your second cigar 
-- r^ay* your first, if you understand eating a breakfast, 
and don't swallow the cook's most artistic productions as 
a wheeler on the Overland stage might snort over his eats 
at the end of a twenty mile run -- Chris Andre's band will 
have arrived. 


"Listen to the strains of Guillgt;me Tell , when Herold 
is leading, and allov/ yourself to reflect, ond you will 
find that you do not remember having henrd su'iih music for 
many a month. The afternoon will slip away while you are 
chatting with your lady friends, who are now nrriving, by 
the score '^nd smiling with business acquaintances. At half- 
past four o'clock, to avoid a crush in the cars, go h,ome . 
when you retire for the night, count the change in your 
purs'- ;it is not so light as it often is on Sunday evening, 
and yet \<ihat a happy day you have spent." 

Such an invitation could not have been hard to accept, 
though the program was doubtless kept with individual varia- 
tions; and it must be admitted that -- overlooking the edu- 
cational torture of small girls -- Vi'oodward's or Playes or the 
City Gardens must have broadened immeasurably the recreational 
vistas of both adults and children. Thus, whatever their mo- 
tives of personal profit, the men who founded these institu- 
tions were not undeserving of the title of "public benefactor" 
which was so lavishly bestowed on them by the newspapers of 
the day. That Messrs. Woodv/ard and Hayes were both deeply 
involved in the street railway business points to the source 
of their income, but it does not detract from the value of 
their contributions to public entertainment. 

"Oh, say, have you seen at The Willows so green — 

So charming and rurally true -- 
A singular bird, with a manner absurd 

Which they call the Australian Emeu? 

Have you 
Evor seen this Australian Emeu?" 

Thus did Bret Harte, parodying Poe, celebrate the now al- 
most forgotten Willows, bequeathing to it a share of immortal- 
ity. It does at least testify that all those who read were 
familiar v/ith the place in question, which with the Russ Gar- 
dens was one of the two popular outdoor places of amusement 
in the fifties, Russ's was the center of German activity and 
The Willows the headquarters of the French, though the line of 
demarcation was by no means strictly drawn. 

The Willows -- occupying what is now the block between 
Valencia, Mission, eighteenth and nineteenth Streets, close to 
the i.iission Dolores --.began as a roadhouse some time in the 
early fifties. Speaking of Edwin Booth, who took a small 
house in this district in 1853, Constance Rourke in her 
Troupers of the Gold Coast , adds: 

"The place had a blurred and dusty charm, out a wind- 
ing way among sand hills and chaparral, near a cluster 
of Spanish adobes. Here were many traces of the earlier 
Spanish life, with a bull and bear arena near the church. 




/iBTi mnrm i mx 

^, Si!;S(!iJ.Unmi(MMl, Pell. ! !. tf) 

All Elegant Entertainmo-it 


I Miss 1.0TTA, i 

I. ./ o i'J »firi:i'ni \ *; 
•j^i. TTi.i: .iivwii:. ( 
^ \\. ifirje\Ai{i». J 

d Lizsie Smith, Nora Rosa, i* 
i^ J DeAngelis, F. WoodhuU, / 
^ C. F. Shattuck, J. Woodard, v^^ 
I Fete Sterling, H. "WUlianis, V) 
5 F. Waterman, E. Trost, c^ 

'■A G. Seekamp, E. Wigant, V 
^ W. Rogers, F. Brown "^ 

McClellau Brass Baml. 

J-' i4 Xj 'it ii iA -«■!"• iW "!> ■ 



Celestial Wash House./ 

laax-ioo Comity 

Note the early appearances listed of 
as the Worrell Sisters, Lotta Crabtree, 
De Angelis . 

such 1p. ter fnyorites 
Joe T'iurphy, Johnny 



a race track, a roadhouse called the Nightingale nnd another 
called The Willov;s." 

As a garden spot, hovi/ever, The Vi/illows is not montioned 
until 1857. According to Zoeth Skinner Sldredge in his Be, q; in- 
nings of San Francisco : 

"On the United States Coast Survey map of 1857 there 
appears on the Mission Road continuation, about in the 
neighborhood of Eighteenth Street, a piece of land two hun- 
dred by three hundred and fifty feet, planted with trees and 
marked Willov/s -- a roadside house with stables, sheds, etc . " 

Earlier, in regard to the original site of the '..ill.ows, 
Eldredge gives an interesting quotation from John W.Devinelle : 

"I have been to the Mission of Dolores and had an in- 
terview v/ith a lady resident there. Dona Carmen Sibrian de 
Bernal, She v/as born in Monterey in 1804, was married in 
1821 to Jose Cornelio Bernal, and came here to reside that 
year. She is a woman of great vivacity and intelligence 
and states that the tradition is that when the missionary 
Fathers came here to establish a mission, they encamped at 
a pond which existed where The Willows now are, and to which 
a great tide creek come up from the bay. I also visited the 
site of The Willows, and found that although the sand had 
been filled in there several feet during my ovm recollec- 
tion the fresh water was still flowing toward the bay." 


The Herald of July 7, 1857, gave this description of the 
embellished grounds: 

"This beautiful Place of Resort is situated on Mission 
Street, between Center Street and the Race Tracks, on the 
Road to San Jose and Ocean House, The house has been newly 
furnished throughout in a neat and comfortable manner, and 
the Grounds have been made the admiration of all who see 
them. The Shell Walks, measuring one mile in extent, the 
whole distance through natural Groves, bordered with beau- 
tiful and rare flowering shrubs; hand some sumraerhouses have 
been built in different parts of the grovmds, and firottoes 
have been formed of natural trees and vines, with seats and 
tables for the accommodation of visitors, who while occupy- 
ing them, will be regaled with songs from birds of sweetest 
note and of every plumage, A private or family entrance has 
been prepared by which persons can drive to the Parlors or 

"The Proprietors have spent several thousand dollars 
within the past month in improvements and they pledge them- 
selves that this shall be at all times found the most pleas- 
ant place of resort in California. All kinds of Refresh- 
ments (including Meals) will be found at this place in a 
manner which will give satisfaction. Both lines of Omnibus- 
es run within three hundred yards of The Willows, and after 
the 15th inst. a new line will start to The Willows, direct 
-- fare, ten cents. Those wishing to come by the omnibus 
at present will get out at the Nightingale. 


"In conclusion, the Proprietors most respectfully so- 
licit the patronage of the respectable portion of the com- 
munity, A Fish Chowder will be given from 12 o'clock on 
Sundays, Also a Fine Lunch, free. 

Harrison and Sheppard." 

Besides the shell walks, flying horses (merry-go-rounds), 
sylvan walks, free lunches, br.rbe cues, and menagerie show. The 
Willows had s csne claim to the status of raelodeon after a small 
stage was erected in 1859, According to John F, Young's His - 
tory of San Francisco : 

"Its proprietor maintained a small menagerie, but the 
drawing card of the resort was the singing and dancing. It 
was chiefly patronized by the French colony and its air was 
in direct contrast to that of the Russ plan, which was as 
decidedly Germanic as The Willows was French.'' 

Lotta Crabtree often appeared here in the late fifties, 
as did those famous acrobats, the Hanlon Brothers, the Worry 11 
Sisters, Johnny de Angelis, and other famous variety stars of 
the period. Even legitimate drama was given here, as \7itno3s 
the appearance of Mrs, W, H. Leighton and the American Theatre 
Comjiany on the Willows stage on July 29,lS62,for v.'hich ''extra 
special" performance the admission price was no more than the 
customary 25^, In the advertisement for this treat the manager, 
Sheridan Corbyn, announced improvements in the grounds and 
buildings, including addition of two new tenpin alleys, and 


refittlne of the shooting galleries and shuffle boards, and 
did not forget to include as curiosities Bret Harte's "Pair 
of Living Emeus . . , also a Pair of American Eagles." Lest 
anyone reflect on his Integrity, he added virtuously that "the 
patrons of this delightful Summer Resort may rest assured that 
these ;oerformers will appear as announced, as the manager know- 
ingly would never resort to trickery or low cunning to secure 
their attendance." Presumably he referred to Mrs. Leighton 
and her company, not to the "Emeus," 

Nor did The Vi'illows forget the sporting blades of the six- 
ties, for it included in its domain a "Trotting Park," where 
for an entrance fee of $1 they could watch their favorite 
horses chase the field around the track -- and be thankful if 
they load transportation home. The Willows was a long way 
from town in those days. 

In the winter of 1861 The Willows suffered its first catas- 
trophe when the small winding stream, fringed with the trees 
which gave the place its name, flooded over and washed away the 
gardens. Mrs, Amelia Neville In The Fantastic City states that 
they were never rebuilt, but she is wrong, for on May 11,1862 
the Alta California reported: 

"Since the heavy rains of the last winter, this famous 
suburban spot has been put in splendid condition. On the 
grounds has been erected a spacious and handsome home in 
which entertainments are given. The shooting, bowling and 
other places of amusement are now in fine order, and the 


'Willows' is no'7 as fully attractive as before the recent 

But a worse catastronhe was to scorch the heart of its 
later owner. Monsieur Pioche, when on the morning of January 
12, 1864, The Willows v/as razed by fire, \/ith the lessee, 
Ferdinand Gilbert, being lucky to save his wife and children 
and himself escape "in shirt and drawers." Mr. Gilbert lost 
only his dignity; Monsieur Pioche v/as set back to the estimated 
extent of |i25,000. Two months later the Alt a rsriorted, on 
March 23, 1864: ; 

"This once famous suburban resort has not yet recovered 
from the disastrous effects of the lute fire, and is still 
a picturo of abandonment and desolation. It is rumored that 
the work of r)novation and rebuilding is to be commenced 
thero this week and we sincerely hope that such is the case. 
This city is singularly deficient in suburban places of 
amusement for the masses, and the Iosg of any one of the few 
we have had is to be looked upon as a species of public 

However soon the work was commenced, it was not untl3. A- 
pril 2,1865, that The IVillows was again thrown o-oon to the pub- 
lic, under the management of Jacob Viramcr. ilothing had boon 
changed in rebuilding: there were still the bark of seals end 
shooting galleries, the clang of the ten-pin alloys and the 
whir of the flying horses; military companies still paraded 


their colors up and down the -rounds; there were picnics, 
balls, dinners, May Days, St. Patrick's Days; the Bastille 
fell re:^ularly on the Fourteenth of July; and the only new 
element was the regular Saturday badinage of Messrs. Bones 
and Tambo, which gave the resort some theatrical pretensions. 
But the days of The "i/illov;s were numbered. 

The now proprietor, A. J, V#elch, strove desperately to 
match attractions with the larger and more convenient gardens, 
as 'vitness his advertisement in the Call of October 14, 1866, 
of a fisht betv/een a "noble lion" and a "savage bear" v^hich 
was expected to be "one of the most desperate ever witnessed." 
The results of this edifying spectacle are not given; but it 
could not possibly have been as "desperate" or as unsatisfac- 
tory as Mr, Welch's gallant efforts to compete with Messrs. 
Woodward and Hayes. The '."illows from then on faded from the 
picture and the last mention of it is in the city directory 
of 1868, 

Hayes Park, according to the Bulletin of November 29,1872, 
the day of its destruction by fire, first was opened to the 
public on the Fourth of July, 1860, on the occasion of a "grand 
ball." The newspaper reported: 

■'It v/ns built by Thomas and Michael Hayes, and was 
maintained by them as a place of public resort and recrea- 
tion for several years. ... It v/as always devoted to the 
purpose of its creation. All sorts of associations and all 


classes of our people have sought relaxation and amusement 
within its halls and grounds. On nearly every occasion 
when eager multitudes have thronged within its doors, all 
went merry as a marriage bell. We only recall one tragic 
incident in its history. In November 1862,Angelo Ghlarni, 
of the Martinetti troupe, while performing on a tight rope 
near the ceiling of the large hall, fell to the floor, re- 
ceiving injuries of v/hich he died the same month." 

As might be guessed from its name, Hayes Park had a dis- 
tinctively Irish flavor and the chief festival celebrated there 
was of course held on March 17, The tricolor could float above 
the verdant foliage of The Willows every Fourteenth of July, 
and the red banner ripple in the May Day breeze over the em- 
erald lawns of Herr Russ; but the green tinge of Hayes Park 
was much more than a matter of grass or trees. Typical is a 
St. Patrick's Day celebration in 1864 when a certain Thomas 
Mooney, advertised as the "Author of 'Mooney's History of 
Ireland,'" held forth on "Ireland' s Past, Present and Future -- 
to be followed by a Concert of genuine Celtic Fiusic." Ad- 
mission was 50^ and, according to the advertisement in the 
Alta Cali fornia of March 17, 1864: 

"The proceeds of this lecture shall be transmitted to 
John O'Mahony, and the Trustees of the Irish Congress, New 

"Thomas Hayes, Ssq., has most generously placdd the 
Hall and Grounds at Mr, Mooney's disposal for the day and 


night, on condition that the proceeds of all the exercises 
shall be forwarded to the New York authorities, who have in 
their care the management of Ireland's affairs. It is, 
the re fore, hoped that the patriotic Irishmen and Irishwomen 
of this city, will attend on that occasion to hear the His- 
tory of their country told truly and fearlessly by one that 
has no interest to serve but the Re -establishment of Ire- 
land's Independence." 

The following day, however, the same journal reported that 
the prospect of rain somewhat dampened the patriotic fervor of 
the clans and as a consequence the Macs and the O's were given 
the not uncongenial task of making up in loudness what they 
lacked in numbers. No doubt the astute Mr, Hayes did not 
neglect to stock his pavilion with the proper stimulants, for 
the newspaper reports that ''Mr. Mooney's oration was listened 
to with attention, and enthusiastically applauded by the au- 
dience." The discreet reporter did not mention the audibility 
of any dissenting voices. 

But aside from its national flavor, Hayes Park was run on 
more or less the same lines as the other gardens of the city, 
the only difference being the lack of animals on exhibition. 
Here the famous Buislays made the first of their many balloon 
ascensions in San Francisco; military bands blared and boomed 
at regular intervals; g3rmnasts, marksmen, horsemen, singers, 
and donkeys contended for ten-dollar prizes; and fireworks 
flared across the night. Variety and circus acts were given 
in the spacious pavilion; newfangled "aerial flying machines" 


attempted to live up to their name; and national were 
held by Irish, French, German, and Mexican societies to cele- 
brate their independence or hope of winning it. Meanwhile Mr,- 
Hayes' street railway was prospering and real estate in Ha^fes 
Valley went up in price. 

Hayes Park and Pavilion covered the entire block bounded 
by Hayes, La f^vma, Grove, and Lincoln Streets. Here is a descrip- 
tion from the San Francisco city directory for 1864-65; 

"This public resort and promenade is situated about 
two miles southwest from the City Hall and is easily accss- 
sible by the car of the Market Street Railroad, and by pri- 
vate conveyances upon the various streets and avenues lead- 
ing thereto. The Pavilion is a prominent and Imposing struc- 
ture, three stories in he i[;ht, being ninety feet to the top 
of the observatory. The main saloon or concert hall is one 
hundred and twenty feet by eighty feet (exclusive of a large 
stage), with a gallery threo hundred and twenty feet in 
length running round the upjjer portion, beinp sufficiently 
wide for sitting, standing or walking, A large and comiao- 
dious refreshment room, together vrlth an immense reception 
parlor, dressing rooms, billiard srloon, etc., are in the 
same building. Attached to the Pavilion is a garden con- 
taining ten acres, laid out with walks ornamental ^vith lux- 
uriant shrubbing trees and flowers. There is also a shoot- 
ing gallery, swings, apparatus for g^nnnastic exercises, etc. 
The cost of fitting this elegant resort up in its present 


style v/as not less than (39,000, and is the property of 
Messrs. Thomas and Idchael Hayes." 

Hayes Park Pavilion was destroyed by fire, but before be- 
ing leveled to ashes its early popularity had gradually burned 
out with the opening of V/oodward's and the City Gardens. 
Figaro on November 30, 1872, the day after the fire, said: 

"During the past fev/ years, Hayes Park had lost its 
prestige as a pleasure garden, and the i'avilion was only 
used occasionally for a German festival or military ball." 

This loss of prestige was probably due to the death of its 
founder and guiding spirit, for according to the Bulletin of 
November 29, 1872: 

"Thomas Haves died in 1868, on an ocean steamer, just 
before reaching New York City, whither he was proceeding to 
attend the Democratic National Convention of that year, 
Michael Hayes still resides in this city. He was at the 
pavilion while it was burning this morning, and said to a 
friend: 'There goes $84,000.' The present owner of the 
property is the 'San Francisco Real Estate Association,' 
which bought it from the 'Pavilion and ileal Estate Associ- 
ation' for ,77,000, Charles Alpers is President and Henry 
Connor Secretary of the first named Association. The build- 
ing was insured in local companies for "-12,000. The entire 
property, grounds and building was valued at $130,000." 


Evidently faith in the future was not strong -- a finan- 
cial dei:)ro3sion follo\/ed in 1873 -- for the pavilion v/as not 
rebuilt. It is listed for the last time in the city directory 
for 1873, Several years later, on January 2, 1379, this item 

"That rapidly grov/ing portion of our city lying west 
of Van Ness Avenue and north of Market Street, known as 
Hayes Valley, is just now taking steps tov;arcl further im- 
provements for the comfort of the residents. For the past 
few year 3, although easily reached by horse -cars and possess- 
ing many advantages as to location ?'nd healthfulness, it 
has been sadly in need of the convonisnces of a large com- 
munity, . . « 

"Mrs. L.A. Mowry and Charles Alpers have selected the 
Block Wo. 222 ■.estern Addition, known as the Hayes Park 
Block on which stood for many years the Pavilion, where 
many a social dance or public meeting v/as held, for the 
location of this enterprise." 

Thus did the place where Mooney had thundered of the wrongs 
of Ireland and itoe , Celeste had pushed a man in a wheelbarrow 
400 feet across a tightrope v;hile thousands gaped, wind up 
its caree!r as a victim of the progress it had done so much to 
foster. For without Hayes Park and the horsocars of Thomas 
Hayes it is likely that development of Hayes Valley v;ould have 
been delayed for many years. 


V/oodward's Gardens, in the block bounded by Mission, 
Valencia, Thirteenth, and Fifteenth Streets, was opened to the 
public on May 4, 1866, and on that date the following adver- 
tisement appeared in the Bulletin ; 

"Woodward's Villa Grounds 

Art Gallery 

Porapeian Museum, Conservatories and 

Zoological Grounds, 

On Ivjission and Valencia Streets, 

Open to the public. 

Admission Twenty-five cents 

Schools and Charitable Institutions, accom- 
panied by guardians. Free." 

On ilay 9,1866, the same newspaper gave the gardens a few 
words of appreciation: 

"Mr, V/oodwprd, proprietor of the 'Vvliat Cheer House,' 
has thror/n open his be.-^utiful villa grounds to the public, 
for the summer, V.e hardly knov/ of a place better worth 
visiting. The collection of animals, birds, etc, forms a 
considerable menagerie; the display of rare plants and 
flowers is equal to almost any in the country; while the 
picture gallery, with the productions it contains, is worth 
going a long distance to see. An afternoon may be pleasant- 
ly spent among these treasures of art and nature." 


B. E. Lloyd fives a detailed rnd colorful, if somewhat 
gushy, description of the gardens in his Lir:hts and Shades ijn. 
San Francisco , published in 1876: 

"Vi'oodv/ard' 3 Gardens combine an array of attractions 
that have given thom a national renov;n. , , .It is v/lthout a 
rival on the t'acific Coast, and for diversity of attractions 
is not inf:Drlor to soi'ie of the celebrated parks in cities 
v;hose age in decades outnumber San rrnncisco's ye^rs. 

''It is a spot of perennial beauty,... There are spark- 
ling fountains, darling cascades, murrauring brooVcs, .[-lassy 
lakes and trickling rivulets; there are mounds and hillocks, 
grottoes and crverns, lawns and thickets. The broad, natu- 
ral Landscape, v/ith its varied beauties of woodland and 
prairie-, its rollin,:; 'Mills and cra^f/y mountains, its lazy 
streams and rushing torr3nts, has boen here reproduced in 
mimic truthfulness. Adown the slanting lawn its silver- 
footed gazelle nimbly bound.-, while on the sand slope the 
stalwart ostrich dreams of desert suns, unconscious of your 
gaze. . . . 

"The building devoted to the museum was formerly occu- 
pied by I/lTi Woodward as a private residence. The nucleus 
of the Collection of natural history was imported from 
Verreux's Paris establishment, in 1868, since which time 
additions have continually been made. Beasts, birds, fish, 
fossils, antique relics, oeculiar animals, deformities in 
great variety, confront the visitor at every turn. The 


cases containing specimens of ornithology are brilliant with 
gay plvunage. 

•'The collection of mineral and geological specimens is 
extensive and very valuable. Gleanings from the mining 
districts of the Coast, curious formations of Crystals, 
volcanic debris, petrified animals, serpents, fish and wood, 
precious stones are arranged in the cabinets. There is a 
collection of Japan minerals , said to be the first and most 
complete that has ever been taken from Japanese territory. 
It embraces a great variety of rich specimen, gathered on 
the different Japanese Islands by Professor Jacques Kaderly, 
late of the Imperial Academy of Yeddo. 

"Standing upon a considerable elevation is the grand 
pavilion, which is at once a play-house, a dance hall, and 
a skating rink. It is a large structure, octagon-shaped, 
and has a seating capacity for more than five thousand per- 
sons, and by utilizing the spacious aisles, perhaps as many 
more could be accommodated. The seats extend entirely 
around in receding and ascending tiers, the floor fcrrdano- 
ing skating or theatrical performances, being in the cen- 
ter below. The floor is solidly laid and smoothly pol- 

Lloyd goes on to describe the zoo, where "the lion has 
literally laid dovm with the lamb -- in his paws for a break- 
fast," the racecourse, the aquarium with its fish-hatching 
machine, the aviary, the seal ponds, the deer park, implying 
that ..oodward's contained everything for every kind of taste 


or mood. To complete his eulogy: 

"There are conservatories fragrant with the perfume 
and gorgeous with the bloom of flowers from every clime. 
An art gallery, containing many beautiful paintings, some 
of which are from the pencils of old masters, and exquis- 
itely carved statuary, add to its attractions. For those 
fond of sports, there are boats, swings, trapeze bars, and 
rings, any of which are free to all who enter the grounds. 
There are mosques, pagodas, and rustic seats, placed in the 
most romantic places, and over the whole float strains of 
charming music, discovered by an out-door orchestra," 

And all this, ladies and {rentlemen, for the trifling sum 
of 25j^, else in the world could you see Monsieur Perrier 
lift a 200-pound grizzly bear with his teeth, or the Buislay 
Family floating through the air on a trapeze or in a balloon 
-- it v/as all one to the Buislays -- then walk through the 
art gallery before the finest paintings in the world or sit in 
the pavilion before a stein of beer and hear the strains of 
William Tell or Figaro floating lightly over the greensward of 
such an incomparable paradise? ViTiere else could you see a 
camelopard and the Fiji cannibals at one and the same time, or 
if you preferred, the Chinese giant Chang and the two-tailed 
horse? And all for two-bits, through the great-heartedness of 
that public benefactor and civic pride, Robert Woodward, 

It is hard to understand how Woodward could have made 
money on his gardens at such a low admission, considering the 


policemen's understanding of what constituted rowdyism or 
drunkenness . 

However, as evidence that Woodward's Gardens was on the 
way out of the civic picture, it is only necessary to quote 
the Examiner of July 15, 1893, in connection with a later 
Bastille Day: 

"In past years, VJoodward's Gardens and the Bastille 
celebration have been almost convertible terms. Now that 
Woodward's Gardens have fallen into Unnocuous desuetude,' 
it Is not unnatural that the colonic francaise should seek 
a newer and more lively place to celebrate the event of 
their year," 

Though it is obvious from this comment that Woodward's 
Gardens still existed in 1893, its "innocuous desuetude" must 
have been apparent for the resort is not given in the city 
directory of that year — nor of any year thereafter. It is 
likely that some time during the year the proprietors of the 
famous old place saw fit to call it a day. But even now there 
is no name connected with old San Francisco which will bring a 
gleam to an old-timer's eye more quickly than that of Wood- 
ward's Gardens. For more than any other spot it was a place 
associated with childhood; and no people are more sentimental 
about the old days than the old men who were children when San 
Francisco was young. 


The last built of the so-called gardens, the City Gardens, 
v.'ere opened to the public some tirae in 1866 and ijiutiediately 
became the chief competitor of Woodv/ards. The city dii^octory 
first lists it in 1867, and in 1872 gives a rather va^ue de- 
scription of its "shade trees, shrubbery, fancy ai'bors, etc," 
A more detailed picture is given by Julian Dana in his book. 
The Man Vvho Built San Francisco ; 

"No public park v;as yet owned by the city but in July 
the 'City Gardens' -- known as the show tract -- v/os pur- 
chased by private citizens for ,;200, 000 and gradx^ally turned 
into a citj'' playground. It comprised 14 vara lots betv/oen 
Folsom and Harrison, 12th and 14th. The thickly-wooded 
heights of the western side protected the spot from winds, 
and a high fence v;as built around the grounds, with the main 
entrance en 13th Street, The Folsom Street horse-car passed 
it every few minutes. Miite shell walks ran in and out among 
the endless variety of trees and plants and flowers . One of 
the hillocks held an observatory tower r^erched on top of a 
reservoir, from which the Mission, eastern bay, and Kiost of 
the city was visible. There were ponds, fountains encjrcled 
by neat railings, swings, rustic seats, grottoes, croquet 
grounds, bowling alleys, a conservatory filled with sun, 
tropical plants and even a zoo. There were grizzlies, cin- 
namon bears, wild bears, wild pigs, elk, fallov/ deer, wood- 
chucks, eagles, tropical birds and scores of other animals. 


"In the lower lawn there was even a small artificial 
lake where a miniature steamboat made regular trips with 
children on its decks. There was a centrally-located orches- 
tra platform, a few confectionary stands, and one restaurant 
to complete the 'City Gardens' list of amusement offerings. 
In a month it was one of the most popular San Francisco 
resorts. The place was crowded at its 'two-hit admission 
for all comers. '" 

It can be seen that the City Gardens differed from Wood- 
ward's only in scope and variety. The plan of the resort, 
physically and in its entertainment features, was essentially 
the same. There were the balloon ascensions of the Buislays, 
the acrobats, the freak animals, the variety performers, the 
concerts, the children's playgrounds, and of course the re- 
fresliments. The national festivals were celebrated here, as 
at the other gardens; military organizations boomed and blared 
and flashed their colors up and down the paths with tireless 
regularity; and patriotic orators waxed eloquent from the plat- 
form of the pavilion. The difference probably was a matter of 
size and financial backing rather than quality, for City Gar- 
dens managed to operate on equal terms with the more magnifi- 
cent resort of Mr. Woodward for some ten years. At last, how- 
ever, its proprietors saem to have felt that the battle was 
hopeless, for after 1876 the City Gardens disappears from the 
directory -- thus leaving Vi'oodward's Gardens supreme among 
open-air resorts. So it has remained in the memories of those 


old enough to have sampled the atmosphere of them all. With 
the passing of Woodwards these gardens passed completely out 
of the life of the city, leaving only the faint, nostalgic 
fragrance of a vanished era. 





Durine the spring of 1866, San Franciscans anticipated a 
great event. This was the first appearance in the city of 
Edwin Forrest, then the great nabob of the American stage. 
Forrest's appeal to the public imagination was not entirely 
due to his reputation as an actor; his temperament much aore 
nearly approached that of the jealous Moor than did his stage 
interpretation of that character, and his long legal battle 
with his wife, Catherine Sinclair, had been public property 
for many years. This bitter fight, chief and longest ot his 
lone and many quarrels, made him especially interesting to the 
people of San Francisco, fnr in the days of the first Metro- 
T-.olitan j'rs. Sinclair had become almost an institution in the 
city. Unfortunately, the years and his own self-ravaging 
nature had taken their toll of j]dwin Forrest and his six-week 
engagement was enjoyad more in expectation than in fact. Nev- 
ertheless, it turned out to be highly significant in the thea- 
trical history of San Francisco, not so much on account of the 
great man -- surprising as that would have seemed to him -- as 
for thp presence in his company «>f a young Irishman, an un- 
publioized actor named John McCullough. 


Two years later another young actor by the name of 
Lawrence Patrick Barrett arrived in the city and with him 
aDpeared McCullough, whom Forrest had counselled to remain in 
San Francisco. This time the public was tickled in fact as 
well as fancy and the halls ofMa/^uire's Opera House resounded 
nightly to enthusiastic applause. William Ralston, head of 
the powerful Bank of California, v;as impressed and approached 
the two young Irishmen with an offer to build a theatre for 
them if they would undertake its management. They accepted, 
and on January 18, 186S, the doors of the California Theatre 
were thrown open to the public. Said the Alt a Califo rnia the 
following day: 

"The opening of the California Theatre was the sensa- 
tion of yesterday; those who had seats were preparing to go, 
those who had not were trying to figure out how they could 
get standing room, and still others wanted to see the as- 
semblage as it filed in the building. Anticipating the 
crowd that v/ould come altogether, a barricade was placed 
across the entrance so that only one couple at a time could 
pass, and the delay at the door enabled the ushers to seat 
the visitors as fast as they presented themselves in the 
vestibule. . . ." 

And once inside the vestibule, there v;as Lawrence Barrett 
himself, all dressed up in his Sunday best and ready to guide 


the fortunate ticket-holders to their seats. At a few minutes 
after eifht the orchestra under George Evans struck up the 
overture, the curtain went up, and Barrett stepped forth 
on tlie stage, prepar(3d — with the flexible voice that had 
uttered the heartbreak of Othello and the bluff dissimulation 
of lago -- to deliver a miserable ode by a man who should have 
known better: Bret Harte. Since Ralston had given Harte 
^2,000 to write a play which he had not written and this ode 
had been offered as substitute, it must stand as one of the 
hif hest-priced "poems" ever written. For that reason alone 
it deserves a partial quotation: 

"Brief words, when actions wait, are well, 

Tlie prompter' s' hand is on his bell; 

The coming heroes, lovers, kings 

Are idly lounging at the wings; 

Behind the curtain's mystic fold 

The glowing future lies unrolled, 

And yet -- one m.oment for the Past; 

One retrospect -- the first and last. 

"The world's a stage, the master said -- 
Tonight a mightier truth is read; 
Hot in the shifting canvas screen; 
The flash of gas, or tinsel sheen — 
Not in the skill whose signal calls 
From empty boards and baronial halls, 
But fronting sea and curving bay — 
Behold the players and the play. . . . 

"Your shifting; scenes: the league of sand 

An avenue by ocean scanned. 

The narrow beach of straggling tents — 

A mite of stately monuments; 

Your standard, lo'. a play unfurled 

liniose clinging folds clasp half the world 

This is your drama — built on facts. 

With ' tv;enty years between the acts.' . . 



ITith this seanple poor Mr. Barrett retired, followed by 
the dutiful applause of the first-nighters — including that 
of the unpenitent Bret Harte. VJith suppressed whispers and 
rustling program sheets, the audience waited for the curtain 
to rise again on the play, Bulwer Lytton's comedy Money . Sud- 
denly it rose on a drawing-room scene: ¥. R. Sedley Smith, in 
the character of Sir John Vesey, strolled onto the stage; the 
career of the California Theatre had begun. 

Hach member of the cast was applauded as he entered- Mrs. 
Judah, an old favorite, was given a double portion, as was 
McCullough, who played the star part of Alfred JlvB^yn, Barrett 
was not in the opening cast. Other players that evening were 
John T. :<aymond, I.arie Gordon, John vrnson, Frederick Franks, 
iir. and Its. 3. J. Buckley, and E. B. Holnes. Actor Sedley 
Smith, v,as also stage manager. 

Between the first and second acts the special treat of 
the evening was given v/hen the drop curtain was lowered end 
the f lories of San Francisco Bay (as interpreted by the brush 
of marine artist G. J. Denny) were revealed to the properly 
astounded r-thering. Waen the appropriate ohsl and ahsl and 
three cl-.eers v.'ere exhausted the ect-drop was raised, the reg- 
ular curtain went up, and the show went on. /.fter the play 
the two managers were celled -before the curtain and Barrett 
e::tended his appreciation and thanks, i cCullou£h also spoke, 
the usual conf.ratulatory telef.rams were read, and the upper 
crust V7as sent happily away to beckoning beds and bars. 


The C!ironicle of February 25, 1888, gave a more detailed 
account of the California Theatre's genesis: 

' '•■ "The California Bieatre --as the fruit of an agreement 
■between John McCullough and Lawrence Barrett on one side, 
and William C. Ralston, then a king of finance, on the 
other. This was in 1867 when the legitimate drama, so ably- 
interpreted by Mr. McCullough and Barrett,_ was taking a 
.firm hold upon the hearts of oan vranciscans. At that time, 
also, Ralston, Sharon, Felton and Wakelee were dramatic 
enthusiasts, and having long since discovered that the 
proper production of plays required a commodious theatre, 
with elegant appointments, it was decided to erect and lib- 
erally furnish a place where the drama could find expres- 
sion. Accordingly McCullough and Barrett were consulted by 
H. P. Vakelee, the representative of the Ralston, Sharon 
and Felton syndicate, and the first steps in the matter 
taken. The result was the leasing, as a theatre site, of 
the lot on the north side of Eush Street, above Kearny, 165 
feet front and 137{> feet deep, belonging to Captain \7illiam 
C. Hinckley. The term of the lease was twenty years, the 
rental .,.;100C per month, with the privilege of purchasing 
the lot at any time within the term for ,130,000. It may 
be interesting to state that the lot was purchased in 1854, 
by Captain Hinckley, for ^45. 


"The work of building the theatre was at once begun 
by H. P. 'Takelee, Charles Peters and Colonel James, on 
plans made by architects S. C. Bugbee and Son, the cost 
jrice having been estimated at s)150,000. The work was 
completed in due time and the payments made according to 
the terms of the lease in 'ounces of gold bullion in the 
shape of gold bars composed of 800 bars of pure gold, 90 
parts of pure silver and 107 parts of pure copper.'" 

rrom this it would seem that the choice of the opening 
play, Mon_ey, was not accidental, a piece of ostentation en- 
tirely in accord with the age, but attributable to irony on 
the part of managers McCullough and Barrett. 

On January 8, 1869, ten days before the California's 
debut, a Bulletin reporter took a walk up Bush Street to see 
the new ■wonder of the age." Here are his impressions: 

"Abutting on Bush Street, besides the various entrances 
are four handsome stores and near them a lofty music hall 
100 by 51 feet, and a ^mall hall 50 by 50 feet opening from 
it. Walking up Bush Street from Kearny, the first open- 
ing reached is a doorway, 9 feet vade, and staircase lead- 
ing to the upper circle and gallery, ad joining it a chamber 
running back some 50 feet, which will probably be used as 
a saloon. Text beyond that, and divided into three com- 
partments by two stout Corinthian pillars of cast iron, 
is the main entrance, 28 feet wide. 


■'At the Dupont Strest end of the building is the stage 
entrance 17 feet vride and upwards of 50 feet long, leading 
to the rear of the stage. The main entrance to the theatre 
leading to the parquette and dress circle and the entrance 
to the large music hall are each marked by two very massive 
iron street lamp pillars, with large lanterns and plate 
glass, containing three large argon burners each. 

"•Passing from the street by the main entrance the vis- 
itor finds himself in a Isrge hall 50 feet by 20. On his 
left is a handsome office built out from the walls, with 
openings for three or four ticket clerks if necessary, and 
thus avoiding any necessity of crushing and pushing in pur- 
chasing tickets. After obtaining his ticket the visitor 
will pass through one of the several green doors which oc- 
cupy the spaces between the second row of iron columns and 
lead him into the lo\?er promenade hall. This hall is the 
full width of the theatre building, 82 feet. On the right 
are two noble staircases leading to the upper hall and dress 
circle. This hall will be furnished in drawing room style. 
On the left will be the several entrances into an inner 
semi-circular corridor, which runs around the outer wall of 
the parquette. On each side cf the auditorium the corridor 
extends itself into wings, gradually narrowing until it 
reaches the proscenium wall. At the end of each of these 
wings is a staircase leading to the upper circle and also a 
wide entrance to the orchestra stalls. ..." 


After such grandeurs even the most ardent student of 
architecture might have paused and repaired weakly to the 
smoking room (which v/as "to the right of the main hall") or to 
the saloon — both of which must have been great boons to the 
patron exhausted by the corridors, "noble staircases" and en- 
trances -- before he continued his tour: 

"Here (in the men's smoking room)he willfind files of 
local and Eastern papers, commodious chairs, and a 'floor 
covering that vill not take firs should he drop his cigar.' 
A lady's drawing room occupies the space between the two 
main staircases: it is 18 x 30 feet. Opening from each 
side are toilet rooms. Further on, in a space correspond- 
ing to men's lounges, is the director's office. In center 
of floor, near farther end will be a flo7/er stall and stand 
for sale and loan of lorgnettes. 

"Over the chief entrance to the parquette will be a 
bronze figure of Falstaff, bearing a clock, and in his 
right hand a small bell which will ring one minute before 
rising of curtain." ' 

In contrast to the figure of Sir John-of-the-Fleshpots, 
small busts representing the reproving countenance of John 
Puritan himself -- the poet Milton — capped the bronze gas 
brackets, which were in Gothic style. Continued the B ulletin 
reporter : 

"The main staircases to the upper corridor and dress 
circle are very handsome; the balusters are California 
laurel, polished, and the rail is black walnut. 6 inches in 


the square and handsomely moulded. The balusters run up 
the stairway, around the aperture, and return to the back 
wall. The newel posts at the foot are remarkably handsome, 
of California laurel overlaid with black walnut. On each 
side will be a bronze Oriental figure, about 4 feet high, 
one male and female each surmounted by a lamp. . , . The 
upper corridor, like the lower hall, will be covered with 
cocoa matting, furnished in drawing room style." 

The exterior of the building was 65 feet high; the interior 
measured 51 feet from the orchestra floor to the ceiling of the 
auditorium. Tlie distance from the curtain to the wall behind 
the balcony was 80 feet and to the center of the dress-circle 
curve, 47 feet. The proscenium was 45 feet wide and 40 feet 
high: at the suggestion of John Torrence it was designed as a 
massive picture frame, with a carved pedestal on each side, 
out of vjhich rose two gilt and white fluted columns topped by 
a Corinthian capital of white and gold. Jach of these col- 
umns stood on a base eight feet high, the upper part being an 
imitation of sienna and the lower of green marble. The inner 
arch of the proscenium was wired with two beads of bronze and 
the spandrel of the arch was "filled with gold, white and 
tinted scroll wires on pale blue ground." In addition, the 
proscenium of the California boasted a curtain of green rep 
striped with crimson and gold. Two mirrors, extending from 
each side to the edge of the dress circle, each 96 inches by 
150, must have made the California a dazzling sight to the be- 
holders, too dazzling perhaps for the art of the performers on 


the eyes of the onlookers. Indeed, manj^ a performance was in- 
terrupted by the tittering of the patrons at the reflected 
sight of an actor gesticulating or rehearsing his lines in 
the wings of the stage. For many a hopeful super this re- 
flected glory v;as, unfortunately, all that he could ever ex- 
pect to obtain, though fortunately he was probably unconscious 
of both the present attention and the inattentive future. 

But the act-drop ?;as the great and remembered glory of 
the California. At the press review on January 16, two days 
before the opening, an Alta reporter gave this ecstatic pic- 
ture of the new scenic wonder: 

"The green curtain . . . was let down while the visi- 
tors took seats in the auditorium to prepare to look at the 
act-drop painted by G. J. Denny, and which has been so much 
commented on in art circles. When the green curtain was 
raised and the beautiful scene froml'r. Denny's brush re- 
vealed to view, a hearty round of applause was the sponta- 
neous tribute from the array of critics. The subect is emi- 
nently in the line of the artist, and has been painted con 
amore; the central figure is the Ship, We stern Continen t. 
in tow of the farthest tug-boat; going out of the heads, 
(the spectators are on the bar,) and is so admirably exe- 
cuted that the vessel seems to have been built in miniature, 
and placed there by some trick. The Steamer Golden City 
has passed the ship and is going in. The C hallenge , from 
New York, is off the Cliff House, making for port; Capt. 
Ogden's yacht the Kestless . is crossing the bar at Point 


Bonita, to give her voj'-agers a sniff of the ocean breeze; 
an Italian fishing-boat is in the v/ake of the ship, and 
another yacht has been out far enough and is returning. 
Fort Point is seen about the middle of the background, 
Alcatras Island to the left, just beyond, and a glimpse of 
the city, as it spreads out to Meiggs' Wharf and beyond at 
the foot of the picture is a tesselated marble floor, sur- 
rounded by a balcony, v/hich is so skillfully painted that 
it seems to set the full distance intended to be represented; 
two pillars on each side run to the top, where they are lost 
in the folds of the heavy crimson curtain that seemed to hang 
from above, and is gracefully dravm aside into folds by golden 
cords. At the base of one pillar on the left is the tragic 
muse, and at the base of one to the right is the comic muse. 
Beneath the balcony is a medallion on which appears the incom- 
ing Pacific Railroad." 

Heretofore the scenic artists of the city had alvi'ays 
turned to classical or j]uropean or -- at the nearest -- Amer- 
ican rtevolutionary themes for inspiration. Denny was the 
first -- at the suggestion of Halston -- to glorify a local 
setting and not only that but to bring before men's eyes the 
visual symbols of the most important social and economic force 
of the time -- transportation. From San Francisco to China 
raced the great clipper ships of that era, returning with 
their precious cargoes of tea through the Golden Gate as the 
townsfolk turned out to see the majestic array of sails like 


a phalanx of clouds on the horizon. 'The Challenge , the Golden 
Citj, the YJe stern Continent , the Flying Cloud , the Eclipse . 
the Sea ■{itch: these are only a handful of perhaps the swiftest 
and most beautiful ships ever to grace a harbor, whose names 
are familiar to this day. And in this year, 1869, the last 
spike, a golden one, was to be driven, uniting the Central and 
Union Pacific lines to form the first transcontinental railroad 
and thereby for the first time bring ^an Francisco close ta the 
rest of the nation. No longer would actors be required to risk 
the long, arduous sea journey from New York; a little more than 
e week would bring the most backward seeker of fortune to the 
very gates of El Dorado. /jid for several years to come, the 
California Theatre Y;as to be the body and heart and bones of 
theatrical life in this city of overnight fortunes. 

In the audience at this first performance were Ralston, 
an inveterate theatre-goer , arid his partner Sharon; Bret Harte; 
Leland Stanford of the 'Big Four"; James G. Fair, James Flood, 
and John Mackay of the "Nevada Four"; and his shabby but im- 
perial majesty. Emperor Norton. It has been stated that Robert 
Louis Stevenson was present, but since he was only 19 at the 
time and did not come to California until 1879 the claim must 
be denied. 


Interesting is the reaction of the San Francisco News 
L etter in an article printed five days after the opening, on 
January 2", 1869, in vrhich the decorations and the act-drop, 


were censured Y/ithout mercy and the cast of the play given 
their modicum of praise: 

"IH:: 0P3NIHG IIiaHT. — It was a perfect jam -- not 
red-currant, but jam satis -- for those who sat at all; 
and many who paid roundly for their tickets couldn't find 
an usher who knew anything of the locale. The house, in 
plan, accommodations, ventilation, modes of egress, etc., 
is all that could be desired. The painted panels around 
the gallery, balcony, or whatever it may be designated, are 
in bad taste; some gold and white scroll-work Y/ould have 
been much better. As they are they remind you of the cheap 
contrast panel-work in the street cars. We don't mean to 
be understood that the painter has not done 'well his part, ' 
but he had no chance to in such limited space; it's mere 
cabinet-size painting, with no opportunity for the requi- 
site effect. The drop-scene is good; a breezy, lively, 
stand-by therel effect, with the restless, splashy, chop- 
sea look, which is familiar to those who have been out on 
the bar .... 

"The impression which grows upon one after looking at 
the painting for a moment, that it is crowded, retains its 
hold after you have gone away. . . .The poem by Bret Harte, 
was, like everything of his, good; the delivery of it bad. 
But that old 'Sir John Vesey' (W. H. Sedley) that snowy- 
headed, old port-wine and roast-beef Englishman, was cap- 
ital! No gagging or bombast, true to life — the real old 


English stock actor; something to shame your modern star. 
. . . Graves (John Raymond) with his 'Sainted Maria,' was 
just as good -- a true actor — one that would have had 
Garrick's applause. Mrs. Judah requires no one's praise; 
but she always wins it, and is as near perfection as anyone, 
McOullough was good — very good; and Clara Douglas (Marie 
Gordon) played her role as well as we have seen it in many 
years. The more we review her acting the better it stands 
the test. The old fellow in the blue swallow-tail, with the 
brassy buttons and the old-time nankeens, was capital. 
The 'Gods' were outrageously noisy; good-natured but 
shamefully indifferent to those who like order and q^uiet. 
. . . Everything went off well; and we intend going again." 

Thus, though the act-drop and the balcony panels came 
in for some healthy criticism, it would seem that the new 
California company was going to prove highly satisfactory 
to San Francisco theatre-goers, for the News Letter was never 
the journal to pass out free compliments. Best sign of all, 
the supporting players, Smith, Mrs. Judah, Raymond, and Marie 
Gordon, came in for much higher praise than the star, McCullough, 
and this from a competent critic. 

The players at the California were first organized as a 
stock company, with the more prominent members alternating as 
stars. To quote Clay M. Greene: 


"It had e.t first been thought most appropriate to 
dedicate the theatre with Shakespeare, probably with 
La\7rence Barrett as Hamlet; but it was afterwards v;isely 
decided, since the theatre would draw for a certain time 
with any dignified program, to introduce the nev: leading 
members of the company separately by a series of elabo- 
rate try-outs."* 

Since the cast included some excellent players, this 
policy proved very successful for some time. Among the compa- 
ny, besides Barrett and McCullough, were Annette Ince and 
Fanny Marsh (neither of whom remained long v/ith the troupe), 
Emelie Melville, Yfilliam I.iestayer, Stephen Leach, Mrs. 
Saunders, xlrs. Judah, E. J. Buckley and wife, Frederiok 
Franks and wife, Marie Gordon (Mrs. John Raymond) , John Y'Jilson, 
John Raymond (perhaps the California public's favorite comedi- 
an), E. B. Holmes, \7. H. Sedley Smith, Harry Edwards, ¥. F. 
Burroughs, Claude Burroughs, and young Willie Edouln. 

Annette Ince and Fanny Marsh were starred on January 19 
in The Hunchback and were followed by Emelie J elville in 
Extremes. This play was considered a bit heavy for the young 
actress and it was not till she appeared T;ith Barrett in 
London Assurance that she made her first real bid for popu- 
larity. Says Clay Greene: 

Greene, Clay M. Scrapb ook (Newspeipey-eentjrtfetttlons) 


■'It ;vas in this play ( London As suran ce) that lilmelie 
^:elv.ille made her memorable bound into the leading lady's 
position, excepting only the heavier roles, for after two 
performances she supplanted Annette Ince as Lady Gay 
Spanker, relegating her hitherto superior to the position 
of heavy woman. 

On January 21, '.illie Edouin made his first starring 
appearance as ?tover in l-lij-d Oats, a part which Edwin Adams 
had made famous. Then came another performance of Money, 
introducing for the first time to California audiences Mrs. 
C. R. Saunders, who was to play with the California company 
for tv/enty years. There followed a succession of popular 
plays of the time, including Ma rri ed L ife , The Snectre 
Bridegroom. Pl aying with Fir^e, Jpiin Bull, I ngomar , Lucr ezia 
Borgia , Town and Country, Camille . and Pizarro — all 6T which 
with the exception of Camille , are completely forgotten now. 
But then they drew the crowds. 

Barrett did not ma^ie an appearance until February G, when 
he starred in the popular melodrama, The ?'ar ble Ileart, which 
he followed with The^ '.Jife and L ondon Assurance. On February 
18 he played riobertson's David Garrick . with a short farce, 
All That Glitters is Not Gold , for accompaniment. Then on 
February S2 came the play that vras to become the stock piece 
of the Crlifornia Theatre. Rosendale, or The Rifle Ball became 


almost a joke in time — when in doubt the California manage- 
ment always played Rosedale -- but at that time Lawrence 
Patrick Barrett as the debonair Sliot Gray had only to stroll 
on the stage to make the feminine heart flutter. And Barrett 
never seemed to grow weary of the part. Already, as the 
advertisement went, he had played the piece 400 times -- 
following the lead of its author and first 31iot Gray, Lester 
Yifallack -- but Lawrence Patrick would willingly have played 
it five times 400, and almost did. 

It can hardly be said that the new temple of the Muse 
was as yet offering any rare oblations to the mistress to 
ViThich it was supposedly devoted. But during the first part 
of March, IvIcCullough and Barrett broke the ice by presenting 
a cycle of Shakespearean plays. First of these was Hamlet 
on March 1 and 2, with Barrett in the title role and McGullough 
as the Ghost. John Raymond and Willie Sdouin appeared as the 
two gravediggers. Annette Ince as the Queen, Harry Edv/ards as 
the King, and jinelie Melville as Ophelia. F igaro for Ilarch 2 
hardly went into ecstasies over Mr. Barrett's Prince: 

"Mr. Barrett's imijersonation of Hamlet isso familiar to 
our theatre-goers that it is sufficient to say he performed 
the part last night as well as ever h.e did. McGullough read 
the Ghost's speech very well, though it was evident that the 
Ghost had caught a cold from coming out of such a hot place 


. into the midnight air. Harry Edwards read the part 
of the King effectively. W. H. Sed ley Smith did not make much 
of the part of Polonius. John Wilson as Laertes played 
very well in the last scene of the drama. J. T. Raymond and 
Willie Edouin played the two Gravediggers capitally. Miss 
Annette Ince as Queen Gertrude read the part in her usual 
correct style ;and Miss Emelie Melville played the character 
of Ophelia in a charmingly natural manner, carrying off a 
large share of the honors of the evening." 

Once more the supporting players had carried off the 
major share of the honors, if honors there can be said to have 
been in so cold a greeting. Only Emelie Melville can be 
assumed to have read this review with the flush of pleasure 
on her cheeks. But the Shakespearean wheel continued its 
customary round: Macbeth , Othell o, Julius Ceasar . Much Ado 
About Nothing , and the Merchant of Venice came and went in 
their customary manner and with about their customary success 
-- no more, no less, . McCullough's lago, Barrett's Shylock 
or Macbeth were no doubt excellent — none denied it -- but 
the public had grown too used to these interpretations; a fresh 
aspect was needed. Only Barrett's Cassius — his favorite part 
in Shakespeare — could draw more from the critics than the 
customary polite compliments. 

jomi E. o^rars 

Evidently the managers realized this, for on March 15 
they introduced to California audiences the first imported 


star the theatre employed, John E. Owens, who first appeared 
in San Francisco in two pieces he had already made famous 
in the East, Everybody's Friend and Solon Shingle . The 
California completely dominated the theatrical scene during 
the first weeks, averaging $1,000 a night in receipts, but 
(as Jerome Hart remembers in his book In Our Second Century ) 
"the public was growing tired of the same faces and demanded 
novelty.'' Thus began the influx of imported "stars" of which 
Owens was the first. 

It is enlightening to quote the News Le tter of July 28, 
1888, reviewing the record of this highly advertised stock 
company during the first eight weeks of the California's 
existence. This article, written nearly two decades later, 
when the theatre was declining, casts a strong light on the 
sentimental reverence with which San Francisco later looked 
back on the early days of the old California: 

''The amount of v:ork done by the great stock company 
during the first weeks preceding the engagement of John E. 
Owens, the first star, was really enormous, comprising 25 
principal plays, 4 afterpieces in more than one act, and 5 
farces or comediettas, making a total of 34 pieces and 73 
represer^tations given in 48 nights and 8 matinees. Leaving 
out the fifth week, occupied by David Garrick and after- 
pieces, and the sixth vreek, occupied by Rosedal e. there 


remained six weeks, in which no less than 24 plays and 
4 farces were produced, being a weekly average of four 
regular plays. . . . The average receipts for the season 
were estimated at ;^6,000 (Coin) per week, but the managers 
neither affirmed nor denied this estimate. The company, 
aside from minor people, consisted of fifteen gentlemen 
and nine ladies, five of the former and three of the 
latter being new here. Of the v/ork they did during the 
eight weeks an idea may be gathered from the following 
list, with a number of different characters assumed by each: 

"Lawrence Barrett, 11 (34 times); John McCullough, 
27 (52 times); W. H. Sedley Smith (new) 10 (28); Henry 
Edwards, 8 (13); l/fei. Mestayer, 16 (35); John Wilson, 20 
(38); John T. Raymond (new) 24 (61); E. B. Holmes (new) 
27 (""^6); W. F. Burroughs (new) 21 (31); Claude Burroughs 
(new) 16 (28); E. J. Buckley, 15 (25) E. P. Marble, 15 
(28); Fred Franks 26 (51); Willie Edouin, 9 (16); S. W. 
Leach, 18 (47); Miss Annette Inee (new) 20 (35); Miss M. 
E. Gordon (new) 7 (17); Miss Fanny Marsh (new) 4 (6); Miss 
Kate Lynch, 12 (21); Mrs. JAadah, 11 (30); Mrs. Saunders, 

11 (36); Miss Emelie Melville, 20 (50); Mrs. Fred Franks, 

12 (29); and Mrs. E. J. Buckley, 21 (48). 

"It is to be remembered that Mr. Barrett did not 
appear until the fourth week; that Mr. Edwards, disabled 
by rheumatism, did not appear until the fifth week, his 
line of characters being generally played meantime by 


Sedley Smith; that Miss Gordon's appearances were during 
the first four weeks, and Miss Marsh's ion account of 
illness) during the first threo ; and that l/illie 7']douin 
was comparatively idle by reason of the prior claims of 
others in the same line. With these exceptions, the 
figures may be taken as indicating, to a great extent 
the usefulness and versatility of each actor, although 
not his rank in the company. . . . Thus began the glorious 
career of the California Eieatre, now drawing to an igno- 
minious close." 

If figures can tell the story (and the napies of the players 
bear it out), the versatility shovm in this account makes it 
easy to believe the contention that the Calif ornla Stock Company 
at that time was equal, and possibly superior, to any stock 
company In the country. 

Owens, though he had never before appeared in San Fran- 
cisco, already enjoyed a nationwide fame. There was a large 
audience in the California on opening night to see the comedian 
in his celebrated parts of Solon Shingle and Major Wellington 
de Boots. Reported Figaiio on March 16, 18p9 : 

"Mr. Owens did not choose to appear first beforu the 
public of San Francisco in the character which he has 
made so peculiarly his own — Solon Shingle — but pre- 
ferred to prelude that part with an enaction of the ec- 
centric Major Wellington de Boots in the comedy of Every - 
body' s Friend. In this he drew roars of laughter from the 


audience and a call at the close of the first act 5 but it 
v/as not till he appeared as the garrulous old Yankee who 
has lost 'that ar bar'l f)' apple sass' that the audience 
appreciated ho:w great an impersonator of eccentric charac- 
ter stood before them." 

Cwens followed these specialties with two more pieces 
which he had made "peculiarly his own": Dot, a dramatization 
of Dickens' Cricket On The He arth , and The Live Indian, a farce 
in which he took three parts, one of them a woman's. Indeed, 
according to George C. Cdell in his An nals of the Nevy York 
Stage, "Or^ens' performance of Caleb Plummer (in Dot) has come 
down to us as of almost commensurate fame with that of Joseph 
Jefferson." F igaro was evidently of the same opinion; 

"As Caleb Plummer, the old toy-maker, we like Mr. Owens 
much better than we did in his much more renowned specialty 
of Solon Shingle,. Not only is the character more attrac- 
tive, but v;e think the portraiture is finer and greater. 
The simple-minded old man with his child-like innocence of 
heart, his sublime self-abnegation and tenderness for his 
blind daughter was delineated to the life. . . . The after- 
piece of The Live Indian evoked a great deal of hearty 
laughter r nevertheless the piece is rather a piece of fus- 
tian, and in some scenes broad, just a trifle too broad, 
for the legitimate boards." 


The popularity of Owens continued and his engagement 
lasted through May 1, 1869, consisting of such stock pieces 
as Se lf , Dora (a dramatization of Tennyson at his mawkish 
worst, Victims , Forty Win ks , The Heir-at-Law, Thp lVo_T hompsons , 
and Boucicault's GrimmaiLdi ; or . The Life of an Actress , with 
Lawrence Barrett. Notable during Owen's stay at the California 
was his and John Raymond's clovming as the two Dromios in 
Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors . On the same bill was one of 
the great "leg shows" of the time, I xion ; or, The Man at the 
Wheel, "With Emelie Melville in the title role, supported by 
John Raymond, V/illie Edouin, Marie Gordon, Iviinnie Walton, and 
Kate Lynch. Ixion , originally written by an Englishman named 
Burnand, had first been brought to New York in 1865, but not 
until it had been rev;ritten to suit American tastes and under- 
standing had it become really popular. Lydia Thompson and her 
British Blondes had made a sensation out of the burlesque in 
New York in the fall of 1868 and the show had had 34 perform- 
ances there, averaging $1043.56 a performance. It proved al- 
most as popular at the California, running for 11 days, from 
April 28 through May 8. It was to be revived several times. 

Bush Street definitely had become the center of "legiti- 
mate theatricals'' in San Francisco, and before long the 
Metropolitan and Maguire's Opera House v/ere pronounced by 
Figaro to be "in the wrong part of toi/n." But still Maguire 
did not give up the fight, offering in competition to the new 
theatre the best he could muster in the way of variety. 


minstrel shows, comedy and the then popular "leg shows," or 
musical extravaganzas as they were more formally called. Ben 
Cotton, Joe Murphy, Johnny Mack, the W.J, Florences and in 
the following year Harry Courtaine , Hita Sangalli, and Sally 
Hinckley in The Black Crook were capable of drawing enough 
people into Maguire's Opera House to keep the California 
management on its toes. The production of Ixion at the haughty 
new temple of legitimacy was certainly a concession to the then 
prevailing mania for burlesque and spectacle. For the first 
time the California had condescended to descend into the arena 
with Maguire, Tetlow, and the common gladiators of the town. 
The importation of Cwens was the first admission that a little 
spice was needed to liven the solid fare offered by the regular 
cooks of the hostelry. Star succeeded star at the California: 
after Owens came Charlotte Thompson, John Brougham, Lotta, 
Edwin Adams, any and all who could be persuaded to appear. 
Early in May Charlotte Thompson began a successful en- 
gagement that extended through July 5. Her opening play was 
that old reliable. The Lady of Lyons , in which she was sup- 
ported by Lawrence Barrett. Miss Thompson's first stay at the 
California, though profitable, was hardly of the sensational 
order, but it must be admitted that the lady was versatile 
and ready to turn her hand to anything that was offered. Among 
her offerings were such varied pieces as Camille . As .You Like 
It, East Lynne, Twelfth Night . The Sea of Ice (another of 
those "spectacle dramas' so dear to the age), The Hunchbac k, 


the genteel School, and the lurid Lucrezia Borgia. Toward the 
end of her run Ixion was revived, with Emelie Melville again 
in the title role. There was also a nevj production or Rosedale , 
net with Barrett this time-, but with an ajnateur, a lawyer 
named W. H. L. Barnes, supported by the National Guard and the 
entire California company, including McCullough. IVhether the 
National Guard was called out for precaution's sake is not 
recorded, but evidently itwas not needed, for the performance 
(which was for the benefit of the Mercantile Library), and the 
"gentleman" star were roundly applauded. Colonel Barnes, inci- 
dentally, was Ralston' s lawyer and was to be heard from again. 

On July 6 the famous actor-author, John Brougham, opened 
an engagement in a double bill which consisted of Fitz-James 
O'Brien's Old Gentleman from Ireland and Broughajn ' s own drama- 
tization of Dickens ' David Copperfield, Brougham took the part 
of Micawber. He then appeared in several of his own comedies, 
which included Fl ies in the V/eb, Pocahontas; or, Ye Gentle 
Savage, Pla ying wit h Fire, and a dramatization of Dickens' 
Dombey and Son. Lack of direct inspiration never bothered 
Brougham: the works of Charles Dickens were too voluminous. 
Nevertheless Brougham was one of the fevj genuine actors and 
authors of burlesque of the period and San Francisco was not 
slow to appreciate the fact. His stay at the California was 
one of the high spots in the history of the theatre. During 
his tenure another New York sensation arrived to add zest to 


the hilarious proceedlnGs at the new theatre. Elise Holt, 
billed as ''the Queen of Burlesque," stretched the neclcs and 
Go^Gled the eves of Sen Francisco males when^ she appeared, 
July 31, in the spectacle-burlesque Paris , v/hich v;as really 
nothing more than a revamping of the already renovated Ixion . 
Toe follov'inG day the estate of satire moved up five or six 
notches in thp scale v/it]^ a memorable production of Sheridan's 
The Rivals , Brougham appearing as Sir Lucius O'TriSbSr. With 
him were Barrett as Captain Absolute, McCulloush as Falkland, 
I'rs . Judah as Ilrs • I.ialaprop, Harry Idwards as Sir Anthony 
Absolute, and J. T. Rajnuond as Bob Acres. Surely a better 
cast could not have been asse-nbled in New Yorlc City itself. 
Brousham's lant ap--^earance on August 14 v/as an equal triumph, 
the productions bein^ his own pieces The Red Light ; or . The 
Sipjial of D&n^er and a Shakespearean burlesque, Shylock; or. 
Much Ado About a Merchant of Venice "from the original text 
--a long way." 

One of the bright spots of the year at the CalifomlAwas 
the return of an old favorite, Lotta Crabtree — no longer 
Little Lotta — in a repertory of plays which she had made 
famous, indeed had identified vdth h-r name. It was fitting 
thy.t she follow Brougham In his ov;n play, written especially 
for her — an adaptation of Dickens' Old Curiosity Shop which 
was known as Little blell and the Marchioness and which was to 
become the most famous of her often-played specialties. The 


play had little 3n common with Dickens' story except the names 
of the characters, but it never failed to win the public with 
Lotta in it. She took both parts and though the audience was 
never much taken with her Little Nell it never grew weary of 
the pert, wistful, gaminish little waif v;ho talked and sang 
her way (with a banjo accompaniment t) into the heart of the 
erratic Mr. Swiveller. Indeed, though she was no longer a 
prodigy, there v/as something about this dainty, impish creature 
that seemed to set her apart from age and that enabled her to 
play these Puckish roles until she v/as well past 40. 

Critics never knew what to make of Lotta; they were all 
agreed that she could not act, that she violated every canon 
of the stage, bursting into a banjo solo in the middle of a 
dramatic scene or into a song and dance, yet they could not 
but confess that their critical faculties v/ere constantly 
seduced by her charm. It is interesting to quote the sedate 
critic of the New York Times two years before her engagement 
at the California, when she made her starring debut at Wallack* s 
Theatre. The quotation is from the issue of July 30, 1867: 
"MISS LOTTA, a little lady who has the face of a 
beautiful doll and the ways of a kitten, appeared at this 
theatre last night.. . . Miss LOTTA, as a specimen of life, 
light and beauty, needs only to be seen to be approved. . . . 
It is only reasonable to state that Miss LOTTA is very 
fair, that her fairness is relieved by bright brown eyes, 
rather deeply sunk, and capable of very earnest expression. 
She is small, rather slight in figure, and owing to the 


remarkable delicacy of her nose, she is seen as advan- 
tageously in profile as in full face. It is not astonishing 
then that the new star already enlisted the sympathy of her 
audience before she had uttered a word. She has a habit of 
v;reathlng her lip, cheek and brow into a smile of wicked 
glee, and -- like Praed's pretty nun -- is 'as light as tte 
wind that scarcely heaves the softest of the soft rose 
leaves. • . . Her drafts upon impulse seem to be honored 
at all times — but it is impulse at times without reason 
and against the nature of the situation* ■• • • Her poverty 
in artistic resources is seen in such parts as Liddy 
Larrigan in Family Jars, where the portrayal of character 
is called for. In that she is simply the same spirit of 
mischief which she was in The Pet of the P etticoats — 
only her nose is painted, she wears a funny wig cap, 
dances an Irish jig most cleverly, and plays a banjo solo 
like a prize negro minstrel. But there is not the slightest 
attempt to represent a phase of life. She conveniently 
forgets her brogue to sing a Southern song, and her sex to 
Imitate a very far gone state of tipsiness. But all this 
is amusing, and whatever Is amusing is popular. The audience 
last night shrieked with laughter at the tipsy scene, and 
redemanded the banjo solo three times. We think there is 
much more talent and real ability in wliss LOTTA than she 
now exhibits*" 

Just as it had been with New York audiences, so it was 


with San Franc iscrns, only no re no, since they co\ild not but 
remenber that it v/as in this city and in the mining camps of 
Gold Rush days that the dainty gnomide had started her twinkling 
career. Sentiment alv/ays had a strong pull v/ith the \7orthy 
citizens of iil Dorado -- as long as they were amiised In the 
bargain. And even the stern critic cf the Tl '-.le s had to concede 
that Lotta v/as amusing, actress or no actress. It must have 
been a profoxmd instinct that led Lotta — or more likely her 
mother -- to select these trifling, loosely-strung pieces for 
her repertory. In them it made little difference hov/ much 
she capered or "mugged" or sv/itched accents; In a well-knit 
play it would have been intolerable. Little Nell , The T icket- 
of -Leave-Han, Fire - Fly , Captain Charlott e, The Female Detec" 
tive. The Pet of the Petticoats , and Nan -the-Good-for-N oth- 
ing: she snirked and jigged and twanged her banjo through 
the whole silly lot of them, and there v/as not room enough 
in the California Theatre for all those who would sit under 
the spell of Lotta Crabtree . 

Lotta played through September 11* Figaro for September 
13 thus summed up her engagement and spoke of events to come: 
"Lotta 's engagement is closed* Saturday's house was 
again a packed one -- the 'Standing Room' ticket hirng up 
soon after eight o'clock. The very turgid Female Dectective 
was well enough done, Lotta in two good and four poor 
characters — followed by Nan -tlae- Good- for Nothing , which 
is one of the young l?dy's best. On Saturday at the 
matinee, David Garrick was played. It is a right good 


play, and the only real good one, so far as we know, that 
Mr. Robertson has done. Mr. Barrett does some fine acting 
in it, well supplemented by Mr. Sedley Smith. Amongst 
theatre sharps, it is, we believe, the better opinion that 
this is Miss Melville's best part; it is certain that she 
appears to good advantage, although at one pathetic 
juncture the lady's placidity was a little exasperating. 
To-night, for the benefit of Mr, James Stark, two sterling 
plays. Then two Rosedales: 

'And then comes on Formosa I 
LordJ how the pas and critics boiled 
And how the papers rattled; 
The pulpits stormed in holy wise — 
The parsons bravely battled; 
And all below was in a roar 
And all above a clatter; 
The town was like a frying pan, 
Or some such hissing matter. ' 

"Or rather, so it was in London. We will bide a wee 
and shall see on Thursday what it is all about." 

Formosa ; or, The ?iallroad to "^uin was the latest shocker 
from the pen of Dion Boucioault, advertised as "now being per- 
formed at Drury Lane Theatre and at Wlblo's Garden, New York, 
v.'ith great success" r.nd ''ending, v/ith the Oxford and Cambridge 
Boat Race." In it Chai:'lcs Thome, Jr., who had made his 
first appearance on the sta^e at t"ie Ai^rican theatre in 1854, 
1-ad only a few days before made his debut as a leading man in 
New York. This "realistic" Tiroduction,like most of Boucioault 's 
plays, had caused great sensation and turault in London and 


New York and now the critics of San J^'^ancisco were pleasantly 
expectant of deliv^r.-'ins their o\'m judgment. 

In the meantime, riosedale , now the hardy perennial of the 
California Theatre, care in for a few bittor words from Figaro 
of September 16: 

"We trust to have seen the last of Rosedale , at least 
for a time. At uhr. California it has become the scapegoat 
and made to clo the same service that the Stranger and The 
Lady of Lyons have be-n made to P'".rform at other theatres. 
To sa3'- that it was as handsomely mounted and as finely 
played v/ould be only to repeat our frequent assertion in 
its regard. The attendance was moderate." 

til: c.iiifss:: liust go 

The lon£-e;:;3octed shocker -- Boucicault's Formosa -- 
opened September 15, vrith Dsrrett and Mestayer in the lead- 
ing roles. But the ..lain shock came from an unexpected source 
when the "gallery gods" Insisted on booing a pair of Chinese 
gentlemen who v;ere quietly, but a little too prominently, 
seated In a box. The demands for eviction became so great 
that the olay had to be halted teTOorarily while Lawrence 
Barrett stepped Torth and calraly told the hooters that no one 
could be put out of the theatre "as long as he behaved him- 
self." This innuendo was probably lost on the "gods," but 
they finally grew v/eary or hoarse and the play went on without 
a break. The Chinese gentlemen sat unperturbed throughout the 


co-Tiiotion, but thr-. r.oi'Pl iivU^nation of the "'■'l:;^aro critic was 
so ex'iausted by t'li^ real event that he had nothing left to 
vnnt on the i,-iit--'tion. It v;as not till Se-otenber 19 that he 
r/as recovered enough to s;oeal: his niece on ■■"'or-iiosa : 

"i.'r. rjoucicault defends his production on the grounds 
that the c-fraje is tliC' proper place to pillory vice and 
teach -norality. » • • It is not n cssai-y to reproduce a 
brothel vipon the atrge in order to let us laiow that s\ich 
places e::ist, and the ^tyle of life vrithin their portals. 
. . . Its intrinsic ::erits are few aiid \7e:?€ it not for the 
remarlcable ability of the ;of" rforraers, fine scenic effects, 
gorgeous oostu"(ies v/itb. which it has be^^^n produced at the 
California Theatre it would soon have sunk to slumber and 
been heard of no raore*" 


But Formosa -- .aaybe It was becmise of the boat race -- 
continued to drav/ th-s unredct'-'ined public tuitil 'September 25* 
It was followed by an oldi.r Boucicault favorite, The Streets 
of riew Yr.rk . On ocpteiaber 30, Simon degree cracked his whip 
and Liza crosr'ed the ice for a nl^^it in a revival of Uncle 
'^O'-'-'t ' a Cabin (Jolin Rayraond a'T->eared as Uncle Toiii, Emelie 
1 elville as Topsy, Louise "ilson as little 2va, and John 
'.ilson as "imon Ler;ree). Then, on October 1, -TcCullough made 
his first appearance in .•^ic:ht weeks inA Roland for an Oliver , 
on tine sa-e bill with Our ^ for the Heartache , featuring Barrett 


and Medley Sinith-. This was a benefit for Sedlej'- r-imith. And 
the stage wac s- t for the advent of the fav:iotis Edwin Adams. 

2dwin Adams had his first San Francisco appearance 
two years befo-re at the Ue.tronolitan 'Theatre and had b'-en 
very v/ell rccexv-d by both public rnd critics. The young 
tragedian and ro lantic actor, a close friend of McGiiliough' s, 
Y.'as already in the firost sta^^e of tuberculosis, which ei^h.t 
years later was to claiii his life. Adaris still had so.-ie -ore- 
tensions as a tragedian, thougli he was becoming more ajid more 
lcno\^Ti as a romantic actor in such plays as Enoch Arden, 
Harcisse,and The Dead Heart. His later defection from tragedy 
was spoken of v/ith apijarent regret aftur his death, but among 
those who regretted could not have been the critic of Figaro . 
Of /'.dams' Camlet, presented on October 4, he said the ne::t 

'■'Ir. /' Ilai'ilet is not his specialty,* if it were 
his reputation could not be what it is. A better Hamlet 
can be found in the California The-atre without sending for 
stars. Unless i'r. Adar,is does better next time . • . his 
impersonation of tho character inust talce rank behind that 
of Ilr. Barrett,'' 

Following his maligned Prince of Denmark, Adams appeared 
as Rover in Wild Oats , a part which had been a popular favorite 
of his for several years and in which his performance was al- 
lov/ed by Figaro to be "masterly." His run lasted tbrough 


October 30 and consisted of such romantic pieces as Clair- 
voyance , The Dead Heart , The Marble Heart , King ofte Commons , 
Narcisse, the Vagrant , and Julie de Margaritte's dramatization 
of Tennyson's Enoch Arden, mixed with a few more Shakespearean 
ventures in Macbeth and Othello . McCullough played lago to 
his Othello, but still the critics were not kind. But their 
opinion of him in the romantic pieces was a different story 
and it is significant that Adams is best remembered for his 
playing of Rover in Wild Oats , of Robert Landry in The Dead 
Heart (He was the creator of this part in the United States), 
and most particularly of Enoch Arden . This last-named part 
came to be regarded as his exclusive property, just as Rip 
Vfn Winkle and Solon Shingle were considered to belong to 
Joseph Jefferson and John E. Owens. Figaro of October 30 
summed Adams up as "a good but not a great actor. . . . As a 
melodramatic and sensational actor he ranks higher than as a 
legitimate Shakesperean one . . . .He has been admirably support- 
ed by the company during his entire engagement." 

ilevertheless , the public v/as not as cold toward the 
young actor as the critics would lead one to believe, as is 
shovm by the sworn receipts for October, 1869, at the Cali- 
fornia (taken from McCabe 's Journal ), which amounted to 
,528,701. Evidently Mr. Adams could afford criticism. A quo- 
tation from Joseph Jefferson's Autobiography, as coming from 
a judge at least as competent as Figaro , should give the read- 
er a little more understanding of Adam's popular appeal: 


"The animation of his face, the grrce of his person, 
and, above all, the melody of his voice well fitted him 
for the stage. V7hlle he could not be fairly called a great 
artist, he was something often more highly prized -- a 
bom actor, a child of nature if not of art, swayed by 
warm impulse rather than by premeditation. His Enoch Ardon, 
so far as the character is relatf^d to the stage, v/as a cre- 
ation entirely his ov;n, and one, too, that touched the sym- 
pathy of his audience." 

It v/ould seem that Adams did not c-ntirely rely on the 
"admirable support'' of his company. 

On the first of November the popular Charlotte Thompson 
began a return engagement in a new play by P>rougham v/ritten 
especially for her and entitled Lily of France . John McCullough 
was her leading i:ipn» She remained throngh November 20, 
presenting a mixed repertory of Shakespeare and "sen- 
sation" plays which Included Romeo and Juliet , Twelfth Night , 
As You Like It, T. VI » Robertson's School , Him ted Down, East 
Lynne , and On the Brink ; the last was supposedly adapted by 
her from the French. During this, her last engagement at the 
California, there was another revival of Ixion with Eraelie 
Melville again in the title role. "The Man at the ^jVheel" was 
steering a long coxirse through the roxighening California 
waters. Something besides straight drama was obviously need- 
ed to keep the California at the head of the procession. 
Maguire, not yet conceding defeat, was enjoying his first 


^ood season of the year at his Opei-a House during the fall — 
^oresenting the popular 'V. J. Florences in comedy pieces; and 
the melodeons — notably the Bella Union, the new Alham- 
bra, and the Pacific — were playing to packed houses. At 
the Metropolitan the brillirnt llartinettis vrove temporarily 
reviving the fortunes of th:\t decadent theatre vdth their \m- 
f ailing pantomime. The California had enjoyed a brilliant 
first year but harder tiiaes v;ere to come. 

There was a definite falling off in attendance during 
the last months of the decade -- not in itself significant, 
since the Christmp.s season is notoriously a poor time for 
theatricals, but in this case ominous. Anew "iiiilitary drama," 
Ours {"irr the popular dramatist T.'.''. Robert son and with Brrrett, 
llcCullough, and a '^full military band") made a brief noise 
during the last weel: of l!ov-mber. Si:jnor Brionoli, a "fair- 
to-rnddlin''' opera singer, gave a pair of uninspired concerts 
and Charlotte Thompson made her farewell appearance in a 
benefit performance of The. Belle 's Stratagem . The year ended 
in a doleful medley of voices, with Signor Drignoli and his 
eq\ially mediocre operatic troxip alternating v;lth the regular 
California dra'-;iatic company in sporadic and almost unwit- 
nessed performances. 

A new year and a new decade had begim, one that was to 
see the California Theatre rise to com'olete domination of its 
field vmtil the building of Baldwin's Academy of Lusic and 


Wade's Opera Hotise in the middle seventies and the default 
and suicide of William Ralston in 1875. Barrett was to leave 
within the year for the wider fame New York had to 
give him, and John MoCullough during the early seventies was 
to take the place of Tom Maguire as the king of managers in 
San Francisco. But the first months of 1370 revealed no signs 
of the good years ahead; and this condition, after a bril- 
liant first year, must have been doubly depressing to the new 
managers . 

It was an era of extravaganza and spectacle and the 
California began the year appropriately with a production of 
Cherr y and Fair S tar , ■ formerly known as The Childr en of. 
Cyprus, an "oriental" spectacle which had been presented at 
Bamum's Museum in Nev/ York in the summer of 1865. This 
piece, which had started, its run during the Christmas holi- 
days, was described by the News L ette r of January 1, as "the 
best of its kind that we have had on this coast." The unim- 
portant male parts were taken by John Raymond and W.H. Sedley 
Smith and the female decoration was supplied by Emelle 
Melville, Marie Crordon, and Minnie Walton, all "channlngly 
dressed and . . . pleasant to the si;^t." But most impor- 
tant v/ere the costume and scenery, "painted as we are told by 
W. T. Porter. We don't know the man (said the News Letter ) 
but he can paint scenery." They were to become very well ac- 
quainted with the ingenious Mr. Porter in the following year. 


On Jmiu.iry '-., 1870, the thertre celebrated its 300th 
consecutive oorfoiTTimice with a benefit for the popular come- 
dian, John T. Raymond. The management announced that the 
theatre had not once {c::ceptinc Sundays) closed its doors 
rince the first night and that the receipts nince that time 
amounted to ''^278, 000. Barrett and KcCullou^ apr)eared in 
Robertson's SocietY and were followed by Raymond in the fifth 
act of Richard III . Ra^/inond -- who was to bocorae nationally 
famous as Colont-l Mulberry Sellers in an adaptation of Mark 
T-;;ain'3 Gilded A£e — "really acted with considerable tragic 
power" (Pljgro, January 5)but, suffering from the normal tend -^ • 
ency of the audience to laugh at anythin;^ he uttered or did, 
decided midway in the performance to turn his reading into de- 
liberate burlesque and so saved the day. McCullough himself 
took a surprisingly poor benefit January 7, which was prob- 
ably accounted for Vjy the fact that he elected to play 
Sheridan Kaowles ' already over--olayed Virgin'ius . 

Something was needed to counteract the success of Maguire'a 
production of The Black Crook at the Opera House v/lth La Rita 
Sangalli, Marie Bonfanti, Harry Courtaine, Paul Martinetti, 
and Sallie Hinckley; and tlic managers of the California :de- 
cided to revive Boucicault's Arrah-na-Po£ue, which had en- 
joyed a run of 50 successive nights at the Metropolitan in the 
days of Charles Whoatleii:^. On January 18 the first anni- 
versary of the theatre was celebrated ( Arrah -na- Popue was 


still the foaturo), and after the shov/ the mernbers of the 
dramatic company rnd other eiiiployees of tho house we-r'e treat- 
ed to a "collation/' or in the vernacular, ''eats and drinks." 
The party, which v;as supposed to be private, v/as dist<urbed 
(according to next day's F igaro ) by the "inevitable C hron- 
icle reporter" with scant rosnect for privacy, v/ho was 
thrown out on his ear by the "custodians of the door." This 
delicate tribute to a fallen foe was ty.^icp.l of the news- 
papers of the day« 

An attempt v/as made to stretch the run of Arrah -na- Pogue 
to two weeks, but attendance was so thin that it was with- 
drawn midway in the second week. Things were in bad shape 
at the California and the newspapers did not hesitate to say 
so. A commionication from one "T. G." in the News Letter of 
February 19> 1870, contains some caustic but shrewd comment: 

"I am a constant visitor cf the California Theatre, and 
lately have seen with sorrow the gradual but siire fall- 
ing away both in number and style of the audiences that 
whilom filled the dres.s circle and orchestra of certain- 
ly the first theatre on out coast; and all this in spite 
of the constant succession of new plays, beautiful scen- 
ery, etc., that TIr. Barrett has had the good taste to of- 
fer us. But \inhaiDpily he has not lived long enough among 
us to know the fickle nature of our theatre-goers. What 


Califomians r.TU3t have, is variety. We want new faces. 
Lpt Mr. ;3arrett verify this by ^oin^ to the Alhambra, 
cx'ov/ded nijitly, to sco, certainly, a trashy i;erformance; 
but then the Zavi3tov;s'.:is are nev/. V/e don't forsee every 
£;estiire and reco^^nize everj'- tone, as v/e should a square 
farther on Bush Street." 

''T. G. • went on to praise Barrett and ircCullough though 
uei landing; that "genial Jolm" stick to his tragic roles -- 
"serve hljn up alv;ays with blood sauce." What the theatre 
really needed, he continued, was a "first-class actress — 
in fact a leadln^ lady.'' lilmelie i.ielville v/as -oleaslng enough 
as -a soubrette and burlesque actress, but too much of her 
was li]:e ''too inuch jaxii" and it v.'ould take the public "some 
time to recover from the nausea." As for i.Iarie Gordon, her 
voice reminded T. G. of "music played upon the rim of a fin- 
ger bowl" and her only virtue as an actress was her ability 
tc wear clothes. In. short, the California was in need of a 
1> ading actress -- "some one whose soul is above biittons and 
whose acting is above mediocrity." He concluded: "And yet 
n word. Don't try to xill the theatre with benefits; the 
■lubllc have benefited to death within the last year, and now 
the Library is in the Held, arxl that is all our purses will 
stand for the next 6 months. . . . Yours, T. G«" 

How pertinent T. C. 's advice was is v/itnessed by the 


production at the rnd of February of Frou - :^:rou , ''latest 
Farisian sensation,'' v;lilch in Augustin '.'aly'n translation 
had rxm for 103 nights in New York the r)revious year. As pro- 
duced at the California, without an outntr.ndin^^ actress in 
leading part, Frou - Frou sputtered alon^ for a few y.dserable 
days pnd then quietly foldf^d un. Virtuous Figaro had nothing 
but contempt for the pl'-^ce, pronouncing it "Frenchy" and 
"trashy." The importance of a leadin;;,; laly could have been 
given no better exantple than Frou-Frou, which depended almost 
entirely on the looular appeal and acting ability of Prou-Fi^ou 
herself. Later in the year the irresistible Alice Dunning 
"knocked 'em in tht aisles" for several w.?;e'-s in the iDart at 
Maguire ' s Or-era House rnd even the chaste Figaro was moved to 
call Frou - Frou one of thr; best comedies s-.en in the city for 
years. (The California v/rs not advertising, at the time of this 
production — an ov-v'rii^ht of wjiich rival li^guire v;as not 
guilty -- and in these cases a consf=>quent bitterness was certain 
to creep into Figaro ' s critique.) 

How much news^oaprr criticism was affected by the amount 
of advertising is v/ell revealed by Figaro ' s review of The 
Duke ' s Motto on April 2, 1070; 

"This theatre :ias drawn lar^e audiences during the 
past Y/eek with Brou^'s drai.ia of The Duke 's i.Iotto , one of 
those pieces that would delight a Bov/er^'- audience, as the 
clash of swords and click of pistols are constantly heard. 
This drama, devoid of the sensuous and magnificent scenery, 
would not have attracted the sybaritic public two evenln^;3 • 


. . . Considered nrvelj ps ai acting piece, The Dv.lce ' a Motto , 
as played at thlc house, falls considerably below its 
standards when pliyed at Maguire's Opera Ho\ise, with John 
Allen as its hero. Kls action wac more dashing and melo- 
dramatic than that of I.Ir» Barrett, who, although a careful 
and conscientious artist, cannot sufficiently overcome his 
natural (sic) stilted style to properly render a role re- 
quiring so much freedom and vigor." 

In spite of Figaro ' s disapproval, the run of The Duke ' s 
I lotto , which continued through April 9, broiight the only real 
glimpse of spring the California enjoyed that year. This 
elaborate costume play with its "clash of swords and click of 
pistols" might not, as Figar o rei;iari':ed, lasted two 
evenings withoixt its "sensuous and r^iagnificent scenery''; but 
t'-'O point was that scenery and sensation were the only things 
the public was then interested inj and The Dvlce 's Motto 
delivered the goods • The r.hpdow of The Black Crook loomed 
heavily in the background of all things theatrical* 

V/ith the departure ox" the "Duke" the Cnlifomia receded 
once more into patrician obscurity, though Willie Edouin 
brought a brief gleam of common delight on April 14, when he 
apneared in a burlesque entitled The D\ilce ' s liotto ; or, \7here 
Am r> Wot long afterward JMouin departed for the East. It 
was not until June, v/lion Lydia Thoiupson carted her buxom 
blondes into tovm, that the theatre was to debase its halls 
again with the vulgar ring of coin. 


It was a dull spring. An actress named Mary Gladstane 
was engaged for three v/eeks, her only success being at the 
hands of the unpredictable Figaro . (The California was adver- 
tising again) . As was usual in such times the theatre fell 
back on a series of benefits, most important of which y;s.s 
that of Lawrence Barrett, his first at the California. On 
this occasion he appeared in Tom Robertson's Home, appropriate- 
ly titled, for Barrett was soon to sell his interest to 
McCullough and return East. Valuable and unforgettable as his 
experience had been, he had come to the realization that a 
career as a stock actor would never lead him to the histrionic 
heights on which he rightfully belonged. On August 15 of that 
year he opened at Niblo's Garden in New York, thus beginning 
the new career that was to make him an international figure 
In the world of the theatre. Jotin Raymond, too, was preparing 
for the trip East that was to bring him to the proverbial fame 
and fortune as Colonel Mulberry Sellers and on May 15 he took 
a farewell benefit, appearing in Married Life and a burlesque 
entitled Hamlet; or. The Wearing of tjie Black. Thex^e followed 
the inevitable siege of Rosedal e . 

Maguire was reaping a biomper oro:o at his Opca Esase 
during the spring and early sximmer and pickings at the Cali- 
fornia were ^xtra slim during that tims« "iValter Mon.goTiery 
was seen in a bi^ief and unfortunate engagement and Enielie 
Melville appeared in another of the many adaptations of David 


Copperfleld entitled Little Emily; but Frank Mayo's success 
at the Opera House was hoinf; repeated by William Horace Lingard 
(of Captai n Jinks and the Horse Marines fame), his sister 
Dickie Lingard, and -- r.iost important of the three -- his wife, 
Alice Dunning Lln^^ard. Biggest sensation of the Lingard en- 
ragement was the beautiful Alice Dunning' s overwhelming suc- 
cess in Frou- Frou» This piece, which had had such ill luck 
at the California, now assiimed a new dignity in the eyes of 
the mercurial critic of 71 garo . It is amusing to quote the 
review of Maguire's version from the issue of June 9: 

"Daly's adaptation of Frou -F rou is a most excellent 
comedy, one of the best that has been produced in this city 
for years. . . * Miss D\inning's portrayal of the golden- 
haired, arch, lovable, pretty, passionate but thoughtless, 
wilful and erring Frou-Frou appeals irresistibly to the 
hearts of all." 

Nevertheless, the presence of a star like Alice Dunning 
was undoubtedly neoessary to the success of a play like Frou- 
^^•o^> since the fortune of the v/hole piece turned on the pop- 
ular appeal of ths leading actress. And Alice Dunning evidently 
"had what it took." A quotation from Jerome A. Hart's In Our 
^^^0"^ Century will help to reveal what the California manage- 
ment was up against during the run of the Lingards: 

"During the latter days of Maguire's Opera House one 
of the most successful engagements played there was that of 

the Lingards -- William Horace Lingard, Alice Dunning, his 
wife, and Diclcie Lingard, his sister. Vifilliam Lingard gave 
a series of songs after the style of those popular in the 
London music-halls of the time -- 'Captain Jinks of the 
Horse Marines, ' 'The Lion of the Season, ' 'Champagne Charley, ' 
etc., with lightning, changes.... Alice Dunning was greatly 
admired hj other women for her beauty; like Lily Langtry 
later, she v/as a woman's star. Even a raere r.-an may not deny 
however, that she v;as a beautiful woman and a fine actress. 
Her photographs were tobe sev?n in many drawing-rooms. When 
the Lingards succumbed to the demand for leg-shows, and put 
on the biirlesque of Pluto, she shov;ed plrdnly that her beau- 
ty v/as not of face alone. Her sister-in-law, Dickie Lingard, 
also proved that the Black Crook ladies had no monopoly of 
physical charms. A philosophic observei!' might have noticed 
however, that the San Francisco ladies who raved over the 
beautiful Alice Dunning restricted her photographs ... to 
those in modish afternoon or evening gowns." 

On June 13, Rose I.lassey and her hefty British Blondes be- 
gan an engagement at Haguire's and a v/eek later;, on J\me 22, 
began one of those ilaguire vs. Opponent feuda when the Cali- 
fornia Theatre introduced Lydia Thompson and her original 
blonde troup (of Black Crook fame, or notoriety) in a bur- 
lesque entitled Sinbad , the Sailor . Immediately the Battle of 
the Blondes became the chief interest of the city and the not 


\inpleasant consequence was that the first night receipts of 
the Lydla Thompson troupe amounted to $1,118.75. The premium 
on thighs and yellow wigo quickly boomed to rocket heights and 
the only question in the minds of the public was which scenery 
was the most alluring, that at the California or that at the 
Opera House. The respective managements were quick to capi- 
talize on the fad, matching production for production with 
whirlwind rapidity, even going so far as each to present a 
burlesque of the oijera La Sonnambula on the same night. At 
the height of the fever the former actress and playwrigjat, 
Olive Logan, now become a rabid feminist and would-be reformer, 
arrived in the city and added further dramatic spice to the 
situation by delivering a lecture on "Girls" on June 29 at 
Piatt's Hall. 

" GIRLS " 
This promising title was divided by the thorough Miss 
Logan into special departments which v/ere supposed to cover 
the subject as completely as the Blondes were uncovered, and 
included (1) The Fashionable Girl, (2) The Beautiful Girl, (3) 
The Womanly Girl, (4) The Yankee Girl, (5) The Western Girl, 
(6) The Strong-Minded Girl, and "by special desire (7) The 
Blonde Burlesque Girl." This last department of course com- 
prised the chief interest of the lecture and Figaro's review 
on June 29 is illtiminating: 

"At the close of the lecture proper the gentle Olive, 
by 'particular request,' took up the tomahawk, scalping 


knife and her pulverising implements and went after the 
Blondes; and presently the atmosphere was filled v/ith tan- 
gled yellow hair, fractured tights, sawdust calves, red 
paint and dye stuff. . . . She distinctly affirmed that 
the burlesque actresses are generally old, ugly, impious 
in character, pernicious and corrupting to society, and 
ought to be exterminated, ohe had fought them from the 
beginning, and intended to fight them to the bitter end; 
it were better to level every theatre v/ith the sijrface of 
the groimd than to have these brazen, paint-bedaubed crea- 
tures in sensuous tights and green satin boots, gyrating 
lasciviously over the polluted area of the late legitimate 
dra;na . " 

These words, coming from one who had been practically 
raised in the theatre (as Figaro points out), would seem a 
little harsh, particularly those about being old and ugly; but 
their result was of course only to heighten interest in the 
conquering Blondes. A tailor's advertisement appearing just 
belov/ Figaro's review of the lecture v;lll serve as the best 
comment on the situ.ation: 

"WHERE TH3 BLOI^IDES LIVE -- That happy place is over 
G. Abraham's tailoring establishment, Nos. 53 and 35 Second 
Btreet. An enthusiastic blonde, admiring the superior 
style of the goods in Abraham's window the other day. 

turned to her friend and said: 'Those |8 made-to-order 
pants and those :p30 custom-made suits are the only things 
I have seen since I came to California that look like 
Eastern prices.' That's so." 

Trust Mr. Abraham and hie ^^8 pants to be a little closer 
to the realities than Miss Logan and her seven varieties of 

Magulre finally acknowledged defeat and Rose Massey's 
Blondes retired from the field on July 9 when Tom himself took 
a benefit. People were beginning to feel sorry for Magulre and 
there was a big turnout for the evening. The triumphant Lydia 
Thompson remained at the California through July 15; then she 
and her troupe departed for Piper's Opera House in Virginia City, 
Nevada, where the regular California company had been playing 
since the close of Walter Montgomery's engagement of Jirne 18. 

Among other burlesque-spectacles put on by the incompara- 
ble Lydia were Aladdin and Lurline. At her farewell perform- 
ance both Barrett and Lydia were called in front of the cur- 
tain, and a "basket of flowers was handed to Mr. Barrett and 
among the flowers was a casket containing a set of diamond 
studs and a ring with a cameo head of Shakespeare. "It was 
farewell night for Barrett also, and from now on McGullough 
would have to run the show by himself. With the departure of 
the brazen hussies the theatres went back to dreary respect- 
ability until August 8, v/hen "Duprez and Benedict's Mammoth 
Gigantic Minstrels" from Phlladolphla opened at the California 


v/lth an audience estinrted by Figaro at ^^,000 j^ersonr. 

The Calirornia enjoyed a splendid fall season tbat year, 
preaentlng, beside tiic popular minstrels, tv;o faDious comedians 
of the oerlod, Fran!: (P. P-.) Chanfrau and Dan Bryant. Both 
enjoyed lon^ runs, Chanfrau appearing in his famous sp-cial- 
ties Sam and Kit: or, The Arkansas Traveler and Bryant in 
Kandy i^.ndy and a play by Tyrone Pov;er called Born to Good 
Luck; or, The Irish:aan ' s Good Fortune . Featured with Bryant, 
a former blackface minstrel, was Little I.lac, a "gymnastic ele- 
phant" who excited at least as much enthusiasm as the comedian 
himself. Also in August a nev/comer to the city, ilay Howard, 
joined the California company as a regular member. The Hews 
Letter of September 3 made the curious comment that tllss 
Hov;ard v/as "one of the best actresses and v/orst dressers we 
have had amongst us since the daja of '^orty-1'ine. ' '' 

Oh November 11, Figaro announced a perforriiance of Gamuel W. 
Piercy, "his first on any stage." Piercy was a young lawyer 
working in the office of V;. H. L. Barnes; that rather heavy- 
handed soldier-actor-lawyer had taken upon hiiiiself the clric 
duty of discovering a local genius. Piercy was the lad and 
the civic-minded critics agreed that he was a very promising 
young man indeed. Even John McCullough — who played Othello 
to piercy 's lago -- was caught by the fever and declared the 
debut "one of the finest first performances I ever v/itnessed." 
This encouraged Piercy to repeat his assault on the tough hide 


of lago, Figaro pronouTiCing that he had "made an Improvement 
on his first personation of the character^ of which we had 
occasion to speak in terms of high praise." The enthusiasm, 
however, seems to have been mostly of a verbal nature, for no 
attempt was made tc lure the modest Sam back to Shakespeare 
nor to join hirn to the California Theatre trouoe. He contin- 
ued on the stage, in California and elsewhere, until his death 
of smallpox at the early age of 32, "promising" to the end. 

It seemed that Magn.ire had hired the famous Billy Emerson 
and his minstrels-"- to appear at his Opera House and once again 
Maguire's had become the headquarters of the theatrical world. 
Between minstrels and even first-rate dramatic productions the 
public had small difficulty in making a choice and the reviev/- 
ers could howl at its imbecility as much as they liked; it 
was the minstrels every time. It took something out of the 
ordinary to lure the customers a'^ray from the smell of the corl:, 
and McCullough began 'the Hew Year with this idea in mind, pro- 
ducing Monte Cristo on December 31. This was an entirely dif- 
ferent production of the Dumas piece than that later r)opular- 
ized by James O'Neill.-::-"- In accord with the demands of the age, 
the real hero of the niece was not played by McCiillough, who 

See Minstrelsy , Vol. XIII, this series. 
See James O'Neill , Vol. 20, this series 


took the role of Eclraond Dp.ntes, butty tlu scenery v.'hich (sf^ld 
the Alta ) : 

"... for artistic excellence . . . has not been 
surpassed in the United States. . . . One effect, never 
before introduced here ... is the use of calcium lights 
from the audltorlu;-ij in the Stalactite Palace scene, tv/o 
powerful lights are thrown on tl\e st9.[^e froin. the space be- 
tween the Family Circle and the Gall-'^iT* aixL the brilliancy 
of the scene is greatly enhanced by this contrivance." 

W. T. Porter, the scenic artist, was no piker; if the 
customers wanted display, Monte Cristo was out to give it to 
them. All sorts of ingenious contrivances vrere used to bring 
gasps and ejaculations from the public, including tv/o sets that 
gave the effect of moving v/ater. Host effective was the scene 
3n which Edmond Dante s is thrown from the Chateau d'lf into the 
I.iediterranean. As his body plunged into the sea a beacon light 
suddenly flared from the moving water, brincing the act to a 
hushed and startling close. Figaro for January 10 reported 
facetiously that the flare of the beacon became an automatic 
signal for the manlier patrons to descend in a herd to the 
saloon for a drop of something stronger than sea water. Un- 
satisfied vdth these miracles, Mr. Porter topped off the eve- 
ning with a "Grand Pyrotechnic Display aniIll\Aminated Tableau." 
Also included 3n ii-B show was a ballet scene with Itae . "iiarretti 
and Mile. Giuseppina I.Iorlacchi as the feature kicks. 

So successful were the wizardous I'Ir. Porter's effects 


that r.:onte Crlsto played to "Standing Room Only" signs for the 
first v/eek, grossing In that time a total of Ol0»810.50 and 
including a juicy benefit on January 5. W. H. Sedley Smith 
was the nominal producer of the spectacle and John McCullough 
the star. But it v/as Porter's show. People wanted scenery 
and he gave it to them In such abundance and diversity as had 
not been seen since the days of The Black Crook . As a conse- 
quence Monte Crlsto thrilled the audiences of the city up to 
and through January 22, when it ended one of the most profit- 
able runs in the brief career of the theatre. Of the final 
performance the Alta California of January 23 remarked: 

"Monte Crlsto went out in a blaze of glory, the attend- 
ance and enthusiasm . . . almost equalling that of any 
other night of the lonr^ and brilliant run." 

How i.:aguire must have moaned. The California -- the 
high and mighty California — was stealing his thunder. 

One of the most Interesting events In the history of the 
American stage occurred on January 19, 1871, revealing the 
changing status of the actor from a wandering vagabond and 
outcast Into a person who, if not a gentleman, was at least 
considered capable of sitting at table with his fellow beings 
without spilling gravy. It was a benefit given at the Cali- 
fornia for- the family of George Holland, who had died some time 
before in New York. Holland was an old-time English actor who 


had vion great favor during his many years on theAmerican stage* 
men he died his friends had gone to the rector of a New York 
church to arrange for funeral services. Upon learning that 
the deceased was an actor, the worthy parson refused to have 
anything to do with the burial but added that he believed there 
v/as a "little church aroimd the comer" which handled such 
affairs. So it v;as that George Holland was given the last rites 
at the Church of the Transfiguration in Twenty-ninth Street, 
henceforth famous as The Little Church Around the Comer and 
the scene of actors' fusierals* 

Indignation motrnted among actors throughout the country 
and so it was that a series of benefits for the dead actor's 
family was arranged. All' of these were highly successful -- 
revealing not only a change in attitude of the actor but of 
the public itself — and none more no than that held at the 
California Theatre in San Francisco on January 10, 1871. 


An engagement by Rose Evans, a young Australian actress, 
was unusual only because of her appearance as Hamlet. She did 
not do so well; nevertheless the audience seems to have been 
most uncritically pleased with the performance and greeted 
every fall of the curtain with enthusiastic applause. 

It 'ims inevitable that the success of Monte Cristo and 
the ready talents of I'Ir. Porter should lead to more spectacle 
dramas that year. So he '/vas once more given his chance to 
shine in Masaniello, a drama depicting a revolutionary episode 


in the history of i:arli3s,in ^.'hich the fine hand of the artist 
selected for glor;,' a scene representing an eruption of Mount 
Vesuvius. This the -.Ita of February 14, 1871, described as: 

". . .an ingenious contrivance of lights and shadows 
■v/hereby the fire seems actually to burn and the smoke to 
grov; r.ore dense in volume — almost terrifying in its reality; 
and then at the culmination, the lava flov;s out from the 
crater and down the sides of fne mountain, leaving crimson 
trails as it rinds its tortuous v.'ay to tlie foot." 

Mr. Porter took a bow and Masaniello erupted nightly for 
1 Y/eek, leaving its last crimson trail on the night of February 
20. Whereupon Edmond Dantes v/as called upon for two more dives 
into the sea. Great days for I.'r. Porter. 

There were many stars at the California year, among 
them Charles Matthew^, Joseph 11. Ermiet, Zavistowski sisters, 
Virs. F, V. Lander (Jean Davenport), IVIrs. D. P. Bowers, Frank 
Chanfrau, Edwin Adams, tlie Lingards, and Oliver Doud Byron. 
Of all these legitimate players, tlie one '.'ho created the great- 
est sensation was Mrs. D. P. Bowers, of whom Figaro said during 
her fall engagement: (Sept. 12, 1871) 

"If there be any in San Jrancisco who have not seen 
I'Irs. Bowers in the deatii scene in the play (E lizabeth ) we 
can only tell them they have missed one of tlie greatest 
pieces of acting ever seen oh any stage." 


Mrs. Lander had appeared most succescfully in Elizabeth 
that suinmer — and in other emotional plays favored by Mrs. 
Bowers — but neither critically nor popularly had she met 
with such a welcome as her rival. Yet 3n New York Mrs. Lander's 
reputation was the greater of the two. Such was the indiffer- 
ence to Eastern fame which New York actresses and actors often 
met in visits to San Francisco. V/hile in San Francisco Mrs. 
Bowers heard that she had lost property valued at $50,000 In 
the Chicago Fire. This loss fer outweighed the amount she mad© 
at the California Theatre; nevertheless, toward the end of 
her engagement, on October 11, she turned over the entire 
gross receipts of her perfoi-mance in Much Ado about Not hing 
for the relief of the victims of the catastrophe. 


Jn spite of the purists, who were busy deploring the popu- 
larity of burlesque axL sensation-spectacle shows, it was really 
these productions which marlced the taste of the year. During 
the month of July, Mr« Porter, who had been sulking behind the 
scenes for some time in undeserved obscurity, scored again in 
Boucicault's latest sensation drama. Elf ie . Of the landscape 
scene in the second act Figaro (July 3, 1871) said: 

"The romantic woodland lane forming the second scene 
is so natural that one is transported to the country by 
gazing at it." 


But the feature of Mr. Porter's art was a quadruple set 
showing a barroom, inn hallway, stairs, and the Innkeeper's 
bedroom on the second floor. 

The plot of Elfie was so absurd as to deserve a brief 
outline. It concerns a miserly innkeeper; Elfie, his unac- 
knowledged daughter; the hero, in love with Rose and loved by 
Elfie; the dastardly villain who Impersonates the hero by 
means of a maskj and the kindly Dr. Aircastle, father of Rose/ 
on whose property the miserly innkeeper has threatened to fore- 
close. But Slfie is too much for the forces of evil, and do- 
ing a little detective work while acting as cook, house-maid, 
groom, and barmaid of the Cherry Tree Inn, she finally unmasks 
the villain and forces the miserly innkeeper to acknowledge 
her as his daughter. T/Vhereupon the innkeeper promptly sees 
the light and decides not to foreclose on the kindly Aircastle. 
Elfie, not to be outdone by a miser, then sacrifices her love 
for the hero, who is left free to marry his true love. Rose, 
the daughterof the doctor* Pinls 4 Mr. Porter's scenery evi- 
dently had to be good* 

But there -was one amusing incident during the run of Elfie 
which stuck in the minds of beholders long after the plot and 
even Mr. Porter's scenery had been happily forgotten. As 
told by Clay M. Greene in his reminiscences, a yoiong actor 
in the cor.pany, Ed Buckley, stole the mask which the villain 
(James Carden) was to v/ear in order to represent himself as 
the hero. 'ATien the cue was given. Garden did not appear. 


After a second failure an awkward silence onoued; finally the 
masked villain walked onstage and the scene was played out. 
But in the unmasking scene v/hich resulted, the face revealed 
was that of youn;- Ed Buckley. Berated by McCullcugh for his 
conduct, Buckley replied: "I'll tell you hov^ it was, rniv'nor. 
I don't like my part in this play and I thought I'd have a 
whack at Jim's." 

homj^ products 

One of the best-remei.abered incidents at the California 
that year v/as, ironically enough, the production of an abysmal 
failure. On April !''_, 1871, during the engagement of the 
Zavistov;ski sisters, a burlesque entitled Lov e; or , Cupid and_ 
Psyche by Clay M. Greene was presented. Gr'^ene -- then a bud- 
ding young playwright -- had been so anxious to have his first 
play produced that he had volunteered to supply the costumes; 
and McCullough, though probably doubtful of the outcome, agreed 
to put it on under those conditions. Gi-eene himself tells how 
he nervously sat lii his box, rehearsing the speech which i±ie en- 
thusiastic audience virould doubtless demand fro^n the brilliant 
young author. The lights went down, the ciirtain went up, the 
lonely genius sat expectantly forward -- but we shall let him 
tell the rest: 

"Unfortunately, however (he writes in his reminiscences) , 
the performance received a black eye within five minutes 
after the curtain rose, for a distressingly bad actor 
named Edmimd Leathes, specially engaged for the part of 


Jupiter, 'stuck' In his first speech, and plimged the audi- 
ence into peals of laughter when he deliberately walked 
over to the prompt side and said: 'Cawnt you speak louder? 
I cawnt heah you.'" 

This might be Interpreted as a bad excuse for a bad play, 
or it may have been the true reason for its failure; virhatever 
t:ie cause, it certainly did fail with a bang and the still 
unbudded genius, whose shafts v/ere to have pierced the skins 
of the great, v;ent sadly homeward that night with his own 
skin considerably aglow. The engagement of the Zavistowskis, 
a dull semi-failure in itself, is remembered because an old man 
remembered the h-umiliating glorious failure of his youth. 
Of purely local interest were the drama Lady C lare , adapt- 
ed from Tennyson's poem by Mary Watson of San Francisco, and 
Ready , or California in '71, by Prod Lyster and W. H. Sedley 
Smith. The latter was the better received, due no doubt to 
the scenery of the tireless Mr. Porter and to the locale. 
Said Figaro of August 22, 1871: 

" Ready , though it gives one the idea of having been 
written to scenes painted before the plot was formed, will 
certainly rank with Under the Gaslight and other popular 
plays of the day. It v/111 be played until further notice." 

Figaro's over-sanguine forecast was hardly fulfilled; nev- 
ertheless. Ready did enjoy better than a week's run, playing 


to crowded houses until September 2. Obviously the secret of 
current dramatic success sometimes lay in a few pieces of can- 
vas and a paint box. 

That ambitious soldier-lawyer-actor-dramatist, Colonel 
Barnes, came through at the end the year with another local 
drama, a comedy entitled Solid Silver , which opened December 
6, 1871. With this opus Barnes ( Figaro hints) succeeded in 
packing his friends into the California Theatre for a week. 
During the following month Figaro, in reviewing the Califor- 
nia's old standby. Money , took a sly slap at Barnes in de- 
claring that Money was a play which "some people consider as 
deserving of encomium as Solid Silver. " 

During 1871, it is important to note, the German Theatre--' 
was listed at the same address as the California Theatre for 
the first time. This v/as because McCullough let the theatre 
on Sundays to a German company, which put on performances of 
plays in its own language and also sponsored the productions 
of the Fabbri Opera Company. This arrangement continued until 
the year 1885. 

Little of theatrical interest occurred at the California 
during the first four months of 1872; not lontil the production 
of W. S. Gilbert's Palace of Truth did the California strike 
pay dirt worthy of mention. There was the production of a 
mediocre Irish melodrama, Eileen Oge, or Dark Is t_he Hour 
before the Dawn. There was the appearance of a German actress, 

See Monograph on German Theatre, Volf 9, this series. 


Madame Mathilde Veneta, in Hamlet, which, being attempted by 
a lady v/ho had studied English for only four months, was hard- 
ly likely to lift play-goers out of their winter sleep. Tlie 
most lm-"ortant event during the first month -- to theatre peo- 
ple at least — was the death on January 18 of W. H. Sedley 
Smith, the 65-year-old actor and stage manager of the theatre 
since its opening night. 

Clay M. Greene, mentioning the lack of theatrical interest 
at this tirr.e, comments of McCullough: 

"It was discussed freely up and down Eush Street that 
Zohn McCullough was grooving restless because his share of 
the profits as manager of the California Theatre, in addi- 
tion to his fixed salary, did not produce an income equal 
to that of a possible starring tour, and this dissatisfac- 
tion was probably increased by the success of his former 
partner, Lawrence Barrett, in the East, which had been very 
marked since his withdrawal from a partnership in the Cali- 
fornia manageaient . " 

The engagement of Charles l.T.eatleigh throughout February 
and March, in spite of its long duration, v;as neither a marked 
success nor a failure; in truth, it was a mixture of both, and 
must huve been a great disappointment to l/Vheatleigh, who had 
been a great favorite here in years past. Perhaps his reper- 
tory, \/hich consisted mostly of Irish plays, had grovm stale 
or — more likely — the public during his absence had seen 
too many fine comedians to be much impressed with Charles 


1/Vheatleigh. Among new pieces in \7hich he appeared were John 
Brougham's John Garth and Augustin Daly's Horizon , the first 
receiving all its applause from the press and the latter throng- 
ing the halls of the theatre with little commendation from 
the critics. And lest we slight a soldier, we must not for- 
get the local Aristophanes' latest production. Colonel Barnes' 
Stocks , a farcial satire on the financial moguls of the city, 
which prompts the unliind sug{:estion that the colonel had not 
done too vrell on the market of late. Figaro v/as quite sharp 
on the subject: 

"A two-act farce is an abomination, and a farce found- 
ed on business must be a very dreary affair. This v;as 
not the v;orst of it: the a-uthor had the bad taste to rep- 
resent every member of the Stock Board in the play as a 
rascal and a swindler. Sto cks is net a success and if Mr. 
ITheatleigh v/ere to give us one of the charming comedies in 
his repertoire (say the Bull in ii China Shop) instead of 
Stocks we are sure the public would be pleased." 

Let us hope Figaro' s gallant defense of the Stock Board 
was as disinterested as Colonel Barnes' futile condemnation 
should have been. To many fortunes were founded on mining 
stocks — among them thiBt of the California Theatre — for the 
public to become very indignant at the skullduggery of the 
Stock Board. 


A satirist new to San Francisco, but of u somev;hat 2iigher 
order than Colonel Bnrnes, .was given a hearing on April 10, 
when ■". 3. Gilbert's Palace of Kiuth was presented for the 
first time. Tl-is "fairy drama," Gilbert's second effort for 
the sta^e, had been produced by Mr. and Mrs. Kendall at the 
Haynarket Tlieatre in London two years earlier with some sue- 
des-. It did even better atthe California. Written in blank 
verse -- hardly the medium for Gilbert' s genius — it was taken 
from a French novel, Le P alais ^la Verite ly Madame deGenlis, 
described by the Enc yclopedia Srittanica qs "poor in structure 
but clever in workmanship," But the real success of the play 
v.-as made by Porter's scenery and the ballet dancing of Mile. 
Erminie Yenturolli and Mile. Marie Gaugain, as is evidenced 
by Figaro's review of April 11, 1872: 

"Tlie language of this play is extremely pretty and 
poetical and had full justice done it by John McCullough, 
Miss Rose Evans, Mrs. Sophie Edwin, Miss Muy Howard, Miss 
Minnie V/alton and others. The treat feature of the first 
act '..'is the fountain of colored waters, one of the most 
v;onderful and georgeous effects ever produced on any stage . 
First the fountain threw up a stream of pure vrater, this 
changed to green, yellow, pur le, corncolor, mauve, magenta 
and mony more colors than the rainbow. Sometimes several 
of these colors mingled. . . . rhis provoked thunders of 


On April 18 an act entitled Las Trois Ciables was added 

to the bill, featuring the three Majiltons — two brothers, 

Francis and Charles, and a sister Marie. Of these three ac- 
robatic pantomimists Figaro of the 18th said: 

"The Majiltons are rightly named Les Trois Diables for 
they seem supernatural. Charles is supernaturally lithe 
and agile, Frank is supernaturally funny and Marie is super- 
naturally pretty. People will go again and again to see 
the Majiltons and still wonder how . . . Les Ttois Diables 
is all done." 

Ihe Palace of Trut h and Les Ttois Diables closed their 
run* on May 4, 1872, yet so impressive i.ere the effects of the 
indefatigable Mr. Porter that Clay M. Greene, writing many 
years later, was still able to declare: 

"The Palace of Truth . . . v;as without doubt the most 
fascinating and poetical spectacle ever given at the Cali- 
fornia. Scenic :j:tist liV. T. Porter q.uite outdid all of 
his previous efforts in the planting of its filmy, fairy- 
like scenes, that of the exterior of the palace, which no 
one might enter but to speak the unvarnished truth, being 
beautiful to a thrilling degree." 

Such was the fortune of the first Gilbertian play to be 
produced in San Francisco; the man whose jingles -.;ere to be 
on the lips of every man, woman, or child throughout two con- 
tinents was first successful in San Francisco because of a 


forfTOtten scene palntor. But during the previous autumn 
r-ilbert had formed his imforcettable alliance with Arthur 
Sullivan; this alliance, In the eightie.'^, was to found the 
fortune of the house that succeeded the California Theatre in 
the affections of thin city — The Tivoli.-^- 

Then came Carlotta Leclercq, an .English emotional actress 
and comedienne, who had made h^jr American debut with Charles 
l''echter two years previously in Nev/ York* She appeared with 
I.IcCullough in a standard repertorj'" of classical and popular 
contemporary pieces and her acting was declared by Fi garo of 
May 15 to be an "intellectual treat to the public." Taking 
into consideration the often mentioned apathy of the public 
to intellectual treats, it is difficult to ascertain how much 
out of the ordinary her run miglit have been. But .at least one 
amusing incident can be culled from the pages of Figaro, 
I.!ay 23, 1872: 

''No lers than five lujcurlous moustaches and one little 
one were sacrificed in order that School for Scandal might 
be produced with no thin- to jar on the harmonies last nite 
(May 22) moustaches not being exactly the thing with wigs 
and powder. This devotion to art should at least have the 
recognition of the public press. Henry Edwardd. parted '.with 
a cherished ornament of 20 years growth — Wilson robbed 
his face of half its sternness by removing his -- P. J. 

-;:■ See Vol. 21, The Tlvoll, this series- 


Buckley —2. H. r-hayer --Stephen Leach (looks years young- 
er) and «V. A. Mestayer were the ether devotees, the latter 
givinr; up a life tie one." 

Which is at least one laudable example of the ancient and 
much maligned practice oi" splitting hairc. 

Cn June 3, after an absence of nearly two years, Lawrence 
Barrett returned to the theatre whose cnreer he had helped 
found. Undoubtedly Barrett had .nade hluself popular here and 
was warmly welco-ned, particularly as Cassius in Jullus_ Caesar, 
his favorite rolo in Shakespeare, In which he had recently 
appeared for eiglit consecutive weeks at Booth's Theatre in 
New York. And of course he could not leave town again without 
another revival of Rosedale , which had not been seen— and had 
probably not been missed -- since his departure. Yet the 
critics, though friendly, were not too enthusiastic over Bar- 
rett's development as an actor. Said Figaro of June 4, 1872: 

"A large audience assembled last nlg;ht to welcome 
Lawrence Barrett back to the stage on which he achieved so 
many triiimphs, and where he first presented that Cassius 
which has since been pronounced by the critics of the East- 
em cities as one of the most perfect Shakespearean por- 
traitures of the age. Mr. Barrett's Hamlet, as presented 
last night, did not differ in any material points from that 
which he presented to the San Francisco public often before, 
though here and there are discernible a few finishing 


touches which study and experience have enabled him to add 

during the past two ye? 

^o- . " 

And of his famous Cassius, said Figaro, in contrast to 
the Eastern critics; 

"Mr. Barrett is a little more set in his delivery and 
in his acting than he was two years ago, and his strong 
sometimes false accentuation of syllables is no improvement 
on his former method. 'Co-lossus' is one instance of Mr. 
Barrett's murdering a v;ord with v;rong emphasis. John luc- 
Cullough as Brutus is as acceptable a realization of that 
character as is Mr. Barrett of Casslvis; he played splendidly 
throughout last night." 

Nevertheless Barrett's acting was as agreeable to the San 
Francisco public as it had been of old, and as it had become 
to New York audiences; and he played to crowded houses until 
the end of his run on Jione 29. More than ever must this dem- 
onstration of success have made McCullough chafe under the 
reins of management. 

Then came Mile. Aimee, "the Queen of Opera Bouffe," and 
her company from the Theatre des Varie'te's of Paris in a sea- 
son of Offenbach favorites including La Perichole , La G rande 
Duchesse, Orphee , and La Belle Helene . This sparkling and 


popular engagement continued until July 27, 1872, when the 
theatre was closed for alterations. Figaro of that date 
stated that up to that time the theatre had "not been closed 
for a single night with the exception of a few evenings when 
the German Dramatic Troupe who . . .(gave) Sunday performances 
. . . (had) not required it." 

The reporter went on to give a highly laudatory summary 
of the California Theatre's career up to date, listing the 
stars and featured actors who had appeared there and not for- 
getting to throw a few bouquets at the local public, as no 
newspaper of the timo ever passed up a chance of doing. On 
September 28, 1872, McCullough opened the doors of the im- 
proved house, for inspection of the press. Here is what 
Figaro said: 

"By constructing a new ceiling of wood the great ob- 
ject of the alterations in the theati-e has been gained -- 
the acoustics is nov.' perfect and every word uttered on the 
stage can be heard with ease in all parts of the house. 
This is much, but far more than this has been done. Another 
Important improvement has been made in the extension (jf the 
family circle rovind the sides in a semi-circular sweep 
which adds beauty to the house and increases the seating 
capacity. This part of the house will henceforth be pop- 
ular. The new chairs v/ith iron frames finished in gold and 
white enamel give a very light and cheerful appearance to 


the house and will allow those who go to the theatre as 
much to be seen as to see, a full opportunity for the dis- 
play of fashionable dress* By the new arrangement of the 
family circle, dress circle and orchestra seats the capacity 
of the house la Increased some 300. So much for the prac- 
tical. . . . 

"The walls of the theatre are frescoed in the Pompeiian 
style and in the center of the ceiling is a painting by 
Mr. Bousset, representing eight of the nine musesj the miss- 
ing muse last night was generally supposed to be Erato, the 
Muse of love and amorous poetry and her absence was explained 
by the statement that she was boarding with Miss Rose McKin- 
ley at present. It is well that people should know that 
those figures represent the Muses and thus avoid making a 
mistake madeby a literary gentleman last night who thought 
that Melpomene holding a tragic mask was Judith with the 
head of Holof ernes. . . . 

■'From the ceiling hangs a magnificent chandelier of two 
hundred burners adorned with thousands of glass prisms, 
more brilliant than Arizona diamonds. The proscenium chan- 
deliers are of the same style. These chandeliers will be 
lit instantaneously by an electric spark from a battery on 
the stage. This battery was an object of interest to the 
visitors last night, many of whom had never before seen one 
strong enough to make real lightning, which was seen dart- 
ing from the point of a wire to those connected with the 


chandeliers. The many doors in the rear of the dress cir- 
cle which detracted from the acoustics and gave people 
colds have been built up and this improves the appearance 
of the theatre. 

"Having given a slight idea of the improvements in 
and decorations of the auditorium it remains only to speak 
of the drop curtain. This last work of W. T. Porter, the 
scenic artist, isan admirable picture cf Yosemite ; we didn't 
T/ant the Yosemite, but must admire the picture. . . . The 
vestibule of the theatre is redecorated and another of those 
magnificent chandeliers lights it. The arrangement of the 
boxes has been improved, the hanging balconies have been 
removed, and the appearance of those on a level rith the 
dress circle, altered to agree with the proscenium. After 
the guests had examined the theatre, the curtain rose on an 
interesting scene, a large table v/as sent Center on lAhich 
were crystal goblets( itdoesn' t sound well to say tumblers), 
then there was a rushing sound as of many waters but it 
wasn't, it was foaming Roederer. Then everyone took a 
drink and toasted John McCullough, John Torrence and Yif. T. 
Porter. ... On Monday (September 30) the general public 
will see all vie have described (the Roederer excepted) and 
much more, and we are sure will be well pleased." 

Of course the Roederer may have influenced the reporter's 
opinion for the better; nevertheless the management had spent 


an estimated flOO.OOO on the alterations and it is not likely 
that a Kan like I^alston "ould put up that much money v/ithout 
bping sure that he vas .getting his money's vorth. It is ob- 
vious too that he had not spent that i.uch money without pro- 
found confidence in the future of the theatre, v.'hich is in 
marked contrast to McCullouch' s reported attitude at the begin- 
ning of the year. Tlie theatre reopened vith an augmented com- 
;^-any includjng George D. Chaplin, J. C. Vi[illiamson, Walter 
Leman, John V'ilson, Stephen Leach, Eben Flympton, John S. 
Torrence, Henry Sdvards, Oxren Marlowe, ¥. .*. Mestayer, E. J. 
Buckley, E.K. Tliayer, Eenry Coad, Annie Graham, Sophie Sdv.'in, 
Helen TTacy, Minnie '.:alton, Nellie Cuimnings, Mrs.Judah, Carrie 
Vi'yatt, and the Stanley sisters. The new 25rices were: dress 
circle and orchestra, 4'1.50; balcony, 75^; gallery, E5?!; and 
private boxes, ^6 and OlO* The feature of the reopening was 
the igniting of the gas chandelier by electricity, which "7;as 
the signal for a storm of applause." 

A lively stock season continued tlirough the autumn, of 
\:hich th3 greatest feature was the extra-superspecial production 
of Pichard III, ostensibly starring McCullough but more es- 
pecially the scenery (not by Porter t:is time, but "imported 
from London"), the "armor, accoutrements and weapons. . . man- 
ufactured expressly forthe piece by Garnger of Paris" and the 
100 supers who represented the armies. Figaro of October 15, 
1872, \7as deeply impressedby McCullough' s characterization of 
the hunchback king, but its real praise was reserved for the 


"realistic" and "historically correct" decor. RiJhar d ran 
for two crov;ded weeks, and Figaro for October 19 proclaimed: 
"It ^vill be years before the people of San Francisco have the 
opportunity of v/itnessin/^ one of Shakespeare's plays produced 
in such a perfect manner." 

After Richard III, McCullough went to New York for a brief 
visit and durinc his absence the California Theatre featured 
Mrs. F. 3. Chanfrau, wife of the famous comedian, hailed as 
"the greatest emotional actress of the age." Nightly, accord- 
ing to Figar o of November 20, she "drowned tiae house in tears," 
in such dramas of "incense emotional pov/er" as Slopement; 
Christie Johnson, or 5]ut of the Depth s; Aurora Floyd , and 
Wi fe ' s Ordea l. Tnis ha :'^y state of affairs continued to -.within 
a week of, when H'CCulJough returned and appeared in 
John Hov/ard Payne's Brutu s, or Ihe Fall of Tarouin, the idea 
being to fill John Tcrrence's Christmas stocking v/ith abenef it . 

The jj-ear was rounded off beautifully with a "gorgeous" 
production of the old spectacle-drama, Aladc'in, or The Wonder - 
fu_l Lamp, v;hich afforded Mr. Porter another chance to outdo 
himself. Introduced into the ^lay were glee and chorus sing- 
ing under the direction of 3te;;;hen Leach, gymnastic perform- 
ances by Mons. Carron and his three children, and a grand 
ballet starring the well kno'..'n Eastern dancers, Betty and 
Emil Rigl. The piece opened Christmas night, 1872, and by 
January 11 of the new year the News Letter v/as able to declare 
that "the brilliant run of Aladdin has piled the coffers of 
the management in a manner delightful to behold." 


Figaro, hov/ever -- usiially so susceptible to the wonders 
of Mr. Porter — was malicious enough to take a swipe at its 
old favorite on January 10, 1873 with "7/6 are not sure whether 
or not Mr. Porter took a sketch of Tubb's Hotel, Oakland, and 
painted Aladdin ' s palace from it. We think he did." Aladdin, 
nevertheless, continued handsomely through January 18. 

The return of that old favorite of California audiences, 
John T. Raymond, inaugurated the dramatic year for 1873. Ray- 
mond, since his departure for eastern parts,hadmade a nation- 
al reputation and he came back to the California Theatre, not 
as a member of the stock company but as a visiting star. His 
opening play. Forbidden Fruitj> unfortunately was not the suc- 
cess his admirers could have hoped for, Figaro of January 21 
commenting: "The plot somewhat resembles that of All That 
Glitters Is Not Gold . . . . Is it possible that a French play- 
wright has 'adapted I All That Glitters Is Not Gold and that 
now Messrs. Horsnan and Florence have 'adapted' it back again?" 

But Raymond was too well liked in the city and evidently 
too good a comedian to let one play spoil an engagement. For 
the rest of his run, which lasted through February 15, he 
filled the house night after night and delighted audiences 
in Rip Van Winkle, Only a^ Jew, W. S. Gilbert's Pygmalion and 
Galatea, Toodl e s , and The Comedy Qf Errors . This last piece, 
played with J. C. Williamson, was the chief hit of the run 
and must have reminded California audiences of his foolery as 
one of the two Dromios with John E. Owens four years previously 


at the same theatre. Figaro, however, seems to have forgotten, 
for on February 14,1873, it stated that the present represen- 
tation was the first since John Baker and John Thoman played 
the two parts at the old J.delphi in 1853. Williamson was said 
to have made up so accurately to resemble Raymond thf.t the 
spectators were often completely baffled as to which was which. 
It was not till April 19, 1873, that a full-fledged star 
was to visit the California Theatre. On that date Mrs. D. P. 
Bowers began a return engagement in D iana , or. Love ' s Mask , 
during which she was rewarded with as fulsor^e praise and as 
crowded houses as before. The usually critical News Letter 
declared her to be "undoubtedly one of the best actresses 
America has ever produced" and "tDour thinking. . . about the 
only really good actress we have had here for a long time." 
It appeared that Mrs. Bov/ers had but to make a few stops in 
San Francisco to make u'o the ^50,000 loss she had sustained in 
the Chicago fire. 

But in the meantime there had been two or three produc- 
tions which merit mention: Augustin Daly's Article 47, Au- 
gusta Dargon's appearance in The Gchool for Scandal , and John 
McCullough in Coriolanus. Miss Dargon's performance of Lady 
Teazle was pronounced by the News Letter to be "better than 
any we have seen on this coast" — v.'hich was praise indeed and 
makes the News Letter's later statement about Mrs, Bowers 


appear somewhat contradictory. Tne presentation of Coriolanus 
is notable not for itself (in fact, itv/cs a failure), but for 
the close analysis of John L'cCullough' s acting by the News 
Letter of April 5, 1875: 

"T!ie leading role was borne by Mr. McCullough in his 
accustomed manner. V/ith the many unquestionable excellen- 
cies that have raada this geatloman a prime favorite aTnone 
us, there are mingled grave faults. In action he is al] 
that could be desired, his face-play is -wonderful, but his 
declamation is too nuch of the Old Bowery stamp to allox 
him to rank among our best and most cultured actors. His 
voice, harsh and stridulous, runs ever in the same grating 
monotone. Tliat llir . McCullough rants, fev can deny: al- 
though happily, this failing v;as not painfully apparent in 
the present play as in Richard III, in Tudiich it became a 
matter of marvel how his vocal cords could sustain the con- 
tinued strain vithout cracking, as Menenius, Mr. Edwards 
evinced that fire and capacity which so frequently suggest 
that he narrowly missed being a great actor. Mr. William- 
son, finding himself out of his element — that of course, 
vulgar farce — amused himself by changing the part of 
'First Citizen' into u rigamarole cf buffoonery — another 
gratifying specimen of this actor's Ghakespearean emenda- 


Sprrng and surjner cf 1873 brought two stars cf note to 
the theatre: E. a. Sofiern, already famous as Lord Tundreary 
and Frank Mayo, almost equally v.-ell knovm as Tavy Cro-kett. 
These V.'jo actors, so opposed In style and temperament -- pro- 
totypes of the effete English lord and ttie rough American hack- 
v.'oodsman — pleased both audiences and critics to the extent 
of making the California the center of theatre activity during 
the entire summer. (Mayo, by the way, owned exclusive rights 
to Boucicault's The Streets of Ney: York , perhaps the most popular 
jlay of the later nineteenth century, which had enjoyed a run 
of three and a half years in N^w York, with Frank Chanfrau in 
the leading r^art of Badger.) During the summer Barton Hill 
joined the company; he was to remain at the theatre several 
years and was to become acting manager during the afcsence of 
McCullough in the latter 's Eastern tours. 

The rest of the year, though well occupied by engagements 
and profitable enough, is not very exciting in retrospect. 
Eun-of-the-mill stars such as Charlotte Thompson, Carlotta 
Leclercq May Howard, and Shiel Barry, an Irish character 
actor, appeared in standard repertories which were fairly 
well- received by both the j.ress and the -oublic; but, with the 
exception of Barry, none of tJiese were new to the theatre and 
their talents and stock ^lays were already familiar to the 
California public. Barry, appearing in such trashy Irish 
pieces as Faugh-a-Ballagh, Ssker Dhu, and the Peep-OTay Boys, 


Tas at first harshly criticized by the press tut after his 
performance in Arrah-na-Pogue it ras admitted that his genuine 
if not startling acting ability liad been "hidden under a Gay- 
ler'b bushel," Gayler being the author of Faugh -a-E allagh ♦ 
Tlie engagement, however, v;as certainly not an unusual success, 
v;hic> "-.ay be explained by the News Letter' s opinion of Novem- 
ber 8 that "San Franciscans have had quite enough of Irish 

Ihe month of December, 1873, sav; two plays produced at 
the California which were founded on international topics or 
events of the time, one on the recurrent Cuban troubles and 
the other on the recent Franco-Prussian war. Cuba'. Cuba '. or 
Our Flag was unfortunate, perhaps due to lack of interest in 
the subject; but The Genev a Cross by George Fawcett Rowe v;as 
pronounced by the New s Letter "one of the best written dramas 
of the duy" and was appreciated accordingly, having an ex- 
cellent run of 10 days. Annie Graham, leading lady of " The 
'Geneva Cross , was given a benefit on December 20, app^^aring 
in The French Spy xith two newcomers to the city, Molly Wil- 
liams and Frank L. Gardiner, in support. At the benefit of 
Karry Edvmrds two old-time San Francisco favorites made their 
appearance: the singer, Madame Anna Bishop;* and Madame Marie 
Duret, who performed in Green Bushes after an absence from the 
city of eight years. 

See Monograph on The German Theatre, Vol. 9 this series 


The follo'.Tliig: day sav: an "extraordinary performance given 
by the artists of the Italian Opera" in honor of the Euke of 
Genoa and the coniaander and officers of the Italian man-of-v;ar 
Garibal di. A performance of Verdi's I Lo mbardi , in v:hich 
Alfred Pierre Roncovieri* took a prominent part 7;as given, 
interspersed with selections from Rober t le Diabl e and Luci a 
d_e Lammermoor . 

Christmas night opened the festive season v;ith another of 
Mr. Porter's "latest and best" triumphs: a "fairy spectacle" 
called Kaiad Queen , which included tv;o ballets, "grotesq.ue 
dancing" by the Girard Brothers (r.'hom up-to-the-minute Figaro 
promptly styled even greater than the Majiltons), and "melo- 
dious performances" by Professor Rearoon on a new instrument 
called the "Tumbleronican, " which consisted merely of a group 
of glass ,:;oblets. But tlie mi;in feature of the show was still 
Porter's "wonderful" scenic efforts, this time representing 
the rt)ck-bound lair of the Lorelei, the river Rhine, and dis- 
tant v;ater falls. Nalsd Queen ran well into January, 1874. 

The early half of 1874 was marked by two of the most mem- 
orable engagements in the history of the California Theatre — 
those of Dion Eoucicault and /.deL-iide Neilson. Boucicault, 

* See Monograph on The French Theatre, Vol. 9 this series, 


probably the inost popular and certainly the most prolific dram- 
atist of the nineteenth century, was the first to arrive, 
opening on January 19, 1874, in a season devoted entirely to 
his ov/n plays. That he was no less popular as an actor than as 
an author is suggested by Figaro of January 20, which says that 
his opening night at the California Theatre was "one of the 
most blustering stormy nights knovm here for years . Every seat 
v/as occupied and the aisles were filled with chairs." Just to 
prove how quickly he could orient himself, the facile Irishman 
opened with a slcetch especially written for the occasion and 
entitled Boucicault in California .' In the piece Boucicault was 
represented at home in his room at the Occidental when Barton 
Hill, played by himself , entered to talk to him about the plays 
in which he was to anpear. The sketch was mostly devoted to 
the humorous comments of Boucicault 's servant Murphy, played 
by J. C. jVilliamson, vdio was soon to leave the company on a 
trip to Australia. Also on the program was another Boucicault 
play, Kerry. Boucloault continued with the same success in the 
month of February, giving, among other favorite plays of his, 
The Colleen Bawn , Arrah-na- Pogue_, and Daddy O'Dowd. All these 
plays, with the exception of Daddy O'Dowd, had been represented 
scores of times before in the city; but this was the first 
chance the public had of seeing the original creator of the 
parts and they were not slow to seize the opportunity. Nor, 
if the newspapers report aright, were they disappointed. Not 
his worst enemy could make the claim that Dion Boucicault did 
not know his public. 


Perhaps the most glamorous name remenbered in connection 
with the California Theatre is that of the young English ac- 
tress, Adelaide Neilson. Y^oever thought of her in later 
years always pictured her as Juliet, a part in which she v;as 
considered to be the greatest actress of her time. That she 
ras a beautiful vroman.who a sudden and premature death in 
Paris, perhaps has had much to do rdth casting a golden aura 
around her memory; yet the tone of contemporary reviews makes 
it certain that the spell of her personality and acting by no 
means depended on the shades of romantic remembrance. On the 
contrary, no actress who had ever appeared here had such quick 
and poignant appeal to men and women alike. After her first 
three performances, two of then as Juliet and the third as 
Rosalind in As You Like It, the Alta California of March 13, 
1874, remarked rapturously: 

"Peerless Juliet, Incomparable Rosalind'. We didn't 
call you before the curtain half a score of times, but we 
gave you as good an audience, in point of quantity and 
quality, as our western metropolis is capable of producing. 
Indeed, Neilson' s first two nights may be counted as one 
in point of audience, for the veterans all tried to get 
there the first night, but couldn't, and came the second 


"The first night of Sothern set us to roaring; the 
first night of Boucicault to April struggles betv/een smiles 
and tears; the first night of Neilson to av:e-struck ad- 
miration, to spell-bound silence, to torrent-like applause. 
And all this for a young girl who is just looking into her 
tv.'enties, but is already a revelation." 

There had never been an engagement like it. Sothern had 
the previous record for a first ueek's attendance at the thea- 
tre; but after the second week the Chronicle of March 25, 1874, 
announced that the receipts for Miss Neilson' s run averaged 
$1,707 nightly and exceeded by $1,440 the receipts of either 
Sothern or Boucicault for two weeks' playing. And Adelaide 
certainly got her share; the same issue of the Chronicle 
declared that she received $500 nightly for the first two 
weeks and was to take one-half of the gross receipts for the 
one-week extension. Tliis was popularity with interest. In- 
deed, so rabid did the Neilson craze become that her departure 
came almost as a relief to more sceptical citizens, as v;itness 
"The Town Crier" v;riting in the News Lette r of April 4, 1874, 
after the close of her engagement: 

"We have observed a great many pretty girls -- for 
which choice morsels of nature's bounty we have a goodly 
eye — going about to'vm in an odd-looking hat, \?hich gave 
them the appearance of being very much set up. One who 
knows calls it a Neilson Hat. Since that time we have been 


Neilsonized in every possible way. We vjrite upon Neilson 
pr.per v;ith the Neilson tint. We are serenaded with the 
Neilson Mazourka . lie keep ourselves together with Neilson 
braces. We smooth our locks with the Neilson brush. V/e 
protect ourselves from the fog v.ith the Neilson scarf. We 
attempted to greet the partner of our destinies v;ith a 
Neilson embrace, but she evaded the caress with the remark 
that Mr. Morrison (Romeo) looked rather tuckered our after 
a protracted siege of it, and she would rather not. Hiis 
withering remark inclined us to the belief that we had 
better throv: off e little on Neilson, and take to the next 
star as easily us might be." 

Naturally there v.-as a letdovm after such an engagement, 
though Barton Hill — acting manager in the absence of McCul- 
lough, who had finally departed on his starring tour of the 
East — spared no pains in obtaining the best possible talent 
for the theatre. J"ohn Raymond, Bella Pateman, Sothern, Aimee 
and her Opera Bouffe company, Mrs. Chanfrau, and Frank Mayo 
all played successively to good houses, and Lotta returned for 
another of her perennial triumphs; but these were familiar 
tales to California patrons by now, and certainly not to be 
compared \:ith the sudden, breath-taking descent of an Adelaide 
Neilson into the family circle. 

It was not till the middle of November that the California 
Theatre housed a really outstanding and unfamiliar star. At 


that time the famous Irish comedian and dramatic actor, ¥. J". 
Florsnce, appeared for the first time in a repertory that in- 
cluded the role of Bob Prisrly in The Ti c ke t - q f -Le ave Man , a 
part he vas said to have played more than a thousand tiries in 
and out of Ner/ York. Florence, v;ho had made an eq^ual reputa- 
tion in Tom Robertson's Caste and T^ Migh ty roller, -.:as at- 
traction enough to eclipse both the stormy weather and '.«'. T. 
Porter's scenery for a month, appearing in such popular pieces 
as Dombey and Son , The Irish L ion, Ib Collee n B avrn, No Tlior - 
oughfare. Cripple Corner, and jlileen Oge. 

John McCullou{;h then made it a unanimous season for the 
Irish when he returned triumphant from the East Coast and held 
the stage for three veeks in his nov.' familiar repertory of 
Virginius , Richeli eu, Othello , Haml et , and others. a 
great year ended in the heroic manner; but it:-as always to be 
remembered romantic-ally because a slip of a G'lrl named Adelaide 
Neilson had survived pneumonia anc the collapse of a Romeo to 
play the loveliest Juliet within any man's memory. 

Another favorite emotional actress of the period, Clara 
Morris, v;as added to the grcving list of California stars at 
the beginning of 1875. She made hat vas billed as her first 


appearance in the state on January 18, 1S75 -- the sixth an- 
niversary of the California Theatre -- appearing in Camille 
with Barton Hill as Armand Duval. Figaro of the next day was 
impressed enough to say: 'There is pathos in her voice and 
actions, pathos even in the gesture of her hands. . • . Miss 
Morris was recalled at the end of almost every act, the re- 
calls being no proof of simple politeness, but the -unmlstake- 
able testimonies of her charming acting and to her success." 
A week later, after seeing Miss Morris in Augustin Daly's 
adaptation from the French of Article 47, Fi_gar_o puts itself 
entirely into the lady's hands: 

"Very wisely, Article 47 has been retained as the bill 
for this and several succeeding nights. This will permit 
those who have not already seen Miss Morris as Cora to wit- 
ness a performance replete with everything that is subtle, 
intelligent and artistic. In the portrayal of the passions 
our present star has no superior, and scarcely a peer on the 
American stage today." 

Of course, a puff from Figaro was not the same as one 
from the more critical News Lette r (the former was likely to 
pass out panegyrics once or twice too often) j nevertheless. 
Miss Morris' run of four weeks was definitely a popular 
one and v/orthy of notice. She was suffering from rheumatism 
all during the engagement (as Adelaide Neilson had been, from 
a heavy cold that almost turned into pneumonia) . These ail- 


ments, though not calculated to boost the California climate, 
seen, to have been most beneficial from a theatrical stand- 
point; u fev; more sick actresses and the California manage- 
ment need never have knov.Ti a dull day'. It v.'as during Miss 
Morris' stay that the famous Tom Keene joined the California 
company for thG first time. 

The success of Adelaide Neilson and Clara Morris seems to 
have given Barton Rill the idea that the public was interested 
only in feminine stars; so 1875 v;as occupied mostly cy such 
ladies as Mrs. Borers, Alice Dunning Lingard and her sister 
Dickie Lingard, and the German tragedienne, Madame Janauschek, 
i:ho made her first ajiiearnnce in the city in June. Ti\e only 
breaks in this '.;ere the engagements of Boucicault and of the 
matinee idol, Harry Montague. Mrs.Bov.'ers and the Lingards had 
lost none of their beauty or i opularity and Madame Janauschek 
v;as hailed by the I^ws Le tter as a "daughter of genius" v/ith an 
almiost im'-^erceptible accent. Yet tho same periodical in an- 
nouncing the coming engagement of the German actress made the 
shre7;d comment that "they are strikingly injudicious at the 
California in the distribution of star engagements, not only 
in the fact that they give us a long succession of female 
stars but that they are of the same school and style, and in 
many cases play the same olays . " 

Wot only this, but during the engagement of Janauschek 
the famous Italian actress Ristori v.'as holding forth at 
Maguire's Nev Theatre (lately the Alhamtra and later the Bush 


Street Theatre). As pointed, out by the News Letter, their 
repertory was much the same, giving ample opportunity for 
comparison; and In spite of the fact that Rlstorl was content 
to play In her native Italian, which few imderstood, while 
Fanny Janauschek was admired, Rlstorl was both admired and 
adored r The News Letter of June 5, 1875, gives some idea of 
the public reaction when, after praising the naturalness and 
"gloomy grandeur" of the German actress, it added: 

"Yet withal Madame Janauschek possesses a certain 
heaviness, an exaggerated deliberation, so to speak, which 
decidedly mars much of the good effect. The tragic gloom 
which surrounds her weighs oppressively on the spirits even 
when she is no longer there*" 

The falling off of California prestige and John McCul- 
lough's decline in favor are nowhere better revealed than in 
a communication to the News Letter of April 10. Though vin- 
necessarily splenetic and personally vindictive, later events 
were to prove it fiindamentally correct: 

"For the past three years the dailies have been trying 
to persuade the public that San Francisco has produced, or 
helped to produce, an actor second to none, and that in 
Shakespearean characters John McCullough has few equals, If 
any, upon the stage. For a long time the poor deluded pub- 
lic brought themselves to believe that the blatant dailies 


bestowed well-merited praise upon our actor. Lt last, 
however, their eyes arc openec^. and the much-puff ed John now 
appears in his true colors, as a third-rate tragedian, with 
a voice and naniier bad enough to damn any aspiring super. 
".,'ith an egotism and nonchalance rarely equaled, this self- 
asserted 'I am' of the San Francisco st-.'ge has decreed that 
the iecitimate drama shall not be put upon the California 
boards unless John McCullough's name appears in large cap- 
itals u;'-on the bills. Hiis is all well enoufh, as no doubt 
v.'as the 'legj.tim:";te ' played in his absence, \:hen 'starring* 
here he v.-ould lose by the conriarison . L'gw theatres are be- 
ing built, and inch by inch the California is losing ground. 
McCullough never committed a more fatr.l error than when he 
engaged Barton Hill as manager in his absence. There are 
two reasons for this. In the first place, Mr. Kill is so 
crotchety, so vain and so ne.;rly mad, that anything left to 
his managoirient must fail to be appreciated by a sane public. 
Secondly Barton Kill is a better actor tha- John McCullough 
ever began to be, so much so that John's T:ell grounded 
jealousy induced him only the other day to take the part of 
lago because Barton Hill had made a greater hit in that 
character than he had in Othello. There is no doubt that 
John McCullough's star is rapidly falling." J 

Bitter as v.-ere its rersonal attacks on McCullough and 
Kill, the general truth of the article was undeniable. Maguire 


had obtained two theatres on Bush Street, the old Alhambra and 
Shiel's Opera House; the Grand Opera House had been operating 
for two years; and Baldwin's Academy of Music was soon to be 
opened to the public. McCullough too probably felt that he 
was growing stale in the monotonoixs routine of manageiient and 
repertory acting and was obsessed with the idea of a starring 
career in the East, chiefly because of the outstanding success 
of his former partner, Barrett. McCullough deported (>n July 31, 
1875, again leaving Barton Hill in charge of the theatre, and 
did not return until /larch of the following year. 


As far as McCullough was concerned, his move was justified, 
for he was reported to have netted an income of up64,000 while 
in the East; but in the meantime something had happened which 
virtually was to put an end to his managerial career. William 
Ralston had fallen from power, and on August 27, 1875, had 
drowned while swimming in San Francisco Bay. The manner of his 
death has been disputed (it was ruriiored suicide), but what mat- 
tered to McCullough was that his chief backer, the most power- 
ful man in San Francisco and the builder of the California 
Theatre, was gone. From now on he would have to raise capital 
from other, less s^nnpathetic sources, and the odds were to be 
too strong against him. 



This year, 1875, was the turning point in the career of 
the old California, and the turn was downward all the way. 
McCullough himself was reported to have lost 5^60,000, which 
he had turned in to the BanL: of California and which Ralston 
had neglected to credit to his account. It was said that he 
tore up his receipts and silently pocketed the loss rather 
than sully the memory of his benefactor. I'f true, the story 
would hardly justify the nickname of "I am" fastened on him 
by the virulent News Letter * That paper, by the way, was 
staunch in its defense of Ralston 's character both before and 
after his death. 

The closing of the Bank of California resulted in a gen- 
eral unrest and even panic, the effects of which were to be 
felt for many years. The folloviring day the California Thea- 
tre, which had been featuring the Lingards in La Tentation, 
closed its doors. This was a natural tribute to the theatre's 
fallen "angel''; yet it was, to a degree, symbolic of the 
future of the theatre and the city. The Bank of California 
reopened within two months, the California Theatre within a 
few days; yet a door had closed that never was to b&.- reopened. 

The events of the rest of the year were antlclimactic . 
Lawrence Barrett returned for a month's engagement, arid 
received excellent reviews from the News Letter, being de- 
clared the best Hamlet ever seen in the city; but in the 


unsettled condition of the city the crowds could not have been 
too enthusiastic over an ^ctor and a repertory they knev: only 
too well. It was ironic that the .man v.'ho had dedicated the 
theatre v.ith such high hopes should return to initiate its 
decline. So ended a memorable year. 

As if in admission of degeneration, the California Thea- 
tre began the year 1876 with an outworn pair of burlesgue- 
srectacles, Cherry and ?air Star and Faust_u_^. ,i comraunication 
to the Ne\7s Letter of January 23, 1876, in regard to Faus tus 
expressed "Sigma' s" disgust -..-ith the once great Temy^le of the 


"I v;as ashamed of it. Circumstances induced me to sit 
the performance out, but I was ashamed of it — of myself 
and of San Francisco. From the opening of the California 
Theatre uj to the time I went East tv;o years ago, I never 
saw anything there irredeemably vulgar. The merits and 
demerits of the burlesques and blondes and bouffes of the 
period are familiar enough to all of us. ;. good deal of 
this sort of entertainment is far eno^igh from inculcating 
the moralities. But I am not now preaching for the moral- 
ities. An uncommonly agreeable and gentlemanly fellov;mny 
be an infinite scamp, and (I grieve to remark) be found the 
reverse of offensive to us. .^nd lil.e i:is are the sins and 
the simulations of the burlesque, the blonde and the bouf f e . 
But the company of a cad, ;.'ho is else a slouch, ought to 


disgust. That this is essentially the character of the 
holiday pnrfor.--iwace that has been given at the California 
Theatre, and that it did by no meaun displease luost of the 
people who v/ent to see it, are the facts of which I am 
thoroughly ashaiaed. 

''Of ballet I v;ill be allowed to remark that it is 
rendered tolerable only by graceful execution. Stripping 
Is one of its necessary features, in order that the desider- 
ated graces may be adequately developed. But a half-strip- 
ped, ungraceful, fe^'iale figure is less agreeable to the eye 
than that of a "'ell-bred cow; and so the gambols of this 
female creature, the capers of the Cioryphees in the Cali- 
fornia ballet bore a resemblance that was not rendered 
pleasing by being merely ciirious. Of the thihg -called 
Faust oerhaps its idiocy deserves a pity that qualifies 
blame. In conclusion it nay be noted that if the California 
Theatre is emulous of the career of Fisk 's Opera House, and 
distinctly desirns taking position as the resort of shop 
girls and their young men, the present course of its man- 
agement is all that can be desired. If, onthe other hand, 
the readers of the News Letter are to adopt it as an accus- 
tomed haunt, let the entertainment be such that a case-hard- 
ened Calif omlan, at least, can pxit up with. I blush in the 
privacy of my libi-ary, at the thought of the Eastern people 
v*io have re sort nd thither during the past fortnight ih the 
thought, 'This is the first-class California Theatre.''' 


"Sigma" presumably represented the intelligent public ard 
its attitude toward the California Theatre. But the house was 
not to lose its presti£;e entirely in a day or even a year and 
that same year -was to bring several old and new stars upon its 
stage: Emma Waller, Frank Chanfrau, W. J. Florence, Rose Ey- 
tinge, Mary Anderson (then only 17 years old), Frank Mayo, 
John T. Raymond, and, most notable of all, Edwin Booth. This 
was Booth's first appearance in San Francisco since he had 
departed for New York 20 years before as a yoving actor whose 
only claim to fame was that he bore the name of a famous father. 
Now he returned as the king of American actors, a title iiriiich 
he retains to the present day, nearly a half century after his 
death. There was an added interest in San Francisco's expec- 
tation because of Booth's early connection with the city in 
the Gold Rush days. 

But appreciation 'was slov/ in coming* After his opening 
performance of Hamlet , Figaro of the follovdng day (September 
6, 1876) made an unfortunate venture into prophecy: 

"We question "whether Mr. Booth will ever excite his 
audiences to any particular exhibitions of enthusiasm, but 
it is quite certain that he will claim their close and ad- 
miring attention by his scholarly interpretations of 
character. . . .That he feels deeply is apparent to the 
student but it is his Hamlet's creed to repress any excess 


of action. Tt v.'ould have been better for him perhaps had 
he brooded less and done more, for his much thinking drove 
him to the border-land where reason loses sv/ay. Only in 
the scene v^-lth his mother does he lose his self-control and 
thf.-n only because he has to contend between two loves, 
that for his father and that for his mother.'' 

But after several weelcs of Booth (excellently supported 
by McCullough, Tom TCeene, C.P. Bishop, Ellle Wilton and Harry 
Edwards), F igar o was ready for an unconditional surrender, 
partly Influenced by the "exhibitions of enthusiasm" they had 
denied him. In its rftviev/ of his R ichard III, his father's 
favorite part, on October 10, Figaro could find no adjectives 
7/orthy of the great actor: 

"Booth is a revelation. It is qiiite vathln bounds to 
say that no such Richard ever before appeared to a Califor- 
nia audience. Much ws.s expected of him in this tragedy and 
it can be said without the slightest exaggeration that those 
expectations have been Ailly met. The idea v^iich most im- 
presses those who witness the performance of Lr. Booth Is 
the exhaustless power of the man. No matter i/iAoat requisi- 
tions are made on him they are always honored in a manner 
that leaves no doubt in the mind that he has unmeasured 
reserves of force still untouched. This is not the result 
of an accidental effort of rare excellence, but it comes of 
being repeated so often that the audience accept it as the 


standard of his work -- no natter how well he has done, he 
could do better if the occasion required. . . . The audi-- 
ences are wild with exciteraent and reJuse tm^depart till he 
is tv/ice recalled." 

Thus, after 20 years, did Edwin Booth return to this city, 
now for the first time discovering the iCl Dorado of which men 
spoke and which he had never been able to find. Hovv' ironical- 
ly Kamlet must have smiled, seeing that he now fo\md a thing 
which no longer existed -- and for which he now had such little 
use . 

From this until the closing of the California in May, 
1378, for repairs and reorganization, the only fortune the 
house Imew was bad. Trme, certain stars, such as Sothem, 
Florence, Adelaide Neilson, Modjeska, di-ew money into the thea- 
tre, but either their salaries were so high or expenses were 
so out of proportion that the management actually owed them 
money at the end of their engagements. Perhaps the most spec- 
tacular and successful event at the California was the benefit 
on February 12, 1877, for the dying Edwin Adams, recently re- 
turned from Australia. The startling denouement, dear to 
sentimental San Franciscans, was the apnearance of Adams, who 
remained seated in a chair on the stage while Sothem made a 
speech, a poem by George Jessup was read, and Mrs.Judah brought 
welcome tears to the audience by embracing him with motherly 


Helena Modjeska's appearance in August of 1877, her 
first in i'mierica and in the English language, A'.'as certainly a 
success financially (one of the few in the later history of 
thp old California); but critics refused to find anything but 
womanly charm in her acting, which is strange in an actress 
destined to be recognized as one of the world's greatest. 
Here is the comment of the Chronicle ; 

"The verdict of approval has been so sudden, so un- 
qualified, so destitute of the ordinary elements of crit- 
ical judgment, that it seems to throw us backv/ard a decade 
or two into that era of gush from which we thought we had 
forever emerged .... People have seemed to applaud part- 
ly because they thought it was the thing, and partly led 
off by the claque, better organized in San Francisco than 
in any other city of the Union." 

It further remarked; 

"Few ladies have appeared on the San Francisco stage 
v;ho have owed so much to vjomanly grace and sympathy and so 
little to distinguished talent. •• 

But this can probably be put down to her then lack of familiar- 
ity with the English language. 

McCullough had evidently lost all hope for the California, 
for on May 2, 1877, he had commenced his brief eav:\ dlsaatrous 
management of Baldwin's Academy with the Hess English Opera 


Company, which v;as to cost him ^28,000 of his hard-earned 
money. It \,'as difficult enough to run one ti.eatre at the 
time, and McCulloufrh' s desperate p.tteiapt to one thea- 
tre -vith another was inevitably doomed to disupiDointuent, as 
may be gathered from a summing up of financial conditions in 
the city by the Chronicle of July 22, 1877, the day after 
McCullough relinquished his lease of Baldv/in's Acaderiy: 

"The decline of theatrical interest ir. the city . . . 
is the result of many causes, chief of whicli v/e take to be 
the ne\j era of thought and feeling that followed the sus- 
pension of the Bank of California and was intensified by the 
misfortunes in stock circles during this late Spring and 
early Sumner. San Francisco never really had a death in 
the family until Ralston' s, and until the recent past no 
great financial trouble. 3o we have lived on hopefully and 
buoyantly, ..ith an exuberant life, a continual overflov; of 
feeling, a gush of sentiment, and the abounding good nature 
that comes from, all these conditions, ready alv/ays to seek 
to the fullest measure of enjoyment for all genuine sources 
of amusement. '.Te have given theatres a fulsone and often 
over-indulgent patronage. From it all has come an excellent 
knowledge of dramatic matters and development of a critical 
instinct to be hereafter more shrewdly exercised." 

The Chronicle also spoke r.'istfully of a change in the attitude 
of San Franciscans concerning money, recalling that: ". . .the 


liablt . . . has never until recently been cliaracteristic of 
Californians, of looking two or three times before parting 
v;ith it." 

Such a state of affairs McCullough had never known and 
obviously nad no will to cope v;ith,for on August 17, 1877, he 
sold a half-interest in the California Theatre to Barton Hill 
for $28,000, exactly the amount he v.'as estimated to have lost 
on Baldwin's Academy that sur'^irier. On .\u gust E5 he took a fare- 
well benefit, and on August 27 made "riis last appearance with 
Helena Hodjeska, in Ha mlet . Three days later he departed for 
the East, never to return. In the long course of ::is San 
Francisco career he had been sevsrely criticized many times, 
but in the end --.eople remembered tliat he had been kno\;n as 
"genial John" and were no doubt genuinely sorry. After all, 
there were rarny sentimental memories associated with the name 
of John McCullough and San Franciscans would always claim him 
as one of their own. Even Maguire,v;ho himself had been forced 
to give up his Bush Street theatres that spring, expressed 
regret ; in the Chronicle of August 27, 1877): 

"It will be the worse for San Francisco. . . .Mr. 
McCullough did a great deal for San Francisco. It needed 
his name and influence to get the stars out there that he 
did. Kr worked hard to give the California people the best 
there was. And mind :,ou, v;hen I say that, it means something 


because v^e were opposj.tion managers. Yet we always got on 
well: I always liked John McCullough. A squarer man nev- 
er lived. He was above doing anything mean, small or un- 
derhanded .... 

"He had been very unfortionate of late .... But loss 
came to him as something entirely new. He hardly knew what 
it meant, and I suppose, like other r.ien who have had con- 
tinuous prosperity, the blow came with double force. I 
don't know who can run the California successfully after 

There was no one. The entire history of the California 
had centered around William Ralston and John LicCullough and 
with them out of the scene the old theatre was never to be the 
same again. As a mattei^of fact, no theatre, v;iththe possible 
exception of the Tivoll, was ever to enjoy such an -unrivaled 
position in the stage life of San Francisco. Even without 
Ralston, McCullough had not been able to raanage very success- 
fully; and without LicCullough, Barton Hill was even more help- 
less in maintaining prestige. Even such stars as Modjeska, 
Rose Eytinge, W. K. Crane, and Stuart Robson failed to draw 
sufficient crowds to make the theatre pay. On Ilay 6, 1S7S, 
the inevitable happened; it v;as annoimced that the theatre was 
to 'be reorganized with General .V.B.Barton as chief proprietor 
and Barton Hill and Frank Lawlor as partners. Jolm McCullough 
had dropped coi.ipletely out of the theatrical 'iDicture of San 
Francisco . 


People began to wonder concerning the true financial his- 
tory of the California. It -.vas estimated that the theatre 
;vas in debt to the extent of $55,000, although Barton Hill 
maintainec. that in the past four years it had taken in $55,000 
more than it had paid out — v.-hich hardly explained the def- 
icit. The Chronicle began to investigate and on June 30, 1878, 
published its findings: 

"The partnership (between MoCullough and Barrett) v/as 
not harmonious. Barrett was strict, severe, Puritanic, and 
not a man to please Ralston, v.'ho naturally liked better the 
genial manners and frank v;ays of McCullough. Barrett ac- 
cordinly soon sold his entire interest to McCullough for 
$5000, looking upon the sale as a sacrifice. Times were 
good . . . and the theatre flourished. As McCullough needed 
money from time to time he borrowed it at the bank, giving 
his individual notes. Iliese separate loans af the time of 
Ralston 's death aggregated, perhaps, ^75,000. As the notes 
v:ere occasionally liquidated, Ralston placed the payments 
to the credit of his own private account, instead of to: the 
bank. 'Then the bank suspended, therefore, it . . . insisted 
on its payment. He (TicCullough) showed . . . the stubs of 
the checks . . . and the matter was finally adjusted ..... 

"After the suspension of the bank, San Francisco went 
into mourning and the theatres lost money, the Oalifornia 


sufferinc ^'ith the rest. V/hen Booth carae the next fall it 
was in debt |20,000 . . . Booth's engagement vras profita- 
ble. The $20,000 was paid." 

But succeeding engagements were not always profitable, 
and here was the California over $50,000 in the hole and r^ith 
apparently no means of continuing its career. It looked like 
the end, until General Barton providentially stepped in and 
saved the theatre. 

As if in hope of history's repeating itself, the nev; 
management opened its season on May 20, 1878, with Lawrence 
Barrett, who did well enough, but not as well as expected. 
Other stars followed w-ith much the sane fate: Harry Montague, 
George Rignold, Marie Brabrock, Maude Granger, Jeffreys Lewis. 
Even Joseph Jefferson in Rip Yan Winkle failed to cause any 
stampedes, though supported by two such first-rate players as 
Annie Pixley and the unquenchable Harry Courtaine. And Lotta 
herself — ever the local darling — on witnessing an excel- 
lent cast at the California in Gardou's D iplomacy demanded 
querulously: "uTiat m:l:es San Francisco audiences so cold and 
apathetic?" It had been so long since Lotta Crabtree had per- 
sonally experienced a financial depression that she had for- 
gotten the symptoms. But the California management knew and as 
one of its first steps in the new economy it cut those old- 
timers, Mrs. Judah, 'Jalter Leman, and Stephen Leach, from the 


company payroll, though Mrs. Judah continued to make o(?ca- 
casional appearances. Thus was sentiment first banished from the 
halls of the California ■j?heatre. It vas during the playing 
of Diplomacy that Harry Montague, the dashing young matinee 
idol of his day, collapsed on the stage v,'ith a lung hemor- 
rhage and \.-as carried away to die. This v;as perhaps the most 
sensational event of the year at the newly organized Califor- 
nia, thou£:h such stars as Frank Chanfrau, Adah Cavendish, 
Robaon and Crane, the \J.J. Florences, and Frank Mayo appeared 
in tlieir standard and by now all-too-familiar repertories. 
Tl-'irgs were so bad that the Chronicle of y^ugust 85, 1878, pro- 
phesied gloomily that: 

"San Francisco seems in danger of becoming a vast the- 
atrical hospital or home of decayed actors. . . .Ihe attend- 
ance at the theatres during the past v/eek has been the 
smallest in the- stage annals of the city." 

Tlie last year of the decade, 1879, v/as enlivened by sev- 
eral controversial and humorous incidents but by very little 
financial success, though the California attempted to weight 
its coffers a little more by an arrangement ;;ith the prosper- 
our Union Square Tlieatre Company of New York whereby plays and 
players would alternate between the two theatres. This may 
have benefitted the Union Square Theatre and did bring several 
excellent plays and players to the California, but it had 
slirht effect on the financial status of the local theatre. 


Tlie only consolation for the management — if it could be 
called one — ijas that no theatre in the city was making inoney. 

During 1879 the groat Lester IJallack, then regarded as 
the foremost romantic actor and player of hic;h comedy in the 
country, came to the California Theatre. The expensive Mr, 
Vrallack turned out to be nothing but a headache for the opti- 
mistic General Barton. The 2-'Ublic preferred James OTeill, 
the young Irish actor '.'hose appearance as the Christus in 
Salmi Morse's Passion Play at the Grand Opera House had re- 
sulted in street riots, the arrest of the cast, the v:ithdrav/al 
of the play, and finally the suicide of the author — all be- 
(^ause of controversy over the legitimacy of representing scrip- 
tural characters on the stage. feiting for the train that was 
to bear him away from this cursed to;m, the great Wallack de- 
livered a few pithy opinions on the manners and morals of its 
denizens, leaving behind him this final judgment: 

"♦Sir,' and he shot the glass from his eye with an 
impatient movement of muscle, 'You can judge what I think of 
average San Franciscans when I state my opinion that if 
Jesus Christ himself came dovm from Heaven they would give 
OTeill the preference in the character — ' The rest of the 
remark was lost in the shriek of the locomotive." 


T!:e o-oinion of General Barton on Lester Walla ck is not re- 
cor a-'d. 

Tlie California during the early eighties had become just 
another theatre, witr nothin£-, but its past to place its name 
above those of the other struggling houses of the city. Even 
the sanguine General Barton gave ul the ghost, selling out his 
interest in the California to J. H. Haverly, knovim as Colonel 
Jack and considered the greatest minstrel impresario in the 
history of this country. This \\'as in December of 1681. Hence- 
forth, until 1885, the house became known as Haverly' s Cali- 
fornia Theatre. Put even the astute Colonel Jackhad a diffi- 
cult row to hoe. Hiere v;ere bright spots on tbe horizon, such 
as the engagements of Joe Murphy, J. K. "Fritz" Emmet, and the 
Haverly Mastodon Minstrels ("Fortyl Count 'emi Forty!") dur- 
ing the early part of 1882 and of the Union Square Company 
during .mgust and .September of that year. Tliat company in- 
cluded Maude Harrison, J. H. Stoddard, Sarah Jewett, and Owen 
Fawcett, and featured Bronson KoT.ard's new play The Banker's 
Daughter . Of this engagement the Chr onicl e was moved to re- 

"The evai excellence of these performances has attracted 
a large ^atronnge and 2' laced the theatre on a higher plane 
in the estimation of the public than it has occupied in 


There were other flashes, such as the engagements of 
traveling New York companies in the sum-ner of 1883, bringing 
such oM and new favorites as Fanny Janauschek, Dion Boucicault, 
Ada Rehan, and Richard Mansfield, who had lately made his 
first sensational hit as the senile Baron Chervlal in A. Pari.7 
sian Romance , a part he was to play for years to come. These 
were the first appearances of Ada Rehan and Richard Mansfield 
in this city. V/. E» Sheridan also had had a brilliant season 
in 1881 in Louis XI, his impersonation being described by the 
News Letter as ''one of the most remar^:able » . . on the Amer- 
ican stage.'' 

But the oil California stock company had now broken down 
completely and the tlieatre was forced hereafter to rely on 
these new traveling troupes from New York for entertainment. 
Obviously this was an imtenable sitiiation, since these com- 
panies were free from Eastern engagements only during the sum- 
mer months. "Stock'' had been the life of the California The- 
atre and without it the management found it a hard struggle to 
keep its doors open* Frederick Bert, vfco leased the theatre 
in November, 1383, attempted to bridge the gap '^th grand and 
light opera productions by local coinpanies, with but fair suc- 
cess. The only other regular activity at the California was 
that of the German Dramatic Company, wiiich continued to give 
Sxmday performances at the house until 1885. Occasionally the 


Germans :vould take over the theatre for regular seasons, 
though these were gonerolly of brief duration* Haverly's 
I'lnstrels performed at intervals and v/ere in the main success- 
fxil, thougli they suffered from the phenomenal popularity of 
Billy Emerson's Minstrels at the Standard Theatre. There -/vas 
a definite revival of grand opera during this loerlod, but the 
California had little chance to capitalize on the fact, since 
other theatres like Baldwin's and the Grand Opera House were 
getting the stars; and the local talent employed at the Cali- 
fornia liad little to offer against such singers as Adellna 
Fatti and Emma Nevada. 

" JINX " 
Manager succeeded manager in a vain attempt to revive the 
fortunes of the old theatre. First there v/as Bert, then Al 
Hayman, who used it as a subsidiary theatre to Baldwin's 
Academy, vrfiich he was then managing for Charles Frohman; then, 
at the beginning oi 1085, Billy Emerson, v*io had been packing 
them in for some time at the Standard Theatre, leased the 
California in an attempt to widen his activities, but even his 
minstrels v/ere unable to keep the theatre above water. It 
was during this year that the name of Haverly was dropped in 
the city directory and tiie theatre became the plain California 
again. The last serious attempt to bring it back to popularity 
was made by McKee Rankin and Jay Riall, who leased the house 
in the summer of 1885, formed the Rankin Dramatic Company, and 
attempted, fairly successfully for a v/hlle, to i-un tiie theatre 


on Itaold stock lines. But bad management soon put an end to 
the project. Even the popular Kiralfy ballet troupe, brought 
in by Al Hayman in a series of burlesque and spectacle shows 
such as Around the iVorld In Ei ghty Days^ All Baba, The Rat 
Catcher ^ and that old warhorse, The Blac-: Crook , failed to 
keep the theatre on a respectable financial level. The cause 
of the old California was now generally recognized as a lost 
one « 


Yet there were a few notable events before the theatre's 
demise. One of then was the appearance in December, 1887, of 
James O'lJeill in Hon t e Cri sto, the part that v/as to sv«allow 
his identity for IS years and from which he tried time and 
time airain to escape. His struggle was hopeless; the public 
wanted James O^ilelll in Monte Cristo — and if it could not 
get him in that play, it wanted him in no other. Whatever 
higher aims In the theatre he may have had, he v/as forced to 
leave to his son Aigene, born in the following year. 

It v/as 18BS, the final year of the old California. The 
wealthy ovmer of the property, Mrs. Kate McDonough, sister of 
the Bonanza King, V.llliam O'Brien, had decided to tear dom 
the old building and nrect a large hotel on the site. There 
v/as as yet no mention of a new theatre to take the place of 
the old. Lily Langtry, the Jersey Lily, darling of King 
Edisard VII, appeared with Charles Coghlan in As in a Looking 
Class; Daniel Bandmann, the old German tragedian, appeared in 


a Shakespearean repertory; Frederick Warde, successor of 
McCullough in the time-worn part of Virginlus, gave his now 
famous Interpretation of that role, with Eugenie Blair in 
support; and that old favorite of the seventies, Krs . D. P. 
Bowers, returned to the desolate scene of her former triumphs 
as Elizabeth, Queen of England. All these played to the hu- 
miliating prices of ^^1, bOd, and 2b(/,. 

On August 11, 1888, the last performance at the old Cali- 
fornia was given as a "benefit for old attaches," with Jeffreys 
Lewis appearing as the star of Forget-Me- Not -- an appropri- 
ately sentimental title for the o6oa:sion. In the cast were 
Fanny Young, Harry Mainhall, Charlotte Tittei, and John 
Thompson. James Garden made a farewell speech and a further 
sentimental touch was added to the playbills, on which appeared 
a souvenir picture of Denny's original drop curtain and the 
casts of the first, play. Money, and the last, Porget-Me-Not . 
There was pathos in plenty for all who came. A few days later 
workmen began destruction of the old building. 

Perhaps the most touching obituary for the old California 
was supplied by the old-time actress, Mrs. Saunders, in an 
interview with an Examiner reporter published on May 13, 1889, 
the night of the opening of the new California. 


"How strange it is that • when but a moment ago I was 
thinking of the old California Theatre and wondering if I 
had been forgotten along with the disappearance of the place 
where I had so often appeared, you should come to ask me 
of its past glories," said Mrs. Elizabeth Saunders last 
night. "I was for nearly twenty years a member of the Cali- 
fornia company. We had a double stock company then, with 
such actors as Mr. Barrett, John McCullough, and Tom Eeene, 
at the head of it. Oh what a great company it was I All 
those members of it now living are stars. In Tlie Two 
Orphans there was Keene, Mestayer (who took the character 
of my handsome son), Bella Pateman and Bob Pateman, Miss 
Carrie Wyatt, Sophie Edwin, Mrs. Judah, Dicky Lingard, Alice 
Dunning Lingard and myself. I was old Mother Frochard and 
was made up in a horribly realistic manner as that old hag. 
Dicky Lingard played Louise, the blind girl. One night 
during its production a man seated in one of the side boxes 
became so excited v;hen I was pulling Louise about by the 
hair that he jumped up and cried out, 'If that old woman 
pulls that girl's hair again I'll shoot her,' and he meant 
it. It was a very great compliment to me, even though a 
dangerous one." 

Mrs. Saunders went on to speak of Vi/illiam Barry and his 
death -- supposedly of a broken heart after McCullou.'^h advised 
him that he was no longer to play his traditional part of the 
Second Gravedigger in Hamlet -- and continued with the story 


of her om career at the theatre. The old lady dwelt a little 
too inuch on the coiupliments she received, perhaps, but this 
is certainly excusable in an actress vifho would probably never 
hear applause again. She concludedt 

"There are many pleasant and many sad memories con- 
nected with the old Cnllfomia. Regrets that it is no more? 
Chi yes. A great laany regrets. I ';vent and obtained a 
little souvenir, v/nich I prize very highly. It was all I 
could get *•- one of the pendants from the chandelier." 

No one was ever to speal: of the nev; California thus. 





When Mrs . Kate McDonough bought the property of the old 
California Theatre (for $127,000) it v/as with the intention 
of building a hotel on the site . Not until several months 
later v;as the idea of adding a nev/ theatre to the hotel an- 
nounced. Jerome A. Hart in his In Our Secoiid C entury gives 
two versions of the change in plan; 

"It v/as said at the time that I 'Irs. McDonough had Iji- 
eluded a theatre in the hotel building plan owing to her 
pleasant recollections of the Old California Theatre per- 
formances; it v/as natural to have Barrett, one of the 
founders of the old theatre, inaugurate the new one; as 
he and Barrett were associated at the tine, it was natu- 
ral that Booth should appear. He was not, hov.-ever, in 
very good physical condition, ovi/ing to his age. Bariott 
seemed much better preserved. But Barrett died two years 
after, and Booth lasted two years longer, dying in 1893. 
" Another story concerning the building of the new 
California is told by M. B. Leavitt in his memoirs. He 


says that Al Hayman urged Mrs. McDonough to build a Nev/ 
California Theatre, and make him lessee, pointing out to 
her that Leavitt had turned the Bush Street into 'a per- 
fect mint . ' 

"It is true that \1 Hayman and his brother Harry Mann 
became lessees of the New California Theatre. But I prefer 
the first story." 

v.'hatever the origin of the project, it v/as carried 
through on schedule and the New California Theatre was opened 
to the public on iuay 14, 1889, with Al Hayman as lessee and 
Harry Mann as manager. The opening play v/as Othello v/ith 
Barrett in the title role and Booth as lago . Throughout the 
run the tv;o actors alternated in the parts, as they did in all 
their productions. The prices graduated downv/ard from $3 to 

I.icCullough and Ralston were dead, as were Raymond, Se die y 
Smith, and many others connected v;ith the opening of the old 
theatre 20 years before . Others had retired long since or 
left the city. As Hack Inspector Cornelius Martin declared, 
only he and Lawrence Barrett had been officially active at the 
opening of the original California Theatre . Another man, 
Robert Preston, v/ho had been prompter in the original company, 
played a "super" in the Eooth- Barrett introduction. Booth at 
first had no comment to make on the new house, but Barrett, as 
Quoted by an Examiner reporter the following day, was nostal- 
gically hopeful: 


"The spirit of the old California Theatre is in the 
nev one tonight, and the spirit of the old one v/as high and 
glorious . The audience is as splendid as any I ever saw in 
any city, not excepting the capitals of Europe . I think my 
eyes will never look on so grand a house again. The au- 
ditorium of the Theatre is more beautiful than any I have 
ever seen. The stage is a superb one, and the settings are 
truly regal. Everything has gone along very smoothly to- 
night. It is remarkable that this theatre should be opened 
at the very moment that v/as promised, , . ." 

Certainly the opening of the nev house v.'as promising. 
Said the Morning Call of Iviay 14; 

"The Nev; California opened in a blaze of glory, made 
so by reminiscence of the 'Old Drury' and an intention on 
the part of the people to hold in reverence all the tra- 
ditions connected vith the first modern amusement-house 
built in this city. 

"Long before the advertised time for opening the doors 
an immense throng had gathered, some as participants, many 
as spectators. Prom the main entrance, on Bush otreet, to 
the corner of Kearny, and along the latter thoroughfare 
nearly to Pine Street, a line v/as formed of a good-natured 
throng eager to gain admission to the gallery as soon as 
the v.'ord was given to open the house . 


"Ivlany of those in line were in waiting for several 
hours, and when some of them were asked v;hy they took so 
much trouble and gave up so much time to v/itness the per - 
f ormance and opening of the nev; theatre the answer came : 
'V"e vere at the opening of the old place twenty years ago 
and want to be there at the beginning, no matter how much 
time, trouble or what it may cost to get there* .... 
Every seat in the parquet, parquet circle and dress circle 
had been disposed of as many as five days ago. . . . The 
receipts for the eveningC including premiums) are estimated 
between $9,000 and $10,0©0." 

It is obvious from the reporter's tone that, however 
much he may have been impressed with the magnificence of the 
new building, he v/as not overv/helmed by this opening night 
success, attributing it to the sentimental prestige of the old 
theatre. In this attitude he was quite right, for after the 
initial ceremony the new theatre was to settle down to a com- 
paratively quiet life as one of the city's many pretentious 
theatres. The history of the old California was not to be 
repeated by its successor. But on this opening night the city 
v.'as all enthusiasm. The Call reporter continued in the tone 
of the hour; 

"There can be no doubt but that in the New California, 
now opened, Mr. Hayman has a Thespian temple under his 
control, that for beauty and comfort can bear away the 


pair;, from any similar institution in the United States, if 
not in Europe. Mr. Edvjin Booth r/hen he first looked at 
the interior said, after taking in its many points: 'This 
is the handsomest theatrical auditorium I have seen in all 
my experience, v/hether in the Ilev/ V/orld or the Old.* The 
entrance is made from the street through a grand arch, 
which has a touch of the old Byzantine and the more recent 
Spanish in its composition, and one finds himself in a 
spacious vestibule with the walls finished and ornamented 
in gold and cuir-colored plastic work, which has a pleas- 
ing effect. A short distance inside the grand entrance, 
on the right side of the vestibule, is the gracefully de- 
signed box-office, v/ith an inscription so plain that it 
cannot be overlooked, telling the ticket-purchaser mistakes 
v/ill not be rectified after he has left the window. Near 
by on the left is a recess called the ' Ing].enook , ' v;ith the 
old fashioned settees and a fire-place in which on cold 
evenings a fire may be lighted, so that a lady may be com- 
fortably seated while her escort is purchasing seats from 
the Treasurer. Another handsome mantel and a fire-place is 
(sic) located just inside the doors tiiat divide the vesti- 
bule from the foyer and near the staircase leading to the 
gallery. There are retiring and conversation rooms for 
both the occupants of the pprquet and dress circle, one 
devoted to the ladies and one to the gentlemen. In the 
latter the privilege of smoking is allov/ed. In one re- 
spect the improvement made in the interioT of the old 


California at ivir. Booth's suggestion has in a degree been 
retained, V.^e refer to the open arches that divide the foyer 
from the auditorium, on which curtains v/ill be hung, and 
they can be dravm or not, as choice may dictate, affording 
strollers in the foyer a view of the people in the parquet 
and the stage beyond . 

"If a visitor, nervous on account of danger from fire, 
v;ill take the trouble to examine the situation he will find 
there are 19 exits from the auditorium of this new theatre, 
which need not be pointed out here, as every sitter will 
be apt to mark the one nearest to him, and be ready to avail 
himself of the means of escape thus afforded in case of 
emergency. There are four passages alone, to the outer air, 
in the dress circle. As far as human precaution goes, ab- 
solute safety under critical circumstances appears to have 
been provided for the audience . A further assurance of 
freedom from danger is found in the fact that no^s-lights 
v;illbe used in the house, and last night the rov;s of incan- 
descent burners in the coved ceiling and elsev;here illumi- 
nated the interior brilliantly," 

Incidentally, these new electric lights probably had much 
to CO with making the nev/ theatre seem more resplendent than 
the old gas-lit nouse. The illusion, if illusion it \vere,ms 
strongly maintained by the Examiner of the saine date v/hich 


"Once more v;e have a California Theatre. It was like 
a home-<:oming to the first-nighters when they crossed the 
Bush Street sidewalk again last night. Within the house, 
however, there v/as but little to remind them of that eve- 
ning twenty years ago when Lawrence Barrett and John 
McCullough bade them welcome to the opening of the house. 

"Instead of the bai^, cold corridor of that time, the 
entrance hall is now as luxuriously furnished as any drav;»- 
ing room in the world. The very name of it is changed; it 
no longer is a lobby but a foyer. 

"On the right of the entrance, where the dingy show- 
case filled v/ith flyblown photographs and ramshackle opera 
glasses used to stand, there is a Moorish mantel in itself 
'worth the price of admission' as the country showman loves 
to day. The old mirrors are there, but they are framed 
anew, according ta the dictates of the renaissance esthetic. 
Some of the old-timers, looking at the glass, seemed a 
little sorrowful. . . . It is not too much to say that the 
theatre fulfills the promise made for it and it is as 
beautiful as any in the world." 

The reporter went on to remark the scarcity of diamonds 
and ornaments in the audience — as compared with the lavish 
display of 20 years earlier — and to note the abeence of 
odes, speeches, and floral presentations, for which he gave 
himself and his contemporaries a comforting pat on the back, 
thanking the "march of intellect" for the change in style: 


"We take our pleasures v.'ith a quieter joynov/adays 
and there v/as enthusiasm enough v;ithout the spur of cut- 
and-dried incitement. Everyone felt that the management 
deserved a hearty recognition of their free expenditure 
and careful planning. A theatre could not be more thorough- 
ly constructed. Every imaginable convenience is provided, 
and it v/ill indeed be some little time before the public 
learns to make use of all the accommodations offered them. 
The smoking room and ladies' dressing room were hardly oc- 
cupied at all last night. It is not at the outset easy to 
realize that v/e have at last a theatre which is a comfort- 
able lounging place as "ell as a playhouse . But it is 
safe to prophesy that it will not be long before people 
perceive the advantages of all this elaborate provision 
for their after-dinner mo od,^d demand the some conveniences 
at other places." 

'^he Call had something further to say about the stage and 
the curtain: 

♦'The stage is 65 feet by 40 deep, and is built v/ith all 
the modern improvements . In its flooring it forms quite 
^ contrast to the old one v/hich, on account of roughness, 
hollows and miniature hillocks, v/as unpleasant to the ac- 
tors, and decidedly so to dancers. Ledwidge (the theatre's 
master mechanic) has reformed altogether, and besides, box- 
ing is facilitated for small pieces, and the placing of 




lar£re settings. 2very ne?.ns to insure realistic Dresenta- 
tion of the most important productions, spectacular and 
other, has been adopted. 

"The Act Drop, painted by Thomas G. Loses, is a sub- 
ject called 'The Return of the Rajah' and is of course 
Bast Indian in character, with all the free lines in drav- 
ing and the color which the Hindostanee (sic) selection 
would call for. It has in the freedom of treatment re- 
minders of Voegtlin, and is a good picture but not a great 

VJhich was score one for the old theatre. No self-respect- 
ing gentleman of 1869 would ever have spoken thus of Mr. 
Denny's masterwork. 

The chief personnel of the nev/ house included Mrs. Kate 
McDonough, owner of the theatre and hotel-, Al Hayman, lessee 
of the theatre; Harry Mann, manager; Joseph M. V/oods, archi- 
tect; Messrs. Sosman and Landis, scenic contractors; Messrs. 
Linden and Spiering, decorators; Charles H. Frye, treasurer; 
Thomas Moses, scenic artist; John Ledwidge , master mechanic; 
1. Windom, master carpenter; John Victor, engineer; August 
Keinrichs, musical director; and Charles Blesser, property 
master. Hayman was lessee of both the Baldwin and Nev; Cali- 
fornia Theatres, and there was some discussion as to v^hether 
he was capable of running both theatres at the same time and 
with profit. The Morning Call of May 14 discussed the problem 


find airily disposec' of it in this fashion: 

"The only cUfficulty that fronts one in this connec- 
tion is the question: v;hich theatre is to be rated as the 
;|.eading one in San Francisco, the Baldwin or the New Cali- 
fornia? Mr. Hayman is lessee of both, and it will be a 
severe test of managerial skill to divide the business so 
nicely between the tvw as to avoid the loss of prestige to 
either. There is no doubt he will be equal to the occasion. 
V.'ith tv;o such theatres he ought to command the attendance 
of the elite of the city. There will be some, however, who 
are of the opinion that in the increased responsibility 
Mr. Hayman will be led to exclaim with Captain Macheath: 
•How happy could I be with either, were t'other dear charm- 
er av;ay'. ' Such people are evidently animated by jealousy ." 

Unfortunately there w^.s more than jealousy behind the 
charge, as both Maguire and McCullough could have testified. 
Hayman was one of the most astute showmen, but the difficulty 
cf maintaining tv/o theatres against growing competition al- 
ready had proved too much for men at least as shrewd as he . 
The Baldwin was still the leading theatre of the city, but the 
op-^osition provided by the Alcazar, the Bush Street, the Stand- 
ard, the Grand Opera House, and the Crpheum was more than the 
new California could meet. After the engagement of Booth and 
Larrett, follov/ed by that of Robert Mantell, the remainder of 
the year provided very little outstanding entertainment at the 


nev theatre. In the meantime such attractions as Nat Goodwin, 
Minnie Maddern, Franlc Mayo, Janauschek, 3tuart -lobson, Fanny 
Davenport, Charley Heed, Frank Daniels, Ned Ilarrigan, Katie 
Mayhev;, Rose Coghlan, and E. H. Sothern were drav/ing appreci- 
ative cro'-vds into the other theatres of the citvo The Tivoli 
continued on its tuneful way and the Crpheum presented tlie 
best acts in vaudeville. A decade v/as ending and the nev; one 
v:as to present many problems to the new theatre . 

Immediately before and after the opening, people looked 
on the building of a second California Theatre as an event of 
unmatched importance. liven the critical Nev/s Lette r, v/riting 
on luay 11, two days before the opening, said- 

"Those v;ho are fortunate enough to secure seats for 
the opening night of the new California Theatre on Llonday 
next, will doubtless assist in one of the most brilliant 
society and drajnatic events of California history. The 
theatre is not only the finest in the state, if not the 
United otates, but "'ill rank with the most beautiful in 
the world, and the leading actor, Edv.'in Booth, confessedly 
stands at the head of the drama as far as the English-speak- 
ing people are concerned, if not indeed of the world. , . . 
The new theatre will be under the management of Harry Mann, 
who will keep it at its greatest possible elevation, and 
afford the higher classes of San Francisco a chance to see 
the better class of dramatic work. The theatre itself will 
be found to be a marvel of brilliancy, and yet refined 


taste. To invoke the spirit of theosophy, it may be said 
that this new temple of the drama is a reincarnation of the 
old California Theatre, with a new existence, a new field 
on the old spot. Our best society will find here the high- 
est places of the drama that it will be possible to set 
before them. Of Barrett and McCullough,who opened the old 
temple in 1869, only the former is left; but he v.'ill be 
here, with his splendid nervous magnetism, to revivify the 
spot, and send it along its second march tov/ard Pacific 
renown. The house is wonderfully convenient as well as 
sightly. The boxes are almost a dream of Oriental splen- 
dor, particularly appropriate here, where we have simply to 
glance over the Pacific toward the East Indies. These boxes 
are Moorish, v/ith East Indian modifications. They are cir- 
cular, rather small, and project outv/ardly, those next the 
stage being eighteen inches lower than the ones behind, 
thus affording an unobstructed view. The mezzanine boxes 
above are like the lower ones, with Moorish canopies over- 
head. But no description v/ill do the theatre justice. It 
must be seen to be appreciated, as it will be seen on 
Monday night by nearly two thousand people." 

On May 18 the News Letter plunged into further ecstasies; 

"San Francisco probably never saw a more important 
event, in an artistic sense, than the one that was enacted 
at the Kev; California Theatre on Monday evening last, v/hen 
the two greatest tragedians on the American stage dedicated 


to the sock and buskin the finest theatre in the world. 
This is a sweeping assertion, but it is undoubtedly true. 
"Edv/in Booth said on Sunday, when he went through it, 
that he had seen the finest theatres in the world, but had 
never seen its equal for artistic splendor. The writer of 
this has been in all the beautiful theatres of the Atlantic 
region, and has seen its equal in none of them. Before 
the house was thrown open, such remarks seemed like a bit 
of Golden Gate brag; but after its splendid reality has 
burst upon the vision, it is seen to be the simple truth. 
Iv^o description in the limited space at our command could 
attempt to do the subject justice. It must be seen to be 
realized and appreciated, and that it is being seen by our 
fashionable and artistic people it is not necessary to 
state in view of the throngs that are attending nightly." 

The performances of Booth and Barrett on openir^g night 
filled the critic's cup of happiness to overbrimming: 

"Nobly did each man interpret his character at the 
electric touch of the inspiration that came on that memo- 
rable night, which is already receding into history that 
every man and woman present on the glorious occasion v/ill 
be proud hereafter to know that he or she assisted in mak- 
ing. The inspiration that comes to the artist when ambi- 
tion is in its youth affords a virginal thrill that on no 
subsequent event can probably be felt. Yet there is an 


inspiration that comes when anbition has merged into tri- 
umph which is thrilling as well, though in a different way; 
and such an inspiration as this latter one must have surged 
through the souls of these superb actors on that night to 
have enabled them to do what undoubtedly was the very high- 
est and best work of their lives." 

Not only did this critic's enthusiasm confuse his sen- 
tences but, by his ov/n admission, it confounded his critical 
faculty completely. He concluded: 

"On such an occasion, when play and players alike were 
merged into an event that made every soul bow in profound 
adoration to the grand spirit of the drama, criticism yields 
precedence to praise; for, when hands applaud so continu- 
ously and justly, the pen necessarily drops from the fin- 
gers. Adverse criticism at little faults on such an occa- 
sion as this would become mere carping, and would be en- 
titled to little or no respect. V/hen the heart is full of 
enthusiasm for a central success, it has no inclination to 
disturb its happiness by dwelling upon some trivial thing 
that went wrong." 

Certainly the critic could not be blamed too much for his 
optimism; unfortunately, it was based on a sentiment which 
did not correspond to the facts . 


Before their departures Booth and Barrett were to give 
the people of San Francisco at least one event to remember in 
connection with the New California Theatre, though supported 
by a mediocre cast whose only talented members v/ere i.Iinna K. 
Gale and John A. Lane. Indeed, according to the Argonaut, 
these two were "the only members of the company supporting 
Booth and Barrett v/ho have risen much above the ranks of 
Shakespearean mob." Others in the troupe were Ben G. Rogers, 
Charles Koehler, Charles Collins, Frederick Vroom, Beaumont 
Smith, Lawrence Hanley, V/illiam Stafford, J. L. Murphy, J. 
V/olseley,F. Harrison, V.^alter Thomas, and Miss Gertrude Kellogg. 
But people were out to see Booth and Barrett and the Argonaut 
(for May 13) reported that "the auction sale of seats for the 
opening night at the California Theatre brought nearly five 
thousand dollars in premium." Receipts for the opening night, 
including premium, were estimated at between $9,000 and 
$10,000, a tremendous take for any theatre. 

And for three weeks the two great men of the stage — 
neither of them long for this world — served up such an 
assortment of Shakespearean dishes as were not to be tasted 
anywhere else on earth at the time , or perhaps at any other time . 
Othello , The I Merchant of Venice , J ulius Caesar , Ham let — 
these were prepared with all the art and experience the two 
tragedians possessed, and were received accordingly. Of 
Edwin Booth's Hamlet, the part by which he is best remembered, 
the News Letter of June 1 said: 


"We have seen Mr. Booth under all conditions and in 
vsrious places durin,^: the past quarter of a century, and 
never saw him do better as Hamlet. The talk about his 
recent illness is simple rubbish. His reading, his acting, 
his entire conception, are as ever of late years — less 
fire, undoubtedly; but age brings a more modified concep- 
tion of things, and mixes philosophy vith action. A.nd 
surely philosophy may assert its sway in this play of all 
others. Mr. Booth is essentially the ideal Hamlet — the 
only Hamlet on the stage today." 

v.'ith these vords San Francisco said farewell to Edwin 
-Booth . 

As compared with the distinguished opening engagement, 
the performances that followed v/ere negligible. Robert Man- 
tell, later to become Icnovm as the last of the great trage- 
dians, scored a popular hit in a French play Monbars , though 
the Key/s Lette r declared him to be the least convincing 
Frencliraan of the cast. In this same review(for July 13,1889) 
apoears an amusing sidelight on the contemporary /American 
idea of "lovely v/oman" : 

"•/hile it (.^oixbars) is of the cleaner type of French 
plays, it yet, like too many of those even, deals with wom- 
en on a very ordinr,,ry plane. The v/oman that is an ideal 
in A'T.erica is not even hinted at. While clean, she is not 
'of the type akin to angels.' Possibly it is well that she 


is not 'too good for human nature's daily food.' It is saffe 
to say that in every American city or community the best 
women are superior to their surroundings, however refined 
and ennobling those may be. Is it so in France? Is it so 
in any other country than America? Candor, no less than 
national pride, compels a negative response." 

It v;as a beautiful ideal -- for the gentlemen. 

Joe Murphy, an old favorite here and reputed to be the 
richest actor in America, had a good season in tv/o Irish mel- 
odramas, The Shaughraun and Kerry Gow. The latter drew the 
praise of the News Letter of August 10, 1889, partly because 
it was 'jgiven in a spirited manner by Mr. Hurphy and his com- 
pany, "partly because of its" Irish wit and occasional glimpses 
of humor" and "honest and healthy sentiment, "but mainly be- 
cause it did not represent every Englishman as a blackguard 
and every Irishman as a hero, "for which Mr. Marsden (the 
author) deserves the thanks of that portion of his audiences 
who are not born demagogues." '.Thich indicates perhaps that 
Dion Boucicault had practised his art a little too often and 
a little too long for even the hardiest of green flag wavers. 
The only other event of note that year was the semi successful 
production of Archibald Gunter's klr. Barnes of Hew York, with 
Robert Milliard and Emily Rigl . This was a dramatization of 
the author's own novel of the same title, one of the best 
sellers of its time. 


This was an era particularly disastrous to small boys, 
the era of little Lord Fauntleroy. Many a man today remembers 
his helpless humiliation at being forced to promenade in long 
curls and velvet pants because his mother adored this little 
darling of fiction and drama. The California did not escape. 
The Chronicle of January 4, 1891, reported; 

"The long-haired little Lord Fauntleroy is corning b?ck 
to us. The California Theatre v.'ill doubtless be filled v.-ith 
Mothers v;ho have boys just like him, or v,'ould like to have 
boys just like him.. ..Krs. Burnett's pretty story is one 
that will never lose all its romantic interest or cease to 
move the softer side of human nature. . . . There v;ill, as 
usual, be tv/o little Lord Fauntleroys playing on alternate 
nights -- Gertie Homan and Georgie Cooper. Frank Aiken, 
one of the best Earls that can be got, will be in his old 
part. Minnie Radcliffe is an excellent Dearest, and 
Dorothy Rossmore, who is Calif ornian, has identified her- 
self in the East with the part of Minnie. Russell Basset 
is the best Hobbs on the stage." 

There may have been many who regretted the departure of 
the little lord, but assuredly they were not to be counted 
among the younger r.ioppets of the city. 


Even the older portion of the community seems to have had 
an apoetite for a less saccharine bill of fare, for on January 
20, 1891 an astonished Chronicle critic issued the following 
jumble of questions and negations; 

"Viliat was it? V'as it a fashionable charity ball? No. 
v;as it the debut of some fair society star in a Shake- 
spearean part? IIo. It was none of all these, and yet from 
7:45 to 8. '45 a stream of stylish humanity poured into the 
portals of the California Theatre last night. There were 
more rosebuds than can be seen even in the rose -gardens in 
the season and there vv'ere more young men v;ith all degrees 
of moustache, from the thistle -dovm scrubby four days' 
grov/th of some unlucky dude. There v;ere leaders of society 
and intensely serious and respectable middle-aged persons. 
There were clubmen who put on their evening dress and 
rushed their dinner to get to the fete." 

The orosaic reason for this bewildering scramble of 
citizenry v;as merely the appearance of Fay Templeton and the 
comedian and old-time minstrel, Charley Reed, in an '"unde- 
scribable entertainment" called Kiss I.icGinty . The undoubted 
attraction v/as the beautiful and clever Fay Templeton, but 
the occasion, according to the disillusioned C hronicle crit- 
ic, v;as anything but a happy one. The writer summed up: 


"The evening v/as fading av;ay, and only that the per- 
formance passed so quickly, the audience might have faded 
with it. But the gay flowers of fashion had wilted and 
the rosebuds looked a little withered as they passed out. 
But one question was on most people's lips. V.'hat v;as Fay 
Templeton, a bright, clever, pretty all-round attractive 
actress and singer, doing in such a miserable mess of rub- 
bish? V/hy did Charley Reed undertake to come to San Fran- 
cisco v/ithout any idea of what he was supposed to do? Ilis 
singing was applauded and he had some new songs, but he 
drifted through the scenes." 

The incident v.'as an excellent example of what California 
audiences were suffering in the second edition of this once- 
brilliant theatre. Tliese v/ere the early days of the ''Froliman 
Syndicate, "which was given its first impetus by Al Hayman , 
lessee of the California, and which v/as to force the /-jrierican 
public to take what it chose to distribute as entertainment. 

But while theatrical conditions both in general and in 
particular at the California Theatre were not good, there 
were still memorable engagements at the new house. Indeed 
many such were given there through the years — the only 
trouble being that they were so few and far between that the 
theatre's prestige suffered by comparison with its predeces- 
sor's. It was up against a sentimental barrier which the 
other theatres of the city v/ere not expected to surmount. 


Olcl times first reti-rn-id to the California on February 23, 
1891, vrhen Marie Wnir^-Vriglit, one of the most popular actresses 
of the day, began a week's engagement in twe lfth N^ht during 
which the SRO sign was out every night. To add to the illu- 
sion, Barton Hill, old-time^i.ger of the first California 
Theatre, appeared opposite to her as Malvolio, rith Louise 
Muldever as Ilaria and V/. T, Owens as Sir Toby Belch. Follov;- 
ing this, in March, Frederick ' 'arde and Mrs. D. F. Bowers ap- 
peared in a repertory of Shake an plays, chief of which 
was Henry VIII. It was 31 years since Mrs. Bo'/ers had first 
acted in this city, yet time seemed to have ta-ken away none 
of the affection in which she was held. As the Clironicle 
optimistically put it on March 8, the day before the produc- 
tion of Henry VIII ; 

"V/hen Frederick Warde formed a combination with Mrs. 
Bowers he did a great deal for the conservation of the le- 
gitimate drama. It was a modest and sensible thing at the 
same time to share the glory of Shakespeare with one who 
was so fitting an artistic mate. . . .It ( Henry VIII ) will 
test j'arde's resources. Queen Katherine will be a worthy 
part, for Mrs. Bowers has long ago established her ability 
in legitimate roles." 

This optimism seens to have been justified, for on March 
10 the Bulletin reported: 


"She was recalled after each scene and finally came 
to the footlight and made a nice little speech. ... . Mrs. 
D. P. Bov/ers, in the trial scene and the Queen's death 
scene, acted v;ith her old time ability." 

'Jarde also appeared — without Mrs. Bowers — in a new 
play by Henry Guy Carle ton, The Lion's Mouth ^ which was not 
popular with the critics but must have had some appeal, for 
V.'arde continued to act in the piece for many . 

Another favorite of the old California stock company, 
the tragedian, Tom Keene, unfortunately met with no such re- 
turn favor. In his rendition of Richelieu Keene seems to have 
cherished singular ideas concerning the character of the Car- 
dinal v/hich did not coincide with those of the audience 5 but 
his portrayal of Louis XI fitted better its preconception of 
that crafty monarch and v;as a mild success. The California, 
however, was in need of something more than mild successes; 
it had a reputation to uphold. More fortunate, but not much 
more so, was Gus Keege ' s impersonation of a Swedish immigrant 
in Yon Yon son , in v;hich rather negligible piece the vivscious- 
ness and sprightly dancing of Annie Lewis did much to help 
the dialectic antics of the comedian. A revival of Mr. Barnes 
of New York and two new plays. Dr. Bill's by Hajnilton Aide 
and The Iiiddleman by Henry '\rthur Jones, did their best to 
fill in the embarrassing gaps between enga^^ements . Their 
"best" could hardly be described as very good. 


The year 1892 be^^an rather stolidly, v/ith E. S. V.'illard 
and Marie Burroughs offering another of Henry Arthur Jones ' 
ethical indigestible s in the form of a play called Judah . The 
Chronicle of January 5 thought it rather more palatable than 
The Middleman but confessed itself to be confused as to v/hat 
the play v/as all about. 

"It is perfectly clear Kr. Jones started Judah with 
3omPthing of an ethical purpose . Whether he intended to 
prove that there v;as such a thing as faith-healing, or that 
it was all a fraud, or that scientific men were right or 
only half right, or that the clergy were all subject to 
human weaknesses, or that pretty faith-healers had some 
Special magnetic attraction for young ministers,^ or sim- 
ply wrote a play in a kind of haphazard way is not easy to 
determine ." 

Evidently Mr. V/illard's company did very little to clear 
the issue, and the public did not care enough to wait. 

Vi'illard struck on something more congenial to the taste 
of a V/estem public v;hen he produced Charles Hoyt's satire on 
Washington politics, The Texas Steer . Here was something com- 
mon folks could get their teeth in and they were not slow to 
bite. The Chronicle of January 19, 1892, had an interesting 
review of the play: 

"The Hoyt play, A Texas Steer, holds a peculiar place in 
stage literature. Not one of his many imitators has struck 


the secret of his popularity because it is his own. 

"He has not the sneer of the superior intellect of 
Gilbert, yet he is in some sense the Gilbert of America. 
He has a 'kink' less than an art in his satirical humor, 
and his success lies in the fact that the vast majority of 
the public agree with him as to what is funny. 

"Politics is easy to satirize. Anybody can see the 
point of a joke in the member of Congress from the cowboy 
district; anybody can jest about the corruption of poli- 
tics, but it is all the more creditable that on such a 
hackneyed subject Hoyt's satire is nev; and pointed. . . . 
The cast is a good one. It is almost needless to mention 
the work of Flora V/alsh, Tim Murphy, Starxley and some 
others. Last night a local actor, Julius Kahn, took the 
part so well taken by Newton Chisnell, who is sick in 

It was not a very exciting year. Marie Wainwright re- 
turned for a short engagement in Amy Robsart and provoked the 
Chronicle of April 5 to compare her to the holy of holies, 
Adelaide Neils on, and to conclude that "she may be perfectly 
satisfied with her results in many ways." Unfortunately Amy 
Robsart v/as a little too heavy for popular consumption and 
Kiss V/ainwright's stay was not extended. Her engagement was 
follov/ed by a lurid melodrama of George H.Jessup and Augustus 
Pitou entitled The Power _of the Press which undistinguished 
piece of thunder was graced by an equally undistinguished 


cast. Charley Reed in Hoss a nd Hoss and the City Directory 
and the return of Yon Yonson did nothing to strain the seat- 
ing capacity of the theatre . 

The most exciting event of this unexciting year v;as the 
appearance of the younger Salvini, Alessandro, in a repertory 
that included his specialty, The Three Guardsmen , better knovn 
now as The Three Musketeers. Young Salvini, folloving in the 
footsteps of his more illustrious father, was the Douglas 
Fairbanlcs of his day. His jumpy style of acting was well cal- 
culated for the part of D'Artagnan in Dumas' tale of comrade- 
ship and duels. Yet the Chronicle of November 1, 1892 seems 
to have been more impressed with his presentations of L ' A mi 
Fritz and Cavalier ia R usticana ; 

"Alexander Salvini appeared last night at the Cali- 
fornia Theatre in the first production in English of Erck- 
mann-Chatrian ' s play L'Am i Fritz and in the original Ital- 
ian play from which I.iascagni took the Cavalleria Rusticana . 

" L ' '^.li Fritz appealed to the more seiisitive playgoers 
and C avalleria R usticana should have appealed to the gal- 
lery as well, for it had a duel with daggers intensely 
realistic, perhaps the best rehearsed fight we have had, 
and gory enough to suit the most fastidious. The first play 
was sufficiently different from the second to establish 
inr. Salvini 's remarkable versatility, the thorou^^hness of 
his dramatic instinct." 


Suffice it to say that the fighting signer v;as the hero 
of the gallery gods and thus made uproar resound again in the 
halls of the long undisturbed theatre. And at the end of the 
year Clara Morris came back in Camille, and a happy public 
wept . 

At the beginning of 1893 Harry Mann retired from the 
managership of the California and Hayman installed J.J. Gott- 
lob in his place. Under Gottlob the California served up a 
bewildering pot-pourri of entertainment, varying from minstrel 
shows, vaudeville programs, Jim Corbett, and Irish comedy to 
the lofty repertory of Robert Mantell. Gentleman Jim, the 
local boy v/ho had just put John L, Sullivan to sleep and be- 
come the heavy)weight champion of the world, was perhaps the 
biggest sensation of the year. This stage appearance was of 
course only a side line in money-making for Corbett, yet in 
the end it v;as his stage career that was to become his means 
of livelihood. He lost the heavyv;eight championship to Fitz- 
simrnons a year or so later, for a purse that a third-rate 
lightweight would scorn today, but for nearly 40 years he 
continued as a headliner on the Keith and Orpheum circuits. 

The Primrose and West minstrels — one of the great 
blackface organizations of the country — was a decided pop- 
ular hit, and the equally famous Thatcher minstrels continued 


to pack the house v;ith their extravaganza Africa , v/hich fea- 
tured Otis Harlan, later a well-knovm movie comedian, and 
John Coleman. George Thatcher himself took only a minor part 
in the shovr, which continued through the month of June. It 
v;as followed by a pair of Irish comedians, Bobby Gaynor in 
Sport McAllister , One of the Four Hundred ; and Mark liurphy as 
Cionicus Caesar Crononothonaragus C'Dowdin ' Dov/d ' s Neighbors . 
Of the two Bobby Gaynor was the more impressive, the E xajniner 
of June 25, 1894 declaring; '■Ga;iTior is always funny — on and 
off stage — there is no one in America who can v;alk like him 
or hold (a) cigar stump in the same mirth provoking way." 

Hantell's engagement, which follov;ed Murphy's, was the 
most ambitious undertaking of the year and could not be called 
unsuccessful, but the critics found many things to criticize 
in the productions. On August 6, 1893, the E xaminer had sharp 
words to say: 

"The trouble at the California is not so hopeless but 
it is pretty bad. There v;as sji era of the stage history 
v;hen a back drop v;ith a door in it, two sets of straight 
wings and a table represented a gorgeous interior — also 
when a placard on a post THIS IS 'u'CCD portrayed a forest. 
The California has not seemed to fully grasp this fact — 
productions there lose 20% artistically on account of bad 
stage setting. 


"The California should remember public appreciation 
of good scenery .... next time they are tempted to use 
old time antiquities." 

Nevertheless 5 despite their neglect of the public passion 
for scenery, Mantell and his company were popular enough to 
draw good houses for two weeks in their well-varied repertory, 
v/hich included The Face in the Moonlight Jlonbars . The Corsican 
Brothers , and Othello . On August 13, 1893, the night of Man- 
tell 's farewell appearance, the Examiner , after again criti- 
cizing the inadequacy of the scenery, was kind enough to say 
thaf'the theatres need more engagements of theMantell order." 


Other productions of the year worth noting v;ere Denman 
Thompson's rustic melodrama Tlj£ 01^ Homestea d. Charles 
Dickson in Incog and Man about Town, Hoyt's A Trip to China- 
town, Frank Daniels in He ' s a Good Brother and That ' s No Joke, 
Klaw and Erlanger's extravaganza The Soudan , and Katie Einmett 
in Killamev. Early in the year, on January 28, 1893, an un- 
scheduled show too often produced in this city had occurred 
when a fire panic broke out. However, it had proved a false 
alarm and the only^ damage v;as occasioned when one A.S.Johnson 
dashed through an entrance that turned out to be a huge mir- 
ror. The cost of the mirror was said to be $700; no estimate 
was set on Mr. Johnson's broken head. J 

The year 1894 was not an especially lively one at the '" 


California, but the appearance of two great favorites made up 
for the many weeks of inactivity; Lottie Collins of "Ta-Ra- 
Ra-Boom-De-Ay" fame and Ned Earrigan, creator of Mulligan's 
Guards , and a host of other Irish comeaies and satires. Har- 
rigan, prototype of the versatile George M.Cohan, had an added 
interest for San Franciscans in that he had begun his career 
here in the sixties at Gilbert's Melodeon and the Bella Union. 

Lottie Collins appeared with the Howard Athenaeum Company 
at the end of January, following the successful run of a patri- 
otic spectacle , The Ensign . The Chronicle of January 21, 1894, 
said this of her: 

"It is only four years since Lottie Collins came out 
here with the Howard Athenaeum Company before . She was a 
clever dancer then, but she had not discovered 'Ta-ra-ra- 
boom, ' and it shows how quickly a name becomes knov.-n that 
since she was here at the New Year time of "1890 she 
has reached perhaps as wide a publicity as any woman on 
the stage. As we have not seen the original 'Ta ra ra, ' 
it will very probably be called for, but Miss Collins has 
a new song and dance which has made a great success. 
'Marguerite' it is called. The Howard Athenaeum Company 
has never failed to show the best variety and specialty 
talent all through, and this season will be no exception." 


It was at this time that J. J. Gottlob retired from the 
management of the theatre and of course took a benefit, on 
v.'hich occasion the Chronicle (January 21) v/as kind enough to 

"Lr. Hayman will find it hard to replace him, for the 
manar^ement of a theatre requires a tact and knowledge not 
very common. . . . lir. Gottlob could easily give a double 
bill for he is very popular with the profession, but in any 
case the theatr'- will be taxed to hold his friends, who 
v/ill naturally tsJce this opportunity to show their esteem." 

The Chronicle of this date had a further interesting bit 
on one of the greatest personalities in the story of min- 
strelsy, Billy Emerson: 

"Evidently Bill Emerson's days as a drawing card are 
not past. The California Theatre was crowded to the doors 
last evening by an enthusiastic audience assembled to 
greet the old-time favorite. On his appearance he received 
a perfect ovation, and v/as not allov/ed to retihe from the 
stage until he expressed his thanks in a neatly termed 
speech. He sang two of his old songs and a new ditty en- 
titlec 'KcCormick's Fourth of July,' which is sure to be- 
come popular. He also gave his famous imitation of a mixed 
Italian and German Opera company." 


But the real event of the year was the engagement of Ned 
Ilarrigan, who appeared in his ov;n play, R eillv and the 400 . 
To quote the Chronicle of June 10, 18B4: 

"Manager hi. v;. Hanley of Harrigan's New York Theatre 
has made arrangements with the California to produce Mr. 
Harrigan's great New York success, Re illy and the 400, in 
this city on the evening of June 18. Mr. Hanley will bring 
the entire company, includiiig Edward Harrigan, the author 
of the piece, who will play the part of the title role, 
Reilly the Pawnbroker, and later Sir Edward Reilly Baronet. 
This production ran for over 300 nights in New York City 
and is probably the most complete and realistic reflection 
of lower life in a great city that has ever been put on 
the stage, and is entirely free from any objectionable fea- 
tures. Each member of this very large company is so perfect 
in his part, whatever it may be, that the harmonious whole 
is a representation v/hich probably has not its equal on 
the American stage . " 

Of Harrigan's work the paper has this to say: 

" Reillv and the 400 is one of the latest as well as 
one of the cleverest of Edward Harrigan's plays. . . . Mr. 
Harrigan's Comedy Company seldom travels except to a few 
of the metropolitan cities of the East and ever^-where 
has captured the people, drawing houses which have never 


been equaled by any comedy company on this continent. The 
writines of :];dTrrard Harrigan are not so much satires as 
they are studies of real life, from which he extracts as 
much humor as possible. In this vein Re illy and the 400 
is extremely happy. \'7hen Ward McAllister told the Ameri- 
cans there were only 400 names which had any right to the 
title 'aristocratic, ' Harrigan immediately saw the parvenu 
would be among the first to try to secure the distinction. 
The rich sausage-maker, Herman Smeltz, is one of these, 
and the humor with which the keen-witted Irishman imitates 
the pretender furnishes a budget of fun which is excruci- 
atingly funny. Although Harrigan might fairly rely on his 
pungent pen to furnish a delightful entertainment he has 
sought the aid of music to perfect his comedies. In this 
he has one of the most clever collaborators of the world. 
Mr. (Gam) Braham knows just what kind of song will fit the 
Harrigan vein and strike the popular ear.* In Reilly and 
the 400 he has given us tunes which are perfectly charm- 
ing. One song especially 'Maggie Murphy's Home,' captured 
the country for a season and made the fortune of the clev- 
er little girl who sang it. The little actress, still a 
member of the organization, is Hlmma Pollack, who a short 
time ago was simply one of the rank and file. In Reilly 
and the 400 she was cast for Maggie Murphy, and in less 
than six months, though scarcely out of her teens, her 
name was known from one end of the broad country to the 

* Braham later collaborated with Harrigan' s successor in 
theatre tradition, George M. Cohan. 


Other. A tough girl was another part in Reilly and the 
400 which was the foundation stone of a woman's fortune. 
That the theatre will be packed tomorrow night is a fore- 
gone conclusion. Tlie advance sale has been very large." 

It is evident that Ned Harrigan was capable of making 
not only his own fortune but that of others as well. Cer- 
tainly the management of the California could not have picked 
a better man to restore its broken prestige. It was a pity 
that he could not have stayed and taken over. 

If 1894 was lean, not only at the California but through- 
cut the city, 1895 was a scarecrow. Names of performers may 
bring back the perfume of memory to those old enough tore- 
member, yet there was not a single engagement during the year 
worthy of special mention. Lottie Collins returned for two 
weeks in January; the violinist Ysaye gave a few concerts; 
Otis Harlan did his best to amuse his small audiences in 
Hoyt's new plays, A Black Sheep and ATemperance Town ; Charley' s 
Aunt relieved the tension for a week; Robert Downing was 
sufficiently tragic in The Gladiator and other convention- 
al dramas of the day; and May Irwin made her first starring 
appearance in The YJidow Jones. Sven The Old Homestead , that 
old reliable of the box office, was not much help to the 
weary management. Peter Robertson, in his review of the the- 
atrical year (the Ch ronicle, December 31, 1895), shed light 


on the situation: 

"The year j^oes out with practically no Important fea- 
tures in its theatrical record. Gut of all the plays that 
have been produced, only one has made any stir and it will 
not live very long. In fact, the dramatic specialty of the 
year seems to have been Trilby . We still have to look for 
the American drama that is to represent the era. From 
England there has been absolutely nothing above mediocrity; 
France lost Dumas, and the new draraatists have not reached 
the place of universal recognition, while Sardou writes 
melodrama. Again San Francisco has done as good a theat- 
rical business as anywhere else. Chicago has been a 
morgue. Big attractions have played to as low as $150 a 

■''As for San Francisco, we have had about half a dozen 
plays or companies that have been worth writing about. 
That is all for the year. Tie have fallen on queer times. 
Yn&tever may be the cause, it is extraordinary that the 
California and the Baldwin should have been closed fre- 
quently, and, when they have been open, the quality of the 
attractions has mostly been enough to hurt them materially." 

It is obvious thdt with conditions so generally depressed 
throughout the country, the California Theatre could hardly be 
expected to present a very brilliant front. It did not vio- 
late the unities. 


TOM Ksmm 

In comparison with previous seasons, 1896 — though no 
year of splendor — vms brilliant. It began proudly with 
Louis James in a classical cycle that included Marniion, Mac- 
beth, Hamlet , Romeo and Juliet , and — just to assure the pub- 
lic that the heart was in the right place — In Old Kentucky . 
There follov/ed the French, or presvunably French, actress, 
Cor inns — the single name should have clinched the matter — 
in Hendrick Hudson, Jr. , an extravaganza of Black Crook lineage 
which came a little too late in its parent's life. Then Tom 
Keene took up the classical sword with much better success 
than he had two seasons before. Perhaps the public was again 
in the mood for culture, or its latent sentimentalism in be- 
half of an old favorite was aroused. Anyway, people suddenly 
remembered that Tom Keene was a beloved actor, as this quota- 
tion from the Argonaut will show: 

"Thomas Keene has been prc-senting a series of classic 
plays at the California Theatre, during the past week, and 
he has had audiences that go far to disprove the notion 
that theatre-goers no longer care for the legitimate drama. 
Mr. Keene is a painstaking actor and an earnest student of 
Shakespeare and the classic dramatic writers, and his in- 
terpretations of the crafty Louis of France, England's ma- 
licious Richard, Richelieu and Hamlet hcve been very in- 


This v:as the era of a "bicycle built for tv/o, " as any- 
body familiar with popular songs may remember, and of course 
the theatre people did not forget that things are exploitable. 
This accounts for the so-called play, A Bicycle Girl, starring 
Nellie MoHenry as the "up-to-date young '/foman" and featuring 
John Y.'ebster and Charles Morrison as rival suitors, a cyclist 
and a college athlete. It is unnecessary to complete the 
story; the outline reveals the paucity of dramatic imagina- 

A better reaction was provided with the return of Prim- 
rose and ViTest's Minstrels, who ran for two weeks in May and 
who were followed by another Hoyt revival, A Trip to_ China - 
town . In the middle of June the L. C. otockwell Company 
brought old stock times back to the theatre and continued in- 
to August with such distinguished players as Rose Coghlan and 
Frederick Warde starring in a mixed offering of plays that in- 
cluded R. C. Carton's Hie Home Secretary ; Carmen ; and The 
Merchan t of Veni_ce. This vms the best continuous dramatic 
offering the nev; California had presented since the departure 
of Booth and Burrett. Then came Chauncey Olcott. 

Olcott had not yet established his reputation, though he 
was remembered as a member of Billy Emerson's minstrel com- 
pany several years before. Now for the first time he appeared 
in the city as a star. But it is better to let a contemporary 


tell the story. Itie quotation is from the Argonaut of August 
3, 1896: 

"Mr, Olcott is a sweet-voiced and magnetic singer, 
and was a general favorite when he sang v;ith Emerson's 
minstrels at the Standard a dozen or more years ago, . . . 
Since that time he has progressed and developed into a light 
comedian, whose efforts in Irish drama have been very well 
received. On Monday night he will be seen in the role of 
Terence Dwyer in Mavournee n, the piece in which Scanlan 
broke dovm. It is a pretty love story and an excellent ve- 
hicle for Lir. Olcott' s talents. All the songs composed by 
¥. J". Scanlan for the play are retained by . Olcott, and 
he adds to them a classical musical number." 

Chauncey Olcott was found good enough to continue until 
August 24. 

Stockwell took advantage of his company's popularity and 
promoted himself a fat double benefit on the afternoon and 
evening of September 1. For the matinee a vaudeville program 
was arranged, in which such well-knovm players as Blanche 
Bates, Maclyn i^buckle, Sadie Martinet, J". J, Raffael, and 
Madame I.^atali participated. In the evening Rose Coghlan per- 
formed in Carmen . It was a very enjoyable day for manager 


Other performers at the California were Steve Brodie in 
On the Bowery , Ip:nace Paderewski, and Loie Fuller, the famous 
dancer. Of Paderewski it is needless to say anything except 
that this was his first visit to San Francisco and that the 
top price of ^5 did not keep the public away from his concerts. 
Steve Brodie had won his fame by jximping — or pretending to 
jump — off Brooklyn Bridge. His saloon in New York had be- 
come a landmark for sightseers and his stage appearances seem 
to have been equally successful, however much his acting may 
have left to desire. As for Loie Fuller, the Argonaut of No- 
vember 23 gives an idea of her attracting powers: 

"Only a few years ago she v/as an actress of no partic- 
ular fame, but from a diaphanous piece of silk a friend had 
sent her from India, she conceived the idea of utilizing 
draperies of similar stuff in dances, and from that germ 
she has evolved the dances that have made her name famous 
in two continents. Paris went v;ild over her, and London, 
Vienna and Berlin followed suit, and though she has had 
many imitators, her visit to this country had been a suc- 
cession of triumphs. The secret of her continued success 
lies in the fact that she is constantly devising new ef- 
fects. One of her costumes alone contains five hundred 
yards of material, and when set in motion, the silk reaches 
ten feet from the body in each direction." 


But in between these brief engagements the theatre was 
continuously dark, and conditions during the following year 
were to become even vrorse. 

Pramatically the year 1897 cannot be said to have visited 
the California Theatre at all, but in the field of music there 
was a little more action, rerhaps the most successful season 
of the year was that held by the French Opera Company of New 
Orleans, for which the Argonaut of March 8 declared that the 
advance sales totalled $10,000. The troupe held the theatre 
throughout the month of March and well into April, including 
in their repertory II Trovatore and "the first presentation in 
this country, outside of New Orleans, of Reyer's masterpiece 
Sigurd , which is one ^f the most notable compositions of re- 
cent times." Unfortunately Sigurd , like many "masterpieces,"' 
has been entirely forgotten, but its presence added novelty to 
the repertory and helped make the French Opera Company almost 
as popular here as it had been in New Orleans, where it had 
Just finished a season of 12 weeks. 

But there were other performers of greater note than the 
French company, among them the pianists Rosenthal, Hoffman, 
and Scharwenka, Sousa's Band and the French singer, Paul 
Plancon, one of the greatest bassos cantante of all time. 
There was an Italian troupe called the Del Conte Opera Company, 
which only a few nights before had made its debut before an 
English-speaking audience in Los Angeles. The outstanding 


Gventofthis engagement was the production for the first time 
in /'imeiica, on November 8, 1897, of Puccini's La Boheme, La 
Qioconda , another rare operatic piece by Ponchielli, now re- 
membered mainly for its "Dance of the Hours," was also given. 

Drama did not return to the California until December 20, 
1897, when the T. Daniel li'rawley Company, just returned from 
Honolulu and on its way to the East, began a tv/o-week engage- 
ment. Tliis was one of the best stock companies ever to appear 
in this city, as is evidenced by the names of its members. 
They were led by Blanche Bates and Frank Worthing and in- 
cluded Harry Corson Clarke, ¥illiam Lewis, Frederick Perry, 
Wilson Enos, George Bosworth, Rosa McAllister, Eleanor Robson, 
and Frawley himself, Charles Hoyt ' s A Milk - llihite Flag was 
the outstanding success of the season, in which Blanche Bates 
won the approval of press and public alike. 

The last two years of the century saw very few engage- 
ments at the California Theatre, but those few v;ere of the 
first order. First, and perhaps most interesting to this gen- 
eration, was the initial appearance of Marie Dressier in this 
city. Miss Dressier, even in those days, was hardly notable 
for her beauty, but people thought she was funny and that was 
the idea she wanted to convey. An interesting appraisal of 
her talents appeared in the Arp^onaut of January 24, 1898: 


'' Courted into C our t, wl'ich is being presented at the 
California Theatre this week, opens with the traditional 
comedy scene of a pert maid pretending to dust the furni- 
ture while the butler is taking a nip from his master's de- 
canter. Tae master in this case, hov/ever, is e mistress, 
as Y;e discover when the Wirth family, under pretense of be- 
ing prospective tenants, examine the apartment in order to 
discover what sort of person is the actress who presides 
over them, for they fear that their son and heir will carry 
out his announced intention of making her his wife. Being 
thus put au courant of the condition of affairs, the au- 
dience i s in a measure prepared for the entry of Dotty Dim- 
ple. But it is not quite prepared for the apparition of 
Marie Dressier. She is new to the city, and a good many in 
the audience on Monday night had an idea that she was a 
pretty, petulant little woman, somewhat in the style of 
Sadie Martinot. But she is not. Marie Dressier is as 
broad of beam as May Irwin and tall in proportion, and she 
increases the effect of height by her extraordinary manner 
of dressing. Her face, too, is remarkable. It is a very 
mobile face, and ench individual muscle in it is developed 
to such a degree that, though smooth enough in repose, in 
action, so to speak, it is an anatomical curiosity. \/hen 
one gets used to her appearance, one soon begins to enjoy 
her acting. She is very much like May Irwin, and it may 
be that she imitates her .predecessor in the part. In fact, 


though Miss Irwin is a great favorite in this city, her 
absence from the cast was not the disappointment that a 
good many expected. Miss Dressier gets off her glib and 
slangy remarks and sings her coon songs in a very aniusing 
way. Ihere are several other good people in the compan,;. 
John Sparks was welcomed with a salvo of applause on his 
first appearance, and he and John S. Rice were admirable 
seconds to the star. Jacgues Kruger, as the reprobate 
uncle of the actress, did excellent work, and the others 
were above the average of farce-comedians in their various 

The critic was not the last to wonder at A^.arie's facial 
contortions. It would seem that a woman capable of leaving 
such an indelible impression on a not too im.Dressionable 
critic and public would ro on from triumph to triumph in 
steady progression, yet it was not till nearly 30 years later, 
when she was an old woman and almost forgotten, that she en- 
tered into the last and greatest phase of her career with her 
unforgettable portrait of old drunken Martha in the motion 
picture adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie and other 
movie successes. 


In April of 1898 came another great personality of the 

stage, one who would probably have smiled to scorn the thought 

of her name being coupled with a buffoon like Marie -- the 

great Australian soprano, Melba. She appeared on the 19th, 


20th, and 21st in La Traviata , Lucia di Lammermoor . and The 
Barber of Seville ; and even at the exorbitant prices of from 
two to seven dollars she succeeded in packing the house. 
ronald de V. Graham, writing in the Ar gonaut of April 25, was 
lavish in his praise of the great singer: 

•'Since ..delina Patti there never has been such a Vio- 
letta as Melba. Although every one who attended the per- 
formance of La Traviat a was prepared to hear a great sing- 
er, the surprise seems to have been general that she 
should have acted the role with such remarkable ability 
and in so truly artistic a manner. Melba was expected to 
sing, and she certainly did so in as superb a manner as 
the most critical could wish. From the moment of her 
appearance one felt that all-pervading sense of satisfac- 
tion and certainty that only a true and great artist can 
impart, and never for one moment diuring the entire opera, 
so long as she was on the sta~e, did that intense interest 
leave one. I doubt if any singer can be compared to Melba: 
the combination of her exquisite voice, her ease of singing 
and her grace of personality heve rarely if ever been 
equalled; hers is such legitimate art, with the consummate 
skill born of the application of many years hard study. 
^iihat more can be said of any artist without fulsome flat- 
tery? The mamory of Melba will linger for many a long day 
with those who had the good fortune to have heard her on 
Tuesday evening at the California Theatre, and ViThen all the 
hands of those in that large audience shall have forever 


ceased to applaud, and their names even forgotten, the 
echoes of Felba's genius and her triumph over art will still 
ring through the temple dedicated to sweet music for cen- 
turies to come." 

Tl-^e critic followed with the lament that even the great- 
est reniuses must compete with "the most worthless" in their 
chances for a long life; but after a string of eulogies like 
this it is useless to quote further or do more than say that 
he noted the unusually good supporting cast as contrasted to 
the generally poor support accorded to other prima donnas. 
This might be explained by the fact that Melba vras man.-ged by 
¥alter Dararosch and Charles A, ?]llis. 

Yet in spite of these occasional offerings, very little 
in the way of high-calibre entertainment was offered at the 
California or any other theatre in the city during the last 
years of the century. The Frohman Syndicate had too tight a 
grip on the few first-class plays of the i:)eriod and the pub- 
lic was tuarnin- to vaudeville for its entertainment. i\nd in 
December of 1898 the Baldwin, long the home of legitimate 
drama in the city, burned dovm. Since Eayman's only other 
house was the California, that theatre should hove prospered 
by the catastrophe, but there was no noticeable rise in pros- 
perity there. The truth was that Hayman, as part of the Syn- 
dicate, had his fingers on practically every house in town 
and probably preferred the Columbia or the Grand Opera House 


as being both more convenient and more popular with the pub- 
lic. Nothing of importance happened at the California from 
the time Melba left until the arrival of Nance O'Neil in 
December, 1898, eight months later. Nance O'Neil was a local 
girl and this fact — added to her undoubted actinc pov;ers — 
had always made her popular in the city. Though her engagement 
was only for a week, her presence brought a welcome activity 
at the California such as it rarely saw in these days of its 
decadence. This time, in addition to her familiar roles in 
Ingomar and Oliver Twist , she added those of Sudermann's Mag^da 
and Meg Merrilies in Guy Manner ing . These heavy dramatic 
parts were especially suited to her style of acting and Magda . 
in which she follov/ed the great Modjeska, was to become her 
best known play. After her engagement came the now chronic 
let down at the once proud theatre. 

The last year of the century saw little festivity at the 
California Theatre. Edwin Mayo, son of Frank Mayo, appeared 
in an adaptation of Mark Twain's Fuddin ' Head Wilson , in which 
his father had made one of liis greatest successes. The son's 
career cannot be called a startling one. Perhaps the liveli- 
est feature of the year was the appearance during February of 
Madame Sissieretta Jones ("black Patti'') and her Colored Trou- 
badours. Black Patti, one of the most sensational singers of 
her time, was equally at home in Southern songs and in operat- 
ic arias, though her unusual renditions of the former made her 
more demanded in these than in the arias. And the nimble 
dancing and fervent singing of her troubadours added a zest 


and furor to the pro^raias that could not but tingle the toes 
of her astonished audiences. The Larnbardi Italian Opera Com- 
pany which followed Black Patti must have seemed pretty tame 
after the Negro troupe. 

The last event of the cent\iry at the California Theatre 
v/as the not very exciting series of three lectures given by 
the Scottish author, the Reverend John ^Jatson, better knovm 
as "Ian Maclaren." It does not sound exciting, but the 
Evening Post of October 31, 1899, gave a different picture of 
the situation, stating firmly that: 

"Not since the days when Charles Jickens publicly read 
selections of his o\m v:orks has so much interest been dis- 
played in an author as is being shown in all the cities 
where 'Ian Maclaren' is announced to appear. 

"Ke has endeared himself to thousands by his sketches 
of Scottish life and to hear these gems ruad by a man who 
gave them to the public is a feast not often vouchsafed. 
There are few men who speaking to tliousands of both sexes 
can command absolute silence for over an hour and at the 
end of that time leave his audience silently vreeping in 
response to the touch on the heart strings. 

"The author of Bonnie Br iar Bush and Doctor of the Old 
Sch ool has brightened many sad lives and brought sunshine 
where gloom reigned and his public appearance here v.'ill 
strengthen the bonds of affection which exist between him 


and his readers in this city. The sale of reserved seats 
for the series of lectures at the California Theatre v/ill 
open next Monday morning at the box office, and judging by 
the advance orders for seats the house vill be filled to 
its capacity.-' 

Of course, one must take into consideration the propensity 
of the Gay Nineties for "silent weeping^' — and Judging from 
the reaction of the public SO years later to Alexander V.'ool- 
cott's radio rendition of this same Ian Maclaren's Doctor of 
the Old School , the tendency has not entirely died out — but 
with all deference to the Evening Post critic, it is lamen- 
table that a once great theatre rounded out a century with a 
series of sentimental readings before an audience of tearful 
women -- or tearful men, for that matter. 

The new century began with somewhat more interest. Through 
January and part of February of 1900 the popular Frawley com- 
pany gave a series of new and old plays and on off nights 
Emma Nevada, after several years of absence from the city, 
gave several concerts. To the Frawley company — nov; lacking 
Blanche Bates — were added L.T. Otockwell;a California girl, 
Keith Wakeman, v/ho had won fame in England and New York; and 
Mary Van Buren. Among the pieces given were With Flying Colors ; 
Pinero's 'Hie Princess and the Butterfly , which was declared by 
the Argonaut of January 8 to teem "with smart sayings in its 


clever thrusts at the follies and foibles of modern London 
society"; In Paradise; The Cuckoo ; An Unconventional Honeymoon ; 
Du Maurier's Trilby; Sardou's Madame Sans Gene ; and Belasco'a 
trick melodrama, The Heart of Maryland . Belasco's claim to 
the writing of many of his plays is very doubtful; but The 
Heart of Maryland can be safely left without dispute to "the 
'.Vizard of the Stage." It is a sad commentary on the taste of 
the period that this was one of the most successful of Belasco 
productions and was the vehicle in which Mrs. Leslie Carter 
rode to her fii'st triumph. 

The Frawley troupe was followed by an old San Francisco 
favorite, Maggie Moore, who had been absent for some years in 
Australia. Her brief engagement, in which she was supported 
by H. R. Roberts, was featured by two contrasting pieces, one 
a grim story of crime and "splendid expiation" called The 
Silence of Dean MajLtland and the other "a mixture of musical 
farce-comedy and melodrama" entitled Mrs . Quinn' s Twins and 
written especially for Maggie, Paderewski then returned on 
May 19 to give a little tone to the house in a series of three 

During the spring and summer seasons the California of- 
fered solid if not blue-ribbon fare. The James Neill Company, 
starring Neill and his wife Edythe Chapman, began a ten-week 


engagement in Api'il and was followed late In July by the Dunne 
and Ryley Comedy Company, featuring bherrie Matthews and Harry 
Bugler. According to the Argonaut of April 9, 1900, the Janes 
Weill Company "is regarded as standing at the head of the high- 
class repertoire companies of the country . . . and has the 
distinction of being the company from which Prawley branched 
out in 1894." It featured a stock romantic and comic repertory 
which included A Bachelor' s Romance by Sol Smith Russell; The 
Way to Win a Woman by Jerome K. Jerome; The Wife ; Captain 
Letterblair ; Augustus Thomas' Alabama ; A Parisian Romance; 
Lord Chumley ; Sherdian ; A Gilded Fool ; An Enemy to the King; 
etc. The variety of offerings and the capable presentations 
made their stay a successful one -- successful, that is, as 
measured by the times. The same v/ent for the Dunne and Ryley 
Company, whose most successful productions were Rush City 
and By the Sad Sea Waves. The California during this year 
cannot be said to have made any startling contributions to 
theatre history, but neither was it a bad year for the old 
house, as compared with other theatres. With rare exceptions, 
the only half -decent shows the city was getting were being of- 
fered by these stock companies. Ashton Stevens, who was nev- 
er too fulsome in his praise of these companies, summed up the 
situation thus in the Examiner of May 20, 1900: 

"But for these stock theatres the drama would be dead 
in San Francisco — deader even than it has been these 
past four years of snubs from the vSyndicate. The little 


companies have pegged away in their best endeavor, giving 
us a new play now and then (when the Syndicate would hire 
it out), keeping us familiar with the old ones v/orth re- 
membering, developing in a few rare instances actors and 
actresses who have since taken their place among the fore- 
most players of America. When everyone else went back on 
us the stock company still stuck like a brother. . . . Here 
in San Francisco we have the best strictly local stock com- 
panies in the United States." 

Unfortunately the California v/as not even able to keep a 
local stock company very long in action on its sta,i!;e. With 
the departure of the Dunne and Ryley troupe the house settled 
back into the now customary doldrums for the rest of the year. 
The only offerings, of any note v;ere a new play called A Hin - 
doo Hoodoo by John Fowler and the West Minstrels during the 
month of October, and a so-called Russo-Siberian melodrama. 
For Her Sake , during the first week of November. The Califor- 
nia must have been finding rent day a very trying ordeal. 

From now on till the end of its career in the fire of 
1906 the memorable engagements at the California could be 
listed on one's fingers. The first, and one of the best, was 
that of Minnie Maddern Fiske in When We Were Twenty -One, Becky 
Sharp , and Tess of the D'Ubervilles . Beck y Sharp, an adap- 
tation of Thackeray's Vanity Fair , was a loosely strung play 


that depended almost entirely on the ability and personality 
of the leading actress, and Mrs. Fiske was found more than 
equal to the ocassion. The Examiner critic on January 22, 
1901, after telling of an overheard dispute between husband 
and wife regarding Mrs. Fiske' s acting ability, went on record 
that Mrs. Fiske was "the most original, eccentric, startling 
personality that I have known on the English-speaking stage." 
The Chronicle of January 27, was equally impressed: 

"I.irs. Fiske' s Becky Sharp has not only been recognized 
as one of the great artistic performances of the time, 
but it has caught the people with that peculiar interest 
which does not leave them after the play is over. The 
audiences have been very large, and will be for another 
week, for a second visit is even more enjoyable than the 
first. Mrs. Fiske is a trifle too rapid of speech at 
times and thereby skips a few points, which is notice- 
able because one does not wish to lose a word, of Becky's 
lines. But that is infrequent and few parts have so 
captured all classes of theatregoers." 

The critic also adds that "There is more successful acting 
among the company than we have had in such an organization in 
some time. . . . i'lrs. P'iske has been cleverer in nothing than 
in selecting people." This is more important than it sounds, 
for Mrs. Fiske, backed by her husband iiarrison Grey Fiske, 
had been one of the bitterest and stubbornest rebels against 


the Syndicate — and it wes no easy matter to gather a crpa- 
ble proup of actors outside the Frohman control. This fact, 
too, apart from her talent and personality, contributed much to 
the unusual interest taken by the public in the fiery young 

After the departure of Mrs. Fiske there v/ns not a single 
notev/orthy engagement until January of the following year, 
1902, when Frederick Warde, Antoinette Ashton, Charles Herman, 
and Barry Johnson gave a brief revival to the classic drama in 
such plays as Julius Caesar , King L ear , Virginius , and The 
Mountebank . Then darkeness again, a long stretch of it. 

In March, 1903, Charles B. Hanford started the ball roll- 
ing with a week's engagement in two Shakespearean plays. The 
Taming of the Shrew and i'.Iuch Ado About IJo thing . Then in June 
of that year the Augustin Daly Musical Comedy troupe enliv- 
ened the house with a series of musical shows that Included A 
Runaway Girl , The Circus Girl , and The Gaiety Girl. Perhaps 
it was the predominant girl theme that attracted the custom- 
ers; at any rate the company, composed of John Slavin, Isabel 
Hall, Marie Doro, Violet Dale, and Sadie Kirby, drew the ap- 
plause of the customers for a month. It was succeeded by the 
always-popular Nance O'Meil, who on June 24 began a month's 
engagement such as was rarely seen in the old theatre those 
days. Among her plays were Sardou's La Tosca and Fedora ; 
^°"^Q° ^£^ Juliet ; Queen Elizabeth ; Magda (her specialty); 
HQ^*^^ Gabler; The Jewess ; and Oliver Twist . In her company were 


McKee Rankin, one-time manager of the old California, L. R. 
Stockvell, and E. J. Ratcliff. Since Nance O'Neil specialized 
in the more formidable emotions, some surprise was expressed 
that she should choose to appear in the gentler part of 
Juliet; but as the Argonaut of July 13 expressed it: "The noted 
tragedienne has a habit of being original in everything she does, 
and she will probable give us a new and original Juliet." 

With the departure of Nance O'Neil the California tapered 
off for the rest of the year with the Neill-Morosco Company 
in such romantic pieces as In the Palace of the King ; Hearts 
Aflame; Shenandoah ; and Victor Hugo's Motre Dame , which movie- 
goers of a later decade knew as The Hunchback of Notre Dame . 

In 1904 Edward Ackermann assumed the management of the 
California. Opening the January season v;a3 Black Patti, who 
enjoyed such popularity some seasons before. Interesting is 
the Evening Post's comment about her of January 6: 

"Not only has she appeared before more royal poten- 
tates than any other prima donna, but she enjoys the 
unique distinction of having appeared at more consecutive 
performances than any living singer. From August 10, 
1896, to the present time she has sung 2408 times, and 
during that period has only missed one matinee, . . . She 
is a woman of magnificent physique. . . . 

"Black Patti and her dusky troubadours at the Califor- 
nia Theatre take one back to the brightest days of the 


old South when buck and wing dances and plaintive Negro 
melodies supplied the favorite plantation pastimes. The 
atmosphere of the South is here. Wow and then a capital 
Negro dancer crosses the local stage, but it is rare 
that a v;hole troupe of double- jointed, supple, lightning- 
motioned darkies ever did the breakdovm. . . . Mme. Siss- 
ieretta Jones, or Black Patti, has a v/onderful voice, 
best in the simple melodies of the South, yet equal to 
difficult selections from the grand opera. . . . Her sing- 
ing in 'Rose's Honeyraoon' and in the finale ' Queen' s Lace 
Handerchief ' was charming. Yet one might wish for more 
of the simple melody and less of the operatic, for in her 
own field Black Patti would be hard to equal." 

Two famous dramatic stars appeared at the California in 
1904. The first was Rose Coghlan, called "America's Greatest 
Actress," in a week' s, engagement of the Greatest Thing in the 
World; the other was Florence Roberts who, though her fame 
v/aa not so widespread as that of Coghlan, was perhaps even 
more popular in this city than the Eastern star. Her present 
tation of Tess of the D' Ubervilles , with Hobart Bosworth as 
Alec d'Uberville, was not an unqualified success, the younger 
generation among the audience tending to laugh at the wrong 
moments. The laughter was not directed at Florence Roberts, 
however; her position in this city was far loftier than that 
of the gloomy sage of Wessex, who was just old enough to be 


outdated and not old enough to be immortal. 

Most of the remainder of the year v;as f^lven over again to 
the unexciting efforts of the Neill-Morosco Company, now be- 
come the Oliver Morosco Company. Its season was not altogeth- 
er a "frost" and the troupe cannot be dismissed with mere con- 
tempt when so acute a critic as Ashton Stevens -- desperate 
perhaps for something to praise — could describe it as "the 
best stock company since (Henry) Miller." In the organization 
were Howard Goal, George \Voodv.'ard, Harry iviestayer (son of the 
Mestayer of the old California), Amelia Gardner, Theresa Max- 
well, Frank McVlcars, Thomas Oberle, H. S. Duffield, and Rosa 
McAllister; and among the offerings v;ere Nat Goodv/in's special- 
ty, When We Were Tweivty-One, Janice Meredith , The Cavalier , 
and A Prince of Liars , Also must be mentioned the Sam Shubert, 
Nixon, and Zimr.ierman musical comedy, A Girl from Dixie , with 
"the Original New York Madison Square Theatre Company,"' one 
of those "mammoth" revues which chrracterized the new cencury 
and v;ere to become synonymous with the name of Shubert. The 
Elmer Walters Company, starring Harry Lewellyn with Phineas 
G. Maclean, Theresa Belmont Walters, Harry von Metter, harry 
Todd, Lloyd Ingraham, Maude Monroe, and Carolyn Francis, held 
the stage for a few weeks in such pieces as A Thoroughbred 
Tramp and Just Struck Town . The theatre hit a new low at the 
end of the year, featuring a three-round fight between Joe 
Podesta and Charles Augustus and a nickelodeon melodrama. The 
Buffalo Mystery, at the humiliating prices of ISjzf, 25j^, and 


The year 1905 brought a sudden final quickening of life 
to the California, a swift and brief flare before extinction. 
With January came nostalgia in the person of Joe Murphy, who 
had been associated with theatricals in this city for nearly 
45 years, since he had begun his career as a variety performer 
at the old Gilbert's Melodeon in 1862. Peter Robertson in 
the Chronicle of January 22 was wistful: 

"Joe Murphy and Kerry Gowl And the house is peopled 
with shades of past theatre-goers, voices sound in the foy- 
er that have long been silent in the grave, and the echoes 
of a hundred actors and actresses now gone and forgotten 
seem to ring through the airl A hundred great plays have 
lived their blazing careerj productions that surpassed 
anything that anybody had ever dreamed of before have gone 
into oblivion or been dished up in new form. There have 
risen great dramatists whom nobody remembers now, and ac- 
tors and actresses have starred and been pushed aside by 
newer attractions. Still Joe Murphy and Kerry Gow l And 
of all who have made the great fortunes, the Irish actor 
and his play have come out, even in this twentieth century, 
nearly, if not quite, the best, l;Vhy is it? Because human 
nature is the same, first, last and all the time, and there 
is a period in every man's life, in every woman's life. . . 
when the simple old sentiment and the ingenuous Irish wit 
appeal to them. . . . 


"But Joe Murphy was the only star I ever knew who, 
when he found a good thing, stuck to it. All the old stars, 
whether they were soubrettes, low comedians or merely ac- 
tors, wanted to go into Shakespeare or the legitimate. 
They always lost their money there. Joe Murphy stands out 
as a shining example of a man who knew when he was well off 
and stayed with what he found popular. . . . There are 
worse plays than Kerry Gow . Worse actors -- all of the 
modern school -- than Joe Murphy. . . . But plays are writ- 
ten and performances are given for people of all kinds of 
taste, and for all kinds of moods in which people find 
themselves. In days as old as Shakespeare they mixed up 
all sorts of plays and divertissements and specialties on 
one bill, to suit the different kinds of spectators. The 
great mistake we made is to produce one play only on a bill, 
and those who don't like that stay away. I really don't 
believe that there ever is any essential difference between 
the generations with regard to the stage entertainment, 
from the Bard of Avon down to the clown Jew or the clown 
Irishman. At all events, thirty years of generations have 
accepted Joe Murphy and Kerry Gow . " 

Robertson perhaps was allowing the voice of sentiment to 
dictate to him, but in view of the theatrical situation at 
that time there was much truth in what he said, as vi/as proved 
by the quiet and persistent success of Murphy as compared to 
the loud failures of the "million-dollar" productions of the 


period. Incidentally, Robertson included in this article a 
just slap at lavish expenditure on huge, high-priced companies 
and extravagant scenery at the expense of the play, singling 
out Belasco and Klaw and Erlanger as special offenders: 

"Fancy an actor making a great fortune out of two sim- 
ple plays like Kerry Gow and Shawn Rhue , and actually adding 
to his money with them in this latest day of intellectual 
players I V/hy spend ^^100, 000 in great productions? Why 
pay stars enormous salaries and engage big companies to 
play dramas when you can catch the public with a piece and 
acting which sre inexpensive? Anyway these great produc- 
tions are reacting on their manufacturers. There has been 
more money lost on costly ahov/s than on all the cheaper 
ones put together. Here is an instance just now. Margaret 
Anglin has found her play and production a failure. It was 
a German play, and presumably bitten by that curious and 
costly impression that the public could only be caught with 
great stage display, I»Ir» Perley went in to do the Belasco 
and Klaw and Erlanger act. He had Greek music specially 
composed for it by a great professor, that necessitated a 
large chorus and orchestra. Some seventy people were re- 
quired for the production. Costumes and scenery were all 
gotten up on an elaborate scale. All for what? To star 
a young actress v/hose acting was her great charm; who did 
not need anything but a good part and a good support in 
players. Vmat did it matter about scenery in Mrs . Dane < s 


Defense ? It seems the better course would 'have been to have 
hunted for a play with three or four people in it; Margaret 
Anglin had shown that was all that was necessary. And even 
Joe Murphy who is about as little of an actor as ever walked 
the boards, has shown that it need not cost you anything 
much for either play or players to win the people." 

This was hardly a plea for great drama, but it v/as cer- 
tainly a. common-sense demand for better entertainment at de- 
cent prices. And certainly Kerry Gow was a better value for 
$1 than a Belasco adventure into realism for double or triple 
the price. 

During February and March two well-knov;n actors appeared 
in two very popular contemporaTy pieces: William H.Turner in 
David Harum and Creston Clarl-e in Booth Tarkington' s Monsieur 
Beaucaire . Turner's portrayal of the shrewd Yankee trader was 
so well-liked that it was held over for a seconc^ week. The 
play itself, with its sentimental-hurr'orous picture of the rus- 
tic American, was well calculated to appeal to the rising 
national consciousness. As the Eveni ng Post of March 4, 1905 

"David Harum, as a piece of stage literature, stands 
in a class by itself. It pulsates with human sentiment, 
pathos and unctuous humor and the emotions, generally speak- 
ing, are played upon so deftly and truthfully that the thea- 
tre is, so to speak, obscured in the natural. The character 


types In this play are delicious. David himself, v;ith his 
shrewd watchfulness against being done by 'the other fellow' 
but with his rugged, honest heart, simply overwelling with 
material sympathy for the underdog, is a character that will 
appeal to American theatregoers for generations to come." 

It easily can be seen how this flattering portrait of a 
national type would appeal to the average theatre-goer, who v/as, 
of course, looking in a riirror with pleasure at the image. 
On the day this review was written, March 4, 1905, that great 
apostle of strenuous Americanism, Theodore Roosevelt, was be- 
ing sworn in as President of the United States. 

Another play bound to appeal to the secret desires of the 
"plain man" was the graceful :.on3ieur Beauoalre, It was pleas^ 
ant to see a prince not too proud to disguise himself as a bar- 
ber and equally pleasant to see him finally disclose his true 
identity — all for love's sake. Thus the two plays, on the 
surface so opposite, appealed to the romantic snobbery in the 
"plain man's" nature. Creston Clarke, too, added to the atn 
traction, being not only a very popular actor on the East 
Coast, but the son of the famous comedian John Sleeper Clarke 
and the nephew of Edwin Booth, He was found worthy of his in- 

Then came the famous Margaret Anglln, In a repertory of 


plays that featured The Eternal Feminine and Jose Echegaray's 
Mariana ^ the first of which was very much to the taste of the 
public and the second very unpalatable. The Evening Bulletin 
of April 29, 1905, which did not share Peter Robertson's dis- 
taste for lavish productions, was unsparing of superlatives 
for The Eternal Feminine ; 

"There is nothing on the stage anywhere that can be 
compared to The Eternal Feminine in point of great dramatic 
novelty, and scenic magnificence, and in the rare art dis- 
played by this remarkable actress. One might search the 
dramatic profession fore and aft and not find anyone as 
capable of portraying so beautifully the role of Antiope, 
the magnificent Amazon queen, as it is done by Miss Anglin. 
Every minute variety of her great emotional art is dis- 
played in this role, and in the end it leaves an Impression 
upon the spectator that will never be forgotten." 

Mariana, as reviewed by the Post of May 5, left the critic 
completely baffled with its "hot-blooded Spanish hysteria"; but 
he was still an easy mark for Ivliss Anglin' s emotional thunder 
nor was he unmindful of the rest of the cast, particularly of 
Frank Worthing. Others in the company were Hall McAllister, 
Mrs. Thomas Vifhiffen, and Edith Cartwright. Miss Anglin' s 
final week at the theatre began on May 8, during which she ap- 
peared in her standard repertory, which included The Marriage 
of Kitty and Zira. 


Anglin was followed by Florence Roberts in a popular two- 
months engagement opening v/ith The Unwelcome Mrs . Hatch , in 
which Mrs. Flake had starred. The Evening Post of May 22 com- 
mented critically on the resemblance of Miss Roberts to 
Mrs. Flske in the part: 

"In the title role of the play perhaps a little more 
Florence and little less of Mrs. Fiske would have been ac- 
ceptable* Of course the play was Mrs. Fiske' s, and the 
heroine would have to have a few of her characteristics, 
but, however creditably Miss Robert's admiration of the 
great American actress is, it seems hardly necessary for 
her to copy Mrs* Fiske 's tiniest mannerisms and little de- 
tails of makeup. This very fact makes its production savor 
more of conscientious hard work than of original genius." 

As if in defiance of her critics. Miss Roberts followed 
Y/ith another of Mrs. Fiske' s specialties, Tess of the d'Urber- 
villes , in which both actresses had previously appeared at 
this same theatre. Also on her list of plays was Belasco's 
adaptation of the French comedy-drama, Zaza . Included in her 
company were Lucius Henderson, Franklin Underwood, Herschel 
Mayall, Adele Farrington, Louise Royce, Lillian Birmingham, 
and a juvenile, Ollie Cooper. The Chronicle of July 9, 1905, 
informed its readers that "Miss Florence Roberts gives a bene- 
fit for Hobart Bosworth, now dying slowly of consumption. . . . 


Mr. Lewis Morrison to appear twice, in his most famous charac- 
ter*! of Mephis to and Shylock; Miss Roberts as Marquerite, Por- 
tia and Nell Gwynne." Mr. Bosworth seems to have been "an 
vmconscionable time a-dying," for some years later he began a 
career in motion pictures that lasted well over 20 years. 

The crowning insult to the once-elegant California, where 
17 years before Booth and Barrett had delivered the noble 
lines of Shakespeare, came in 1906; the nev; manager, Charles 
P. Hall, turned it into a burlesque house. One bevy of blondes 
and baggy-panted buffoons succeeded another in quick succes- 
sion; the Jolly Girls Company, the Innocent Maids Company, 
Miner's Bohemian Burlesquers, the Baltimore Beauties' Bur- 
lesquers, the Miss New York Jr. Company in Th e King of Kokomo, 
The Avenue Girls, the Empire Musical Comedy Company, and the 
Cherry Blogsom Burlesque Company. 

A few performers at the California during those months 
were first-rate in their field and later attained recognition 
in other fields. Among them were Pauline Moran, later known 
as Polly Moran to motion picture audiences; George Murphy and 
Maxwell Reynolds, described by the Evening Post of March 17, 
1906, as "the only act the Czar of Russia got a laugh from 
since the (Russo-Japanese) war"; Sol and Nat Fields, brothers 
of Lew Fields (of Weber and Fields) and said by the Evening 
Post of March 3 to be "as clever German comedians as the fa- 
mous Lew himself." A young San Francisco boy, Walter Catlett, 


later one of the brightest comic stars on Broadway and now 
prominent In motion pictures, made his first appearance on any 
stage here as Uncle Sam in Brownie s in Fairyland . Last per- 
formance at the theatre was given by the Cherry Blossom 
Burlesque Company the night of April 17, 1906. 

All this must have seemed slight consolation to people 
who remember the old California Theatre, and there probably 
were few regrets when on April 18, 1906, earthquake and fire 
destroyed the California Theatre. For 37 years there had been 
a California Theatre on the same site, but nothing in the 
last aspect of the house reminded of its old glories. Cer- 
tainly the destruction of the California was not among the 
tragedies of the fire. The ghosts of McCullough and Barrett 
would never come back to haunt this wreckage of Elsinore. 





Dr. Thomas V'ade vms a prosperous dentist to whose sensi- 
tive ears the call to culture had come as a personal challenge. 
Nothing less than the greatest opera house In the West would 
house the aesthetic yearnings of one who for too many years 
had peered into the undecorative jaws of his fellov/ citizens* 
He had made a goodly sum of money out of patching vip their 
mouths; now he would administer to their nen-lected spirits and 
reap a fortune -- or so he thought. On iviarch 8, 1373, this 
notice appeared in Figaro ; 

"The Real Estate Circular sajrs : 'Ground has beon se- 
cured, either by lease or purchase, for the erection of a 
large theatre on the north side of ills s ion Street, one 
hundred and twenty-five feet v/est of Third, just opposite 
Dr. Scudder's Church. The land has a frontage of one 
hundred or one himdred and five feet on Miss ion, by a depth 
of two hundred and seventy-five feet. The lot has a side 
entrance on Jessie nnd a ten-foot alley on the east; the 
latter is ovmed by Michael Reese, The lessees have re- 
ceived notice to quit before July next. The buildings are 


common brick and frame ones. One of the lots purchased has 
a frontage of fifty-five feet, by a depth of one hundred 
and sixty feet to Jessie Street in the rear; the sum paid 
foritwas $25,000 (;!^454 per front foot), which is a reason- 
able price. We have purposely avoided mentioning this 
matter for several reasons, though we have been cognizant 
of the project for a long time. The statement, as is usual 
in projected theatre items, is overdrawn. In the first 
place the land has not been purchasedjand the whole scheme 
hangs fire and r;ill probably be abandonedi Capitalists 
think even more than twice in these money-tight times before 
investing $200,000 in a theatre on Mission Street.*" 

There was certainly reason behind the skepticism, for this 
was the year of one of the worst financial panics in American 
history. Raising money on a project as uncertain as the 
building of a theatre, in any district whatever at such a time, 
was no easy matter — as Dr. Wade was to discover. Five months 
later, August 25, 1873, Figaro again expressed Missourian sen- 
timents : 

"That mythical theatre on Mission Street is still being 
worked up in the Bulletin . The party who has the job of 
selling the stock made a rather lame showing through the 
columns of that paper on Saturday, 

"Thus : The following amount of stock is already 
subscribed: J. P. Rogers, |2,000j. Robert Roy, ;ii2,000; 
E. H. Parker, .v2,000; Thomas Wade, ;tp25,000. Many other 


persons havo subscribod fov etosk, but the amount is not 
yet a g 1' e e d ur on . 

'"j'his .is to say, (.8,000 (sic) in all is subscribed to 
bulll a th'3.?.tre. The '■■25,000 'subscribed' by Thomas Wade 
is of course repreronted by bhe sand lot on which the theatre 
is to be raised. (^8,000 to build g theatr.j ;.ithl" 

But on wovember 29, 1G73, this mulish journal seems to 
have been converted: 

"The work on Vifade ' s Opora Rouse is being pushed forward 
vigorously. The first story is now up, and the handsome 
iron front n.'octed. The stage and the sta;';^e scenery ore 
being constriicted at the mach:'ne shop In sections and ar-e in 
an advanced condition. It is said thr t the theatre vill be 
opened in Pe':ruary. ^-- new hall end a hands om.e block of 
buildings on the oo--ositc side of the street will be erected 
in spring. The building of an Opera Hoi.ii.e hrs already had 
the tendency to advance property in its vicinity very 

Figaro was a better prophet of disaster than of good 
fortune. Dr. Wade was to nurse manjr a toothache before his 
Opera House was opened, on Janunx-'y 17, 1876, al.nost three 
years after the first announctnucnt of the m^oject. B. E, 
Lloyd gave some account of the good doctor's troubles in his 
Lights and Shades of San Francisco (1876): 


"Considering the numbers of theatres and halls for 
amusement, and the comparatively small population of the 
city, this enterprise ?^as deemed by many as premature. For 
this apparently very good reason, the projector did not 
receive that encouragement that is generally extended to 
such v/orthy undertakings, and hence Its history, from its 
inception to completion, v/as not of uninterrupted progress. 
Owing to sudden reverses, Mr. Vifade was compelled to organize 
a stock corporation or forego the prosecution of the work. 
This plan mot ^.'ith unexpected o^jposltlon, and work on the 
building was suspended for the greater part of a year, 

"During this period of inactivity Mr, Frederick V/.Bert 
became the Doctor's coadjutator and lessee. The two, by 
dint of great perseverance and energy, succeeded in organ- 
izing a company, and the building was then speedily pushed 

to completion Mr, H, J. McDonald, a capitalist in the 

city, is president of the corporation. Much credit is due 
him for the material aid he extended to the association when 
the progress of the building was so seriously impeded." 

The building, as designed by S, A, Bugbee and Son, archi- 
tects, was supposed to be the third largest of Its kind in the 
United States, with a frontage of 110 feet and depth of 275 
feet and a seating capacity of 3,000 (later enlarged to ac- 
commodate nearly 4,000), Everything about the theatre was 
huge -- including losses. Its stage was so large — it was 80 
by 106 feet — that It was actually a handicap; or so said 


John ?:cCullouEh, quoted in the New York Dramatic News of 
August 19, 1876: "Wade's has one great drawback, the stage 
Is so large that it is only suited to spectacle, opera, or 
Shakespearean productions like Henry 5th." 

This might have been all right, had San Francisco been 
able to support opera the year round, or even support it at 
all. Maguire had discovered the catch in this dream long ago, 
and the history of the Grand Opera House was to prove no ex- 
ception. From first to last -- except when Walter Morosco 
operated it as the home of cheap melodrama in later years -- 
the Grand Opera House was to drain the pockets of everyone 
connected with it. Yet the opening night, January 17, 1876, 
when Annie Pixley appeared in the spectacle, Snowf lake . was as 
brilliant as the famous first night of the old California, All 
the prominent figures and be jewelled beauty San Francisco could 
command emerged from carriar^es to dedicate the latest marvel 
of Western architecture. They liked size and variety in the 
bonanza days, and they were not disappointed In the Grand Opera 
House , 

First they glanced up at 110 feet of so-called "Roman- 
esque and Italian" front with highly ornamented cornices, sur- 
mounted by a balcony "relieved by vases and small statuary," 
But they had only begun to be Impressed, Down a central cor- 
ridor they marched until they reached "a grand vestibule, 35 
X 81 feet, opening through to a skylight above." And — 


wonder of wonders I -- in the center of the vestibule was "a 
beautiful crystal fountain, showering cologne water from 
myriads of needle jets." It is likely that ^A-llliam S, O'Brien 
and James flood were present, since they held a mortgage on 
the property, and it is hard to imagine that these Irish 
veterans of the Comstock did not squirm uneasily at the thought 
of being sprinkled with eau de cologne. But there were 
(continued B. -.Ji, Lloyd) more marv3ls to come: 

"The auditorium is divided into the orchestra or par- 
quette, dress c5role, balcony, frmily circle, and gallery; 
twenty-two mezzanine boxes and tv/elve handsomely furnished 
proscenium boxes. The predominating color is light blue; 
the chairs, drapery, woodwork and frescoes, all shov/lng 
this tint, '.hen brilliantly lighted, the effect is beauti- 

"Upon entering, the immense size of the auditorium is 
at once remarked. The lofty proscenium, flanked on either 
side by elegant private boxes in front, with tier above tier 
receding in tho distance behind, are contemplated in silent 
admiration. The ceiling is arranged as a sounding board, 
and no seat is objectionable because of its remoteness 
from the stage. The old style roll-up 'drop' is supplanted 
by an artistically painted lift curtain, which draws up 


According to the Post of January 15, 1876: 

"The scenic effects are very fine, and are greatly 
Aided by the new footlights known as 'float lights,' which 
are inclosed in tri-colored glasses, red, green and white, 
so arranged that the stage can be illuminated with the 
three different colors. . ♦ . 

"The theatre itself is on the European model. There 
are three galleries and a pit, the front part of which is 
styled the parquette. The back part and the gallery iranedi- 
ately above is the dress circle; the next gallery is the 
family circle and the top gallery, after time honored cus- 
tom, is devoted to the gods. . . ." 

But before being shown to his seat, the early visitor 
might wish to visit the 40-by-80 foot art gallery above the 
entrance hall to view the work of local artists and a few 
European masters. His obeisance made to culture, he v/as now 
free to make his way to the auditorium. There he could gaze 
on blue-and-gold splendor extending 80 feet from the back wall 
to the footlights, 81 feet from sidewall to sldewall, and 78 
feet from floor to ceiling (where hung the sparkling chan- 
delier). Then, just as he probably glanced at his watch, the 
lights went down and Thomas Newcomb, president of the Bohemian 
Club, stepped forward to recite a little something he had 
"dashed off": 


"V'elcoine, thrice v/elcome, all viho are now here. 

In box, parquette, dress circle, upper tier, 

V/elcome, fair dames and dar.isels, welcome, too 

Ye gods, who from the topmost gallery view 

The play, and by your cat-call plaudits kill 

The wretched actor v/ho doth play ill; 

'.'elcome. bonanza princes; v/elcome those 

l.lao have r.iore ancestry to boast than clothes, . . . 

V/elcome to all, on this the opening night 

And may the 'Snowflalce' fill you with delight. ..." 

V.hen poet Newcomb retired, the Fabbri Opera Troupe was 
disclosed groxned around an AiTierican flag singing the "Star- 
Spangled Banner." His patriotic bosom sv/elling with pride, 
the visitor was now prepared for the handsome spectacle \7hich 
was about to be displayed, Snowflake, a German fairy tale 
translated by Frederick Bert, was more remarkable for its 
scenery and the quality of the ballet dancing than for its 
dramatic interest, but it was i/ell received. In the cast were 
Annie Pixley, VVinetta Montague, I/Iary Gray, IJattie Daniels, 
Cora Adriana, Signorina Christina, I'.iiss ixitta, Mademoiselle 
Lupo, D. C. Anderson, 'Villie Sims, G, Galloway, and others. 
Of the play the Alta California of January 18,1876, remarked: 

"It is a pretty, though somewhat tedious fairy story, 
in five acts, and is the medium of presenting a v.'ilderness 



\.| iT-Srcn,: ,. riie Koscic Hall ol Bc:>ntv. 

Till. I-.iilll ,.f L.yi: Tl„. mul,- Knvy ..,.1 m iVi.l^. ' ll 

Acta — Scene i. The Home of ilie Pigmio.— 

+ + 

Ac't 3 — Scene 1. 1 lie liraml Salon, (hi; Oueen 

St. John's Night, and Festival of the Animals. 


Act i — Scene i. Snii»ll.iki- Trance. I he 




of beautiful scenery, a host of songs, a magnificent ballet, 
and beautiful transformations. . . . The Ballet received 
the most attention. The scenery was remarkably handsome. 
It wasaquarter past tv>felve o'clock before the curtain fell 
for the last time, but the audience showed by their ^latience 
that they had been well pleased by the evening's entertain- 

It soems that there was some trouble with the ventilating 
system at first, for the Mews Letter of January 29, 1876, re- 

"During the week great improvements have been carried 
out as regards the defective ventilation in this other.vise 
comfortabls house. One can now sit in a portion of the au- 
ditoritun without Imagining that he is in the midst of a 
Siberian winter. , . . The ballet is quite a new feature to 
us Calif ornians, we having certainly never before witnessed 
such exquisite dancing and poses in our city, as those 
executed nightly by M'lle Cora Adriana, Eugenie Luppo and 
Zavlstowski. On dit, Mr, Bert has a great treat in store 
for us when Snowflak e is v/ithdrawn." 

Even New Yorkers were impressed with the new house, if 
we can accept this article from the New York Dramatic News 
of iviarch 18. 1876: 


"The Wade Opera House, San Francisco, Gal., has es- 
tablished itself as one of the leading theatres of the 
Pacific Coast. From the right of the initial performance, 
it has been crowded. It has been pronounced a magnificent 
structure perfect in all its details, the acoustic quali- 
ties unequalled, and the stage the largest in America, 
excepting the old Bowery. For grand spectacles and oper- 
atic organizations it is the best theatre in San Francisco, 
The spectacle of The Snov/flake proved a great success and 
enjoyed a long run. It was magnificently placed upon the 
stage, the ballet pronounced the best ever seen on the 
Pacific Coast. . , . The V.'achtal Italian Opera Troupe, now 
the attraction, has been highly received. Manager Fred- 
erick Bert, a young man in the profession, arrived in this 
city about tv/o v;eeks ago, to complete his picture (sic) 
arrangements of his ostablishment which gives promise of 
holding its own. Y;ith the San Francisco public. He has 
succeeded in securing some of the most attractive stars to 
be found in America, having, -.rith the assistance of the 
well-known dramatic agent. Col. T, Allston Brown (the dra- 
matic historian) visited all the principal cities in the 
v:est and South, for that purpose. His 'star' time has been 
filled to the 15th of November with first-class male and 
female stars, as well as operatic and spectacular combi- 


But despite such puffs, young Mr* Bert, like Dr. Wade 
himself, was finding Wade's Opera House -- as it was still 
known — a very troublesome piece of property. On June 24, 
1876, this notice appeared in Figaro ; 

"For §20,000 M. A. Kennedy has purchased from M. M. 
McDonald all his rip;hts, title and interest to the lease of 
the Grand Opera House. He has not as yet inade public to 
what use he proposes to put it, , . ." 

This announcement was a little previous, for two months 
later McDonald, president of the Opera House and Art Building 
Association, was very much in the picture, as was Bert, who 
was still named as lessee, (Somewhere along the line Dr. Wade 
seems to have been edged off the track.) But a bitter row had 
sprung up between McDonald and Bert en one side and the stock- 
holders, headed by Charles A, Low, on the other, in connection 
with a vlO-a-share assessment levied on the stockholders. Low 
complained that he did not believe in assessments, except on 
mining stocks. He did not explain the reason for the exception. 
There was also a move on to oust Bert -- who had not paid rent 
since the first two months of his tenure -- in favor of John 
McCullough who, though he had remarked about the oversized 
stage, still wanted the theatre badly enough to offer ;'i>2,500 
a month against Bert's 02,000. McDonald wanted Bert and said 
so, on which subject Mr. Low waxed very bitter in an interview 


with an Evening Post reporter. The quotations that follow are 
taken from the New Yor k Dramatic News of August 19, 1876: 

The capital stool" of the company is $300,000 in 3,000 
shares of !|lOO oach, but the stock, of which about 2,200 
have been placed, was nut on the market at ^^70 a share. 
There are 800 shares unissued. In answer to the call, a 
number of share-holders mot in I.'ir. Low's office, and it 
was determined to issue a call for the annual meeting, which 
by the by-laws should be held on the 7th of Au<n;ust, The 
last annual meeting was not neld until December, and, as no 
call has been issued up to this time for this eai'ly meet- 
ing by the President of the company, M. J, McDonald, the 
stock-holders, as empowered by the constitution, took the 
matter into their own hands, 

Mr, Lo'7 says: "There is no intention vifhatever of 
ousting Mr, Bert, if he will only pay his rent. If he will 
not, why the shareholders must protect themselves, Bert 
says he has offsets against the rent. Ve knov; nothin/i; of 
that. If he has, let him present them. All \;e v/ant is to 
have things arranged on a proper basis. Since the building 
was completed we hav3 never had a statement of accounts 
laid before us. . . , 

"Oh, McDonald wishes to keep Bert in and keeps say- 
ing: 'Oh, give the poor fellow a chance,' and the trustees 
are nearly all his friends, so that unless we do something 
we will bo nicely fixed. The affairs of the company have 
been neglected altogether, and instead of collecting rents, 


assessments are levied.. The books were never kept but 
v/ritten tip in the ovenlnf^ st intsrvals. Bert paid t^vo 
months rent ($4000), and now he alleges that the theatre 
was not delivered to him in accordance with the plans and 
specifications. The building was turned over to Bert end 
he accepted it. It is too late for him to complain now. 
"How much does Bert owe the company now?" "He owes 
about $15,000." "in case we succeed in ousting the present 
trustees it is the intention to offer the theatre to John 
McCullough." "McCullough will give sl:2,500 a month for 
it, virhile Bert only gives '■.2,000," "'iowever, nothing can bo 
said until aft or the meeting," 

Mr» McDonald had something to say on his ovm behalf: 

"I joined the company in May, 1875. They were very 
hard up then for money to carry on the building and I was 
solicited to take 50 shares at (70 each to help them out. 
I also managed to place about 40 shares for tliem. These 
40 I have been obliged to take back again. tJy responsibil- 
ity did not begin until December, It is true that at that 
meeting no statement of accounts was presented. That v/as 
the fault of the Huilding Cor.imittee, at whose head was 
Dr. 'I'Vade. The President of the company is ex-officio a 
member of the building comiuitteo , The statement that the 
books are not properly Jcept is not true, Vilien I succeeded 
R, 0, Kodgers, the former I- resident, the books were in the 
greatest disorder; in fact, I had to open a new set. The 


books are now kept well written up. John McCullough (in 
sledge-hammer tones) will nevei' get that theatre." 

"It is generally thought, Mr. McDonald, that Bert 
would have been obliged to give up the theatre long since 
if you had not advanced the money to enable him to carry 
on." "'i.Tiat's between Mr. Bert and myself (with a smile) 
is nobody's business but our own," "Do you think that 
Lov/ v.'ill be able to get a majority of votes at the meeting?" 
"I don't think he will. If he does, the company v;ill still 
have Bert's lease to fight. When they have got him out, 
there v/ill be time enough for them to talk about putting 
in I.icCullough, Bert v/ill hold on to the last. He has a 
lease for five years, with the option of a rensvml for 
five more, and if he is able to maintain in regard to the 
conditions of the lease not having been complied with, I 
believe he v/ill last the ten years." 

Bert also had his version of the situation: 

"It is true I have not paid any rent, and v/hat is more 
I v/ill not pay it until the company fulfill their contract 
Y/ith me, , . . I am not going to give up a theatre u^on 
which I have spent thousands of dollars, without a fight, Mr. 
McCullough, I know, is very anxious to get this theatre, but 
he will have to wait av/hile. He expects to have it in ti/o 
months, I will bet the receipts of the j^imee season that 
he will not have it in two years,." 


Bert was right about McCullough's not getting the theatre, 
but he was wrong about his own immediate chance of keeping it, 
for an article in the Argonaut of March 25, says: 

"The indefatigable LIr. Bert, late of the Grand Opera 
House, it seems has not retired from active theatrical af- 
fairs, for it is understood that he has just forwarded to 
Australia by a trusty adherent to his fallen fortunes, a 
complete version of Ar ound the Viforld in Eighty Days , to- 
gether with complete models of scenery, effects, etc., as 
nov/ presented at the Grand Opera House," 

At this time M, A, Kennedy had definitely taken over the 
lease, installing Charles Mieatleigh as acting manager, though 
he wisely does not seem to have depended on the Grand Opera 
House for his bread and butter, according to the same issue of 
the Argonaut : 

"Mr. Kennedy of the Grand Opera House, it is whis- 
pered, has cleaned up about ^-10,000 in the last break in 
stocks. His familiar face is to be daily seen on Cali- 
fornia Street, and when duty requires his attendance at 
rehearsals, he is in receipt of bulletins from his broker 
advising him of the gyrations of stocks, every fifteen 
minutes. It is said that he gets his points from the 'in- 



Another change in personnel occurred when the scenic 
artist, William Voegtlin, v/as replaced by Mr, Straus from 
Hooley's Theatre in Chicago. On May 19, 1877, a notice ap- 
peared in the Arp:onaut that the Nevada Bank, controlled by 
Mackay, Fair, Flood, and O'Brien, Wfis about to foreclose its 
mortgage on the Grand Opera House, The foreclosure took 
place on September 17,1877, according to Figaro of that date: 

"The Grand Opera House was today sold at public auc- 
tion, under the foreclosure proceedings of Flood and O'Brien, 
and bought in by them for f 197, 878.97, the amount of 
their mortgage on the building with interest and costs. 
This practically turns the house over to McDonald for an 
eternity, if he should want it that long," 

From this it appears that Floodand O'Brien were favorable 
to Jasper McDonald; this must have been pleasing in turn to 
Frederick Bert, for whom r/icDonald had fought in the stock- 
holders' row the year previous. But if the kings of the Com- 
stock expected to discover another bonanza in the Grand Opera 
House, they were doomed to disappointment. 


On August 24, 1878, the tireless optimism of Frederick 

Bert was again put to the test when he re073ened the Grand 

Opera House as lessee with a "Grand Fairy Spectacle," Zapha . 

starring that eternal goatfoot of the San Francisco stage. 


Harry Courtaine, su^-^ported by '."/alter Leman, Marie Wilton, 
Catherine Lewis, Mabel Athorton, Carro True, E. N. Thayer, 
H. de Lorme, P. C. Sullivan, G, IV. Thompson, Frank Rea, Wil- 
liam Raymar, Edward V/ebb, and Fred Aymar, C. T. Howard v;as 
the stage manager and another veteran of the local theatre, 
John Torrence, builder of the second Metropolitan and husband 
of Mrs. Judah, was the master machinist, Bert tried the ex- 
pedient of lowering the prices to 75j^ for the first cir- 
cle and parquet seats, $1 for the dress circle, 50;zf for the 
family circle, and 25^ for the gallery. 

But the Grand Opera House problem was still too deep for 
Bert, and on February 17, 1879, Tom Maguire took over, \7lth 
Fred L^'-ster as Acting Manager. The company, temporarily moved 
from the Baldv/in, presented Gaboriau's, Within an Inch of His 
Life , starring James O'Neill. It was during this engagement 
at the Grand that the name of 0' lie ill was first to achieve 
note on a national scale.''"' 

Regarding O'Neill's first appearance at the Opera House, 
in the Gaboriau play, the News Letter critic "Betsy B." had 
some interesting remarks to make: 

"A murder is committed, of course. All other crimes 
are so extremely venial nowadays that it is almost impos- 
sible to harrow up an audience with anything else^ As a 
matter of course James O'Neill, whatever his alias for the 

■> See monograph on James O'Neill . Vol, 20, this series, 


night may be, is suspected of having conimltted it end is 
thrown into prison. The number of times that he has boen 
suspected and thrown into prison -- in mimic play -- since 
his advent in the Celebrated Case is something inconceivable. 
He never knows his lines anymore excepting in a prison scene, 
and in that it has almost become possible for him to speak 
extemporaneously. Mr. Levi/is Morrison plays the part of an 
idiot, who, in the last act exclaims: 'I must speak or I 
shall go mad, ' Vifhich is a specimen of the refreshing in- 
genuousness of an idiot." 


Betsy B. could not of course have foresoen James O'Neill's 
score of years as Monte Cristo in the Chateau d'lf; but it is 
doubtful if the phenomenon vi/ould have surprised the lady, if 
such she were. Pei'haps it was the vicarious taste of martyr- 
dom suffered in these various prison scones that induced 
O'Neill to play the part of the Christ in The Passion . which 
was the most memorable event In the spotty history of the 
Grand Opera House and which roused the bitterest controversy 
in the history of the San Francisco theatre. As such, it was 
fitting that it should embroil the battle-scarred figure of 
Tom Maguire, hero and villain of a hundred theatrical wars. 

Salmi Horse, a San Francisco Jew, suddenly found himself 
inspired with the novel idea that the Gospel was a beautiful 
and movin.r^ story and would make an excellent subject for a 
pageant play. No doubt ho had heard of the medieval pageants 


and of the modern Passion Flay presented each year at Ober- 
ammergau; at any rate he convinced himself that a simlar 
pageant transferred to the stage could not be interpreted as 
blasphemous. So he constructed a play founded on the Passion, 
but v/ith the words of the Gospel and of Salmi Movsc. freely 
intermingled. Early in Pebrupry, 1879, he read this play to 
"Lucky" Baldwin and Tom Ivlsguire and was pleased to observe a 
sentimental glistening in the ejes of those otherwise worldly 
gentlemen. It v/as decided to put the spectacle on the stage 
of the Grand Opera House, that stage being of the epic pro- 
portions necessary for such an undertaking; pnd James O'Neill 
was approached with the offer to play the Christ. O'Neill, a 
devout Catholic, was at first shocked but was soon persuaded 
that portraying the Saviour v/ould be an act of the de-rpest 
reverence, David Belasco claims he v/as engaged as stage 
manager and H, E, Widmer essayed to furnish the accompanying 
music. (Jerome A, Hart, in _Ib Ouy. Second Century , says Belasco 
was prompter and \Villiam Seymour was stage manager.) Here 
is Belasco' 3 account of the preparations: 

"How we scoured San Francisco -- school, church and 
theatre — for people to put in our cast I Every actor out 
of employment ivas sure of finding something to do in our 
mob scenes, I cannot conceive, in the history of the Thea- 
tre, a more complete or a more perfect cast. liVe engaged 
two hundred singers; we marshalled four hundred men, women 
and infants in our ensembles. And in the preparation every 
one seemed to be inspired." 


J-'-mes O'Neill alvjpya had been a man of austere demeanor, 
but now there came Into his dark eyes a saintly glow, and he 
eschewed entirely what he considered the fleshpota of life. 
Truly an awe-inspiring sight was O'Neill in those days, and a 
hush fell upon those In his presence -- including young B-elaaco, 
He of the clerical collar was never one to be Insensitive 
to a situation of this kind, and according to his own recol- 
lections he was "never v/ithout a Bible in my arm . . , and once 
more my thoughts began to play with monastery life." 

The play v/as announced for March 8 and 9, 1879; but such 
a storm of protest arose from Protestant church leaders, edi- 
tors, -nd other pillars of society that the Board of Supervisors 
threatened to prohibit its presentation, (Jerome Hart notes, 
by the way, that "Joseph Sadoc Alemany, Catholic Archbishop 
of the Diocese, made no protest concerning the performances, 
nor did any of the Catholic clergy.")'"" Consequently the first 
performance of the Passion was moved up to March 3, 1879, on 
which day individual Irish Catholics v/ere snid to have de- 
clared open season on every av^iilable Jew, The truth probably 
is that evory hoodlum in this not ovf^r-ref ined town suddenly 
found himself with a brogue and a passionate devotion to the 
principles of St, rcter. Inside the Grand Opera House 
thousr^nds of lachrymose spectators were literally overcome 



("praying and sobbing," according to Belaaco) by the genius 
of Salmi Morse and the pustere majesty of the Christ, lately 
known as James O'Neill, 

•Betsy B.« in the Argonaut of March 8, put on a show of 
rationalistic objectivity, then proceeded to deal in severe, 
sanctimonious fashion v/ith Messrs. I;orse and O'Neill. Begin- 
ning vi'ith Salmi ivlorse, she v/rote: 

"That gentleman himself is not a Christian, and seven- 
eights of the first audisnce were of his o'.vn faith. To 
those with whom the divinity of Christ is but a myth, the 
'Passion Play' is a series of beautiful tableaux and inspir- 
ing music; and yet, from association with ^-'hristlans and 
familiarity with their traditions, even those of the other 
faith seemed to feel that the veil had been lifted from 
the Holy of Holies vdth a ruthless hand, 

"To do justice to Mr. Salmi Mor3e> he is an admirable 
stage manager, ■'^he costumes, the chorus, the tableaux, the 
music v;ere arranged v/ith a taste that is beyond cavil. As 
for the text, it vras, wherever it departed from the lan- 
guage of the Bible, a lot of meaningless drivel. It cannot, 
therefore, be the pride of authorship which led the gentle- 
man to the stage. Neither, since he is of an alien faith, 
can it be a devout spirit which l;ires him to the footlights. 
It is simply that he has chosen to m?ke a paying spectacle 
of the holiest traditions of Christianity by making them 


thQ vul£:ar sensntion of an hour. It is not p noble motive. 
The plaj"- becins ivith the Presentation in the Temple, '■'■'here 
is c very artistic ronmingling of colors, a burst of glori- 
ous hprraony, and nothing absolutely srcrillgious excepting 
that a very unpleasant-looking infant in Hiss V.'ilke's arras 
is hailed as the ^on of God, This is followed by the Mas- 
sacre of the Innocents -- a striking tableau. Then comes 
the death of John the Baptist, Hr, x-iercy,as Herod, has a 
lot of stuff to sperk which is tedious excessively, and 
amounts to nothing. The sanguinary wife, in the person of 
I'iss Kate Denin, is arrayed v;ith oriental magnificence, and 
is a beavitiful sight to look upon;but the dramatic honors, 
if there be any, nre carried off b^r Fisa Olive West, a 
debutante of no personr.l charm save a graceful carriage, but 
of exceptional promise," 

When she came to the final scenes, ■ the Last Supper, the 
Agony in the Garden, the Crovm of Thorns (the Crucifixion 
was omitted) Betsy B, could not restrain her horror at such 
a "blasphemous, deaecr^-ting, unholy" sight. And James O'Neill 
came in for this pecviliar condemnation: "Paradoxically, it 
may be said that he (James O'Heill) gave to the task all due 
reverence, but he ha s yet something to be ashamed of all his 

Then an ordinance wsa passed "prohibiting the performance 
of any play tending to profane religion," and after the 


performance of March 11 the pl-y w?s ''teMporarily" closed. On 
April 12, Magviire defiantly opened the show again. "With 
Sergeant Bethel pnd Officer Br-dford of the San Francisco 
Police Force as additional guests of the evening, Jairies O'Feill 
once again drained the cup of bitterness to the bottom. 

There was another cup at hand, however, for at the close 
of the play the erstv/hile Saviour, with a handful of his ac- 
tor disciples, was ignominiously carted off to jail and 
charged vdth violr.ting the recent ordinance. The Reverend 
Mr. Piatt v/as the complaining witness. Baldwin furnished 
bail. On April 17, Police Judge Davis Louderback fined O'l^^eill 
;io50, which O'Neill, on advice of attorney i^dward Cf, Ivlprshall, 
refused to pay. He was then put in the custodyof the sheriff, 
from which situation he was srved by the indefatigable 
Salmi Morse, who succeeded in obtaining a writ of habeas 
corpus. The case wps then submitted to the judgment of Judge 
Robert Francis I orrison of the Superior Court, who on April 
23 upheld the right of the Board of Supervisors to pass such 
an ordinance -- which v/as the question around which the 
defense revolved -- and rem.anded the petitioner "to the proper 
custody." O'Neill, by this time heartily sick of the v.hole 
business, then reappeared before Judge Loiiderback, pleaded 
guilty, and paid not only his ^.50 fine but the |5 assessments 
on his seven disciples — P. K. Brooks, Vi', J. Durgan, J. 
McConnell, William Seymour, J. N. Long, H, Woodland, and E .A . 


Ma^, Baldwin, end O'Neill had hsd enough of Passion 
Plays; but not so &alini Mors^ , After trying in vain to have 
his play produced in Nev; York, he committed suicide by drown- 
ing. Thus onds the stormiest incident in the history of the 
San trancisco theatre end the last round in Tom Maguire's 
30-year brawl. The ordjnrnce stands to this day: 

"It shall be unlawful for any person to exhibit, or 
take part in exhibiting, in any theatre, or other place 
where money is charged for admission, any play or perform- 
ance or representation displaying or intended to display, 
the life or death of Jesus Christ, or any play, perform- 
ance or representation, calculated or tending to debase or 
degrade religion."""' 

The most dramatic events in connection with the Grand 
Opera House thus far' had not been enacted on its spacious 
stage, but in the council rooms, courtrooms, and streets of 
the city. Its dentist-founder had found it a gigantic cavity 
far beyond his talents to fill. Not even the astute Al Kayman, 
though he did bring some memorable players to its stage, could 
make the Grand Opera House a paying institution. And yet 
Frederick Bert, v/hose sad experiences should have taught him 
better, returned again and again as lessee and manager. 

^ornin;^ Oall . April 18, 1879 


Before Bert's return in 1880, three managers, Fred lyster, 
H. rlog'.rs, snd Edward Evans, tried their skill on the theatre 
and retired defeated. Under Bert, hov;ever, there were two en- 
gagements in 1880 v/orthy of mention. First came Clara Morris 
-- v/ho in the previous year had refused to wnste her talents 
in the house -- in. a sucresrful engagement in which James 
O'Neill Y/as lured back to the scene of disaster to act as her 
leading man. Chief among the- plays given v/as "her great 
orit/:inal impersonation," Alixo , supi:orted by O'Neill, C. B. 
Bishop, Lewis I.iorrison, liax I''r':eman,and Virginia Thorne , Then 
came Alice Kingsbury of Fanchon the Cricket fame, in a piece 
called -Amrie the Little J 3rr-.f oot . In the cast were hnnle 
Pixley and that old-time actor of the local stage, David 
Anderson, who long ago had done his best to ruin Lav/rence 
Barrrtt's drbut at Maguire's Opera House by appearing on the 
stage "in an intoxicated condition." But many a soberer man 
had died or been forgotten and "Dave" was still a sight fam- 
iliar to San i^ranciscf ns . 

Another evc=,nt of this year, one of purely local inter- 
est, occurred on October 18, when a California actress, 
Nellie Calhoun, made her debut at the Grand Opera House as 
Julift, with iv.TS, Jiidah in her now almost-legendary imperson- 
ation of the Nurse < Anderson also figured in this production 
as Old Capulet, with J, T. r.'alone as Ftom^o and E, D, Thompson 
as i^riar Lav/rence. The Alta California of October 19, 1880, 


chose to treat Miss Calhoun's maiden effort as such, gallant- 
ly forbearing to compare hsr v/ith Adelaide Neilson or Helena 
Modjeska, and concluded that "possessing a tall well-pro- 
portioned figure, graceful with a pleasing countenance and 
musical voice, she invested the character with many touches 
of art which speak well for her future," As usual in this 
city of die-hard sentimentalists, "round after round of ap- 
plause greeted the appearance of Mrs, Judah." 

At the beginning of 1882 the feminine touch was applied 
to the shell: Miss Ida von Trautman tripped in as directress 
and proceeded to smooth rough masculine edges to the proper 
polish. The touch will be immediately recognized in thia 
piece of information from the Evening Post of February 4, 

"Numerous changes will be made at Grand Opera House, 
The parlors ond reception rooms will be fitted up and 
furnished in sumptuous style after E\aropean fashion. 
Three of them opening cm the front vestibule will be trans- 
formed into elegpnt boudoirs, and will contain over (p5,000 
worth of rare bric-a-brac and entirely new furniture. The 
spacious vestibules and corridors will be refitted and 
well filled with tropical plants. The splendid crystal 
fountain will constantly cast forth the odor of de- 
licious pp.rfuraes pnd fairyland will be represented in the 


enchanting scene produced. For gentlemen a splendid snok- 
Ing-r^oin is being arrenged." 

On February 18 the feminization had progressed so far 
that the Post was able to announce: 

"The Grand Opera House under supervision of Dii-ectress 
Ida von Trautman has been so completely changed and beau- 
tified, old pptrons will scarcely recognize it." 

The occasion for all this primping was to be the season 
of Mme . iviarie Geistinger and her Thalia Thertre Company, be- 
ginning on February 21 with the opera Madame Favart. There 
was considerable excitement in anticipation of this event, 
not only Mme. Geistinger but her whole company having at- 
tained great prestige in the I,ast. The Evening Post of Janu- 
ary 7, 1882, had this to say of the approaching engagement: 

"Although it is more than a month ahead before Marie 
Geistinger appears at the Grand Opera House the whole town 
is talking of her in anticipation of her advent. , . . The 
engagement will open with the charming opera Madame Favart . 
The Philadelphia '-^-'imes of recent date has this to say of 
Madame Geistinger: 'The German Company which gave Von 
Suppe's opera of Boccacio before a large and delighted 
audience at the Academy of Music last evening, is in many 
respects the best in its line that has been hoard here in 


recent years. Kone even of the French companies has con- 
tained as many good comedians who can sing, although a 
number of the leading people of the Thalia Theatre Company 
have not come over here, and it goes without spying that 
no English-speaking company has ever given us an opera of 
this class with any such completeness. It is paying a high 
compliment to the prima donna to speak of the company be- 
fore speaking of her, for Madame Geistinger is too true an 
artist to assert herself or her part beyond its importance, 
or to magnify the star at the expense of the ensemble. 
But none the less is she an artist who must concentrate 
attention on h'^rself ." 

This was rare praise for an actress, and might indicate 
that I'.adame Geistinger was singularly lacking in modern stage- 
craft; nevertheless, she had enough popular appeal (according 
to the Evening Post, January 14,1882)to draw from Clara Morris 
the admission that Geistinger was her only rival in Camille. 
The first week of Madame Favart , however, was disappointing, 
chiefly due to the illness of Mme .Geistinger , on whose bronchi- 
al tubes the famed California climate was harsh. But, once 
recovered, the lady, equally talented as singer and actress, 
soon made amends. As the Evening Post of March 4 put it: 

"Disappointment has been turned into rejoicing. The 
reappearance of iviadame Geistinger on bunday evening before 
a crowded house v;as guarantee that disappointments had been 
forgiven end forgotten. The Seamstress , in German Die 


Faherln ,was given. Y/ritten for Msdame Gelstlnger, she car- 
ried it through a succeaaful engagement of six months in 
Vienna, Marie '^isting^r proved that failing youth had not 
dimmed her magnificent powers as an actress . . , played 
under great disadvantage with the courage of a heroine." 

The Thalia Company continued in the same vein until April 
-- witha brief intermission at Baldwin's iicademy -- presenting 
La Grande Duchesse , Camille , The Royal Middy , and The Daughter 
of Hell . Geistinger's Camille, so graciously sanctioned by 
Clara lorris herself, was considered rather cold but "very 
dramatic and artistic." But the real hit of the engagement was 
The Royal Middy , the Evening irost of March 11 reporting that 
it "restored the company to the top rung of the ladder of 
popularity." Following ^he close of the Thalia engagement, 
the same newspaper for /.pril 15 estimated the net profits of 
the season at ;jp35,000, a tremendous amount considering a poor 
beginning pnd the fact that some of the productions were given 
in German. 

Frederick Bert, supposedly backed by New York producer 
Henry Abbey, had been reported errlier in the year as slated 
to take over the Grand Opera House again after the first of 
June; but evidently Bert's optimism was about exhausted, for 
on July 4, 1882, readers of the Chronicle were told: 

"Charles L. Andrews goes Last, it is said, to procure 
attractions for the Grand Opera House, which some capitalist 


has decided xipon opening in September, Hr . Anderson 
denies that he has entered into any partnership v/ith Locke." 

The 0-rond Opera House was once more a haunt of the spi- 
der, . 

But on July 26, 1882, Charles ViJheatlelgh brought that 
staple commodity of San Francisco, nostalgia, into the thea- 
tre v.'hen he made his farcvirell appearance in San Francisco in 
his old part of Shaun the Post in Boucicault's Arrah -na-Pogue» 
Memories of old Urguirc-Vn'heatleigh-Boucicault feuds in the 
days of the Metropolitan and Maguire'a Opera Kouse must have 
thronged back with pleasing melancholy into the minds of 
old-timers as they sat in this oversized barn of a theatre and 
listened once more to the heroics of a vanished age, Charles 
V/heatleigh had been a fixture in the San Francisco theatrical 
scene since 1854 and now they were hearing him for the last 
time -- an opportunity for sentimental reminiscence which no 
true Spn Franciscan" could afford to pass. With Wheatleigh -- 
a further reminder of the changing scene -- v;as the Frohraan 
Dramatic Company, shock troop of the great Syndicate army which 
was soon to trample the theatrical fi?lds of the country into 

On October 31, 1882, after a long blackout, Charles 
Andrews pnd L.T. Stockwell reopened the theatre with a panto- 
mime and variety company and continued with a series of sen- 
sational and emotional dramas which had thrilled and chilled 


audiences for almost two decades: Uncle Tom's Cabin , Lucretia 
Borgia , East Lynne , Under the Gaslight (another reminder of 
Yifheatlelgh In his heyday), Camllle , The VJoman in Red, and The 
Phoenix , Milton Hobles and Mrs, P, ¥.» Bates -- mother of 
Blanche Bates and described by the Chronicle of l^ovember 19 
as "an emotional actress of a somewhat passe school," -- were 
the company's leading attractions, 

Messrs, Andrev/s and Stockwell made a real strike during 
January, 1883, in a play called Youth , stai'rlng Mrs, Bates, 
which ran successfully for a month; but they seem to have had 
little frith in continued fortune at the Grand Opera Hotise,for 
on February 19 the house was taken over by Henry Aveling and 
Adelaide Caldara, Miss Caldara was known as "a prominent ama- 
teur actress," evidently of the determined kind too, if one can 
judge fromher nickname, "I Must Succeed." Her first chosen in- 
strument for professional success, a translation of one of Sar- 
dou's plays, went by the appropriate title of Through Fire . Ad- 
mission viras cheap enough to entice the curious into the deso- 
late hall on Mission Street, seats being priced at 50^ rind 25$?^; 
but the holocaust v-res evidently too hot for the intrepid lady, 
for the Examiner of February 25, 1883, released this puzzling 
but not uncommon information: "Grand Opera House. -- T hrough 
Fire , presented Monday night, was well received. The Theatre 
however was closed on Tuesday night and has not since been 
reopened." The "well received" venture was not repeated and 


Miss Caldpra was forced to look elsewhere for her reqxiired 
success . 

The only other events of that spring were a wrestling 
match on May 30 between V«illiam I'-'uldoon, the one and only, 
and Donald Dinnie; and a benefit given by the Irish-American 
denizens of the city for Jomsa I', '.'ard on April 21, when that 
actor appeared in Tyrone lower's novir gray-bearded comedy. 
Born to Good Luck , or An Irishman's Fortune « It was begin- 
ning to look as though the future of the Grand Opera House 
lay between the padlock and the hammerlock, 

On July 16, 1883, after another attempt at renovation, 
a little distinction was brought back to the Grand when 
Wallack's New York Theatre Company, headed by Rose Goghlan 
and Osmond Tearle, opened in The Romance of a_ Poor Young Man 
by Octave Feuillet,, The advertisements promised that this 
was to mark the beginning of a "New Lra" and that henceforth 
the Grand Op-ra House vras to be "The People's Theatre" at 
"popular prices" ranging from 75$^ to 2652^, Unfortunately the 
now era lasted exactly six days, following which the temple 
was dedicated for a vi^eek to the manly art of punching noses. 
"Hard glove contests" were the advertised attractions, 

During August, John A, Stevens appeared in three "sensa- 
tion" dramas. The V.hite Slave (a term which in this instance 


lacked its present connotations). Unknow n, -^nd Passion's 
Slave , the last two being fruits of his own loving authorship. 
These lurid -sounding epics were probably neck-and-neck with 
their titles in bathos, but they conformed to the popular 
taste of the time and, being well enough performed, would 
have played to excellent houses in any other theatre. That 
they did not is a key to the hard^luck story of the Grand 
Opera House, which is v/ell told in an Examiner article of 
August 12, 1883: 

"Performances here have been getting fair audiences 
for a theatre the size of the Standard but the vast capac- 
ity of the Opera House makes it seem very sparsely filled, 

" The White Slave has not bren profitable to the nev; 
management of the Opera House, though the performance of 
it was a very acceptable one. , . , The dampening eff act of 
a nearly empty auditorium and the vast space which few 
voices can penetrate distinctly unless it is comfortably 
filled with people v/as perceptible in the performance, 
which however certainly deserved better patronage," 

During December, 1883, and January, 1884, spectacle again 
filled the wastelands of the Grand Opera House in the form of 
a pantomime entitled The Seven Dwarfs , with the long familiar 
Martinetti troupe. This conformed to the still prevalent 
British tradition of devoting the Christmas holidays to panto- 
mime productions, presumably for the delectation of children. 
The Martinettis were as good as they came in their line and it 


is c^vidence of more than minor popularity that the piece ran 
well into the month of J.^nuary, 


P'rederick Bert too was among those who still believed in 
fairy tales, for February, 1884 found him back in the Opera 
House, still under the delusion that he could make his vehicles 
run at a profit, Jeffreys Lev/is was the first so-cplled attrac- 
tion, appearing in The Ruling Passion . But Bert had a real 
treat in store for his pptrons which, if it was not to net 
him much profit, was to make the Grand Opera House a temporary 
center of attraction. On March 13, 1884, he introduced the 
famous Adelina Pattl for the first time to a San Francisco 
audience, Ko soprano before this time (except the great Mall- 
bran 50 years earlier) had held the \mchallenged position of 
Fatti in che v/orld of opera, and naturally there was great 
fanfare before the event. In addition, there appeared v/ith 
her the only soprano of the day who could be mentioned in the 
same breath, the great Hungarian, Mme , TCtelka Gerstcr, The 
troupe, under the tut-lage of Colonel J. H, ?>apleson, was 
known as Her Majesty's Opera Company, ?nd included Lillian 
Fordica (born Lillian Norton), then known as a young singer 
of promise, and Signer Cherublni,L:ile .Dotti, -ignor J-iinaldini, 
bignor Bieletto, bignor /nton, Ivaic. Valega, Lrae , Bi-nchi 
Giorio and signer! Lombardelli,Vicini,Caracciolo,and Galassi. 
The conductor was Signor Arditi, 

The News Letter of March 1,1884, was unwontedly enthusi- 


"Now thPt the pxiblic hns become excited vipon operatic 
mptters, the approaching season of grand Italian opera Is 
most propitious. The coming of the Mapleson Troupe Is no 
longer specvilatlon -- it is an assured fact. The Opera 
House is being renovated in a manner that will so improve 
its apppcrance as to make it almost unrecognizable. Walls 
and ceilings are being papered in the most esthetic style, 
and the red paint traces of its career as a theatre for the 
masses are being obliterated. In its lack of interior 
decorations and conseqv;ent cold and comfortless appearance 
the primary cause of the unfortunate career of this theatre 
is to be found. The Mapleson season will regenerate it. , , . 
Etelka Gerstor O'-^cupies today one of the foremost positions 
on the operatic stage. She is youn^g and her beautifiii voice 
has all its natural freshness. Her singing method is per- 
fect. She is in all respects a great prima donna, Galassi 
is the foremost baritone of the day. He is a magnificent 
singer and an actor of ability, and to my mind surpasses 
in rank the great Faure . . . . The coming of Patti is of- 
ficially announced. She will appear during the second 
week of the season. No singer that has ever lived has 
reached the height of fame of the diva Adelina Patti, 
San Francisco is, beyond doubt, on the eve of the greatest 
musical treat it has ever had." 

Mme. Gerster was the opening star, appearing on March 10 
in L'Elislr d'Amore , and Patti followed on March 15 in La 
Traviata . The News Letter of March 15 had but passing 


contempt for the rest of the company, v/ith the exception of 
Galassi, /^rditi, and the chorus, but it well nigh swooned in 
the presence of the two majestic ladies: 

"El janl Gerster, El jani Braval Pattl, Bravisslmal 
The tr.'o great prima donnas of the day are with us -- de- 
lighting, enchanting and entrancing us with delicious mu- 
sic. When artists attain the degree of excellence these 
two Queens of ^^lusic have reached, criticism becomes zoi- 
lism. When a singer is so perfect in voice and method that 
one has to thinlv and ponder in order to discover such 
trivial defects as an occasional harsh note or an acci- 
dental false intoxication, the possible- of human perfection 
has been attained. The fvu'ore these two wonderful canta- 
trices have created will forever be a marked incident in 
the existence of this community. Vie are reveling in the 
delights of this musical bliss. It is like a beautiful 
dream, so ephemeral," 

The name of Gerster is now known to few people, while 
that of latti has become almost the symbol of female perfec- 
tion in the art of singing; yet froiii the reviews of the day 
it would sc-m that Gerster awoke as much enthusiasm in the 
public breast as the Italian diva h-rself. This could not have 
been pleasing to Patti, always noted for her jealousy, and it 
is not surprising that this was the last time the two stars 
v/ent on tour together. The other young soprano of the company, 
Lillisn Iiordica, did not fare so -11 as the Hungarian artist 


and this probably explains the fact that she continued to ap- 
pear with Patti for several years. Other operas in the reper- 
tory were La Sonnambul a, Lucia di Lammermoor , I P ur itani , L inda 
di Chamouni , II Trovatore , Rigoletto ,Rnd Crispino e_ la Comare . 
This last-mentioned -- and long-forgotten -- piece furnished 
the occasion for Patti' a first farewell to San Francisco on 
I'arch 29, 1884, But those who may have been wistful need not 
have worried; they v;ere to hear many a goodbye from the queen 
before their children finally heard her for the last time, 


The prestige cf the Grand Opera House had been temporari- 
ly restored, but after Mapleson, Patti, Gerster, and company 
had carved away the choice cuts there was little left but the 
bones of glory for Manager Bert. His ventures into the lower 
regions of art v;ere no better rewarded. James A, Home's 
Hearts of Oak and Lester Vi'allack's romantic bromide. Rosed ale , 
both failed to entice the cash customers. The house "present- 
ed a ghostly appearance this wcek,with its discouraging array 
of empty benches," though it offered "as strong a cast as our 
local talent can afford" ( Daily Evening lost , Iv^ay 2, 1884). 
Included among this v/asted talent were I.Iaude and Jiinnie Tittle, 
Mable Bert, J. G, Grismer, Phoebe Davis, Fannie Young, Harry 
Mainhall, and V.'illie Simms, 

The real dramatic event of the year, from a sentimental 
point of view, occurred on May 23, 1884, when James 7/, 
Marshall, who had discovered gold in California in 1848, was 


given a benefit. George T. Bromley introduced the historic 
iv'srshall to the audience and Nellie Ilolbrook (mother of 
Holbrooi.: Blinn) delivered a recitation. Undoubtedly the bene- 
fit was a successful one, for San Franciscans v/ere ever sv/ift 
to seise on a sentimental occasion. What visions must have 
risen — of a sprawling city springing up overnight v;here a 
sleepy Spanish settlement had dozed, of fortunes won and lost, 
of speculations and bonanzas and panics — at the sight of 
this lonely man from vi/hose discovery all these things had come 
to pass standing on the stage of a tav/dry theatre, a suppliant 
in the land of milk and honey. 

Ehiring August the Grand Opera House was again back in 
its proper element, introducing more spectacle across its mas- 
sive boards. The Devil's Auction , which had been moved from 
the Bush Street Theatre, had a few bidders, the huge stage for 
once being an aid instead of a handicap for effective ballet 
work pnd display of scenery, V:ith this in mind the management 
brought back that veteran shockmonger. The Black Cro ok, which 
played at cheap prices to packed houses throughout the month. 
The novelty of the spectacle had long ago worn off, but the 
fascination of meaty thighs and blond wigs had notjthe triple- 
decade popularity of The Black Crook , v/Llch puts the record of 
any twentieth century revue to glorified shame, was still un- 


Not so much could be said for the Pappenheim-Fabbri 
German-Italian Opera Company, which began operations at the 
Grand on September 6, 1884, with Heycrbeer's La Juive , conducted 
by J, H. Rosewald. Prices for this "brilliant inaufiuration" 
were shoved up as high as ^5, but a notice in the News Letter 
of September 20 makes it obvious that the public was not in- 
clined to be amused: 

"The Pabbri-Pappenhelm season has come to a sudden end. 
The Huguenots were advertised for Tuesday evening, but no 
money being in hand to pay the choristers and miisicians, 
these people refused to sing and play, and the performance 
was indefinitely postponed. Ivlme . (Inez) Pabbri has not 
proven herself to be gifted with much business sagacity; 
v/ith the forces gathered around her it was an absurdity to 
expect giving a performance that would please the public 
at any price from ^2,50 down, I hope this fiasco will be 
a lesson for the future." 

If the reviewer had checked his theatrical history, he 
vi/ould have discovered that such "lessons" were rarely in- 
structive to the principals involved. So far In its career 
the Grand Opera House hnd done very little to justify its 
name, and it v/as only throurh the importation of such "name" 
singers as latti, Gerster, T^lbnni, Tamagno, and Caruso that 
the house was to leave any record in grand opera history. 
There were to be some memorable and lucrative events at the 


Grand Opera House, but they v;ere few and far between; and even 
on these rare occasions most of the money was taken away by 
the visiting celebrities and attendants. Local opera com- 
panies, undistinguished by the presence of a "name," faced a 
hopeless task in attempting to fill the spacious halls v/ith 
more than echo. 

The chastened management went back to popular prices 
(10^ to 50{2^) in October, producing Jules Verne's spectacular 
A Tour of the World In Eighty Days (so titled in the advertise- 
ment), featuring V/illiam Voegtlin's elaborate scenery and 
"Grand Battle Tableaux and Explosion of the 'Henrietta,'" 
This was followed in November by the heavy-handed old-timer, 
E, T, Stetson, with Lilian Owen and Ettie Blane, in a series 
of thrillers which included M ' lis s . These exhibitions were 
evidently too much for even the hardened critic of the News 
Letter , who thus cried out in the issue of November 8, 1884: 

"Among the many things that are beyond human compre- 
hension, may be counted the present performances at the 
Grand Opera House. The persons on the stage mumble and 
stumble through their lines to no apparent purpose. It 
emphatically is not acting. The audience, when there ia 
any, sits in a half dazed condition, seemingly mystified as 
to what is really going on. There ia not enough money taken 


in at the doors to pay the janitor, and yet there are musi- 
cians, ushers, stage hands ?nd so-called actors and actress- 
es to be remunerated," 

But the Opera House was to rise again from its degrada- 
tion in the spring of 1885 v/hen Her Majesty's Opera Company 
and Adelina Patti -- sans Gerster and Nordica this time -- re- 
turned on another "farewell tour." V\Iith Patti on the present 
tour was young Emma Nevada, a California-born songstress who 
was to make her first appearance in San Francisco on March 3 in 
La Sonnambulfl. Illness, hov/ever, postponed her debut until 
March 23, when she p-rformed in Lucia di Lammermoor . The crit- 
ic of the News Letter , v/riting on March 28, was guarded in his 
appraisal : 

"Of the demonstrations v/hich formed her greeting I mil 
not speak, except to chronicle the fact that it (sic) v/as un- 
paralleled in the history of this country. It is clearly 
understood that it vps excited by feelings of friendship, 
affe'-tion, patriotism, local pride -^nd business enterprise," 

It hardly appears that the tactful critic v/as overwhelmed 
by the bel cento of California's contribution to the world of 
song. In the face of such an ovation, however, Miss Nevada 
(bom V/ix on) could magnanimously put dovm this attitude to pro- 
vincial ignorance. She had arrived. 



Pa-'-ti of course scored her usual triumph. The prices for 
all p -rf orinancGS v/ers raised to these noble rates: orchestra, 
$5; parquette and dress circle, ^5 (first four rov/s) and v3 ; 
fanlly circle, reserved, §2; gallery, s;il. This v/as "sitting 
pretty" for a house that a t^-v^i months earlier had been glad to 
accept a ne'.vsboy's dime for a peek at Mr, Stetson's drolleries. 
But on the occasions of tatti's own participation the rates 
became positively royal, orchestra, parquette, and dress-cir- 
cle seats being raffled off for the sum of 07,and common folk 
being allo'.ved to humdrum it in the family circle for ;)3 , The 
riffraff in the gallery were admitted for v2 . The reason for 
this extra charge was given in the advertisement as "owing to 
the increased expense," Since Patti was reputed to have de- 
manded 1:5,000 in gold every performance before she set foot on 
the stage, the increase in price was not to be wondered at, 
particularly for an artist as secure on the throne of popular 
fancy as the thrifty Adelina. True, the role of businesswoman 
goes ill with the popular conception of the artistic tempera- 
ment; but no singer once foolish enough to trust the cagey 
Mapleson for a ;'eek's wages would have entertained any feel- 
ings but those of profound respect for the lady's good sense. 

The season began on I.iarch 2, Patti herself appearing in 
Semiramlde, and was to have run for two weeks; but financial 
success encouraged liaplesonto extend the engagement for another 
two weeks. His decision was partly due to the fact that Emma 
Nevada's illness had prevented her appearance during the first 


fortnight and her standing Ps a local girl who had made good 
was likely to add a few more nuggets to the family rock pile, 
Also in the company -.vere Signers De Pasquali, Giannini, Ri- 
naldini, Cardinali, Hanni, De Vaschetti, De Anna, and I'-ieletto 
and Mmes. Scalchi, Fursch-Madi, and Saruggia, This group 
brought the following v/ords of praise from the Mev/s Letter of 
March 7, 1885: 

"The Opera Season is in full swing. Although there is 
no popular frenzy this year and ticket speculators are be- 
ing badly bitten, the audiences are lar,Te and seemingly 
thoroughly satisfied, I do not wonder at this, for, outside 
of the big Opera Houses of the capitals of the Old World, 
there is no such completeness to be had, letting alone the 
fact that another such an aggregation of fine artists does 
not exist. ... A long list of great singers, a large cho- 
rus, a large orchestra, a charming ballet are furnishing 
performances that approach as near to superlative excel- 
lence as can be hoped for. . . . Both the Baldwin and the 
-Bush Street Theatres have suffered from the operatic sea- 

This lira 3 an unusual state of affairs and one of short du- 
ration, but v;hile it lasted the mine was worked for all it was 
worth. Unf ortvinately, after Patti, Mapleson, end company had 
taken away their haul, there was, as usual, preciovxs little 
left for the management. Among the operas given were Norma , 


La Sonnambula , Rigoletto , Alda > Fau3t , Martha , Die Frelschiitz , 
Mire 11a , Ellalr d'Amore , La Travlata , Il Trovatora, The Barber 
of Seville , and Ernanl -- in short, the regular repertory of 
Italian favorites with one lone German piece. Die Freischutz , 
Patti herself was never one to vary her repertory much or to 
welcome newcomers to the select circle. People went to see 
Adelina for her purity of tone, flexibility of voice, and 
flawless technique and not to be startled by the flaring of 
unexpected fires. Evidently they got what they wanted, for 
they continued to pay dearly and like it for a matter of some 
20 years. There was only one Patti, and she never gave a fare- 
well that was not greeted with a hail of gold; so she gave 

The unusual excitement seems to have exhausted Frederick 
Bert's optimism for the time being -- especially since the 
gain to himself was small — for the house was not advertised 
again until June 20, 1885, v;hen the News Letter billed John 
A. Stevens as director and John P, ^locum as manager of the 
house. The now modest prices were 50jzf for evenings (best re- 
served seats), and 35^ for matinees. The season was one of 
melodrama and spectacle, some of the plays being written or 
revised by Stevens himself, and must be given the doubtful 
compliment of being superior to that put on by John Stetson 
the previous fall, Stevens shared the acting honors with 
Theodore Hamilton, Mabel Hart, Mabel Bert, Minnie Tittle, and 


?J, B, Thompson. Among Stevens' productions were Unknown, The 
Stranglers of Paris , The Silver King , Convict 1240 (described 
as the "gloomiest of gloomy melodrama"), A Celebrated Caae , 
Tried and True (otherwise known as The Lancashire Lass ), Mont e 
Cristo , and Undine . All these pieces vere reported as drawing 
good houses and Und ine ran throughout the month of September; 
yet after Charles Thorne, Sr., came out of retirement to take 
over the management, the Evening Post of October 10, 1885, 
made this dispiriting report on the affairs of the Grand: 

"Prom fifty cent opera to Japanese juggling is rather 
a big jump in one night, but they manege to do it at the 
Grand. It v/ould seem that this house was tmluclcy and could 
never be made to pay, but the place has never had a fair 
trial in the past fotir years. Bert went in without a dol- 
lar, and came out about even. Stevens had" no money v/hen he 
went in, and the longer he stayed the more he owed. Thorne 
takes up the place when it is financially down at the heel 
and in bad pecuniary repute, and instead of v;aiting until 
he could secure needed capital and present some v/orthy at- 
traction, he opened with a played-out piece and an unlucky 
company, and expected to succeed on his popularity. Nothing 
came in and Thorne, having nothing, was in trouble before 
he had gone a week. There was no money in sight, so Sor- 
delll's throat got sore, and just as the place v/as to be 
closed, a troupe of very clever Japanese jugglers came 
along and were given a date. They don't appear to be mak- 
ing a fortune, but will about pull through. Any man who 


tries to open the Grand and buildup its business with less 
capital than it takes to run the place two nights is only 
borrov/ing trouble." 

Evidently Charles Thorne, despite his venerable name and 
supposed popularity, was unable to borrow anything but trouble, 
for the theatre remained closed until John Maguire — apparent- 
ly no relation to Tom -- came down from Montana to show the 
local boys how a theatre should be r\m. He became proprietor 
of the Grand Opera House toward the end of October, 1885, in- 
stalling Jay Riall as manager. Setting out to restore magic 
to the now historic name of Maguire, John began modestly but 
well with a company featuring Daniel Bandmann,the old German- 
American tragedian, who 20 years previously had starred at 
fteguire ' 3 Opera House down in Washington Street, With him as 
leading man and woman, were William Morris and Sophie Eyre, 
First on the list was The Cor sic an Brothers , which enjoyed an 
excellent run of two weeks, and second was Sophie Eyre in The 
Witch , an adaptation from the German. The house was again 
subtitled "The People's Theatre" and popular prices were ac- 
cordingly installed, ranging from 15j^ to 50^, A special no- 
tice was attached to the advertisements, announcing that "the 
aim of the management is to establish the Grand as a family 
theatre. To that end particular pains will be taken to care 
for families and ladies vmaccompanied by an escort." Under 
the new management it seemed that the house was at last going 


to have that "fair trial" for which the Evening; Poat recently 
had pleaded. 

At the beginning of 1886 the spaciousness of the Grand 
Opera House was put to good use, the famous Kiralfys display- 
ing their talents there in a series of spectacles, including 
a version of Jules Verne's Around the V.orld in 80 Days . The 
News Letter of February 20, 1C86, gave a favorable report of 
their activities: 

"The Kiralfys are producing their spectacles to large 
audiences, at low rates of admission at the Grand Opera 
House. The large stage affords the amplest opportunity 
for a successful spectacular display, and the pretty and 
graceful secundas dance with greatest freedom. Pretty 
Louise Allen breaks nightly a score of susceptible hearts." 

Colonel Maples on brought Her Majesty's Opera Company back 
to the Grand on March 22, this time without the lustrous 
presence of Adelina Pattito insure a successful season. Open- 
ing opera was Carmen , featuring Mime. Minnie Hauk, Mlle.Dotti, 
and Itoie . Calvina Cavalazzi and the Corps de Ballet. This was 
succeeded by Lucia di Lammermoor in which Mme . Alma Frohstrom 
made her debut, appearing thereafter in Man on Lescaut and 
Martha . On March 26 Lillian Nordica was given her opportunity 
to shine forth on her own merits as Violetta in La Traviata . 
The appreciation expressed by the critic of the News Letter 
of April 3 was hardly extravagant: 


"In Lillian Nordica, judging by her Traviata alone, 
we have a very ambitious, earnest vifoman with a voice of 
moderate qxiality and a mind whose artistic bent Is lacking 
in subtlety. The voice is somewhat nasal and it lacks full- 
ness, many of the tones being muffed. It has power and ex- 
pression, and is to a limited degree flexible. The evidences 
of study under the best teachers are manifold in Nordica 's 
singing. The familiar arias of La Traviata are sung with a 
strict regard to tradition and there is in this singing 
nothing that sounds like an assertion of the singer's in- 
dividuality. In her acting, Nordica is unconventional. She 
is profuse in gestures, in movements and in facial expres- 
sion. The artificiality of it all is too marked. It is 
difficult to accept any representations of La Traviata as 
satisfactory unless the ideal of the character is at least 
approached, and as Nordica in no way even suggests it, her 
work in the opera is valueless as operatic art," 

Nevertheless, the company, which also included the ex- 
cellent tenor, Giannini, was first-rate; it had a first-class 
director in Signor Arditl and its repertory included the best 
in the domain of opera. And yet the season, according to 
Mapleson himself, was a disastrous one financially. This may 
be laid partly at the door of the beautiful Mary Anderson, 
who at that time was crowding the halls of the Baldwin Theatre 
to capacity; yet it bears out the undeniable fact -- against 
all contention — that \7ithout the magic of a great name like 


Pnttl, Tamsjno, Melba, or Caruso the peoplo of San Pr.^ncisco 
would s'-em to have been (-^uite content if they had never heard 
an opera In their lives, And for once a San Francisco critic 
was forced to admit the truth, the News Letter of April 17, 
1686, reluctantly confessing that? 

"In the singing of such artists as Minnie Hauck""'', 
Alma Frohstrbm, GiQnnini| Del Puenta and Cherubini, and in 
that of Ravelli and De Anna, v/hose appearances were but 
limited, there was offered musical enjoyment, the superior 
quality of which, it has redounded but little to the taste 
of the public not to have appreciated to its fullest extent," 

But even the energy of the nevj J'iaguire was not sufficient 
to keep the Grand Opera House open month in, month out. The 
News Letter of June 19, 1886, made a pointed comment on 
theatrical conditions in San francisco rnd the ^:eneral manage- 
rial lack of perception? 

"Haverly's Theatre and the Grand Opera House both 
closed their doors in the early part of the week from lack 
of patronage. These failures may both be considered as in- 
evitable results of the seemingly contagious fit of idiocy 
that attacked the theatrical managers of this city a few 
weeks ago. If not in winter, surely not in summer. It is 
incredible how blind these managers are. It has taken the 

•"- Later changed to Hauk, 


bitter experience of pecuniary loss to open their eyes to 
the fact that n Siimrner hegira to mountain and seaside is 
here as fashlonr.bly compulsory as it is in the East. ,^. , 
Those are important factors in the matter, hut the chief 
point is that San Francisco is gradually acquiring all the 
characteristics of civilized cities. It is subjecting it- 
self more and more to the edicts of Fashion, and absence 
from the city in Summer is one of them. This gradual change 
is noticed by all who visit and revisit us. Our men are 
getting better-dresaed, our audiences have a more stylish 
appearance, our equipages are more chic, our language more 
refined '^nd our manners more polished. In fact, we are 
slowly getting to be in good form," 

The next event of importance did not occur until January 
of 1887 when Patti returned in another "farewell tour," 
sponsored by Henry E. Abbey, with a group of singers that In- 
cluded bofia Scalchi, Signor Lolli, Anfonlo Galassi, Alberta 
Guilia, and Signor Wovara, under direction of Signor Lulgi 
Arditl. It vms not a regular operatic season but a series 
of four concerts, presenting selections from Semiramlde , 
Martha , ^ Faust^ and Linda di Chamounlx . According to the 
Call of January 1, 1888, reviewing the year 1887 at the 
Grand, the concerts were: -■ 

". . , financially as well as artistically success- 
ful, although reports were rife of crookedness in the 


management and these reports being sent by the artists to 
their friend n In the East and Fur one, are returned to us 
by every visiting company since, the latest to refer to 
thein being Si,r<:nor Campinl. The 'door' of the Grand is 
regarded as so vulnerable by our recent visitors, that 
extra precautions are taken to prever. . any 'funny' busi- 
ness, as it is called." 

Thus, it anpears that to the natural barriers of the 
Grand Opera House were now being added those of tricky man- 
agement, which was not calculated to encourage Eastern im- 
presarios in booking tlieir shows at the house, 

The readiness with which Pattl was received once more 
encouraged the management into bhe delusion that the public 
was ripe for an opera season. Acordingly it Introduced 
Charles E, Locke's National Opera Company, conducted by Theo- 
dore Thomas and featuring Emma Juch end Jessie Bartlett 
Davis (later famous as Alan-a-Dale in Robin Hood ) . Among 
the operas presented (they were sung in English) were Faust , 
Alda, Fero , and Lakmd . The price."^, high for su^-h a company, 
were -.1, ^2, ^{.5, and §4, with boxes selling for from ii25 to 
$40. These charges probably had much to do with public 
apathy; but the critic of the News Letter , writing on April 
23, 1887, made no allowances! 

"The indifference with v/hlch the public of San Era n- 
cisco treated the opening performance of the National 


Opera Company will ever stand recorded against it as in- 
dicating musical ignorance and a lack of artistic appreci- 
ation. If the opera-goers of this city were accustomed 
to such productions as have made the world-wide reputation 
of the opera houses of Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Paris and 
New York, their apathy toward the company now here might 
be explained but not excused," 

Closing night (May 14, 1887) found the critic of the 
same implacable opinion: 

"With tonight's performance the National Opera Com- 
pany closes its San Francisco season. Thanks to a guaran- 
tee fund, the rompany has been able to pay its expenses... 
Anyway another visit here is hardly to be expected, for, 
to the discredit of our public, the performances have 
not been well patronized, , . . The San Francisco public 
has again proven its childishness, its capriciousness, 
its whimsicality, its willfulness. , . . There is in this 
community a small set of genuinely appreciative minds, 
educated minds broadened by study or travel, with keen 
instincts in artistic matters, but unfortunately they 
are not in sufficient numbers to make deserving theatri- 
cal manngement profitable. But the rest have no more 
discernment of what is good, no more sense of what is 
beautiful, no more instinct of what is artistic than 
have the residents of Poker Plat or Bloody Gulch." 


Not content with this broadside, the critic fired an- 
other shot, asserting that even Booth, Patti, and other lu- 
minaries were only popular because of public curiosity and 
not for any genuine appreciation of their talents. San 
Francisco was certainly hard put to justify its much-vaunted 
reputation for love of the theatre under strict examination, 

November of 1887 found M. B, Leavltt as lessee, with 
Charles P. Hall as his manager, Leavltt inaugurated the 
first dramatic season of any pretensions the Grand had known 
for many a year,- moving Frank Iiayo from his smaller Bush 
Street Theatre to the huge Ivllssion Street house. Mayo, an 
old favorite in this city and famous throughout the country 
for his portrayal of Davy Crockett in the play of that name, 
made the house resound with applause and the clink of coin 
for four weeks -- a strange phenomenon in the old house. 
Mayo appeared in The Streets of New York , The Koya l Guard , 
and Nordeck , besides Davy Crockett . The lucrative engagement 
lasted through November. 

The Italo Campanlni Operatic Concert Company gave a 
aeries of foiu? operatic concerts beginning on December 12 and, 
wondrous to relate, took in nearly (.80,000 in this city of 
condemned musical ignoramuses. 'After a tour of Southern 
California, the company reti\rned on December 26, giving per- 
formances of Rigole tto and I^ Favorita , another operatic 
concert, and on December 31, 1887, a selection of sacred num- 
bers. This time they were not so fortunate, because of lack 
of heating facilities in the Grand Opera House, an Inadequate 


orchestra, and an unrehearsed chorus. It was the chorus' lack 
of preparation that requ.ired substitution of the two concerts 
for the originally scheduled operas. However, In comparison 
v/ith other operatic troupes preceding it, the Campanini Com- 
pany had good reason to congratulate itself. 

The year 1888 found a new manager, Marcus M. Henry, in 
charge of the house. His luck was no better than his prede- 
cessor's. The best he had to offer in operatics was the en- 
gagement of Mnie . Inez Pabbri-Muller ' s pupils during the month 
of llovember . There was some interest in their offering of 
The Map;ic Flute on November 27, exhibited mostly by parents 
and friends of the young people. However, Mozart's delicate 
opera is not likely to have received very masterly treatment 
at the hands of a group of inexperienced singers, though the 
Nev/3 Letter of December 1 kindly avowed that the opera "brought 
out a number of fine voices" and that "the house was crowded 
with a fashionable audience," 

On December 18 the Handel and Haydn Society gave a per- 
formance of Handel's Messiah , with Alfred Wilkie, Mrs.Pleiss- 
ner Lev/is, V/, C. Hughes, and Mrs. Westwater as soloists. The 
orchestra of 40 instruments was conducted by IT, J, Stewart. 
The holiday season was rounded off appropriately, though not 
quite £0 loftily, by a production of the Kiralfy's spectacular 
pantomime, I'azulm ; this was brought to the Grand Opera House 
by the enterprising Al Hayman and, as reported in the Argonaut 


of January 7, 1889, crowded the Grand Opera Kouse afternoon 
and evening. It v/as follo-ved by The Black Crook , which ac- 
cording to an interesting theory set forth by the Argonaut 
of January 21: 

". . .is now 30 old that it is fast arriving at the 
stage when it is reborn end becomes new. It is passing 
into what in art is calD.ed its 'second mann-r . ' Twenty 
years from now it will subside into a third vnanner, and 
so on indefinitely, passing dov;n to posterity with the 
twinkling of sandaled feet, the glittering of spangles, 
the flashing of breastplate end buckler, and the forest 
of Amazonian legs and the feathery skirts of the smiling 

The beautiful Mary Anderson v/as to have graced the thea- 
tre in March, but illness prevented. Instead, the Conreid 
English Opera Company (among whose members was Ferris Hart- 
mann) completed a tv/o-week engagement in Mueller's opera 
The King. ' 3 Fool , The company did well enough, but there was 
a deal of difference between its drawing powers and those of 
I.Iary i=nderson. Hayman, who at that time was running both the 
Grand and the California, v;as further smitten by the illness 
of Edwin Booth, who was to have appeared at hhe California 
at this time with Lawrence Barrett, However, a series of 
concerts given at the Grand Opera House by J^me. Emma Albani, 
one of the popular singers of her day, did much to soothe 


his feelings. 

But such ibucceas acews to have been short-lived and the 
Grand Opera House went dark during the summer months. It 
vms re-opened In the latter part of October by John Maguire, 
who again engaged Jay Rlall as his manager and lowered the 
prices in the hope of making the house a paying institution. 
First on the repertory was the old melodrama, The Corsican 
Brothers , which seems to have surprised the critic of the 
Chronicle by playing to good houses. The company, which 
included Viiilliam and Isabel Morris, Lewis Howard, George 
Osborne and Dollie Nobles, was strengthened by the addition 
of Milton Nobles as leading man. Late in November George 
Osborne purchased an interest in the house and in the ad- 
vertisements his name was included among the lessees. 

In February, 1890, there came to the Grand Opera House 
perhaps the most memorable engagement In San Francisco operat- 
ic history. Adelina Patti returned, and with her not only 
Nordlca, Albani, and a group of other distinguished singers 
but the greatest of all contemporary tenors, the man for whom 
Verdi had expressly written his opera Otello — Francesco 
Tamagno. Indeed, no singer since his time — not even Caruso 
-- has been quite successful in the role of the Moor. Hig 
first appearance, however, v/as in Rossini's William Tell. The 
Argonaut of February 17, 1890, had these glowing words to 
aay of Tamagno 's performance: 

"To the interpretation of the character of Arnoldo, 


with all its savage force, its concentrated power, ^its 
passionate love of country, comes Signer Tamae;no, with the 
noblest voice it has ever been our fortune to hear -- a 
voice astounding, amazing, prodigious, perfect in its 
smoothness and finish, passionate yet never sweet . . . 
Mch, resonant, dramatic, yet without poetry or sentiment 
... those great thunderous notes come poiiring en each other, 
climbing to the stars, note crowding on note, each richer, 
stronger, clearer than before, as if they burst outward 
from an inexhaustible, uncontrollable reservoir of sound, 
thrilled through with a clear, keen reverberance like the 
tingling of smitten strings." 

Of Patti, who appeared in Lucia , Martha, La Traviata , 
La Sonnambula , and others of her familiar repertory, there 
was little new to say; nor were Nordica and Albani, fine 
singers as they may have been, subjects for dithyrambic crit- 
icism. But Tamagno, who appeared in Otello , Les Huguenots , 
L'Africaine » II Trovatore , and Boito's Mefistofele , was a 
mine of adjectives for prospecting gentlemen of the press. 
In all his performances he drew extravagant praise; in Otello 
he was acknowledged to be without a peer on the operatic stage. 
The truth of this appraisal was attested by Patti herself, 
who gave him his greatest compliment simply by refusing to 
appear on the same stage with him. 

In spite of critical furore and crowded houses, however, 
impresarios Abbey and Grau were quoted by the ArRonaut of 
March 31, 1890, as saying that their receipts, which amounted to 


$95,000, fell short of their expenses by a matter of some 
$20,000, However, it was added that the astute Pattl did not 
suffer by this minor detail. Nor did Tamagno, who had a 
reputation of being even closer than Patti. It is not likely 
that their fellov/ singers, piping for their suppers, looked 
on their superiors with any great favor. They knew in advance 
where most of the receipts were going, 


During April, 1890, Julie Stewart, supported by William 
Morris, appeared in dramatic season at cheap prices (from 15^ 
to 75^) , including in her repertory Hartley J.Campbell's melo- 
drama, The White Slave . The contrast of prices with those pre- 
vailing during the Tamagno-Pattl season (|l to ^7) is rather 
severe J but in the history of the Grand this was not at all 
surprising. On June 1 a benefit was tendered to lessee Jay 
Riall, a one-act play. Withered Leaves , being performed with 
recitations and musical selections. 

The main event -- that which had drawn most of the good- 
sized audience — was prevented from coming off by intervention 
of the guardians of the law. It was to have been an exhibition 
bout between the great Negro boxer from Australia, Peter Jack- 
son, and Jack Ashton, But a certain Captain Short and squad 
stepped up and checked the proceedings as a violation of the 
Isw against prize fights. As the Examiner of June 2, 1890, 
sold: "It was a great disappointment to the audience, and the 
sp<^ech of 'Parson' Davies and the few remarks made by the colored 


piigilist did not satisfy the upper part of the house." There 
is no mention of a refund; so presumably Mr.Riall was not the 
loser by the action. 

The house was closed until June 30, when Riall and Vifil- 
liam Morris opened v/ith a melodrama. G uilty Without Crime . 
This was the somewhat puzzling title of a story of the race- 
track, featuring reel thoroughbreds, a form of realism v/hich 
was to reach its zenith at the Grand under V/alter Morosco. 
The play ran until July 7, 1890, following which the theatre 
was again dark till August 14, when Nellie McHenry api^eared 
for a short season in Lady Peggy. The rest of the year v;ent 
by in much the same manner, the hoiise alternately opening and 
closing its doors with such attractions as the Hanlon Brothers 
(acrobats ), the Martinettis, and 'Jeorge Ulmer in his own "great 
military drama," The Volunteer . 

On April 24, 1891, occurred one of those events which 
makes the Grand Opera House live in local lores Sarah Bern- 
hardt came to town. The great French actress, then at her 
height, played for five days before the dazzled populace, and 
even the fact that her performances were in French — a lan- 
guage of which nine-tenths of the people were ignorant -- did 
not deter the crowds. She appeared in the respectable but 
creaking plays of Victorien Sardou, to which she herself had 
given that illusion of brilliance which deluded a whole genera- 
tion; among them were La Tosca, Theodora , Jeanne d 'Arc , and 


C leopatra . Immediately after her brief engagement ahe departed 
on a tour of Australia but returned In September for another 
stay at the Grand. 

The Daily Report of September 8, 1891, gave this version 
of Bernhardt 's spell: 

"And her impersonation was appreciated not only by the 
French colony, which was out in force, but by everybody who 
could see her. The men who did not know a word of French, 
but v;ho did know considerable of the ways of the world, v;ere 
able to understand her better perhaps than the young women 
vi'ho had been graduated with honors in the French course of 
our fashionable seminaries." 

Of mild interest during this engagement washer production 
of a new play, Pauline Blanchard , by M. Darmont, a young mem- 
ber of her company. Monsieur Darmont was only 27 and the di- 
vine lady had always a kind eye for youth; so the occasion 
need hardly be regarded as significant to dramatic literature. 

The rest of the year of course v/as anticlimax. For the 
last week of October the theatre was devoted to spectacle in 
the shape of Sinbad the Sailor , which had moved from the Bald- 
win after four glittering weeks. And during November comic 
opera lightened the gloomy hall for a week. The production 
was Three - cornered Wedding , a new opus concerning Mexican bor- 
der life and peopled with ridiculous cowboys, and Indians and 
vaqueros. Its authors were J. R, Macdonald, a New York com- 
poser, and '.Washington Davis, then well-knovm for a work 


entitled Campf ire Chats of the Civil War . Leading lady was 
Mme . Albrecht; and tenor, V\i'alter Williams, 

In February, 1892, one of those fin de siecle prophets of 
oriental wisdom. Sir Edwin Arnold, appeared to utter from the 
stage of the Grand those sentiments so near and dear to the 
inhabitants of Cheapside and Putney, concerning the "cleaner, 
greener land" they never had seen and the 'eathen peace they 
had no desire to discover, for which he had acquired his repu- 
tation. Annie Besant and her theosophical neophytes v;ere evi- 
dently not without their influence in this once rude city, for 
the exponent of the Higher Life (according to the Daily Report 
of March 1, 1892) "read to a numerous and appreciative audi- 
ence." A little of this nebulous fare seems to have gone a 
long way, however, for on the following day the Grand went 
back to beef and beer with Bluff King Hal, an opera by two lo- 
cal men, H.J.Stewart and Daniel O'Connell, which was tendered 
as a benefit in their favor. 

Lectures and readings seem to have been the order of the 
spring season at the Grand. On March 24 the "charming wit and 
satirist" Max O'RelKPaul Blouet) gave a talk entitled "Ameri- 
cans as seen through French spectacles," French diplomacy evi- 
dently had remained with M, Blouet through his change of name 
and scene, for the Daily Report of March 25 was of the opinion 
that "there is nothing the matter with Max O'Rell* He is all 


right. Kc Is as clever as they comej cleverer than they usual- 
ly come; intelligent beyond his reputation, and better still, 
the embodiinent of courteous, independence . . , and as he 
closed his effort v.'ith a tribute to America he received a final 
compliment in the form of tremendous applause." 

An English prima donna, contrfilto Agnes Huntington, en- 
deavored to bring musical cheer to the Grand during the latter 
half of April in "Planquotte • s latest success, Paul Jones , ©a 
originally'- presented by Miss Huntington 346 consecutive nights 
at the Prince of YiJales Theatre, London." ( Daily Report , April 
13, 1892). According to the same journal: 

' ■'• ■ "Agnes Huntington Is tall, slender, shapely, graceful, 

• easy, and in Paul Jones dashing and debonair. Her face la 
attractive, and she makes up so as to accent all her good 
points, v/hich arc many. Her voice is a strong contralto, 
fresh but hardly resonant, fairly well trained and fully 

• equal to the demands her repertory makes on it." 

Unfortunately for the debonair lady, Richard Mansfield 
was In tovm, at the Baldwin, and all her shapeliness and con- 
tralto wiles failed to prevail against the power of that name. 
However, in her second piece, which ran till April 30, the Eng- 
lish songbird fared better with the public. This piece, Cap - 
t s In Theresa , was declared to have made her visit a success 
and was pronounced superior in every way to Paul Jones , by the 
local critics, who always took aesthetic delight in reversal 
of Eastern opinion. 


Through the spring, opera held the stage, the Emmo. Juch 
Opera Company following Agnes Huntington with such stock favor- 
ites as Tannhauser , Lohengrin , Cavalleria Rusticana, and Fl- 
delio . Then on June 18, 1892, along with the news thnt Fred 
G, Whitney had become lessee and manager of the house, the 
Daily Report made this weird announcement: "Tonight Dr. Car- 
ver, tho evil spirit of the plains, with the entire original 
VJild American company in The Scout ," Evidently the "evil 
spirit" was exactly what was wanted in these dispirited halls, 
for the Examine r of July 3 reported that: 

"The Grand Opera House appears to have warmed up since 
Manager Eraser ordered its last cost of red paint. Carver 
and his wild Indians have managed to fill it nightly ever 
since that time, and now comes another attrriction that prom- 
ises to do even more than its predcc, &f;or , Sam T, Jack of 
Chicago is booked at the Grand, beginning July 10th, for a 
Season of nine performances with hia burlesque company main- 
ly of beautiful creole and Egyptian women," 

But Mr, Jack and his exotic revue seem to have fared 
rather less creditably than the evil spirit and his company 
of v/ild Indians, though their mildly aphrodisiac efforts drew 
some curiosity from the "upper part of the house and the front 
rows, but seemingly not with much approval judging from the 
comment of the grllery gods" (E:;ami ner , July 12, 1892), 



The summer snd early autumn went by uneventfully with 
occasional concert efforts until early November, when William 
A. Brady disturbed the drab gentility of the season with his 
production of Boucicault's melodrama. After Dark , Election 
time is notoriously bad for show business, but with the aid of 
lov; prices, even the re-election of Grover Cleveland, after 
four years av/ay from the White House, had no deterring effect 
on the popularity of this "masterpiece," according to the Ex - 
aminer of November 13, 1892, which reported that "Vililliam A. 
Brady's production of After Dork at the Grand Opera House has 
caught on immensely, particularly with the south-siders, and 
the houses continiie to be very large." 

The success of this thriller inspired Hilton Nobles and 
company to follow with a seven-dpy session of his own brand of 
excitement, v/rapped In a repertory of his "famous American dra- 
mas" that included From Sire to Son , or The Shadow of Shasta , 
A ^o^ 0? T hespis , and The Phoenix . From pll accounts he did 
well enough, though he lacked the magic touch of a Boucicault 
or a Brady and the critic of the Examiner complained of his 
From Sire to Son that it smacked "very much of Bret Harte." 

But the year ended colorfully and profitably when Al Hayman 
brought the popular extravaganza All Baba to the Grand, the 
stage of which was never gayer than when the glitter of spec- 
tacle pierced the corners of its vast and dreary expanse. The 


Examiner of December 11, 1C92, reported that it had broucht in 
::il,000 for the first week's run and the issue of December 18 
still carried the bright nev.-s that "audiences continue extra- 
ordinarily large, and there is no doubt that the engagement 
will be one of the most remarkable from a financial point of 
view ever known in the history of theatricals in this city," 
furthermore, there were no high-priced Pattis, Tamagnos, or 
Bernhardts to carry away the major part of the haul and Janu- 
ary 2, 1893, which saw the piece end, must have indeed found 
the mana£ement in s holiday mood. On January 1, 1095, the Ex - 
aminer announced that the production had made "a record of the 
best engagement that has been pln^/ed in California at the 
prices." FurtheVifiore the company was to reap added triumph in 
a tour of the eastern cities, finally returning to the Chicago 
Opera House for the World's fair which was to begin that May. 

There followed a sleepy month and a half of local talent, 
with production of a new opera. His Majesty , by two local men, 
H, J, Stewart and Feter Robertson; of Von Suppe ' s A Trip to 
Africa by the amateurish San Francisco Operatic Society (the 
latter unfortunately marred by the nervous capers of a "black 
actor''); and of a "super-colossal" presentation of Uncle Tom's 
Cabin with ''two Topsys, two l.arkses, tv;o educated donkeys and 
ei^ht blood-thirsty hounds." After this final masterpiece of 
ingenuity there was nothing doing at the Grand until May 1, 
when a G. A. R. festival was held for the benefit of the Wid- 
ows and Orphans f\jnd, vrtiich included two "grand Columbian 


spectacular entertainments commemorating the opening of the 
World's Fair." For this auspicious occasion the huge stage 
of the Grand was given full scope when fo\ir hundred public 
school children v/ere allowed to roam about its boards. This 
was followed on May 14 by another revelation of the Higher 
Life in the person of "the indescribable phenomenon," Annie 
lilva Fay of London, who for as low a price as 2.^(^ was prepared 
to expound the spiritual principles of Annie Besant's theosophy. 
V/hatever the intention, this little episode had the effect of 
so spiritualizing the theatre that no corporeal substance was 
seen in its confines until September, when the famous Henry 
Irving and L;ilen Terry made their first San Francisco appear- 
ance on the boards of the Grrnd. 


It was truly a memorable event, both in anticipation and 
realization, for the two English artists at that time held al- 
most undisputed rank as monarchs of the English-speakinfo stage 
-- Irving not only in his capacity as tragedian but also, even 
more preerainently, as director. 

So far as acting prowess wont, there were fev/ to dispute 
that of Ellen Terry; but there were many heretics in the case 
of Irving, Of these was Ambrose Bierce, then writing for the 
Examiner . Tliat vitriolic critic, in the issue of September 
5, 1895, wrote: 

"For I know Mr. Irving may be as good an actor 
as his countrymen who have seen him think. Nay, he may be 


half as good as my countrymen who have not seen him think 
him. I have myself seen him play hut two or three times. 
He was not then a good actor, but that was a long tiirce ago; 
judgment from the fading memory of a performance t'venty 
years old would hardly do/' 

This allowance for faulty memory did not, however, impede 
the eager executioner from delivering the final blow: 

"For German,Snglish and American actors Society should 
provide 'homes,' with light emplo^^Tnent,good plain food and, 
when they keep their mouths saut and their limbs quiet, 
thunders of artificial applause," 

Lacking the temerity of the great god Bierce, the regular 
dramatic critic of the Examiner could not but echo his bewilder- 
ment at some phases of Irving 's art. Vvriting on September 6 
of Irving 's Shylock, he said; 

"Doubtless Mr. Irving has definite intention in it all 
-- it would be absurd to question that in the case of so 
great an artist -- but the impression left upon the mind 
v/hlch is not so fortunate as to penetrate his intention is 
that he over-acts outrageously," 

But when he came to v/riting of the trial scone, he con- 
fessed that J 


", . , all Irving' 3 shortcomings are forgiven because 
of it . . . . There is no spouting, no v/rithing, no trans- 
parent striving for effect. He ia Shylockjnot Shakespeare's 
Shylock, p-^rhaps, but a great one," 

Miss Terry left hira v/ithout speech: 

"Miss Terry as Portia — but Miss Terry was not made 
to be described. She is for the caressing eye and charmed 
ear. Her grace, her graciousness, her humor, her bright- 
ness, her archness, her coquetry, her refinement, her wo- 
manliness — Miss Terry is bewitching. She failed nowhere 
-- There could not be a cleverer, a more enchanting Portia," 

He went on to mention her dazzling innovation of wearing 
a red gown in place of the traditional black one in the trial 
scene — and of course he was all for it. It seems that Irving 
further made amends for his faults by throwing the customary 
bouquet at San Francisco audiences in his curtain speech with 
"By the way, do you know that the San Franciscans have a virtue 
which is rare in theatre-goers? They know when not to applaud," 
It was a remark very much to the point, as all theatre-goers 
rnd actors knov;; but one can imagine Ambrose Bierce muttering 
under his moustache that lack of applause is very seldom due 
to tact or courtesy. 


Nevertheless, Irving's reputation and the skill and charm 
of Ellen Terry made the two weeks' engagement one to be remem- 
bered in the annals of the San Francisco stage. He gave The 
Bells , Tennyson's Becket (the first time in America), Nance 
Oldfleld, The Lyone Mail , and Louis XI . For the last two per- 
formances (matinee and evening) he took in more than .'i;lO,000, 
The matinee take of t>5,864 was claimed by the Examiner of Sep- 
tember 17 to be the largest ever recorded in America for a dra- 
matic performance. All in all, $65,000 was received during 
the two weeks ' engagement -- no mean haul for the indigent 
Grand Opera House < Impresario Henry Abbey was moved to declare 
the engagement "the biggest two weeks' business that Henry 
Irving has ever done in any part of the world." And Dracula 
himself, Bram Stoker (whowas business manager for the company) 
"attired in a misfit dress suit and opera hat that had seen 
better days," was seen to caper around most unghoulishly and 
delighted the innocent Westerners with the undoubtedly sincere 
pronouncement that "San Pi'ancisco is a great town a wonderful 
tovm, sir." 

One more event was to distinguish the Grand before Walter 
Morosco turned it into a combination sawmill, racecourse, and 
railroad yard in the following year: this was the engagement 
of the great French players, Coquelin and Mme , Jane Hading, 
who occupied as important a niche on the French stage as Irving 
and Terry did on the English. In the eyes of Ambrose Bierce, 


the comparison certainly would not have been in favor of the 
English pair, despite the fact that the French played in their 
own language. Further, the French company did not carry its 
own scenery, and the management of the Grand burrowed into the 
recesses of the stage for some of the mouldiest backgrounds 
ever beheld by an audience. Still more embarrassing was the 
size of the Grand, which made the delicate lime. Hading shiver 
at first sight. The plays given -- L'Aventuriere , La Dame 
au3c Camelias , Tartuff e , Les Precieuses Ridicules , Thermidor , 
La Joie Fait Peur , Gringoire, Frou-Prou, Les Effrontes , and 
Le Gendre de M, Poirier -- were not of the spectacular sort, 
and the draughty halls of the Grand took away much of the 
charm and intimacy which so enhanced Parisian theatres. 

Nevertheless, it took more than these obstacles to 
confound acting such as Coquelin and Hading could display; 
and the season was more than a critical success, if not as lu- 
crative as the unparalleled engagement of Irving and Terry a 
month previous,. Curiously, most of the critical energy was 
spent on Jane Hading, . (Coquelin had not become associated yet 
with the magic name of Cyrano de Bergerac, which has identified 
him to posterity). Yet French critics still living, among 
them the great Leon Daudet,"^ speak of Jane Hading as one of 
the immortal French actresses, and it is not unlikely that she 

■5' Paris Vecu, by Leon Daudet, Vol, 1, pp. 86-88, Libralrle 
Gallimerd, Paris, 1929, 


was the great-r attraction cf the two. Furthermore, the plays 
in their repertory were mostly written around the woman; cer- 
tainly it would be a foolish Armand who expected to shine 
while a great Camille was in the throes of death. No better 
comment on the consummate artistry of the two and their com- 
pany could be had than the following from the Examiner of No- 
vember 12, 1893: 

"Probably the characters created by Augier, Dumas, 
Moliere, Sardou and Shakespeare have never been portrayed 
in this city by abler players than Coquelin and Hading, In 
these days of specialists upon the stage the wide range of 
parts taken by these tv/o artists is more than a surprise to 
an American audience. The dramatic prof ession in this coun- 
try may some day rearh a similar state of perfection, but 
that day is still afar off. Until that dramatic millennium 
is reached v;e can only envy the Parisians their Comedie 
I'rancaise ." 

There v;ere evidently more lovers of spectacle in the city 
than of dramatic art, however, for the Examiner of Decem.ber 
10 reported that audiences for S inbad , or The I^aid of Balsora 
were far larger than for the French repertory season. This 
spectacle was put on during the holiday season by the American 
Extravaganza Company, which during the previous year had made 
glad the hearts of the management with its production of A_li 


Baba . Like its predecessor, it too continued to pack the 
house to the rafters until after New Year's. 

The thestrc; was now overhauled pnd renovated to be ready 
for its new career under 'alter Ivorosco as the home of uphol- 
stered dime romance, And It is as liorosco's that present-day 
San Franciscans recall the Gr?nd most vividly, iiention the 
Grand to them and they villi say: "Oh yes, Morosco's, I re- 
member seeing Theodore Roberts there in The Octoroon ; and The 
Danger Signal , with its f if ty-mile-an-hour express train; and 
The Great Diamond Robbery ; and Nat Willis in The Dago ." Many, 
of course, will r;-:member Caruso's appearance there on the eve 
of the 1906 fire, but most of them will think first of the 
real-as-llfe thrillers they saw from dime seats on Saturday 
afternoons. Had it not been for I'orosco, it is likely that 
the house that Wade built would have remained merely a 
gigantic cavity in the memory of the city, 

Morosco's Grand opened 'Tith Joseph Dowling and Myra Davis 
in Youth , described in the advertisement as the "greatest of 
all military dramas." According to the same not unimpeach- 
able source, thousands were turned away nightly. The parade 
of artion continued with such thrillers as Captain Herne U.S.A., 
Clay M, Greene's The Red Spider , and A Kentuol^ Girl , Evening 
prices were lOjz^ to 50^; matinee, 10^ to 25(^, After Dowling 
came D, K, Higglns and Georgia V.aldron in Kidnapped and The 


Vendetta . In the company was Lucille La Verne, ? bit player 
who yeprs l?tcr became famous as the Kentucky mountain woman 
in Sun Up . 

Torosco's was rolling along as the Grand Opera House nev- 
er had done. Interesting is an article in the Examiner of 
May 20, 1894, on i-.'orosco's success: 

"Society has a new fad. The vaudeville h-^s paled 
,1ust a little. The circus is a 'dream of things that './ere,' 
Of course the farce-comedy and the comic opera have lost 
their force* It isn't time for a Shakespearean revival. 
The parlor comedy with its sofa-back loveraaking has become 
tiresome . 

"So Society has taken to Morosco's, It v;ants 
melodrama, and wants it just as thunderous and just as lu- 
rid as it can be made. It wants Kentucky Girls performing 
the impossible in the nick of time. It wants buzz-saws, 
and mill v;heels aiod spark-sputtering railroad trains, . jug- 
gernauts of all sizes, shapes and varieties: low-rumbling 
villainies, spine-shivering situations, ecstatic virtue, 
soul-thrilling heroism, wildly-impassioned love-making. 
The sated people of the cotillions and teas and 'functions' 
want to have their spleens affected with a new sensa- 
tion. .. . 

"The upper ten have just found out what a lot of fun 
the lower ten thousand get out of the theatre for a little 


money. Thej'- are stirprised that plays can be put on v;lth 
so muoh nttentlon to detail v;hen the charge at the door is 
a mere trifle compared to the prices they have been accus- 
tomed to pay. They think of Pattl nights and Bernhardt 
nights and Irving nights in the same big house, and sigh 
at the thought of how much howling joy might have been se- 
cured for the step-ladder prices then prevailing if the 
money hrd been spent on whole-souled melodrama, with a 
long roll of the 'r.' 

"So thej'' go their way and tell others, and the fad is 
so groviing that the real 'first night audience' ia rapidly 
being transferred from the theatres, where a deal of stu- 
pidity has been ladled out recently at high rates, to 
Moroaco's Grand Opera House, where the performance is nev- 
er stvTpid, no matter what else may be said of it," 

So successful was Morosco in pointing out the merits of 
nelodrama to high end low that he actually v/as arrested for 
overcrowding the aisles. Certainly the new ordinance by which 
lis arrest v/as effected would not have bothered Bert, Hender- 
son, or any other previous lessee of the giant house, Morosco 
Bomewhat sarcastically remarked: "It is a peculiar circum- 
stance that the new ordinance by which this was done waS 
passed on Friday night and my arrest followed on Sunday." 
But he could afford to be tolerant. 



The barrage continued with such actors as James A.Reilly, 
James Brophy, Dore Davidson, Dan McCarthy, Theodore Roberta 
(a San Franciscan later famous in motion pictures for his 
bristling mustache and mobile cigar), Mina Gleason, Jessie 
IVyatt, H. Coulter Brinker, A, V^. Fremont, Dan Kelly, E. J, 
Holden, Willard and William Newell, George Ryan, Leslie Ho- 
rosco, and Charley Swain, Titles such as the following give 
a pretty good clue to the brand of entertainment offered to 
the city's elite: The Red Spider , The Operator , Woman to Wo- 
man, The Wages of Sin , Shadow Detective , 777 and The House 
with Green Blinds . 

But the re?l hero of most i.iorosco spoctacles was fhe 
mechpnical device, notably in The Operator ^ v/hich exhibited 
a real train and a real steamship (both featured in a spec- 
tacular v;reck) throwing out real steam, real flames, and very 
real noise. Furthermore, v/e are informed ( Examiner , November 
4, 1894) that "the play ISTwell written and bristles with many 
sharp points and funny sayings," And all this for a dime'. 
Realism hardly could go farther than it did on the boards of 
Morosco's Grand just "South of the Slot." 


In January, 1895, the astute Ivlorosco spiced his fare with 

exotic flavor by bringing Maud Granger, described as "one of 

America's most renowned emotional actresses," to the Grand in 

a four-week engagement featuring adaptations of French plays. 


First on the list was Adolph Belot's Article 47 , adapted and 
renamed The Creole . On January 29 the Bulletin spoke of a 
full house cond announced that "Maud Granger is justly entitled 
to the title of one of America 's greatest emotional actresses. 
She has lost none of the vim and fire since her last visit in 
this city." 

Evidently the audience agreed, for on February 23, at 
the end of Miss Granger's engagement, the Bulletin declared: 

"The four vz-cks of Mp.ud Grp.nger's engagement proved 
an excellent idea for the theatre. Not only was the busi- 
ness good but many theatre-goers ta^io had never before visit- 
ed this theatre on account of the extreme moderate rate of 
admission, 'went, saw and were conquered.'" 

There v/as obviously no limit to Morosco's ingenuity. On 
May 5, 1895, the Call reported that; 

"I'iorosco hp. s made the discovery that his patrons revel 
just as much in comedy-drama, as in blood and thunder, , . • 
Tomorrov; evening another comedy-drama, Emma , the Elf , will 
be performed by the stock company," 

But I orosco was not one to be satisfied with plain comedy- 
drama, for the feature of the evening was to be Maude Edna 
Hall's precarious drnce in a dress of tissue paper. According 
to announcement this innovation, if successful, was to prove a 
great saving to American actresses in the future, "for a paper 
skirt can be gummed together in a few minutes at minimum cost." 


There was no report of mishap, but since Inter Ir.dies of the 
theatre have been content to appear In cloth skirts, it can be 
assumed that the risks involved surpassed the savings* 


Morosco's, hov/ever, was not long to be v;eaned away from 
melodrama. On May 13, 1895, the wheel commenced again with 
Coulter Brinker, assisted by a villainously real stamp-mill, 
i^ I'he Fire Patrol . In this effort Miss Hall doffed her tissue- 
paper skirt nnd frivolous ways, and returned to her proper role 
as the suffering heroine. The next play, A_ Ivian amonp; Ivien , com- 
bined the earnest with the sensational, being the story of an 
iron-mine strike in the /illeghany Mountains in which "real life" 
was given an even more sensational interpretation than usual 
with the blov/ing up of a cooperative store by the indignant 
miners, All of this must have been very affecting to kind- 
hearted and charitable ledies,but a little startling to those 
living in the neighborhood. 

But Morosco was only b^rinning to be realistic. After 
another plunge Into social consciousness in The Power of Gold, 
he produced a racing drama, The Pace that Kills , ferturing ten 
real thoroughbred horses dashing across the stage in a thun- 
dering climax. Then came what was perhaps his masterpiece of 
three-dimensional art, A Flag of Tru6e. This amazing work, 
according to the Call of July 14, 1895, had its climax in a 
scene representing a quarry "where genuine Rand steam drills 
are guided by skilled quarrymen." There was a blast, handled 


by experienced blr> sters,and a hoisting derrick "of actual size 
and power lifting full tiventy feet from the stage a massive 
boulder of a ton's weight," Under this menace the hero was 
made to lie "in deadly peril, while the villain trifles with 
the machinery, which can make it fall and crush him to powder ," 
(The poor hero was probably all too aware of this fact,") Then 
came a climactic blast "which obscures the stage in dustclouds 
of powdered stone and leaves the fate of the hero a little 
longer in doubt, although the blast really saves his life," 
It might have seemed that only anticlimax could follow 
this exhibition, but the undaunted public kept flocking for 
the rest of the year to see real companies of militia, real 
tanks, rivers, dredgers, ships, and flues (so real that the 
last two acts of The Phoenix were enacted in a pall of smoke). 
There seems to have been no ordeal to which customers or actors 
would not submit for realism. So great became this fad that 
the Cnll of November 3, 1895, complained of The Stowaway that 
its real yacht did not. sway realistically enough,.so that there 
appeared no real reason for the cabin-boy 'a seasickness, 

It would be monotonous to list the week-by-week production 
of melodrama at Horosco's during the next three years -- that 
is, until 1899, when Morosco felt himself prosperous enough to 
go in for grand opera and spectacular shows such as he had not 
trifled with during the time he was thrilling the citizens and 
making a fortune. Indeed, so successful was he that on January 
1, 1899, in an Examiner advertisement announcing the last 


appearance of the Morosco Grand Opera House Stock Company, he was 
able to make the claim that during his managerial career in 
this city he had given 5,635 consecutive performances. During 
that time he had produced such popular thrillers as The Land of 
the Midnight Snow , Ten Night s Ina Barroom , Old Glory , The Great 
Diamond Robbery , The Ensign , The Dark Secret , The Man from the 
South , Blue Grass , Captain Paul , The Fast Mail , A Bowery Girl , 
The Heart of Chicago , The Midnight Alarm , and others now '" for- 
gotten but at that time familiar to theatre-goers. 

Among beloved actors appearing at Morosco's were Landers 
Stevens, John J.Pierson, W.H. Pasco, Julia Blanc, Will Brady, 
Harry Mainhall, Fred Fairbanks, Lettie Le Vyne, Fred Butler, 
Jessie Norton, Prank Lindon, George Viebster, James Brophy, 
J. J. Dowling, and dozens of others who suffered fire, flood, 
and shipwreck to amuse the curious. So well were these amused 
that the Bulletin of December 25,1898, in announcing the forth- 
coming dissolution of the stock company, was moved to the fol- 
lowing encomium: 

"It is within a few weeks of five years since Manager 
Walter Morosco opened the Grand Opera House as a melodra- 
matic theatre at popular prices. It was at the time pre- 
dicted by the envious that his downfall would be speedy, 
but their prophecies proved false, for from the start 
Morosco' s venture proved a brilliant success, and now at the 
end of five years he beholds the result of his enterprise 
and sagacity in a colossal fortune." 



Morosco Incorporated as the Morosco Amusement Co, Inc., 
and proceeded to celebrate his newly acquired dignity by re- 
modeling his theatre and opening it on March 13, 1899, with 
the great Melba appearing with the Ellis Opera Company in Faust . 
Prices, unlike those of the old dime days, ranged from $2 to 
$5. With the famous Australian singer, Melba (born Nellie 
Mitchell), v;ere Mmes, Gadski, de Lussan, 01itzka,Chalia,Matt- 
feld, ^nd Van Cputeren and Messrs, Bonnard, Pandolfini, Van 
Hoose, Del Sol, Cass, Bensande, Bovird cures que, Stehmann, De 
Vries, Rains, Rosa, and Viviani, Conductors were Messrs, 
Armando Seppilli and Richard Fried, and the director was 
William Parry, former director of the Metropolitan Opera House 
in New York. 

The importation of the New York Symphony Orchestra re- 
stored the final touch of glory to the house which once had 
echoed with the voices of Patti and Tamagno. Culture had re- 
turned to the Grand, but one suspects that the bill was not be- 
ing footed by the astute Mr, Morosco, who always had exhibited 
a remarkable abilility to take his culture or leave it alone, 

Melba, though no Patti, occupied perhaps the highest po- 
sition ever attained by an English soprano, and the Examiner 
of March 14, 1898, assures that there was no lack of public 
response to her debut as Marguerite; even the aisles v/ere oc- 
cupied (v^rhatever became of that ordinance through which Manager 


Moroaco had been arrested so many years ago?), and the scene 
was one "of dazzling brilliancy, unequalled In the city's his- 
tory." The opera began rather unfortunately, the audience neg- 
lecting to arrive in great numbers until the second act and 
the oiii*<;ain proving refractory in ri3ing;but with the entrance 
of Melba in the second act the whole atmosphere was charged with 
•expectancy -which was not disappointed. As the Examiner said: 

"The little aria in which she replies (to Faust) was 
breathlessly listened to, and showed the marvelous purity 
and exquisite quality of voice that has made her singing so 
pre-eminently fascinating. It is so true, so artistic, so 
honest, so nat\iral, and withal such deliciously real slng- 

Of the prison scene at the end the paper declared! 

"The superb singing of this masterpiece wrought the 
audience up to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, and fully 
atoned for any shortcomings that may have been felt before. 
Nothing finer has ever been heard in this house during its 
long career." 

Unf ortvmately for the second performance, "unusual weather" 
appeared in the form of rain; and since Melba was not to sing, 
a great many people stayed away. Evidently it was their mis- 
take i for the general sentiment was that the performances of 


Like its predecessor, it too continued to pack the 

house to the rafters until after New Year's, 

The theatre was now overhauled and renovated to be ready 
for its new career under Valter I'.'orosco as the home of uphol- 
stered dime romance. />nd it is as Ilorosco's that present-day 
San Franciscans recall the Grrnd most vividly, i.fention the 
Grand to them and they v;ill say; "Oh yes, Morosco's. I re- 
member seeing Theodore Roberts there in The Octoroon ; and The 
Danger Signal , v/ith its f if ty-mile-an-hour express train; and 
The Great Diamond Robbery ; and Nat Vv'illis in The Dago ." Many, 
of course, will remember Caruso's appearance there on the eve 
of the 1906 fire, but most of them will think first of the 
real-as-llfe thrillers they saw from dime seats on Saturday 
afternoons. Had it not been for I'orosco, it is likely that 
the house that Wade built would have remained merely a 
gigantic cavity in the memory of the city, 

Morosco's Grand opened ^.'ith Joseph Dowling and Myra Davis 
in Youth, described in the advertisement as the "greatest of 
all military dramas," According to the same not unimpeach- 
able source, thousands were turned away nightly. The parade 
of art ion continued with such thrillers as Captain Heme U.S.A ., 
Cloy M. Greene's The Red Spider , and A Kentuolp^ Girl . Evening 
prices were 10(2^ to 50j2fj matinee, 10^ to 25^2^, After Dowling 
came D, K, Higglns and Georgia V.aldron in Kidnapped and The 


Vendetta . In thr company was Lucille La Verne, a bit player 
who jj-ears later became famous as the Kentucky mountain woman 
in Sun Up . 

f'orosco's v/as rolling along as the Gi-and Opera House nev- 
er had done. Interesting is an article in the Examine r of 
May 20 f 1894, on "r.^orosco's success: 

"Society has a new fad. The vaudeville has paled 
.ivist a little. The circus is a 'dream of things that were,' 
Of course the farce-comedy and the comic opera liave lost 
their force* It isn't time for a Shakespearean revival. 
The parlor comedy with its sofa-back loveraaking has become 
tiresome . 

"So Society has taken to Fiorosco's. It wants 
melodrama, and wants it just as thunderous ?nd just as lu- 
rid as it can be made. It wants Kentucky Girls performing 
the impossible in the nick of time. It wants buzz-saws, 
and mill wheels aiid spark-sputtering railroad trains, . jug- 
gernauts of all sizes, shapes and varieties: lov.--rumbling 
villainies, spine-shivering situations, ecstatic virtue, 
soul-thrilling heroism, wildly-impassioned love-making. 
The sated people of the cotillions and teas and 'functions' 
want to have their spleens affected with a new sensa- 
tion. . , , 

"The upper ten have just found out what a lot of fun 
the lower ten thousand get out of the theatre for a little 


tenors mouthing their anguish in unknown tcnguea. Opera at 
popular prices had been given successfully for many years at 
the Tlvoli, but this v/as the first time it bad been tried at 
a house the size of the Grand, Like most of Ilorosco' a attempts, 
it did very well, so well that the Grand was soon advertising 
itself as "the home of opera" -- a phenomenon which Frederick 
Bert would have discredited at first mention. Featured singer 
of the comppny was Edith Mason (said to bear a striking re- 
semblance to Lillian Kussell), Others in the company were 
Hattle Belle Ladd, Nellie Guisti, Arthur Woolley, William 
Vifolff, Thomas H. Persse, Winifred Qoff, /-» , E, Arnold, Bessie 
Fairbairn, and Nace Boneville, 

So successful was this policy that Morosco continued the 
Southwell company at the Grand until April, 1900, One of its 
productions, David Henderson's Aladdin Jr., proved to be 
(according to the Bulletin of February 25, 1900)the greatest 
drawing-card San Francisco had yet known, in three weeks' 
time luring 54,000 people through the doors of the Grand, 
On April 15 Morosco introduced the New York Extravaganza Com- 
pany headed by Blanche Chapman in An Arabian Girl , or All Baba 
and the Forty Thieves and the result was not disappointing. 
The season continued v;ith such burlesque-spectacles as 1492 
and The Lady Slavey until June 3, when the New York Extrava- 
ganza Company was removed to make way for the return of drama 
to the Grand for the first time in a year and a half. 



Included in the first productions were The Girl from 
Chili r.nd A Homespun Eccrt , or The Estate of Hannibal Howe . 
Ainong members of the cast viraa Frn.nk Bacon, later author and 
star of the Broadway record-smasher, Lightnin ' « Then came 
the Frawley Company starring Vi^ilton L;:ckaye in a series of 
dramas v/hich included C hildren of the Crhetto , Trilby , The 
Great Ruby, The Red ^awp. The Silver King, and Sappho , (Not 
Daudet's own dramatic vernion of his celebrated novel, but one 
of the several cheapened interpretations which had disgusted 
him into dramatizing the book himself.) Lackaye v/as a popular 
sensation, particularly as Svrngnli in Trilby , for which he 
was as well laiown at that time as he later was for after-dinner 
speeches rnd acrid retorts. 

The year was rounded out by the Oliver-Leslie company, 
which did its best to regale the holiday crowds with costume 
dramas like Dickens' A Tale _of Two Cities , ' An Officer of the 
2nd and Nell Gfwy n . I anagerial rivalry seems to have extended 
even into the field of orthography, for during the same period 
the Alcazar was advertising I'lorence Roberts in Hell Gwynne. 

Sarah B-rnhardt brought her divinity before the vulgar 
gaze again in February, 1901, making her initial appearance 
here in Rostand's romantic L'Aiglo n. The part demanded that 
she dress as tr 18-year-old boy and the reporters were proper- 
ly impressed that a woman of 57 should be able to assume the 


role so gracefully. The professional rejuvenators immediately 
took up the cry and each one advertised his certainty that 
Time . Bernhardt was in favor of his particular remedy, 

Ashton Stevens (in the Examiner of February 12) was def- 
initely skeptical about Sarah's resemblance to a boy of 18: 

"Sarah Bernhardt is still the greatest of living ac- 
tresses, but L'Aiglon is child's play for her, a make-be- 
lieve role, an anemic Hamlet that would be a farce but for 
the poetry of Rostand. Sarah is a wonder whom age does not 
wither nor custom stale -- that is the common verdict, and 
that will doubtless be the keynote to her obituary, but 
just between you and me, even her traditional youth is not 
convincing enough to stamp the rlr^ht age on this Byronic 
boy of Napoleon. 

"The male impersonator, even when she is a genius, is 
beset by many snares and pitfalls. It is an ungrateful job 
at best. Mme . Bernhardt brings to bear upon it all her 
mim'^tlc talr-nt, all her golden voice and irresistible mag- 
netism, all the peculiar, freakish, undeniable qualities 
of grit and personation, but her face belles the part; the 
Duke of Reichstadt was not so old. If a woman must assume 
a part beneath her years, let her keep to her own sex •... 
It's the play that v/ina this time, not Sarah Bernhardt." 

These were harsh words to speak of divinity, but they 
had no effect on the general faith, for Sarah and her leading 


man. Constant Coquelln, devoted the entire first week to 
Rostand's Alexandrines. Ho^yever, young Stevens made amends 
at the close of her second and final week, during which she 
appeared in Racine's Phedre ; Tosca ; Camille ; B/Ioliere's Les 
Precieuses Ridicules ; and as Roxane in Cyrano de Borgerac ,the 
play v^hich Rostend had created with Ooquelin in mind and in 
which the actor achieved his most lasting triumph. Said Ste- 
vens in the Examiner of February 24, 1901: 

"Taking this seriously as Sarah Berniiardt's farewell 
totir of the United States, the second week of her San Fran- 
cisco engagement has been full of fine stuffs for the memo- 
ry. She is perhaps the only living actress viho can galvan- 
ize Phedre into the bone and flesh of life-likeness » She 
is the T'osca that boolcworras will read record of a hundred 
years from now, should Sardou be remembered, v/hich is doubt- 
ful. She is Caraille,the Frenchman's 'La Dame aux Came lias, ' 
with a blend of unrelenting vividness and sweet feminity -- 
her Camille is unforgettable even to those of us who would 
forget the play and its wanton glorification of a wanton. 
Her Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac is a souvenir of modesty, 
cheerfully undertaken to strengthen the backgroxmd of 
Coquelin's Cyrano," 

No hard-minded critic could say more cmd keep his self- 
respect, even in the emotion of farewell. Coquel|.n's Cyrano 
he pronounced unforgettable, also his delicious bit as a valet 


in the Moliere piece;but lamented that for the rest the French- 
man was forced to submerge his talent in parts that were not 
only subsidiary but entirely unsuited to his style of acting. 
As to the company and production, Stevens pronounced them 
respectable, but insisted that the Americans hold their own 
with the French in the general level of both production and 
acting. Ke allowed that among women we had no such outstand- 
ing genius as Bernhardt, but cited Jefferson, Mansfield, and 
Nat Goodwin as equals of any French actor alive. (Had Lucien 
Guitry visited this country, Stevens undoubtedly would have 
made another allowance.) 

This engagement really marked Sarah's farewell appearance 
in San Francisco, if one excepts her tour of the Orpheum cir- 
cuit some 20 years later in behalf of the disabled soldiers 
of France. As such, it was a distinguished, if hardly fit- 
ting, finale to the managerial career of Walter Morosco,v7ho3e 
retirement was announced in the Chronicle of July 2,1901, The 
lease, fixtures, and outstanding contracts were purchased for 
an estimated $60,000 by Charles Ackermann and aasociatea. 
ivlorosco's son Harry was retained as manager of the house of a 
thousand thrills. 

Morosco did not live to enjoy his leisure long; his sud- 
den death at the age of 55 was announced in the Evening Post 
of December 26,1901, The Fost gave his family name as Bishop; 


for this he hed substituted "Morosco" as a youth, taking it 
from an acrobatic troupe he organized and managed. Certainly 
he made the name one not to be forgotten in the history of 
the San Francisco theatre. There has been no instance -- b^,- 
fore or since his time -- of a man who guessed so unerringly 
what the public wanted and hov; to answer the demand with un- 
failing profit. 


In August the Frav/ley company began a season at the Grand 
(no longer called i.iorosco's) and first on its list was Henry 
Arthur Jones' The Liars, a piece which Henry Killer had pro- 
duced very successfully but which the local comprny — in 
spite of the presence of the original leading man, E, J, r,ior- 
gan -- failed to deliver here successfully, The '.'iller com- 
pany itself had been in town shortly before this, rmd it was 
not overwise of Daniel Frawley to invite comparison by repeat- 
ing the repertory. So B rother Officers and Lord and Lady A Igy 
could hardly qualifjr as rousing successes. 

It was not till Frawley introduced Joseph Haworth as 
leading man that the season began to blossom. Hrv/orth, whom 
Ashton Stevens considered "the only legitimate successor to 
Edv;in Booth," opened in the old Lester Yfellack romance, Rose - 
dale , with which Lawrence Barrett had made .-.'.n earlier public 
so well acquainted thirty years before v;hen the California 
Theatre was the local glory. The play was obviously pretty 
creaky by this time, but Haworth by means of sly burlesque 
saved it from disaster. 


Slenkiewlcz ' s Quo Vadls , mother heavy morsel but of a 
somewhat later cuisine, v;as then served. The support, unfortu- 
nately, was poor, with the exception of Herschel Mayall and 
Laura Hall. Hav^orth followed with Bulvi/er-Lytton' s Richelieu , 
in which he acquitted himself creditably in spite of a bad 
cold but again was let down sadly by his company. Haworth 
then put on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , a piece which, left Mr. 
Stevens cold but nevertheless plnyed to packed houses for a 
week. Prom, the critic's report it seems that in that period 
all any actor needed to insure receipts was to portray Steven- 
son's Jarus-faced gentleman. 

Haworth then ventured into Shakespeare with The M erchant 
of Venice . According to Stevens in the Examiner of October 1, 
1901, though his Shylock "could not rank with the artistic 
gems of Irving or Booth, Haworth brought into the part intel- 
lectual force which with vigor and expression gave a complete- 
ness to the presentation." /.dele Belgrade as Portia came in 
for praise, but "the rest of the cast was not up to the re- 
quirement." However, "it is seldom that the play has been so 
v;ell staged as it is at the Grand." 

Hav'orth ended his engagement v;lth a flourish when he put 
on Hamlet (October 7 to 13), His essay at the trying role came 
in for an interesting criticism from Ashton Stevens in the Ex - 
aminer of October 8, 1901; 


"His performance la rich In Imagination, music and 
masculinity, a vigorous creation with the blood and the wit 
of life in it . A poor compliment for Haworth when you say 
It is the best since Booth's, for there have been no others 
that have counted. But what else can you say? Hav/orth's 
Hamlet is everything but great, 

"1 am not going to say that it lacks 'that indefinable 
something' and so forth and so forth. The something is 
quite definable; it always is in any of the obvious repro- 
ductory arts, This Hamlet, however, lacks nothing that hv , 
Haworth has to give to it. It sounds and pictures the sum- 
mit of his craft and temperament. It is the superlat ive cf 
Haworth. But to be great and to rival with the traditions 
it would needs be played by a greater actor than Hav/orth, 
Look over our lists of living tragedians and you will ?;on- 
der where to find that greater actor. There is none for 
this part, 

"Haworth stands for the best his generation can do with 
a role whose demands on the player are almost fabuloTxs, His 
Hamlet is neither to be damned with the cant v/ord 'scholar- 
ly' nor libeled by the arch adjective 'inspired.' It is 
clean, human, literate reading and personation, in which 
every trick and expedient of the mimetic craft conspires 
for a forceful and beautiful illusion. It is not great be- 
cause the world is still young enough to remember a Hamlet 
that was great. This one is an echo of tradition rather 


than a tradition ItRclf. k fine, skilled tribute to the 
master mummer v/hosc lone disciple I'Jr , Kaworth is." 

Pew actors, if any, came off better at the hands of the 
sharp and astute Stevens. 


There followed a mediocre season of stock companj?- routine, 
which was passed over lightly, for San Franciscans were await- 
ing the opening of the Metropolitan Opera Company under direc- 
tion of Ilaur ice Grau, who promised to exhibit the greatest ar- 
ray of operatic talent ever beheld and heard in this city. 
The performances v/ere to be conducted by Walter Damrosch and 
among the singers who \7ere to be heard were many whose names 
are still resonant in operatic lore -- Emma Calve, Schumann- 
Heink, Edouard de Kezke, Emma Eames, Antonio Scotti, Sibyl 
Sanderson, David Bispham, Marcel Journet, Harcella Sembrich, 
Louise Homer, Van Dyck, Robert Blass, and others. But the 
treat they v/ere v/alting for most eagerly was Calve 's famous 
rendition of Carmen, 

Prices for single performances were advertised at from 
y2 to (^7, comparable to those demanded for Patti, v/ith season 
tickets for 20 performances selling at from ',35 to vlOO; boxes 
could be had for a mere C500, or ,1,000 at most, 

On opening night, llovember 11,1901, Lohengrin was given, 
with Emma Eames, Schumann-He ink, Edouard de Reszke, Van Dyck, 


and David Bisphain In the featured roles. ;>shton Stevens was 
pleasantly surprised to observe that for once the opening per- 
formance went off "without a hitch or accident and with every 
singer of the cast in the very flower of vocal condition." 
Indeed, Emma Eames blossomed so -.veil In the role that the crit- 
ic declared: 

"Eames last night made the part absolutely hor own. 
She gave it an identity both vocal and histrionic that swept 
av/ay the thought of any other woman in the role. She gives 
to Elsa the gentleness and at the same time the distinction 
that one blends in contemplating an ideal interpretation of 
the role. . . .She pictures the part as only a beautiful v;o- 
man can, nnd she plays it v/ith the grace and authority of 
a cultured actress. Her voice is not, like Helba ' s, essen- 
tially canary. In it you hear the faint suggestion of 
reeds, as in the throat of the thrush, And it is n. voice 
without an effort -- free, spontaneous and pure. There is 
nothing Vesuvian about Emma Eames. She thrills but she 
does not burn. To Liy notion, she is the ideal Elsa." 

Of Schumann-He ink he said that "I have yet to sse an ac- 
tress make 'Lady Ilsrtaeth' as vivid as Schumann-He ink makes 
'Ortrud'"; and Bisphara, De Reszke and Van Dyck came in for 
their share of praise . Damrosch's orchestra was "his to a man 
inr a strong, imaginative reading of the score." 


V.' AGI'TER IN 1901 
It wf3 inconsiderate of thede artists, perhaps, to take 
the play awp.y from the feminine first-nighters, glittering in 
their thousand-dollar boxes; nevertheless, Edward H. Hamilton, 
writing in the E xaminer of November 12, made the brave report 
that "for years to come men and women v;ill tell of the open- 
ing night of the opera of 1901." Perhaps, but their "bubbling 
enthusiasm" was pricked the very next night when Calve devel- 
oped a case of bronchitis and failed to appear in the long- 
awpited Carmen . In place of the spirited Bizet opus Meyer- 
beer's bone-crushing Lea Huguenots was given, and not even the 
prospect of enjoying the spotlight in unrivalled splendor 
could lure the box-holders to sit through the weary acts. On 
Friday, November 15, the Frenchwoman again j.nsulted the San 
Francisco climate v/ith her whistling bronchial tubes and even 
the substitution of Die Walldire could not hide the color of 
the seats. As Ashton Stevens put it in the Examiner of the 
16th! "The men who turned out for The Valkyrie might have 
been divided into classes, the 'Vawgnerites 'and the 'uxorious.'" 
Yet the great cast of singers — Gadaki, Schumann-He ink, Bis- 
pham, Blass and Dippel -- aoon made even the weariest husband 
glad he had come and the evening was pronounced a definite 
success. As Stevens summarized it: 

"This was Wagner, almost the ultimate. Tannhauser was 
The Bohemian Girl beside it, pnd yet I did not observe 
indignant thousands going home before the last curtain. 


Pprhaps the superlative of ViJagner is not so difficult after 
all when it is properly presented. I think myself that the 
esoteric Vjngner lies more in the explrnations of time than 
in the score -- tliat is when the score is read as it was 
by Damrosch last night," 

Vifhlle impatiently avraiting Calve'', opera-goers were curi- 
ous about another member of the company v^ho had left this city 
some 16 years before to find fame in Paris under the affec- 
tionate tutelage of Monsieur Jules Massenet, a man as gallant 
as he was musical, ^ybil Sanderson made her first appearance 
in her home town on November 16, 1901, in Hanon Lescaut , the 
opera in which she had made her debut in 1888 at The Hague, 
(Massenet later had \/ritten two operas expressly for her: 
Esclarmond e and Thais . ) Massenet had pronounced her the ideal 
Manon and Ashton Stevens agreed with him, while implying that 
there were higher aspirations in the field of opera. Her 
voice was neither robust nor wide in range, yet her artlfitpy 
in its manipulation and the insidiousness of her acting could 
not but win admiration from the susceptible Stevens, Unfortu- 
nately, the audience was not so appreciative of French subtle- 
ties, and even her stptvis as a home town girl ^o had made 
good could not make Miss Sanderson an unqualified success. 

But the matinee that Saturdpy brought f ortfi a triumph in 
Faust , not so muchfor Marcella Sembrich's -xcellent Marguerite 


as f or Edouard de Reszke ' 3 insidious Mephlatopheles , One bvirn- 
ing question among operatic critics at this time was whether 
De Reszke or the French basso, Pol Plancon, played the devil 
nearest perfection, /\shton Stevens weighed the question ju- 
diciously for a time, then came -to the wise conclusion in the 
Examiner of November 17 that: 

"Excellence may attain to such fine degree that beyond 
a certain point the ordinary mortal scales of appreciation 
have no balance keen enough to weigh the differences. Per- 
haps the only two persons in the world who are firmly con- 
vinced on this qiipstion are De Reszke pnd Plancon." 

Since Plancon did not accompony the troupe on this totir, 
the question had to go begging for lack of evidence, 


La Boheme , served up with De Marchi, Campanarl and Suzanne 
Adams, failed to catch on, much to Stevens' disgust, particu- 
larly as this Sunday performance was given at "popular prices ." 
According to him, this opera had always been peculiarly ac- 
ceptable to San Franciscans; he went so far as to say that 
this city had actually "discovered" it to Nellie Melba, who 
had then made it popular the world over. He could only 
conclude that the production, despite excellent individual 
performances, lacked the spontaneity which this lyric to Bo- 
hemianism required for nuccess, 

San Franciscans showed themselves more amenable to the 


wiles of Sybil Sanderson in Romeo and Juliet ^ Stevens report- 
ing in the Examiner of November 19 that "she attained to a 
pretty little success last night," As to his own reactions: 

"I- enjoyed Madame Sanderson's personation away beyond 
my expectations, I had had no idea that she was so shrewd 
an artist as not to let the part expose the limitations of 
her voice. In the opening act her nervousness was patent; 
her voice seemed to be feeling for the notes in the waltz 
song and there v/ere several noticeable sags from the pitch. 
But she was delightfully herself in the balcony scene, sing- 
ing those long nezza voce passages without a shade of strain 
and with an unaffected sympathy. The more strenuous demands 
of the role she compromised v/ith. You did not get a pas- 
sionate, thrilling Juliette; but neither did you get a 
prima donna tearing her throat in a futile effort to sound 
beyond her pov/ers . 

"Madame Sanderson was alv/ays in artful moderation; and 
while she was in no sense a sensation she was in many ways 
a success, And one virould wait long seasons to find a Ju- 
liette of the lyric stage more beautifully pictured." 

But it was for The Marriage of Figaro that Stevens, a true 
Mozartian, reserved his critical zeal. Said the ( Examiner , 
November 20, 1901): 

"Every circumstance conspired for a faultless perform- 
ance of the next to the greatest opera in all music. The 


greatest, Don Giovanni , we had a year ago with Nordlca, 
Gadski, Scheff, Edouard de Reszke, Scotti and Salezalnthe 
principal parts. Lvick v/as with art and enthnslaam that 
night, and none who was there expected ever to hear another 
^iozart performance under such auspices. Not even with the 
singers' list of last night -- Eames, Sembrich, Scheff, de 
Reszke and CainpanRri -- did hope run so high, , , .l.iozart 
is the quintessence of all opera, and The Marriage of Figaro 
is one of Mozart's jnasterpieces . And last night's produc- 
tion will be reraernbered long after many other notable nights 
of the Grau season are forgot. It wr.s fabulous, 

"The musicians in the axxdience -- and I am glad to say 
that society made place for a few — v/ent all but delirious 
with the joy and fun, And the most enthusiastic man in the 
house was Walter Damrosch,the Wagnerite, Here was some of 
that 'parfnt stem' he had talked about," 

So enthusiastic was Damrosch that the third act found him 
popping out of his box seat into the orchestra pit, where he 
beat the drum for the balance of the piece. The company 
performed so flawlessly and with such perfect harmony that 
not even Emma Eames could be singled out for special lauda- 
tion, though she sang Mozart "with a delicacy and fragrance 
that is unparalleled among the greater Wagner sopranos." 
Sembrich, Fritzi Scheff, De Reszke, Campanari, all combined 
to create a "performance v/ithout a disaster and without an 
effort," Edward H, Hamilton reported in the same paper (the 


Examiner ) that "the house really v/as a record breaker -- the 
most monej'- pnd the largest number of people ever taken in at 
the Grand Opera House," 

And then came Calve, at last recovered from her illness. 
Not even a heavy rain could keep the crowds away from hearing 
the greatest of Carmens , The opera itself vaa alluring enough 
as alv/ays, v/ith its swift lithe movements, its splashes of 
color, its throbbing rhythms; but with a Calve to give it 
pulse it was unthinkable that one should not be there .Strange- 
ly enough while the Frenchwoman's effort was not a failure, 
it wes something of a disappointment to the YJeetsm audience. 
Stevens (in the Examiner of November 21) explained it by the 
theory that her conception of the character was so different 
from the public's cruder anticipation of what it would be that 
the audience never quite recovered enough from its initial 
surprise to perceive whpt was going on before its eyes. Speak- 
ing for himself, the critic said: 

"Before the first act was well under way I shelved 
• my preconceptions and joyfully accepted Calve 's persona- 
tion for just what she intended it to be, I went for roses, 
and in their absence accepted violets. A finer flower 
than the violet does not bloom. From its own standpoint 
or by comparison with any of the other Carmens, Calve 's 
is matchless. , . • 


"The keynote of Calve 'a Carmen is grace. Its very 
cruelty Is graceful. It has abandon and a measure of 
swagger, but it never affects the hard-heeled stride and 
preposterous pose of the cigarette picture. The flashes 
of temper are fleetly suggested. You do not see the veins 
in the neck stand out like whipcords, as Laura Jean would 
say. , . . There is no distinguishing where one register 
ends pnd the other commences in this wonderful, supple 
voice, a voice which, is always dramatic in quality and 
never falsely roughened for emphasis." 

But the fact remained, as Edward H. Hamilton remarked 
in an adjoining column, that "it was a great crowd, and some- 
thing of an occasion, bixt . . . San Francisco denied the great 
Calve a triumph." In other words the local customers were 
offered vintage wine v/here they had expected v/hiskey and be- 
fore they could sharpen their palates to the unaccustomed 
taste the bottle was empty. However, they were to be offered 
another sample or tv/o before the year was out, 

In spite of Vi/a Iter Damrosch's warning about the "diffi- 
culties of the German joke," the audience found it very diffi- 
cult indeed to appreciate the humor of Richard Wagner as ex- 
pressed in Die Meistersinger . Damrosch had advised the pub- 
lic to read the libretto at least three times before seeing 
this piece of Teutonic levity; but either the effort was too 
much or it was futile, for the majority of the audience sat 


glumly in their expensive chairs for more than four hours 
while Gadskl, Schumann-He ink, De Reszke, Dippel, and Reiss 
exchanged guttural witticisms interspersed with some magnifi- 
cent music and the melodic but strenuous "prize song" of 
Walther, The splendid musical momenta could not compensate 
the bev/ildered Calif ornians for the beer-and-pretzel "virit ," 
It was a fight to the finish between Wagner, the musician and 
Wagner, the wit; and the musician v/as knocked out in the first 
round . 

Calve was to have sung in Carmen again on November 22, 
but her physician ordered her to Pasadena for a rest and a 
small crowd attended the performance given by her understudy, 
Camille Seygard, one that was neither bad nor good, merely 
conventional and not unpleasing. Grau, however, announced 
that he was extending his stay here (cancelling his Los 
Angeles and Dallas engagements) and that Calve' again would 
appear in the Bizet opera on November 30. Two more singers, 
Sybil Sanderson and Emma Eames, had meanwhile given hoarse 
testimony to the fine quality of the San Francisco fog by 
turning up with colds; and the extension v/as necessary if the 
season were to be a profitable one. 

In the temporary absence of these prima donnas, Marcella 
Sembrich took it on herself to save the day by scoring per- 
haps the greatest Individual triumphs of the season in The 
Barber of Seville and Don Pasquale . In the Rossini opera, as 


Rosina, she aeems to have eclipsed Melba in one of tho Aus- 
tralian's favorite roles, and only Patti was suggested as 
worthy of comparison. The ronsensus of opinion was that 
"Patti was and Sembrich is the greatest Rosina." Ashton 
Stevens, who was responsible for the statement, in the Examiner 
of November 24, continued with: 

"Sembrich' 3 great triumph came, of course, in the music 
lesson scene. Nothing like it has been seen or heard in 
San Francisco since that night war with Spain was declBTed 
and Melba, in the garb of the Spanish Rosina, sat at the 
piano and sang 'The Star Spangled Banner.' Men and women 
stood in the aisles, whooped and thundered. Three encores 
were given, but twenty would not have satisfied the crowd. 
It was the demonstration of the season to date, and it was 
earned to the last note. 

"Sembrich' s performance last night was as close to 
vocal perfection as I ever hope to hear. . , . With the 
tonal beauty -- the notes of crystal and dew and the free, 
open-throated fncility of a bird -- that found its vent in 
the supple music, Sembrich blended a brisk, capricious, 
humor-loving personality. She gave the part a character." 

De Reszke and Campanari met with approval as Basillo and 
Figaro respectively, but the tenor Salignac "with that nauseat- 
ing nanny of a tremolo of his, did his most to break up the 
happy family." Stevens grew quite bitter on the subject of 
Salignac t 


"Vfey, a tenor whose throatal wobble would not be tol- 
erated In a house like the Tivoll, where they serve beer 
with the rrias and charge you no more to get In than it 
costs to check an overcoat at the Grand Opera House -- why 
Salignac should have the capitalized AND before his name 
in a Grau programme, is more than I can get through my head. 
Apart from all other considerations, it strikes me as an 
injustice to the artistes v;ho are compelled to sing with 
him, Salignac vms no doubt a fine fellow before the tremor 
got into his throat, and he is considerable of an actor, as 
tenors runjbut his voice last night was what Von Bulow, in 
a bilious hour, called the voice of all tenors, a disease," 

Madame Reuss-Belce> substituting for Emma Eames in 
Lohengrin , spoiled the memory of her almost perfect performance 
on opening night by her distorted portrayal of Elsa, though 
David Bispham, Schuman-Heink, Van Dyck, and Robert Blass did 
their best to lend her inspiration. Sembrich then scored an 
even greater triumph as Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale , 
a seldom given piece which, according to A sht on Stevens in the 
E xaminer of November 28, "is real Italian opera -- not the 
frivoled bombast that has conspired to make Italian opera a 
term of reproach in the lexicon of ultra-modernity, not yet 
the opera of the newer Italy with scarlet and Wagner in it, 
biit just plain opera of the kind that finds its superlative 
in Mozart," Of Sembrich he said: 


" Travlata niny show this singer in a greater purely 
vocal dazzle; The Barber may give her a longer and more 
sustained opportunity for caprice; but this gives her a 
character of sunshine and fun that fits as happily as the 
Sembrich smile. She and the part are a glad unit. The 
music might be the impromptu warble of a canary, so easily 
and joyously does it spring from the tip of her voice, And 
humor and the gaiety of her acting are unsurpassed in any 
operatic memory of mine." 

But in spite of a flawless performance Sembrich had a 
rival in this opera, Antonio Scotti "the infallible," who 
"was in sumptuous voice and sparkling v/ith vitality," Be- 
tween the two of them they set Don Fasquale on record as "one 
of the historic nights of the season." There was, however, 
another little surprise on the bill that night « This was th© 
outstanding performance of Fritzl Scheff as Nedda in 1 
Pagliacci . Fritzi Scheff was later to be remembered as the 
coquettish chanteuse of Victor Herbert melodies, particularly 
of "Kiss Me Again" in Mile . Modiste . But on this occasion 
she astounded the audience, the singers, and herself by sing- 
ing the Leoncavallo role v/lth an unsuspected power and pas- 
sion that brought the house down on her pretty ears .Taken all 
in all, the night of November 27 was as pleasantly spent by 
opera-goers as any oth^r in that season. Ticket holders had 
been briefly alarmed during the afternoon when the rumor was 


spread that Calve would not return to the city this season; but 
Maurice Grau calmed their fears by his timely production of a 
telegram from the singer herself assuring him that she would 
arrive here Friday morning and would positively sing on Satur- 
day, November 30, They held on to their tickets, certain at 
last that this time Carmen would reveal her ultimate secrets, 
which had so ctiriously eluded their eagerness the first time. 

The Pasadena sunshine seems to have worked temporary magic 
on the Calve throat, for on November 30, the promised night, 
the curtain went up and revealed the Frenchwoman in the Spanish 
finery of Carmen, No one v/ent away from the Grand Opera House 
without the conviction that he had seen a great Carmen -- and 

"This second Carmen of Calve 's created no greater fu- 
rore than the first. The audience admired it as an exqui- 
sitely finished presentment. But the audience did not aiioutr 
and hug itself and turn flip-flops in the aisles, 

"There was no call for such a demonstration. Calve 's 
Carmen is not that kind of a girl. It scorns the vocal tour 
de force. In it there is not one ounce of prima donna. .And 
while suggestively voluptuous, it is never palpitating- 
ly passionate. Grace, not sensuousness, is its keynote. 
The Carmen of Calve is fine art — too fine, indeed, for 
the popular pulse here. It does not fever the blood. It 
is not reckless enough, not wanton enough, to clasp our 


sudiences by its senses. That is the only explanation I 
can offer for the two but modestly enthusiastic receptions 
given Calve in San Prone isco. 

"l count myself among the many who thrill to the fine 
poise and delicate art of the characterization, but who do 
not burn. I think Calve over-refines the seductress of 
Seville. Hers may be the greatest Carmen of Merimee's 
fiery pen and of Bizet's sultry score. It is, instead, a 
beautiful idealization of a subject that were better off 
without the gilding, 

"Di Marchi sang a rousing Don Jose, and Frltzi Scheff 
paid another pretty compliment to her versatility in 
Michaela. Flon led without much enthusiasm,"'^ 

If Calve lacked the sort of vitality San Franciscans ex- 
pected of a great Carmen, Marcella Serabrich already had more 
than made up for the disappointment in The Barber of Seville , 
given on the afternoon of the same day. To quote Stevens 

"It is something precious to have heard Sembrich sing 
as we have heard her this season. She is no longer a 
young woman with worlds to conquer, and her private fortune 
is great enough to invite retirement before the first 
tokens of over-ripeness are sounded. We are lucky, I aay, 
away out here on the world's fringe, to have heard Sembrich 

* Ashton Stevens in the Examiner , December 1, 1901, 


in the perfect fulness of her prt . P'or there is no one yet 
in hearing to take her place ns a coloratura singer." 

But the public had not yet despaired of Tmim Calve, and 
on the last night of the season, December 4, she made her final 
appearance to as crowded a house ac' she had faced on her first 
nifsht . She had been so ill that afternoon that it w-^s tbcup;ht 
that she v/o\ild not be able to appear, but she v;a3 deteririned 
to conqiier this stubborn Western audience; and this time she 
succeeded . 

Allo'vance for her frail condition and admiration for her 
courage may have had some influence, of course, but this tim.e 
the packed assembly really "burned," /;lthough she made a "cut" 
here and there vrtiere it was not important, in the bright patches 
her voice lacked little of the dazzle that was associated ^vith 
her name. Eut the effort ivas costly, for according to the 
Examiner of December 6, 1901: 

"Calve is so ill that she could not Ir^ave yesterday 
on the same train with Manager Grau and his family, as she 
had originally planned. Twice the night before last, when 
she made her farev/ell appearance as Carmen, she vi;as so ill 
behind the scenes that it seemed doubtful if she could go 
on with the performance, and yesterday she completed her 
arrangements for a considerable period of rest and recu- 
peration in the south, . . . 

"Iladame Calve is erratic, impulsive, capricious, lux- 
urious -- a fascinating mixture of a great artiste and a 


child; but she Is, as may well be believed, genuinely anx- 
ious about her condition, imd she is going away with the 
best intention to tnke very good care of herself and re- 
cover fully before she sings another note in grand opera. 
She feels confident that she will be v/ell in time to be 
heard at the Metropolitan during the Few York season." 

Besides her natural v^orry about her voice. Calve may have 
fretted over a possible loss of artistic reputation during her 
stay in San Francisco. But she need not have worried. What- 
ever their temporary disappointment, none of her San Francisco 
hearers v;ould ever hear another Carmen without harking back 
to the time when they had first heard Calve, 

The Grand Opera Stock Company took up its duties in 
January, 1902, with a symphony orchestra of 55 musicians under 
the direction of Paul Steindorff which gave regular Friday 
afternoon performances popularly priced at from 50jz^ to |>1.50. 
The stock company performed at the vulgar rates of from 10^ 
to 75(^. First actor to be featured with the company was Edwin 
Arden, a young gentleman who was not content with mouthing the 
words of others but also laid claim to a gift for dramatic 
vnr^iting. Besides playing in that old bromide, Don Cesar de 
Bazan , and a popular piece of the day, Jim the Penman , Arden 
served up his own private stock of dramatic ideas in Zorah 
and Rap; Ian' 3 VJay . Zorah , described by the Examiner of January 
28, 1902, as "a good out-and-out Russian melodrama, full of 


'witches,' 'itches' and 'offs,'" seems to have been one of 
those "vehicles" loaded with foreign tyrannyand brash American 
heroism which could not fail to please a public nurtured on 
the exploits of Admiral Dewey and the tales of Richard Harding 
Davis. l"r . Arden was a success. 

A romantic note, slightly soured, was struck in themiddle 
of March when Melbourne Macdowell, "the si;i,000 star," opened 
an engagement at the Grand v/ith Florence Stone at the same 
time that Blanche Walsh was appearing at the Columbia. The 
Sunday supplement of the Examiner , March 16, had just given 
a full page to a "tempestuous love affair" betv/een the two 
stars that had end'":d in a violent qitarrel. With this promising 
publicity the two Celtic principals appropriately selected 
St. Patrick's Day for the opening of prof essional hostilities. 

Throughout Mar^h and April Macdowell did his best to live 
up to his romantic name and reputation, putting on lavish 
productions of such Sardou sensations as Fedora , Empres s 
Theodora , Tosca , Gismonda, and Cleopatra . Unf ortiinately, 
though his engagement could not be called a failure, his erst- 
while inamorata, ex-wife of Mat Goodwin, seems to have come 
out of the battle with all the honors, for the Examiner barely 
touched on Macdowell's exploits while devoting full columns to 
the life, loves, talents, and personal opinions of Miss Walsh, 

Old-time San Franciscans, always ready for an emotional 
spree, were given a treat onApril 28 when Ned Harrigan opened 


an engagement in an appropriately titled drama of his own 
making. Old Lavende r « Plarrigan, one of the most popular stage 
figures of his day, had begun his career in the sixties -- 
inausplciously enough -- at the old Bella Union; and certainly 
no self-respecting pioneer would sink so low as to forget the 
fact. The play, too, was one to revive sentimental memories. 
To quote Ashton Stevens in the Examiner of April 29, 1902: 

"Edward Harrigan in Old Lavender brings back memo- 
ries of n world that seems a century old. So fast and far 
has the national life moved twrnj from that quaint half- 
formed civilization of tw.tnty-five or thirty years ago, it 
almost takes on the aspect of an historical play in which 
the occasional infusion of modern slang is an offense. 
Yet the colors are not faded and the story is one that nev- 
er dies. There are always tears for the ne'er-do-well 
whether he is called 'Rip Van Winkle' or 'Old Lavender.' 
It almost seems as if whiskey were the milk of human kind- 
ness, and the house is ever ready to share the boozy emo- 
tions of a warm-hearted old reprobate." 

Right under this paean to the emollient qualities of 
whiskey, by the v;ay, the Examiner ran a testimonial from the 
Vtfomen's Christian Temperance Union of Contra Costa county 
headed "The Drink Evil," in v/hlch the gentle ladies lauded the 
editors for "giving their powerful influence against intoxi- 
cants in able articles nnd cartoons," I'ranv/hile old and young 
San Franciscans flocked to the Grand Opera House to see and 


hear Harrigan's likeable old drunkard, 

Harrigan continued his engagement for a month, thi^ough 
May 24, bringing forth his version of the nineteenth-century 
Irishman under such names as Reilly and the 400 and Waddy 
Googan . He also sang many songs of his ovm composition, old 
favorites which had been sung by two generations suchas "Denny 
Grady's Hack," "It Showered Again," "Baxter Avenue," and "Put 
on Your Bridal Veil." By special request he revived Old 
Lavender in his last week, after which San Francisco was left 
with the momory of another son she would never see again. 

On June 16, 1902, lildward Morgan and Maude Pealy began an 
engagement with Romeo and Juliet « The 18-year-old Miss Fealy, 
either by design or through the natxiral laws of temperament, 
paid no heed to the passionate Italian Juliet in vogue since 
the days of Adelaide Weils on and played the part as it was 
written -- as an immature, awakening girl swept off her bal- 
cony by a smouldering, eloquent Romeo, Judging from an inter- 
view held by Stevens with the pair, chaperoned by a chatty, 
doting mother who insisted on her female right to srif -expres- 
sion, Juliet's little revolution was inspired by the same mo- 
tives that cause a deaf-mute to speak the sign language. And 
Mr, Morgan seems never to have seen or heard of Mr, Shake- 
speare's effort before rehearsal, but insisted on airing crit- 
ical opinions not at all favorable to the gentleman from 

Mr, Morgan's ignorance survived the democratic test in 
the following vireek when he was required to play another part 


he had never heard of in the popular melodrama. The Two Orphans , 
by Adolphe Denncry and Eugene Cormon. It is not stated v;hether 
the versatile young mummer had ever heard of Goethe's Faust ; 
nevertheless, he and Miss Pealy put on a "scenic and electri- 
cal" production of that masterpiece which was sufficiently ex- 
citing to fill the Grand Opera House for a week. They then 
were "seen to advantage" in Hall Caine's theological thriller. 
The Christian . 


The T, Daniel P'rawley Company again occupied the Grand 
on August 11, 1902, presenting a dramatized version of Richard 
Blaclcraore's popular novel, Lorna Do one , for "the first time in 
San Francisco," The Nev; York star and after-dinner wit, 
1/Vilton Lcckaye, played the hero John ^^idd; according to the 
Examiner of the following day, "his honesty was all very well 
and none really objected to it, but as a lover, especially the 
lover of a Lorna Doone, he was disappointing." The only mem- 
bers of the cast who came off well v/ith the critics were Alice 
Johnson as Lorna Doone rnd Theodore Roberts as the caddish 
Carver Doone • 

For the week beginning August 19, Prawley produced his 
version of William Gillette's Secret Service , The whole cast 
of principals, Prawley, Mary Van Buren, Gardner Crane, and 
Elizabeth Stewart, were commended both critically and popular- 
ly, and the Civil War play provided a very pleasant interlude 
at the Grand, before the Celtic storm broke. 


The Celtic onslaught arrived with the engagement of a 
local Irishman, Denis O'Sullivan, in a series of Irish favor- 
ites, mostly by Dion Boucicault. Evidently the .^iKlience en- 
joyed the efforts of Mr. 'Sullivan, oblivious of the fact 
that the Celtic Twilight had made odious the thout;ht that an 
Irishman could be a buffoon --or anything but a pale mystic 
with no thought in the world but the sorrom's of Deirdre or the 
ancient triumphs of Finn McCoul, Boucicault 's hoary favor- 
ites, Arrah -na-P ogu6 , The Shaughran and The Colleen Bawn,were 
received with raucous and uncritical acclaim by the local pub- 
lic, and it did not hurt matters v;hen Mr. O'Sullivan devoted 
his voice, in interlude, to such ditties as "The Low Backed 
Car," "Kitty of the Cows," "The Wearing of the Green," "The 
Donovans," and "The LeprechaLin." Unfortunately'', the sensitive 
exiles who formed the Irish societies of this city were not 
soothed by the news that men and women were being hanged at 
large or that a crock of gold awaited an3'-one who could capture 
a leprechaun. They considered that Mr. O'Sullivan -was a dis- 
grace to his name and lineage and that every loyal Irishman 
suffered in prestige every time he trod the boards. Ignoring 
the fact that the plays of Dion Boucicault had been written 
some thirty or forty years before, they suddenly burst forth in 
great indignation that an Irishman could be made a flf^ure of 
fun. Of his portrayal of Shaun the Post in Arrah -na- Pogue the 
Examiner of August 26, 1902, said: 


"As Shaun the Post he _/0' Sullivan/" runs the gamut of 
human emotions from the first kiss of the wedding night to 
the dungeon cn6 the death sentence, and he never fails to 
touch a human chord .... 0' Sullivan wins. He ia the 
most enthusiastically Irish Irishman on the stage today." 

Denis O'Sulllvan may have been enthusiastically Irish 
(the more so for being born in Snn Francisco), but he could not 
compete with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who immediately 
hoisted the green flag emblazoned with these words: "Resolved, 
that v/e, the board of directors of the Ancient Order of Hiber- 
nians, speaking in behalf of the united membership of the or- 
ganization in this city, and voicing the genuine sentiment of 
Irishmen everywhere, do emphatically condemn the plays in 
question . , . and pledge our support to the movement inaugu- 
rated Ipj the Gaelic League to discourage by all proper means 
the production of such plays to the end that they may be driven 
from the stage ." 

Vifhereupon the I-Inights of Tara, not to be outdone, issued 
an even more provocative manifesto, condemning: "This vile 
system of stage caricature and libel by which English malice 
and prejudice has so long sought to misrepresent and degrade 
U.S. . , , Resolved: That vie deeply regret that Vr , O'Sulllvan 
should have thus permitted himself to do the enemy's work and 
Twe hope in the future that he will devote himself to the pro- 
duction of plays which shall be worthy of the fine talents 
which he undoubtedly possesses," 


But Mr. 0' Sullivan continued to take English gold with 
renegade cheerfulness until the end of September, to the ap- 
plause of sll Fission Street. 

Then -- as though in defiance -- the management introduced 
Wilfred Clnrke in Sheridan's The Rivals, \7hich contains a 
character called Sir Lucius 'Trigger who might bo named the 
grandfather of all stage Irishmen. However, llr. Sheridan was 
a classic and a credit to the 52 counties, and no protest fol- 
lowed . 

Balm for wounded mystics soon came, however, vihen Marie 
Vj'alnwright, supported by the Grand stock company, opened a 
seacon on October 13,1902, with a week's tvlti of Twelfth Night 
for the benefit of The VJidows' and Orphans' Aid Association 
of the Police Department of San Francisco, in which were a 
good many descendants of Cuchulain, Tickets sold at si'lOO. 

Miss Wainwright, no longer j'oung but still respected, 
continued her engagement into the last week of November, pre- 
senting a variety of pieces that included Amy Robsart (a dram- 
atization of Scott's Kenilwort h which had been popular in the 
sixties). The School for Scandal , Daup;hter3 of Eve , An Unequal 
Match , and the old "sensation" drama. East Lynne . It was 
.something of a comedoi/n for an actress of her reputation to be 
playing with the Grand Opera Stock Company to "six-bit" seats, 
but evidently the lady lost no prestige in so doing, for the 
Chronicle or October 19 remarked that "she has never acted 


better than she is doing nov;," Later, on October 28, after 
a performance of The School for Scandal , the same rjaper seid 
thpt "Marie Wainwright is assuredly the best comedienne for 
such roles yaa Lady Teazle/'vi/e now have," Finally, the Chro n- 
icle of November 18 made the pronouncement that "the engage- 
ment . . , has been all through the most high class season we 
have had at a popular priced house for a long time," 

The Christmas season brought a somewhat more fashionable 
aura to the Grand on December 8, when Nance O'Neil opened in 
Sudermann's Magda, one of those heavily emotional plays for 
which the actress was then famous, Nance O'Neil was to her 
day very much what Mrs. D, P. Bowers had been some 30 years 
previously, and the school of acting which both represented, 
though somewhat out of vogue, still had force enough to make 
her one of the most prominent actresses of the early century. 
Also, she was an Oakland girl and under the management and 
with the acting support of the popular McKee Rankin, Her en- 
gagement continued profitably well into February, 1903, An 
interesting review of her performance of her greatest role. 
Lady Macbeth, was v/ritten by Ashton Stevens in the Examiner 
of January 14, 1903; 

"Misa O'Neil, who has strength and magnetism but no 
subtlety, plays the part for all its primitive worth, and 
completely turns the laugh on those dark-browed critics that 
have endeavored to flatter delicate actresses by reading 


into V\fllliain Shakespeare (v/ho himself saw the role of Lady 
Macbeth enacted only by husky lads that had to shave hard 
against stiff beards) delicacies which would make a less 
happy go lucky playwright throw flip flops in his grave. 
"Vi/hat a pity there are not more roles for a temperament 
like Nance O'Nell's, a temperament at once so big pnd so 
limited. As Lady Macbeth Miss O'Neil is one of the great 
actresses of the world, I do not believe her p^^er for the 
part lives. She is the Lady Macbeth of grand tradition, 
the one that this generation has never seen, except in the 
mind's eye when reading the book. And surely no other of 
the great Lady Macbeths has been so beautifiil." 

E, J, Radcliffe, considered an excellent actor, played 
the part of Macbeth, but he was overshadowed by the nightclad 
lady with the candle. Also included in the O'Neil repertory 
was Elizabeth , Quee n of England , another dose of emotion v;hlch 
has not been administered since the days of Rlstori and Mrs. 
D, P. Bowers a generation before. According to the Chronicle 
of December 16, 1902, O'Neil vi/as "the only actress on the 
American stage capable of playing it at all," Reviewing the 
opening performance of Magda in the Chronicle of December 9, 
1902, the critic of that paper paid eager tribute to the O'Neil 
emotional wallop, but was forced to agree with Ashton Stevens 
that the actress could by no means be considered a polished 
artist. However, he conceded that her "play of the finer lights 
and shades is much more artistic than before . . . . Theranthas 
almost disappeared." 


Next on the list v/ere Ejnrnett Corrigan and Maude Odell, 
billed as "co-stars" -- though Miss Odell definitely occupied 
second place in the minds of the critic as well as the audi- 
ence. Indeed, Corrigrn impressed the town so deeply that even 
Aahton Stevens threxv all caution to the winds and declared 
(in the Examiner of March 17, 1903) that: "I should not like 
to pose as a Columbus of the obvious. Perhaps yourself and 
family know all about Emmett Corrigan, who appeared at the 
Grand as co-star with Miss Maude Odell in a play of the sin- 
gular title of The Sixth Commandment , , . , But he v/as brand 
new to me -- unheard, unhonored and unsung , , , so I maybe 
pardoned -- yes? — for discovering to myself one of the moat 
charming actors that ever appeared in a Southside theatre," 

Of course, it would have been hard to write ill of a man 
named Corrigan on St .Patrick' s Day; but March 24 found Stevens 
writing of the actor in similar terms, even mentioning the word 
"genius," Corrigan wound up his engagement with Emlle Bergerat's 
i'ore than Queen and was succeeded by R, D, McLean and Odette 
Tylor in Richard III. These players seemed to think anything 
but Shakespeare beneath their notice, putting on King John, 
Othello , and Julius Caesar, Their repertory, hov/ever, did not 
Impress Stevens, who called Miss Tyler a "pink-tea Desdemona" 
and declared that iicLeanwas "a delightful Southern gentleman" 
but "no actor," 

Corrigan then returned for a farewell and made glad public 
and critics by his performance in Dr , Jekyll and Mr , Hyde . The 


Call of Mpy 5, 1903, referred to "the hjnonotic Mr, Corrigan," 
declaring that he "agnln shows himself here a distinctly accom- 
plished nctor, and those interested In the v.'cird and vronderf\il 
, . , will do '-lell to see him here," Mr. Corrirnn could row 
call himself a success. 

Folloviring Corrigan came comedian Walter Perkins in Joroine, 
a dramatization of Mary E, lilkins' novel of the same name. 
With him in the company were Gilbert Gardner, Edward Wannery, 
Pred Butler, Blanche Stoddard, and -Antoinette Walker, The 
Call of May 12 asserted that "the applause was frequent and 
enthusiastic throughout the performance"; so it seems t]iat 
Corrigan h.-^d not corralled all the popularity in this city. 
For his second week icrkins put on Augxistus Thomas' farce, 
On the Quiet , which earned for him even more generous plaudits. 
Said the Call of May 19: "The ]iumor of Mr. Perkins is of the 
spontaneous variety. It abides v/ith 3-iim constantly -^nd ooses 
out of him like spring water from the mountain side. With him 
it is always on tap and is inexhaustible ," P'^:rklns kept up 
the good impression with M^ Friend from India, desci/lbed as 
"fast and f^^rious" and revealing th"- actor as a "continuous 
joke. He srems funnirr every year." 

A really lucrative season followed in June, 1903, when 
a "musical eccentricity," In Washington , which had enjoyed a 
long run at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Now York, decorated 


the massive stage of the Grand. Among the featured players 
were "Dutch Comedians'' Raymond and Calv^vly, Chrridah Simpson, 
Louise Moore, Olive Ulrxch, Harold Crane, Herbert oears, Iviarthe 
de Roy, and Charles Allison. Allison v/p.s really something of 
an historic relic, having played with actor-i as legendary as 
James W. and Lester Wnllack, E. L, Davenport, Charlotte 
Cushman, Lydia Thomp/on, Edv/in Booth, and Lucille Western. 
Prices v/ere raised by cutting out the 10^ vnd. 15^ seats, be- 
cause of the expense of the spectacle; nevertheless, it con- 
tinued to pack the house for a month. It was follcwod by 
another show of the s"me kind. In Central lark. In v/hich the 
same performers rere again "seen to advantage" by the undis- 
mayed lovers of spectacle. The days of tlie Black Crook v;ere 
numbered, but it? brood would evidently go on forever. 

In Central Park, if anything, was the more popular of the 
two "eccentricities," running for three wee\:3 to packed house-s , 
Then came In VJall Street , v/hich was said to have packed the 
Victoria Theatre in Wew York for a whole season at ii>2 a scat. 
Three weeks exhausted its popularity in San Francisco, its 
successor being another hodge-podge of singing, dancing, and 
general nonsense called In Harvard « This last tour was headed 
by a young English actor, Robert Warwick -- his face has been 
familiar to moviegoers for a generation -- who seems to have 
caught on immediately, particularly for his rendition of a 
comic song, "I'm Getting Quite American, Don't Yer ICnow?" The 
entire season, which lasted over two and one-half months, made 
quite a festive interlude at the usually glum house. 


The Pollard Lilliputian Opera Company, headed by Daphne 
Pollard, "the child soubrette," enjoyed no such success. Pour 
other little Pollards, so-called at least -- Connie, Jack, 
Merle,, and Alice — made up the company of principals. These 
"little figures in adult dresses" and their accomplices trilled 
and tripped around the stage of the Grand for nearly a month 
in such assorted offerings as The Belle of New York , The Gaiet y 
G-irl , The Lady Slavey , The Geisha , Paul Jone s , Do rothy , and 
H. M. _S, Pinafore. The "novelty" attracted fair crowds, but 
to those above the mental age of the performers themselves it 
must have been a relief to welcome the romantic figure of 
James Neill to the Grand, 

James Neill and his wife, Edythe Chapman, were two of the 
most popular stock actors of the decade, whose brand of romance 
v/as pleasing if hardly ins])iring. The two-week engagement 
featured Stanley Weyman's A Gentleman of France (with Neill In 
ruffles and silken hose) and Ouida's U nder Two Flags . It 
turned out to be quite profitable. Ashton Stevens in the 
Examiner of October 5, 1905, had an interesting comment to 
make concerning the popularity of the Oulda opus; 

"It/the crov/d/'^cn joyed Mr, Noill's journey from the 
nearly great to the frankly popular. Why not? There is no 
irremediable reason why the prices should be the only popul- 
ar feature of the performances of a second-class star. The 


public -- particularly the public that pays popular prices 
-- does not care a rap about ostentation. . . . 

"Mr. Weill's Bertie Cecil was quite Ouidaesque, a bit 
throaty perhaps in the heroics, but onthe whole picturesque 
and abounding in the far-flung chest for which this drama- 
tization calls. And lira, Weill's Cigarette was a tense 
performance, all but the ride. Indeed, there were moments 
of natural abandon in it that exposed the deliberate thea- 
tricalness of the rest of the ' incomparable s. ' " 

Evidently the Pollard darlings had not been enough for 
the child-loving public, for on October 11, 1903, Bothwell 
Browne and his "band of clever children" put on what was 
announced as a "burlesque of Antony and Cleopatra," This 
monstrosity featured Browne himself as Cleopatra vi^ith 150 
bright children in attendance. Who played Antony -- or how 
ravishing Mr, Browne may have been as the queen of the Nile 
-- it was not reported. The Examiner of October 12, 1903> 
merely commented that: "the Biirleaque was but a mere framework 
to show of f the precocious youngsters, aged 2 to 15 years old," 
and that the dancing was excellent. This affair disappeared 
after a week, 

Two minor engagements took the boards for a week apiece: 
Catherine Countess and Asa Lee Wlllard in Hall Calne's The 
Christian and Leslie Morosco (son of Walter and an old favorite 


at the Grand) In a musical comedy called Spotless Town . All 
this of course was alight diversion compared to what the Klaw 
and Erlanger Syndicate had to offer in November: A "stupen- 
dous" (and probably colossal) production of Ben Hur with a 
cast of 3,000, Like all Syndicate productions, this called 
for an immediate rise in prices {50^ to ^2), It was advertised 
that the original cost of putting on Ben Hur at New York's 
Broadway Theatre was ^^.100, 000 and that "twelve 60foot baggage 
cars are used in the transportation of the effects of the 
show," But all this ballyhoo left Ashton Stevens cold; said 
he, in the Examiner of November 3, 1903: 

"Aa drama Ben H\ir is ridiculous;as a spectacle it is, 
to say the least, diverting. Now and then it is exciting 
in a purely scenic way, and if you take it in the spirit 
as you would take in a Buffalo Wild West Show, you will 
find it worth three hours and two dollars. But if you are 
looking for drama, or even intelligent melodran^, Ben Hur 
will bore . 

"... The chariot race is worth sixty seconds of any- 
body's time. If the horses' names were on the programme I 
should be tempted to mention all sixteen of them. They are 
noble tread-millers. They are real and their running is 
real, 1'hey villi run for four weeks at the Grand Opera 

And so they did. And when they grew tired and Messrs. 
Klaw and Erlanger -- not too much the richer -- drove them away 


in their 60-foot baggage car«, they were succeeded by Over 
Niagara , another scenic show with "astounding electrical ef- 
fects, all special scenery" and a "realistic and marvelous 
Niagara Palls Scene," The prices for viewing this splashing 
spectacle, however, returned to 75^ "tops" and -- perhaps as 
a consequence -- the play ran for one week only. Probably 
four weeks of Messrs, Klaw and Erlanger, in any form, were 
enough for one town, 

December was, as usual, a month of little theatrical im- 
portance, and featured a series of one-week stands by stock 
stars. First on the list was Marie Heath in one of those 
"rural dramas" dear to the times. For Mother ' s Sake , in which 
she played the part of a boy. Then, on December 13, arrived 
that old Scotch patriarch of the American stage, J.H, Stoddard, 
now 78 years old but still capable of playing to packed houses. 
He had been playing the part of Fachlan Campbell in Ian Mac 
Laren's The Bonnie Brier Bush for three years, and on December 
14, 1903, he received this rare compliment from Peter Robertson 
of the Chronicle ; 

"It happens very rarely, but it does happen at the 
moment that the greatest dramatic performance in the mat- 
ter of fine art at present before the American public is 
now to be seen at popular prices at the Grand Opera House 
where Mr. Stoddard is playing Fachlan Campbell in The 
Bonnie Brier Bush." 


Friday, December 18, v/as Caledonian night and loyal 
Scots tiirned out en masse to do honor to their distinguished 
coixntryman. The usual bagpipe-playing. Highland-flinging, and 
songs of Robert Burns v/ere added to the program, 

On December 20 the firemen of the city joined in a ben- 
efit for their widows and orphans, putting on a melodrama 
called How to Fight _a Fire , or The Life of a San Francisco 
Fireman , chiefly notable for its revival of Moroscan realism, 
with a real fire> real engine, and real firemen. It seems to 
have been all very exciting and to have done v;ell for the wid- 
owed ladles and guileless kiddies. On the bill that night and 
for the balance of the vt^eek was a "clever soubrette," May 
Stockton, in k Little Outcast , another piece of "realism," 
whose main purpose seems to have been the presentation of New 
York scenery, including the famous Five Points, a strip of 
Chinatown, and a panorama of the Battery at night. Last pro- 
duction of the year was The Minister's Son , another "rural 
drama" of familiar pattern, starring W, B. Patton, "that pe- 
culiar comedian." Patton, however, had competition, for at 
the same time two other of these "pastorals" were playing in 
the city: The Da Iry Farm (at the Central) and Blue Jeans 
(at the Alcazar) » ' 

The year 1904 brought Adelina Pattitotov/n in another of 
her famous farev/ells, this time the genuine thing, Patti for 


more than 40 years had been the world's great soprano — and 
even at 61 was so superb that no coloratura could escape the 
inevitable comparison with her. Her voice was not what it 
had been; but it had still the same purity, the same f lawless- 
ness of technique that had always been its chief claim to 
glory. Her program was light, including the aria "Voi che 
Sapete" from The Marriage of Figaro ; the Jev/el Song from Faust ; 
"Robin -Adair," "The Last Rose of Summer," "Comin' Through the 
R3'-e,"and "Home Sweet Home" (no Patti program would be complete 
without "Home Sweet Home"). She spng on January 7, 1904, and 
the Grand Opera House v;as full of the young and curious, the 
old and sentimental, the middle-aged and critical. Criticism 
under the circumstances could not be too harsh and perhaps 
the best expression of the general sentiment was given in the 
Chronicle of January 8: 

"There has always been a charm about her, a charm that 
is indefinable. It was not only the perfect art, the un- 
deniable gift of temperament -- for nobody could be all 
that Patti was by culture -- the natural spontaneity of 
musical feeling and appreciation; there was alv/ays some- 
thing else, some tone of that voice, aome radiating charm 
v/hich captured and drew people to her. That was there, even 
more effectively last night than ever. The years that had 
elapsed seemed to have developed a warmth in the voice, 
which time and again, came out irresistibly," 


She went South and then returned for one more concert on 
January 11, and that was the last San Francisco ever saw of 
Adelina Pattl, She was the last of the eld Italian school of 
singing, of bel canto, of Mozartian purity, whose like has 
not been heard again. 

After an interlude of Vivian Frescott in In Convict 
Stripes , a negligible melodrama, another company arrived in 
town. This was the V\Jeber and Fields troupe, starring the 
glamorous Lillian Russell, which began an engagement on Feb- 
ruary 8 in Whoop - dee - doo . Besides the buxom Lillian and the 
dialectic Weber and Fields, the troupe comprised Peter F, 
Dailey, Louis Mann, Mabel Penton, and Jolin T. Kelley, 
any one of them capable of starring in his own right, Kolb 
and Dill had been giving the Weber and Fields repertory for 
several months previously at Fischer's Theatre on O'Farrell 
Street, and comparison was inevitable, with the conclusion 
that the local pair was not completely outclassed as "Dutch" 
comedians, but that the Vu'eber and Fields company as a whole 
was the more polished, Lillian Russell, though, now 43 years 
of age, still had the same old attraction as when she had first 
appeared at Tony Pastor's 24 years before; her voice had "much 
of the old, clear and attractive sweetness, in its tones," 

It was rumored that Weber and Fields were about to sep- 
arate (v;hich they did later) and there was mvich speculation 


on the truth of the rumor. This of course did not have a bad 
effect on the receipts, which amounte'3 to ;:V30,000 for two 
weeks. The other burlesque In their program was Crth er ine . 
VJorth quoting is the conclusion of Peter Robertson's farev.rell 
eulogy in the Chronicle of February 21. Discissing the pair's 
contribution to genuine comedy, he concluded: "But we get 
down to this simple fact -- that whatever is worth doing at 
all is v/orth doing well and that nearly everything in a dra- 
matic or comedy v/ay which can bo traced to genuine human nature 
is well worth doing, if only, as Weber and Fields do it, it is 
done with brain work and fulfills its intention, even if it be 
to raise a healthy laugh," 


There came an interlude during v/hich Thomas J, &mlth ap- 
peared in an Irish comedy called The Gamekeeper , with fair 
success, and Frank Bacon (not yet famous as the nuthor and 
star of Lightnin' ) put on a local play called The Hills of 
California , which everybody did his best to forget as quickly 
as possible. Then Sigmund Ackerman, manager of the Grand, an- 
nounced that Minnie Maddern Fiske v;ould open a season at the 
theatre on March 21 in Mary of Mggdala , Also on her program 
were Hedda Gabler, A Bit of Old Chelsea , Divorcons , A Doll's 
House , and Tess of the D'Urbevillea , 

It seems strange that Mrs. Fiske, one of the most dis- 
cussed actresses on the American stage, should have had to ap- 
pear at a second-rate theatre such as the Grand had become: 


b\it the e.xplanation lay in the simple fact that the Syndicate 
controlled nearly every first-class theatre in the Nation and 
she, being engaged in battle royal with it, was forced to take 
v/hat she could jret (the same was true of David Belasco) . Mrs, 
Piske in an interview with Blanche Partington (quoted in the 
Call of liarrh 27, 1904) gave vent to the following observa- 
tions : 

"This fashion of ours of playing every night is bru- 
tal. . , , One can give perhaps three performances a week 
that pre v/holly worthy. . . . Familiarity is fatal here, 
as in almost every relation. . . . There is an evolution 
of beauty, ... We may even come to consider Ibsen beau- 
tiful. He certainly is the most enthralling master of 
stagecraft — a flaming, angry, raging northern star, . • , 
Pinero? A very nice little follower, a pretty little re- 
flection, a pale flame of the Ibsen school, , , , Ibsen 
begins where all other dramatists end," 

Ashton Stevens, long an admirer of Mrs, Fiske, headed an 
interview with her in the same day's Examiner , "A Chat with 
the Greatest American Actress," and continued in the same 
rhapsodic vein: "I.Irs , Fiske ' s wonderful eyes by any light . , . 
give you perhaps the only visible token of her tremendous -- 
I use the big word advisedly -- magnetism. I once wrote a 
line that amused her. I said that stupid people see nothing 
in Mrs. Fiske, ' 'How mercilessly you make admiration for my 
acting the test of intelligence, ' she smiled . . ,/bni.i^I confess 


myself unequal ... to overpraising Mrs. Fiske's acting. 
Remembering she had once told how bad Ibsen was for the con- 
temporary theatre ... 'I still hold ... he has had a bad 
influence on his follov/ers -- even I can't stand G-hosts . '" 

It was obvious that the lady made good copy, but it can- 
not be said that she met with unequalled critical approval- 
Particularly stringent was Peter Robertson of the Chronicle , 
who deplored her addiction to Ibsen, regarding him as a 
prurient old man unfortijnately endowed with a gift for dramatic 
construction. Mrs. Flske helped make up for her lack of m.oral 
perception during her stay by stopping '*a miserable horse 
hitched to a butcher wagon" and promptly handing him over to 
the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; but this 
did not hinder Robertson's sighing for such "clean, pure 
plays of everyday joys and sorrows" as Hazel Klrke and The 
Old Homestead . 

Seemingly, from this distance of time, Josephine Hart 
Phelps summed Mrs. Flske up most fairly in the Argonaut of 
April 18, 1904: 

"Not only Mrs. Fiske's physical type but her mode of 
speech are cast into such a fixed mold as to make them not 
easily adaptable. Well as she acts the part, it is diffi- 
cult, nay impossible, for her to look like Hardy's Tess,the 
simple, rustic beauty. Through the hiimble dress and under 
the weird cockney bonnet of the flower-girl in _k^ Bit of Old 


Chelsea , we discern the lineaments, movements and speech 
of a sophisticated woman of the polite world. It was in 
'the characters of Becky Sharp and Hedda Gabler that Mrs. 
Fiske was truly at ease, and in accordance with her own 
physical and mental peculiarities. And yet widely apart as 
are the characters of Becky, Hedda and Nora, she continues, 
by some subtle transmutation, to the secret of which we 
have not the clue, to adapt aj.1, or nearly all, her pecul- 
iar, breathless, characteristic ways and mannerisms which fit 
30 aptly on Becky, the adventurous, pr Hedda, the undomes- 
tic, to' Nora, the domestic. . . , Lirs, Piske has a curious 
way of becoming absolutely immovable in pose and inscrutable 
in expression. So Nora Helmer sat in dry-eyed apathy-, ston- 
ily reviewing life, love and the soul of her husband, which 
for the first time she had just seen laid bare before her. 
And the audience, glued to their opera glasses., gazed and 
gazed, and responded with intensity to the full force of 
that silently suggestive by-play," ' 

Two hilarious weeks then followed of Kolb and Dill, evi- 
dently unafraid to rush In where Weber and Fields so lately 
had trod. Prices — which had gone as high as $2 for the 
provocative l!\rs, Fiake — were reduced to a 75jzf high, and all 
went merrily with such familiar nonsense as Hoity - Toity , 
Fiddle - Dee -Dee, Whirl -I-Gig, and Bi£ Little Princess . With 
the comedians were Barney Bernard, Maude Amber, and Hope and 


Then came Melbourne MacDowell, the "11,000 Star," who 
had failed so lamentably a year or so before In competition 
with his inamorata, Blanche Walsh, Now he arrived with Ethel 
Fuller in attendance and a lavish display of costumes, scenery, 
and Sardou, The man with a mellifluous name but only a second- 
rate talent still had enough attraction to hold the attention 
of audiences for six weeks. To his Sardou repertory of 
Cleopatra , Fedora , Empress Theodora , and Gismonda, he added a 
new play of unspecified origin, A Captain of Navarre , Popular- 
ly Melbourne did excellently; in the critical eye, not too 
well. The Argonaut said tartly on Iviay 23, 1904: "An undiver- 
sified Sardou routine does not tend to keep inspiration alive, 
and Mr. MacDowell is not an actor who is always potent in in- 
fluencing the imagination," 

Piqued, MacDowell turned aside from Sardou for the last 
week of his engagement. The Chronicle of June 6 was even less 

"MacDowell' 3 new play is called A Captain of Navarre 
and looks like a vivid adaptation of one of those old French 
romantic dramas of the spring o'fifty. The dialogue is 
painfully stupid and the situations so badly handled that 
it is surprising that an actor of MacDowell 's experience 
could stage manage them without realising the absurdity of 
it all." 


Thus rebuked, MacDowell retired, giving way to Mrs. 
Leslie Csrter, guided by the one and only David Belasco, In 
the latter's Du Barry , 

Du Barry was one of those spurious Belasco shows made 
tolerable only by the man's florid but indubitable showmanship. 
The play itself, which Mrs, Carter had played for three years 
in the East, was an ostentatious arrangement of scenes appeal- 
ing mainly to the lascivious impulses of Its prim audiences -- 
an office for which its star, Mrs« Leslie Carter, was preemi- 
nently fitted. She was not handsome, certainly she was not a 
first-rate actress, end without Belasco she probably never 
would have been allowed through a stage door — and yet for 
three weeks people jammed through the doors of the Grand to see 
her, and all because David Belasco knew his public. The 
Argonaut of June 20 gave an acute summary of Mrs, Carter's 

"A curious quality about i.^rs. Carter during the height 
of her emotional acting is her ability to arouse the sensi- 
bilities to a certain excitation, while the sympathies remain 
comparatively unmoved. She is totally unable to Indicate 
tenderness, and her pathos smacks of mechanism, but few 
actresses are capable of the ardor and sustained energy 
which enable her to emerge triumphantly from so taxing a 
demand on the temperament and the physical strength as 
that made in the role of Jeanette Du Barry." 


Almost the spitiq words might have been applied to her 

After Du Barry , at $2 a seat, came the unsensational 
James Nelll and his wife Edythe Chapman, in a nine-week en- 
gagement at popular prices. Apparently the public was in the 
mood for cheap romance, for their long engagement was vmusual- 
ly well attended. They opened with Barbara Frietchie and con- 
tinued with I'.ir , Barnea of New York , The Cowboy and the Lady , 
A Gentleman of £rance, Shenandoah , A Parisian Romance , The 
Lottery of Love , Held by the Enemy , and Under Two Flags. Evi- 
dently the list was well selected, for Neill not only played 
at the Grand for nine weeks but appeared in 82 consecutive per- 
formances, and his last week was as successful as his first, 

After two weeks of Chinese plays and Bothwell Browne's 
300 moppets in a "Japanese extravaganza," Princess Fan Tan , 
Prod Wright's York State Folks succeeded in giving people a 
fortnight's entertainment. This "rural drama" differed from 
most similar plays of that time in that it lacked the con- 
ventional wronged daughter, the harsh father, the mortgage on 
the farm; instead it was on the humorous side, more on the 
order of David Harvun , The audience was pleased, particularly 
Y/ith a local girl, Lillian Rhoades, Other prominent players 
were James Lackaye and Harry Crosby. Their acting moved the 
Chronicle of September 26 to remark: "If the road show can 


put on character acting as good as this, it might be worth the 
New York managers' while to take a look at some of them," 

Then followed The Burgomaster , a musical comedy by Pixley 
and Luders, tuneful enough to regale audiences for a week, and 
Arizona by Augustus Thomas, advertised as "America's greatest 
play," with a good road show cast headed by James Kirkv^ood 
(who became a popular screen actor of the 1920s), This was the 
first time this play had been produced here at popular prices 
and its popularity increased accordingly, Kirkwood coming in 
for particular applause. 

On October 30, Jane Corcoran, a California girl, began a 
two-weeks engagement in a musical comedy called Pretty Peggy , 
a dramatization of the life of Peg Woffington, eighteenth- 
century Irish actress in London, The Chronicle next day was 

"The Grand Opera House was crowded. Her reception, 
quite aside from any local pride, was very flattering and 
the merit of her performance deservedly recognised. . . , 
Miss Corcoran' s comedy , , , shows a clear comprehension of 
the role and an easy command of what resources, she has, 
which only require development . , , ; The .last act was 
quite worthy of a more mature actress . . . .Miss Corcoran 
may be looked to to v/in a high place among the artists yet, 
, , , She had several calls at the final fall of the 


The Argonaut of November 7,1904, was of a more sceptical 
mind, allowing that Miss Corcoran had "talent and charm" and 
"a pair of expressive eyes" but denying that she possessed the 
"play of lively wit and of quick and varied fascination by 
whose aid Irish Peggy so easily subjugated her many admirers." 
Andrew Robson, who played David Garrick, was declared to be a 
stick; the whole cast was called amateurish, and the play -- 
as well as Peggy and Garrick -- too proper and contrary to his- 
torical truth, 

Two negligible shows, The Fatal Wedding and The Show Girl, 
gave one v/eek stands during the balance of November and then 
for three weeks the Grand was enlivened by two of the funniest 
men to be found on any stage, Bert Williams and George Walker, 
now advertising themselves as "The Royal Comedians" because 
they had recently appeared before Edward VII at Buckingham 
Palace, The people of London had shown themselves no less 
susceptible to ViJilliams and Vi/alker than His Majesty, having 
accorded them an eight-months reception at the Shaftesbury 
Theatre there. Nor was San Francisco less appreciative. Though 
prices were raised to $1 "tops," for three weeks, audiences 
laughed themselves hoarse at the two Negroes and their all- 
colored cast in a musical comedy. In Dahomey ., 

On December 26,1904, another San Francisco girl, Blanche 
Bates, returned in David Belasco's flamboyant production. The 


Darling of the G-ods , of which the Argonaut of Janupry 2,1905, 
remarked that it "affords perhaps the most aesthetlcallj'- beau- 
tiful series of stage pictures and Illusions that we have ever 
yet seen on the hoards," but that "in comedy Belasco always 
takes to the sledge-hammer, and one's skull tingles resentfully 
sometimes from the Impact," In short , everything was there for 
the spectator but a drama. Nevertheless, Belasco' s scenery and 
Blanche Bates appealed enough to the eye to keep the play run- 
ning three v/eeks, always a good run for one play In this town. 
The critic of the Argonaut had little use for the leading man 
of the play, hinting that George Arliss had not been brought 
■out here because his acting in New York had overshadowed that 
of Miss Bates herself. However, the critic (Josephine Hart 
Phelp3)had good words for the actress, though still withholding 
from her the final word: 

"Miss Bates's art has developed to the extent that she 
can at last shake herself out of her own Identity , . , . 
Her temperament shows in her impetuous ways and quick move- 
ments but these harmonize with the youth and gayety of spirit 
of the lovely Yo-San, hedged in by tradition but ruled by 
love. ... In spite of her poptilarity and her well-estab- 
lished reputation, her acting still lacks in distinction 
and in that last touch of authority which we accept as 

Hiss Bates offered herself and the customers a little 
relief from the Belasco diet by giving matinee performances of 


Madame Butterfly (the play), H^; Aunt ' a Advice , Hedda Gajbler, 
and The Taming of the Shrew. 

Following Belasco came another piece of f larnboj'-ance well 
in accord '«/ith the age, John C, Fisher's popular musical. The 
Silver Slipper , billed as the "most extravagantly gowned stage 
entertainment ever pres^^nted in America," In the cast were 
Snitz Edwards, Harry Burcher, Fred Freeman, Isabel Howell,and 
Ii'dith Sinclair. The musical ran for two weeks, filling out 
the month of January, and was followed on January 31, 1905, 
by J, H, Stoddard with Ruben Fax in The Bonnie Brier Bush . 
The old Scot, no whit less lively at 79 than he had been at 
78, played his melodrama for a week, giving way to the "Drury 
Lane spectacle," Mother Goose, This was nothing more than a 
Klaw and Erlanger version of an English Christmas pantomime, 
a simple thing in itself, primarily meant for children, but 
nothing less than colossal in the hands of the intrepid pair. 
This elaborate piece starring Joe Cav/thorne as comedian with 
Harry Kelly, Ldlth Sinclair, Edith Hutchins, Walter Stanton, 
Teva Aymer, Dav/e and Seymeur in support, ran successfully for 
three weeks, rounding out the month of February. 

On March 5, 1905, the familiar Kolb and Dill began a 
month's engagement in Judson Bruaie'a lOU and The Beauty Shop . 
They offered the srme V.eber-and-Fieldsian bag of tricks (Ger- 
man dicleot, corny jokes, cuffs and kicks, and pretty girls) 


but it would be many yesra before audiences grew tired of them, 
and a profitable month was enjoyed by all. In the comioany vieve 
iilice Kelly, Lillie Sutherland, V.'ill K. Cross, Ben Dillon, 
Claude Hunt, and Edith Mason, 

On July 4 two newcomers, George Parsons and Georgle Drew 
Mendum, began a three weeks' engagement at popular prices 
(25-50^) in The Belle of Richmond, The Deacon's Daughter, and 
ViTillie Collier's A Turkish Texan . Vilith them were Lillian 
Albertson and Ivorval I'^'iacGregor, who were pronounced as inex- 
perienced as the principals; and the only thing popular about 
the engagement was the prices, 

However, on July 17 a really unusual troupe began a month' s 
engagement at the Grand, and even the rise in prices to ^1 "tops" 
did not check the curiosity of those who wished to see the 
Yiddish Players from Glickman' s Theatre in Chicago, Chief stars 
of the company v;ere Hme , Bertha Tanzman and Kerr Glickman 
himself. The latter unbent from managerial decorum long 
enough to snarl and cringe as Shylock in The Merchan t of 
Venice , played in German. Among the varied repertory of this 
company were Alexander , Prince of Jerusalem , an operetta; 
Rabbi Osher in America , a comedy with musical accompaniment; 
The Jewish Kamlet , a prelude to the several "modern" Hamlets 
of the past twenty years; Kol Nldre; Josep h in Egypt ; The 
Interrupted Wedding ; Jacob and Esau ; The Little Rabbi ; The 
Golden Country ; King Solomon ; and Bar Kochba , the Last of the 
Jewish Kings . 


This talented troupe was succeeded late In August by 
Denis O'Sullivan, the San Francisco Irishman who had done so 
much three years before to bring down the wrath of the local 
Irish societies upon his head. Denis was still as devoted as 
ever to the plays of Dion Boucicault, putting on Arrah-na - Pogue 
and Colleen Bawn, but he had the wit to spice them with sen- 
timental Irish songs such as "Believe Me, If All those Endear- 
ing Young Charms," "The Emigrant," "The Low-Backed Car", "My 
Dark Rosaleen," "Mavourneen Dheelish" (in Gaelic), "Cruiskeen 
Lawn," and "Vi/earin' of the Green." In spite of the old protests 
(not repeated this time), Denis evidently knew whathewas do- 
ing, for the Argonaut of August 28, 1905, reported: 

"Denis 0» Sullivan embarked upon what might have been 
a financially disastrous experiment v/hen he undertook to 
revive the old Boucicault plays. . . , The old Boucicault 
dramas belong to a distinctly different epoch. One has 
but to note the frequent and cumbrous changes of scenery 
to realize this. . . . But it does not take long to discover 
how quickly and fervidly the audiences respond to the high- 
colored theatrical humanity of these plays. , , , These 
plays v;ould not appeal to s highly sophisticated audience, 
but Boucicault 's Irish characters, all overflowing with 
animal spirits, theatrical chivalry and headlong, uncalcu- 
lating loyalty to their clan, still win a ready, emotional 
response, not only from the Irish race, which is no doubt 


a dominant factor in Mr » O'Sullivan'a audiences, but from 
those who have not ynt graduated into the colder joys of 
intellectual drama, . . . 

"Denis 'Sullivan throY/a himself into these theatrical- 
ly constructed scenes, whichyet are permeated witha human- 
ity which the audience accepts as simple and sincere with 
the apparent freshness and vitality of a boy. His singing, 
whether hia ditties are plaintive or gay, is delightful; his 
voice always has that thrill of magnetic feeling which his 
acting sometimes lacks. It mattered not what race you be- 
longed to v/hen he scng 'The Wearin' of the Green' , , . 
you were for the moment all Irish," 

0' Sullivan packed the house until September 11, v/ithout 
protest , 

Rustic comedy, blood-p.nd -thunder, life in the West and 
South, and the satire of George Ade paraded across the boards 
of the Grand until the end of October, exhibited in such ex- 
amples of stagecraft as York State Folks with Russell Simpson; 
Queen of the Highway; Held for Ransom; Augtistus Thomas's 
Arizona ; and In old Kentucky, the last advertised as a si'20,000 
production. On October 30 the redoubtable Illaw and Erlanger 
again hurled their thundering steeds onto the stage of the 
Grand In a revival of Ben Hur , which electrified what yokels 
there veve left for two weeks. It was succeeded by Buster 
Brown , taken from the popular comic strip of that name. 


Then, on November 20, a really important a c t or arr.t'ccl at 
the Grand again -- Richard Mansfield, one of the great players 
of his time, Priceo u^ere immediately shoved up to $2c50 and 
the crov/ds in att^ndrnce proved that I^ansfield was worth it. 
His repertory always called for vers^tilitj'- in style and make- 
up, and this one was no exception. He played Schiller's Don 
Carlos , The Merchant of Venice , Beau Brumine 1 , King Richard III , 
A Parisian Romance ^ Moliere's The Misanthrope , and Dr. Jekyll 
and Mr, Hyde . But for once, if we can believe the Argonaut of 
November 27, 1905, Mansfield's talent for disguise and dissimu- 
lation failed him in his feature play, Don Carlos ; 

"Richard Mansfield in hie own intellect and person 
fulfills the three, conditions, although more particularly 
the first two, which George Henry Lev/es once laid down as 
essentials in the qualifications of a remarkable actor: 
'Conceptual intelligence, representative intelligence and 
physical advantages'. . . % For some unexplained reason, the 
actor, usually so v/onderfully expert in his makeup, failed 
, . , to indicate the youth of Don Carlos, 

". . , On the v/hole, regrettable as it was that the 
appearance and spirit of fiery, romantic, magnetic youth 
was absent, the soul of the character, artistically con- 
sidered, is the important thing, and difficult as was the 
task, considering the unf amiliarity of the play, Mr, 
Mansfield may be spld to have* gradually unfolded some, at 


least, of the secret pages in a character of many baffling 
inconsistencies ," 

And, speaking of Mansfield's Richard III , on December 4, 
1905, the Argonaut again tempered its admiration v;ith reserve: 

"Intellectuality rather than temperament is the rul- 
ing influence in shaping Mr. Mansfield's art toitshighest 
expression. . . . That is probably the reason why there are 
decided limitations to Mr, Mansfield's sway. Many admire 
him profoundly, many do not admire him at all. If, wedded 
to the calm, acute intellect which enables him to penetrate 
to the heart of the characters to be interpreted, he were 
able to exert the compelling magnetism of a tremendous tem- 
perament, he would be the king of the American stage," 

In spite of such critical reservations, however, there 
were many v;ho considered Mansfield sufficiently blue-blooded 
to merit the price of admission. Of course, A Parisian Ro - 
mance (in which he had scored his first success) and Beau 
Brummel were sure-fire attractions, without which no Mansfield 
engagement would be complete; and his production of Moliere's 
Misanthrope had at least this merit; it brought home to San 
Franciscans the surprising fact that Moliere was not just 
required reading for high-school French classes but one of 
the greatest ^omic geniuses who ever borrowed a plot. And 
Mansfield and company actually did achieve a trick rare in 
English-speaking companies -- that of conveying to the audi- 
ence that this masterpiece was the work of a French genius of 


the grand aiecle and not a problem play by Henry Arthur Jones, 
Clyde Fitch, or Arthur Wing Pinero. 


An echo of old Moroscan days caiue to Mission Street for 
a week in December, 1905, when Eatha Williams and the old hero 
of stock melodramas, James Brophy, revived memories in two melo- 
dramas. Shadows on the Hearth , and At the Old Cross Roads . On 
December 1 prices again were raised to 1)1,50 when Nance O'Neil 
let loose the floodgates of emotion in Sudermann's Fires of 
St , John , In her company v/ere McKee Rankin, Clara Thompson, 
John Glendening, and Andrew Robson, 

Peter Robertson, in the Chronicle of December 12, was im- 
pressed with Nance O'Neil 's marked gain "in repose, in resorve^ 
in control of herself since her earlier days"; but his gently 
moralistic natiire could not tolerate Sudermann's total neglect 
of a "lesson" and pronounced his work "a painful and unneces- 
sary play." He admitted that it left a "deep impression" but 
concluded despairingly that "vifhat it is worth when the v/hole 
play is over is hard to ssy." 

Miss O'Neil put him at ease the following week when she 
presented Camille , Sudermann's Magda, and Elizabeth , Queen of 
England . All were familiar acquaintances which did not require 
an appraisement in themselves but allowed a genteel critic to 
settle dovm to somo interesting comparisons of actresses past 
and present. Miss O'Neil came off very well in these theo- 
retical bouts, her performance of Elizabeth bringing forth the 


pleasing r omment that "to be able to act so satisfactorily as 
does Nance O'Neil is a reputation of itself." 

However, Maeterlinck's Monna Vanna , which was presented 
to San Franciscans for the first time on Christmas night of 
1905, had the critic back in the hole again. Here was another 
of those unfamiliar foreign plays without a lesson, its poetry 
hopelessly butchered in translation. It happened also that 
the piece had been rehearsed only three times. Under the cir- 
cumstances, it was simple for the critic to suspend judgment 
and merely narrate, paradoxically enough, that Miss O'Neil was 
both too dramatic and too indecisive in her playing and that 
the supporting players were even worse. Anyway, Nance O'Neil 
was still accounted a beautiful woman. 

In contrast, the advertisement in the same paper cited 
the following quotations from the critical gentry: 

The Chronicle : "A powerful, dramatic and poetic play," 
The Call ; "None can afford to miss the play,^' 
The Bulletin ; "A good play and always beautiful." 
Evening Post ; "A source of infinite delight." 

The remarks of Ashton Stevens, if any, were ignored. 

On January 2, 1906, Fiss O'Neil began the New Year with 
fitting gloom, presenting that old tear-jerker, Leah , _or The 
Jewess, v/hich she followed the next day with Hedda Gabler in 
the afternoon and Macbeth in the evening. Here was an emotion- 
al orgy that would have shattered the frame of anyone less 
sturdily built than the redoubtable O'Neil, Nothing da\inted. 


however, the actress proceeded to introduce to her San Francis- 
co audience (a very small one) the poeticlsms of Thomas Bailey 
Aldrich in a play which he called Judith of Bethulia . It was 
granted that the piece contained some exquisite versea, but 
the audience seems to have been quite willing to let its first 
performance be its last. 

For her sixth and last week, which ended January 20, Miss 
O'lleil gave her whole repertory in five days. The one exception 
was Camille , but she made up for that by playing Lady Macbeth 
two nights in succession -- and this on the very day that 
Helene Modjeska was performing in the role at the Columbia 
Theatre I Certainly, if for endurance and fortitude alone, 
Nance O'Nell deserved well of her public. 

A mediocre dialect farce, Yon Yonson , filled in the week 
following O'Feil's departure and vi/as followed by William A, 
Brady's production of VJay Down East , perhaps the most success- 
ful of all "rural dramas," Josephine Hart Phelps, in the Argo - 
naut of February 10,1906, tried vainly to find reasons for its 

"It is a play that has not a single t ouch of originali- 
ty, not a situation which has not been already familiarized 
in fiction or drama. It is mechanical in construction, 
commonplace in dialogue and lacks characterization — the 
people all stand for well-established types. . . ♦" 


Then, seeking a way out of her dilemma, she stumbled onto 
a solution v/hich has since become a stock one: drag in Bernard 
Shaiv for a smacking rnd praise the beautiful public: 

"But all the same Lottie Blair Parker (the author )did 
what George Bernard Shav/, for all his brilliancy, can never 
do: she has touched the Great Warm Heart of the public." 

On February 11 echoes of laughter and shuffling feet came 
back to the city when Sanford B.Ricaby introduced his William 
H, Vilest Big Jubilee Minstrels on the boards of the Grand, 
The company numbered 50, the star vocalist being Spenser Kelly 
and its two chief funny men, George S, Van and George L.Wade. 
But minstrelsy was on its last legs and the scarcity of au- 
ditors showed it. Hadn't San Francisco known all the great 
minstrels of the golden age: Billy Emerson, Charley Reed, 
George Thatcher, Billy Rice, and the rest? Billy Miest, whose 
name graced this lot, had been dead for four years and there 
were none of the old-time members in the organization. It hap- 
pened that George Thatcher was at the Columbia that week, mak- 
ing a big part out of a small one in George Ade's The County 
Chairman . This accident, coupled with the poor exhibition at 
the Grand, set Porter Garnett,in the Argonaut of February 17, 
1906, to reminiscing nostalgically of the great old days of 
minstrelsy when ^illy Emerson had set the house a-clatter at 
the Standard 'A'ith "Moriarity" or "luldoon, the Solid Man"; 
when Charley Reed had put on his parody Mac breath at the same 


theatre, and when this same George Thatcher had been one of the 
great Mr, Bones of the rountry. He concluded: 

"And this brings us to our nexus vith the Grand Opera 
House and its third-raters. Taken all in all, the perform- 
ance there is made up of such acts as one might expect to 
see in one end of the tent of a second-class circus, while 
a star feat is being performed at the other end. If there 
is anything at all to remember it is a song of small humor 
called 'Nobody' and sung by George Van, But it is the song 
of a black swan, for minstrelsy is moribund, 

"'An' now Mister Reader, can yo tell me why de song of 
Mister Geo'ge Van is like an aig on a planner st'Sol?' 'No, 
Mr, Writer, I'm afraid I cannot; now will you tell us why 
the song of Mr. George Van is like an egg on a piano stool?' 
'Because it am de lay of de Ips' minstrel,' 

"The audience will now sing, 'I don't Care if You Never 
Come Back.' 'And who does care if Sanford B, ^Icaby's Ye 
Bright and Merry VJilliam H.West Big Jubilee Minstrels never 
come back?' 'Nobody,'" 

These last two months of the Grand Opera House were pretty 
dreary, Murray and Mack brought a musical comedy. Around the 
Town, for a week's engagement and were followed by the Pollard 
Lilliputians in a week of H, M, S. Pinafore and The Belle of 
New York. Then for the first two weeks of March the town was 
supposed to be awed by the "Drury Lane Spectacle," The Sleep - 
ing Beauty a nd the Beast , one of those"eoloa3al"conglomeration3 


of scenery and crowds supposed to feature Isabelle Under- 
wood and Barney Bernard. Minstrelsy, but lately laid to rest, 
raised its death's head again onMarch 18 when George Primrose, 
one of the truly great minstrels and long associated with Billy 
West, paraded a company of 75 before the jaded eyes of a fev; 
spectators. But not even the deft soft-shoe dancing of Prim- 
rose could make this an event. 

Then came one of those freak engagements so common today, 
Walter Scott, "Death Valley Scotty," was billed in a play by 
Charles Taylor, Scotty, King of the Diamond lilne . Scotty's 
publicity man was not asleep. Immediately on arrival (the 
day preceding the opening, March 24) Scotty was arrested in 
front of the St. Francis Hotel. He was interviev/ed in jail 
and his picture appeared in every newspaper in town the next 
day. He v/as released on a writ of habeas corpus and arrived 
at the theatre in time to play before a huge crowd in what 
the Argonaut of March 31, 1906, called "one of the worst melo- 
dramas that has ever insulted the stage. It was not even 
bad enough to be funny." Scotty, v;ho was a terrible actor, 
made his performance worse by shouting his lines at the top of 
his voice -- because somebody had told him his ordinary voice 
could not be heard from the auditorium. But, such was the 
value of publicity that the house was crowded every night of 
the week. 


Then, on April 1,1906, came a really distinguished actor, 
Creston Clarke, nephew of Edwin Booth and son of the one-time 
famous comedian, John Sleeper Clarke, His play was Booth Tark- 
ington's lionsieur Beaucaire and it ran for a week. His com- 
pany was very bad, but both the Mews Letter and the Argonaut 
of April 7 agreed that here was an actor who deserved better 
of the public. Said the News Letter ; 

"Just why this polished actor should be compelled to 
play to popular prices is one of the mysteries, Mr. Clarke 
is a star of the first magnitude, and theatre-goers in this 
city have paid twice and thrice the price to see inferior 
actors. But a rheap environment makes the work of Mr. 
Clarke stand out all the more clearly. He has the polish 
and ease of manner that makes the play a success. His as- 
sumption of the French manner of speech is perfect. His 
personality is magrietic. He never becomes a bore. He has 
the bearing of royalty. His part shows careful study. The 
play is charming, but the supporting company is hardly up 
to the mark. Only in this does the production descend to 
the price marked." 

Porter Garnett of the Argonaut agreed substantially 
with the rival weekly, differing only in his estimate of the 
actor's personality. After execrating the cast as "abomin- 
able" and wondering hov/ an actor could function with such a 
crew, he had this to say of Clarke: 


"As for his ovm share in the play, I have nothing but 
praise. He has refinement and repression, together with 
mere grace. His bearing is at once easy and precise but 
unaffected. In the last act, where he has been acknowledged 
as the Due d'Orleans, he stands with the air of royalty, as 
if he had stepped out of a picture by Velasquez or Van Dyke, 
He uses his voice with the same grace that he uses his hands, 
and every nuance of the French accent he employs ia perfect- 
ly rendered, Creston Clarke is inclined to saunter through 
the part of Beaucaire. He will have to insinuate more force 
In any other part that he may assiune, or he will continue 
to fail of the recognition to which his art entitles him. 
As it is, he suffers from a disproportion of his art and 
his rather faint pf^rsonality ," 

Then came a so-called "tank play, " Caught In the Web , which 
was such a "flop" that it was taken off the boards the day after 
its opening on April 9, The theatre was dark until April 16, 
when the long-heralded Metropolitan Opera season opened with 
Goldmark's The Queen of Sheba, But this was merely the pre- 
liminary to the real opening, which v/as to be on the follow- 
ing night, April 17,1906 -- a night San Franciscans would new- 
er forget — when Enrico Caruso, Olive Bremstad, Bessie Abbott, 
Mme . Jocoby, and Messrs, Jouvet, Begue, Dufriche, Reiss and 
Parol! appeared in Carmen , under the direction of conductor 
Arturo Vigna, All who could obtain seats were present; 


others consoled themselves with the thought that the sea- 
son had two more weeks to run, with such artists as Emma Eames, 
Antonio Scottl, Marcella Sembrich, Campanari, Pol Plancon, 
Robert Blass, Louise Homer --and conductors Alfred Hertz and 
Nathan Franko yet to be heard from. 

It v/as a glittering audience that waited to hear the great 
Caruso that night, and an untroubled one: there was Mrs, James 
Flood radiant in diamond tiara, dog collar, shoulder straps, 
and stomacher, v/ith a few pearls for subsidiary decoration; 
Mrs. Frederick Kohl, likevifise in a dog collar of diamonds and 
pearls; and, among others, Mesdames M, H. de Young, Clement 
Tobin and the Misses Agnes Tobin and Alice Hayes. The ladies 
glittered happily and their husbands beamed proudly. It v;as 
a fine spring evening, and there was to be a fortnight more 
of such evenings. It was a fine city to live in, San Fran- 

This was not one of the great performances of Carmen ; 
Fremstad was disappointingly heavy in the role and San 
Franciscans remembered Calve; Journet as Escamillo the Tor- 
eador was pronounced stupid, and Begue ' s Ziguna v/as not much 
better. Signer Vigna was a little sloppy in his direction, 
and the chorus was consequently missing some of the time, 
though the quintet in the second act was pronounced "a simply 
stunning bit of ensemble work," Miss Bessie Abbott, making 
her debut as Micaela, was roundly applauded as the best ever 
to appear here in the role. But a Micaela does not make up 


for a mediocre Carmen, and it remained for Caruso in the usual- 
ly overshadowed role of Don Jose to make the evening a memora- 
ble one -- operatically , 

Wrote Blanche Partington in an early edition of the Call 
of April 18, 1906 -- a review very few readers, if any, could 
have read on the day it appeared: 

" Carmen rechristened itself for San Francisco last 
night. For the season, at least, it is Don Jose', Caruso 
is the magician. 

"The first 'Bravo' of the year whipped out after his 
tiny opening duet with Micaela;the final curtain went down 
on a hail of them, Carusol Bravol Carusol Brnvol, it 
was quite in the joyful old Tivoli fashion, 

"The audience forgot its diamonds -- and they were 
there last night -- forgot everything b\it the electric per- 
formance of Caruso, the wonderful. Lent lapped over to 
the Monday night Queen of Sheba j last night It was the full 
Eastertide of opera, the season practically beginning with 
the Don Jose. 

"They needed Caruso, It is, of course, respectful to 
begin with the Carmen where Carmen is concerned, but so 
far as the atmosphere goes Miss Premstad,the Carmen of the 
evening, contributed only a flash or two. Intelligent as 
her performance is, 

"... But Caruso, Caruso more than compensated for 
anything that did or could have happened last night. He 


came 6n simply — it ia anything but a grand stand entrance 
that ia granted Don Jose -- but it was a moment only before 
we knew that it was going to be different. This Caruso 
was a comedian that came on joking with his fellows, slyly 
teasing the cigarette wenches and having a soldierly good 
time generally. 

", , .It seemed that even Caruso could hardly top 
this scene that v/ith (Carmen and the Toreador j] But top 
it he did in the last act. Years older he seemed to have 
grown. Lean and sunken of cheek, grief and madness star- 
ing from the eyes -- pshaw'. He made one forget that it 
was only an opera. The excitement was simply?- sizzling as 
he dashed open the doors of the arena v/ith his knife and 
dared the Carmen to enter. And that is the way he sang it 
all, as no one else in the vorld can sing, 

"But it's oh for a Gnlvel" 


It v;as no small triumph th-at Enrico Caruso enjoyed that 
night of April 17, 1906, liven one as used to praise as he 
could not have read this review without great pleasure. But 
he never read it, A little after five o'clock the next morn- 
ing, he was rudely jostled out of his bed at the sumptuous 
Palace Hotel by an earthquake; and it was a frightened 
Neapolitan who roamed the streets of the burning city, certain 
that his singing days were over. As soon as he could, the 


triumphant Don Jose got himself out of the city. He never re- 
turned. The theatre in which he had appeared was burned to 
the ground the day after his triumph. The Grand Opera House 
was gone, after one final night of glory the city v/ould not 
forget . 



Dana, Julian, The Man Who Built San Francisco (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1936), 

Eldredge, Zoeth Skinner. Beginnings of San Francisco (New 
York: The Centxiry History Company, 1915), 

Greene, Clay M, Newspaper Contributions, scrapbook. In pos- 
session of Mrs, Clay M, Greene, San Francisco. 

Hart, Jerome A. In Our Second Century (San Francisco: Pio- 
neer Press, 1931) . 

Jefferson, Joseph. The Autobiography of Jefferson (New York: 
The Century Company, 1897), 

Lloyd, Benjamin E, Lights and Shades in San Francisco (San 
Francisco: A, L. Bancroft & Company, 1876), 

McCabe, John. " McCabe ' s Journal , 1849-1882," manuscript. In 
Sutro Branch of the California State Library, San Francisco. 

Neville, Amelia, The Fantastic City (Boston: Houghton, 
Mifflin, 1932), 

Odell, George C. D. Annals of the New York Stage (New York: 
Columbia Unirersity Press, 1936), 

Rourke, Constance. Troupers of the Gold Coast , or The Rise 
of Lotta Crabtree . (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 


San Francisco City Directory , 1864-67, 1872-73, 1876, 1893. 

Work Projects Administration, Theatre Research Project, 
Burlesque , San Francisco Theatre Research Series, Vol, 
14 (San Francisco, 1939), 

• French Theatre , San Francisco Theatre Research 

Series, Vol, 9 (San Francisco, 1939) 

, German Theatre , San Francisco Theatre Research 

Series, Vol. 9 (San Francisco, 1939) 

History of Opera , (Part 1) San Francisco Thea- 

tre Research Series, Vol. 7 (San Francisco, 1939) 

y Minstrelsy , San Francisco Theatre Research 

Series, Vol, 13 (San Francisco, 1939). 

Tom Maguire, San Francisco Theatre Research 

Series, Vol, 2 (San Francisco, 1938). 

(Published in San Francisco, unless otherv/ise indicated) 
Alta California 

Atlantic Monthly (Boston) 
Dally Critic 
Daily Dramatic Chronicle 


Dally Evening Report (predecessor of the 

San Francisco News) 
Evening Post 

Morning Call 
New York Dramatic News 
New York Sun 
Nev; York Times 
Nev;3 Letter 

News Letter and California Advertiser 
Overland Monthly 
Town and Stage 



Abbey, Henry E. , 245, 266, 

273 285 
Abbott, Bessie, 367, 368 
Academy of Music, 2, 8, 10, 

11, 12, 13, 14, 15 
Ackermann, Charles, 304 
Ackermann, Edv/ard, 205 
Ackerman, Slgmund, 344 
Adams, Edwin, 60, 68, 77, 

78, 79, 98, 137 
Adams, Suzanne, 312 
Ade, George, 357, 363 
Adelphl Theatre, 117 
Adriana, Cora, 224, 225 
A frica , (extravaganza) 179 
After Dark , 280 
Agony in the Garden, The, 

Aida, 260, 267, 298 
Aide, Hamilton, 174 
Aiken, Prank, 170 
Airaee, Mile., 110, 125, 

Alabama, 201 
Aladdin . 92, 115, 116 
Alhambra Theatre, 80, 84, 

128, 131 
Albani, Mme, Emma, 271, 

272, 273 
Albertson, Lillian, 355 
Albrecht, Mme., 277 
Alcazar Theatre, 162, 341 
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 362 
Alemany, Joseph Sardoc, 236 
Alexander , Prince of 

Jerusalem , 355 
Ali Baba , 149, 28C, 288 
Alixe . 241 
Allen, John, 86 
Allen, Louise, 263 
Allison, Charles, 336 
All That Glitters Is Not 

Gold . 60, 116 
Alpers, Charles, 33> 34 
Amber, Maude, 347 
Ambrose, E. A., 239 
American Theatre, 4, 7, 26, 


Amrle the Little Barefoot . 
241 " 

^M Ro bsart , 176, 331 

Ancient Order of Hibernians, 

Anderson, D. C, 9, 10, 224, 
241, 242, 246 

Anderson, Mary, 135, 264, 271 

Andre, Chris, 21 

Andrews, Charles L., 245-247 

Anglin, Margaret, 211-214 

Anna C hris tie, 194 

Anton, Signor, 250 

Antony and_ Cleopatra, (bur- 
ies quel 338' 

An Unco nvential Honeym oon , 200 

Arbuckle, Maclyn, 189 ~ 

Archer, Katie, 10 

Arden, Edwin, 324 

Arditi, Signer Luigi, 250, 
264, 266 

Arizona, 351, 357 

A rkansas Tra vele r, The, 93 

Arliss, George, "352", 353 

Arnold, Sir Edwin, 277 

Around the Town, 364 

Around the World in Eighty 
■'Daj^s, 149, 231, "263 ' 

Arrah-na-Pogue, 13, 82, 83, 

" "1'20-I22, 246, 328, 356 

Arj;ah-np-Ppke , 13 

Arrah of the Cold Pomme de 
Terre , 13 

Arrigona, Signer, 6 

Article 47, 117, 127, 292 

Ashton, Antoinette, 204 

Ashton, Jack, 274 

As In a Looking Glass, 149 

As You" like It> 68, 79, 123 

Atherton, Mabel, 233 

At the Old Crojs Road s, 360 

Not Augier, Guillaume Victor 

Emile, 287 
Augustus, Charles, 207 
Aurora Floyd , 115 
Aveling>. Henry, 247 
Avenue Girls, The^ 



INDEX (Cont.) 

Aymar, Fred, 233 
Aymer, Neva, 354 

Bachelor 's Romance , A, 201 
Backus, Charley, 7, "5, 11, 

Bacon, Frank, 301 
Baker, John, 117 
Baldwin's Academy of Music, 

80, 131, 138, 140, 148, 161, 

162, 186, 296, 245 
Baldwin, E. J. "Lucl^" 2, 235 

239, 240 
Baldwin Theatre, 223, 258, 

264, 271 
Baltimore Beauties' Bur- 

lesquers, 215 
Bandmann, Daniel, 149, 262 
Banker ' s Daughter , The, 145 
Barbara Frietchie , 350 
Barber of Seville , The, 195, 

260, 298, 317, 32'5ir322 
Bar Kochbar , the Last of the 

Jewish Kings , 3"S5 
Barnes, Colonel W. H. L., 

69, 93, 103, 105, 106 
Barnes of N ew York , Mr .> 

1^^ T74 
Barrett, Lawrence, 46-50 

59-62, 64, 67-70, 74-77, 

80-84, 86, 87, 92, 104, 

109, 110, 131, 132, 142, 

143, 151, 153, 162-164, 

167, 188, 215, 216, 271, 

Barry, Shiel, 119 
Barry, William, 4, 10, 151 
Barton, General W. B., 141, 

143, 145, 146 
Bassett, Russell, 170 
Bates, Blanche, 189, 192, 

199, 247, 352, 353 
Bates, Mrs. F. M., 247 
"Baxter Avenue," 327 
Beau Brummel , 357, 359 
Beauty Shop , The, 354 
Becket t 285 

Becky S harp , 202, 203 
BoRfiar Student, The, 299 
Belasco, David, 235-237, 345, 

349, 352-354 
Belgrade, Adele, 306 
"Believe Me, If All Those En- 
dearing Yourg Charms" 356 
Bella Union, 15, 40, 80, 181, 

Belle of New York , The , 337, 

Be lle of Richmond , 355 
Belle 's Stratagem , The , 80 
Bells, Th£, 2^5" 
Belot, Sdolph, 292 
Ben Hur, 339, 357 
Bensande, 296 
Be que, 367 

Bergerat, Emile, 334 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 275, 276, 

281, 290, 301-304 
Bernal, lona Carmen Librian 

de, 24 
Bernal, Jose Cornelio> 24 
Bernard, Barney, 347, 365 
Bernard, W. H., 11 
Bert, E. G., 7 
Bert, Frederick W., 147, 148, 

220, 224-232, 240, 245, 250, 

260, 261, 290 
Bert, Mabel, 253, 260 
Bethel, Sergeant, 239 
Bianchis, the, 11, 12, 14 
"Bicycle Built for Two," 187 
Bicycle Girl , A, 187 
Bieletto, Signer, 250 
Bierce, Ambrose, 282-285 
Big Little Princess , 347 
■nirch, Billy, 5, 7, 11, 14 
Birmingham, Lillian, 214 
Bishop, Mme . Anna, 120 
Bishop, C. B., 241 
Bishop, C. P., 136 
Bispham, Dsvid, 308-310, 319 

Bit of Old Chelsea , A, 344, 
345 -- 

Bizet Opera, 317 

Black Crook , The , 68, 82, 86, 

8^ 96, 105, 149, 187, 254, 

271, 336 


INDEX (Cont,) 

Black Hussar, The, 299 

Blackmore, Richard, 328 

Black Pattl, 205, 206 

Black Sheep , A, 185 

Blair, Eugenie, 150 

Blanc, Julia, 295 

Blane, Ettie, 256 

Blass, Robert, 308, 310, 31t, 

Blesser, Charles, 161 
Blinn, Holbrook, 254 
Blond in, 16 
Blouet, Paul, 277 
Blue Grass , 295 
:felue Jeans , 341 
lIuTf King Hal , 277 
feoar'd of Supervisors, 239 
Boccaccio , 243 
Bohemian Club, 223 
Bohemian Girl . The , 310 

"BohemlanTsrnT ^^ 
Boito, Arrigo, 273 
Bonanza Princes and Gallery 

GodS f ^^5 
Bonfanti, Marie, 82 
Bonnard, Messrs., 296 
Bonnet, M,, 5 
Bonnie Briar Bush . 198, 

350, 354 
Booth, Edwin, 23, 135-137, 

143, 153, 154, 157, 158, 

162, 163, 165, 167, 168, 

188, 212, 215, 269, 271, 

305-307, 336, 366 
Booth, J. B., 6 
Booth's Theatre, 109 
Born to Good Luck , 93, 248 
Boswor¥h, George, 192 
Bosworth, Hobart, 206, 214 
Boucicault, Dion, 8, 13, 74, 

76, 82, 99, 119, 121, 122, 

124, 128, 147, 169, 280, 

325, 329, 356 
Boucicault in California , 122 
Bourdouresque, M., 296 
Bowers, ^^irs. D. P., 98, 99, 

117, 128, 150, 173, 174, 

332, 333 
Bower-7 Girl , A, 295 

Brabrock, Marie, 143 
Bradford, Officer, 239 
Brady, William, 280, 295, 362 
Braham, Sam, 184 
Brambilla, Signora Elvira, 12 
Brignoli, Pasqualino, 80 
Br inker, H, Coulter, 291, 292 
British Blondes, 67, 89-92 
Broadway Theatre, 339 
Brodie, Steve, 190 
Bromley, George T,, 254 
Brooks, P. E,, 239 
Brophy, James, 291, 295, 299, 

B rother Officers , 305 
brothers . The, 180 
Brougham, Tbhn, 68, 69, 70, 

79, 85 
Brown, Fannie, 11 
Brown, Col. T, A list on, 226 
Browne, Bothwell> 338, 350 
Brovmies in Fairy land, 216 
Brusie, JuiJson, 351 
Brutus , or The Fall of 

Tarquin , Jl'E 
Bryant, Dan, 93 
Buckingham Palace, 352 
Buckley, I,1r, & Mrs. E, G., 

48, 59, 64, 100, 101, 108, 

Buffalo Mystery , The, 207 
Buffalo v/ild West Show, 339 
Bugbee and Son, S, C, 50, 

Bugler, Harry, 201 
Buislay, Messrs*, 16, 31, 38, 

Bulo^v, Hans Von, 319 
Bur Cher, Harry, 354 
B urgomaster , The, 351 
Burnett, Prances Hodgson, 

Burns, Robert, 341 
Burrlll, Mrs., 4 
Bxirroughs, Claude, 59, 64 
Burroughs, Marie, 175 
Burroughs, Vv. P., 59, 64 
Bush Street Theatre, 128, 

140, 154, 162, 253, 269 


INDEX (Cont.) 

Buster Brown , 357 
Butler, Fred, 295, 335 
Byron, Oliver Doud, 98 
By tjie Sad Sea Waves , 201 

Caine, Hall, 328, '338 
Caldara, Adelalde> 247, 248 
Calhoun, Nellie, 241, 242 
California, Bank of, 132, 

California in »71, or Ready , 

~~IU2 ~ 

California Theatre, 2, 45- 

California Theatre (New), 

153-216, 271, 305 
Calve, Emma, 308, 310, 311, 

315-317, 321-323, 368, 

Camille . 60, 68, 127, 178, 

244, 245, 247, 303, 360, 

Campanini Opera Co., 270 
Campbell, Bartley J., 274 
Campfire Chats of the Civil 

' War, '^Tl 

Campini, Signor, 267 
Captain Charlotte , 73 
Captain Heme , UT S. A., 288 
Captain Jinks of the Hors e 

Marines , 88 
Captain Letterblair , 201 
Captain of Navarro , A , 348 
Captain Taul , 295 
Captain Theresa , 278 
Garden, James, 100, 150 
Carleton, Henry Guy, 174 
Carmen , 188, 263, 298, 299, 

3T557 310, 315-317, 367- 

Carron, Mens., 115 
Carter, Mrs. Leslie, 200, 349 
Carton, R. C, 188 
Cartwright, Edith, 213 
Caruso, Enrico, 265, 272, 288^ 

367, 369, 370 
Cainrer, Dr., 279 

Caste , 126 
Catherine , 344 
Catlett, Vt/alter, 


C_aught_ in the Web, 367 

Cavalazzi,' Mme, Calvina, 263 

Cava lier, The, 207 

Cavalier ia Ruaticana , 177, 279, 
296, 299 

Cavendish, Adah, 144 

Cawthorne, Joe, 354 

Celebrated Case , A, 234, 261 

Celeste, Mme.> 34 

Chalia, 296 

Chanfrau, Prank, 93, 93, 115, 
119, 125, 135, 144 

Chang, (Chinese Giant) 38 

Chaplin, George D., 114 

Chapman, Edythe, 200, 337, 350, 

Charley 's Aunt , 185 

Chateau d'lf, 234 

C herry and Fair _Star, or Chil- 
dre n of C7/m-'u s , ""The , 81, lo3 

Cherry "gloss om Burlesque Com- 
pany, 215, 216 

Chcrublui, Signor, 250, 255 

Chlarni, Angelo, 30 

Childreii of the Ghetto, 301 

Chirae s of No rmandy , ^9 

Chlsnell, I^wton, 176 

Christ, 234, 235, 237, 240 

C hristian , The , 328, 338 

Christie "Johnson , or Out of the 
Depths, 115 

Christina, Signor ina, 224 

Circus Girl , The , 204 

City Directory , 177 

City Gardens, 19, 20-22, 33, 
42, 43 

City Railroad, 39 

Clairvoyance , 78 

Clarke, Creston, 211, 212, 366, 

Clarke, Harry Corson, 192 

Clarke, John Sleeper, 212, 366 

Clarke, Wilfred, 331 

Cleopatra , 276, 325, 348 

Clifton, 4 

Coad, Henry, 13 4 

Coghlan, Rose, 163, 188, 189, 
206, 248 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Cohan, George M., 181, 184 

Coleman, John, 179 

Colleen Bawn , The , 122, 126, 

326, 3^ 
Collier, Willie, 355 
Collins, Charles, 167 
Collins, Lottie, 181 
Colored Troubadours, 197 
Columbia Theatre, 196, 325, 

362, 363 
Comedy of Errors , The , 116 
"Comin '"Through the~^ye," 342 
Conreid English Opera Co,, 

Convict 1240 , 261 
Convict Stripes , In, 343 
Cooper, Georgie, T70 
Cooper, Ollie, 214 
Coquelin, Benoit, 285-287, 

Corbet t» Jim, 177 
Corbyn, Sheridan, 4, 11, 26 
Corcoran, Jane, 351, 352 
Corlnne , 187 
Cnrlolanua . 117, 118 
Cormon, Eugene, 328 
Corps de Ballet, 263 
Corrigan, Emmett, 334, 335 
Corsican Brothers , The , 262, 


Corsican , The , 180 
Cotton, Ben, 5, 68 
Coughlin, Charles, 149 
Countess, Catherine, 338 
County Chairman , The, 363 
Courtaine, Harry, 5, 68, 82, 

143, 235 
Courted Into Court, 193 
Cowboy and fchTTaHy , The , 350 
Crabtre6, Lotta, 26, 68, 70- 

73, 125, 143 
Crane, Gardner, 328 
Crane, Harold, 336 
Crane, W, H., 141, 144 
Creole , The , 292 
Cripple Corner , 126 
Oris Pino e la Comare. 253 
Crosby, Harry, 350 
Cross, Will H., 355 

"Cruiskeen Lawn," 356 

Cuba I Cuba I . or Our Flag , 120 

Cuckoo , The, ^0 

Cumndngs, Nellie, 114 

Cupid and Psyche , or Love , 101 

'C\ire f or Heartache , 7^ 

Cushjnan, Charlotte, 336 

Cyrano de Bergerac , 303 

Czar of Russia, 215 

Daddy ' Dowd , 122 
Dago , The , 288 
15aiTey'n?eter P., 343 
Dairy Farm , The, 341 
Dale, Vr3Tet7^04 
Daly, August in, 204 
Damrosch, Walter, 196, 308, 

314, 316 
"Dance of the Hours," 192 
Danger Signal , The, 288 
Daniels, Frank,~i;63, 180 
Daniels, Mattie, 224 
Dargon, Augusta, 117 
Dark Secret , The , 295 
Darling of the Gods , 353 
Daudet, Leon, 286 
Daughters of Eye , 331 
Daughter oT ^HeTT , The, 245 
Davenport, £. L,, 3'S6 
Davenport, Fanny, 163 
Davenport, Jean, (Mrs. F. W, 

Lander) 98 
David Copperfield , 69, 87 
David Garrick ,"^, 53, 73 
David Har\;>m , 211, 350 
Davidson, fiore, 291 
Davis, Jessie Bartlett, 267 
Davis, Myra, 288 
Davis, Phoebe, 253 
Davis, Richard Harding, 325 
Davis, Washington, 276 
Davy Crockett , 9, 269 
beacon 's Daughter , The, 355 
IJead Heart , ^be,"777"^8 
de Angel is, "Johnny, 26 
de Angelis, Sally, 39 


De Anna, 265 

"Death Valley" Scotty, 365 

de Oenlis, Mme,, 106 

De Lorme, H,, 233 

de Luaaan, Mme,, 296, 298 

Del Monte Opera Company, 191 

Del Puenta, 265 

Del Sol, 296 

Denln, Kate, 238 

Dennery, Adolphe, 328 

Denny, G. J,, 48, 54, 55 

DenRy Grady 'a Hack , 327 

De Paaquali,"~2B^ 

de Rezke, Edouard, 308, 309, 

312, 314, 317, 318 
Per Frelsohutz , 260 
3e Roy," Marthe, 336 
Devil 'a Auction , The, 254 
IJTWiea, S&6 
Dewey, Admiral, 325 
de Young, Mra, M, H,, 568 
Diana , or Love ' s Mask , 117 
Diaz, Porf"Irio,~9 
Dickens, Charlea, 180 
Dickson, Charles, 198 
Die Meiaterainger , 316 
WE 17aherln , S45 
Me Walkure , 310 
Dillon, Ben, 355 
Dinnie, Donald, 248 
Diplomacy , 143, 144 
Divorcons, 344 
D octor of the Old School , 

' 195, T59 

Doll « a House, The , 344 

5omt>ey and Son , 69, 126 

bon Carlos , 3'58 

^On Cesar de Bazan , 324 

IJonovana , TEe , 529 

bon FaaqualeT 317, 319, 320 

gora , 67 

Doro. Marie, 204 

Dorothy , 337 

bot , 66 

IJoEti, Mile,, 250, 263 

Dowllng, James, 8 

Dowling, Joseph, 288, 295 

Downing, Robert, 185 

Dr. Bill 's, 174 

Sressler, "Marie, 192-194 

Drink Evil , The , 326 

br. J ekyll and Jfc» Hyde , 306, 
334, 358 

Du Barry , 349, 350 

Duff ie Id, H. S,, 207 

Dufriche, 367 

Duke 's Motto , The, 85, 86 

ihimas, Alexander, 177, 186, 

Dunne and Ryley Comedy Com- 
pany, 201, 202 

Dunning, Alice, 85, 88, 89 

Duprez and Benedict/ 92 

Ihiret, 'Mrae," Marie, x20 

Durgan, W. J,, 239 

Dwyer, Terence, 189 

Dying for Love , 8 

Eames, Emma, 308, 309, 314, 

317, 319 
East Lynne , 7, 68, 79, 247, 

Echegaray, Jose, 213 

Edouin, Willie, 59, 60-62, 64, 

65, 67, 86 
Edwards, Harry (also Henry) 

59, 61, 62, 67, 70, 108, 114, 

118, 120, 136 
Edwards, Snitz, 354 
Edwin, Sophie, 106, 114, 151 
Eileen Oge , o r Dark \8 the 

tiour Before the Dawn,' 103, 


El Capitan , 299 
FIfle . 99. 100 
Elisir d' Atnore , 260 
teilzahe'Fh , 98, 99 
ISmUlS* ^ueen of England , 

333, 360 
Ellis, Charles A,, 196 
Ellis Opera Company, 296, 298 
Elopement , 119 
Emerson, Billy, 94, 148, 182, 

188, 189, 363 
Emigrant, Th e, 356 
Emma Juch Opera Company, 279 
EmM , the Elf, 292 
femmet,'~7osepH K,, (Fritz) 98, 

Eramett, Katie, 180 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Empire Musical Comedy Company j 

Empress Theodora , 325, 348 
Enemy to the King; , An, 201 
bnoch Irden , 77, 78 
Enos, Wilson, 192 
Ensign , The, 181, 295 
firckmann- Chatrian, 177 
Erlanger, (Klaw and Erlanger) 

Errainie, 299 
Ernani , 260 
Esclarmonde , 311 
Esker Dhu , 115 
Estate" ^ Hannibal Howe , The, 

Eternal Feminine , The, 213 
Eureka Theatre, 2 -TI" 
Evans, Edward, 241 
Evans, George, 47 
Evans, Rose, 97, 106 
E verybod y ' s Friend, 63 
Extremes, 59 
Eyfclnge, Rose, 135, 


Eyre, Sophie, 262 

Pabbri, Inez, Mme., 255, 270 
Fabbri Opera Company, 103, 224 
Fabbri-Pappenheim, 255 
Pace in the Moonlight , 180 
Fairbanks, Douglas, '177 
Fairbanks, Fred, 295 
Fair, James G,, 56 
Fairy Spectacle, A, 221 
Family Jars , 72 
Panchon the Cricket , 241 
Parrington, Adele, 214 
Fast Ma^l, The, 295 
Fatal Wedding, The, 352 
i''augn -a -Baliagh7 ~T19, 120 
Faust, 12, 134, 260, 266, 
5B7, 296, 311, 328, 342 
Pawcett, Owen, 146 
Fax, Ruben, 354 
Fay, Annie Eva, 282 

Pealy, Maude, 327, 328 

Fedora , 204, 325, 348 

Felt on, (see Ralston Sharon 

& Pelton Syndicate) 49 
Female Detective , The , 73 
i^enton, Mabel, 343 
Feuillet, Octave, 248 
Fiddle -Dee -Dee, 347 
Fidelio7 ^"7T~ 
Fields, Lew, 215 
Fields, Sol, 215 
Fire Ply, 73 
Fire Tatrol, The , 293 
Fires of ^, John , 360 
Fisher, John 6 , , 354 
Fischer's Theatre, 343 
Flske, Harrison Grey, 203 
Fiske, Minnie Maddern, 202, 

203, 214, 544, 345, 347 
Pitch, Clyde, 360 
Fitzsimwons, Bob, 178 
Flag _of Truce , A, 293 
Pleury, iime ,", 5 in the Web, 69 
Floo'^, Jaines,"56, 222, 232 
Flood, James, Mrs,, 368 
Florence, W. J,, 68, 80, 126, 

135, 137, 144 
For bidde n Frixit , 116 
Forget -Mo -Not, 150 
For Her S'aTce T 202 
F ormosa , or "The Railroad to 
" f:uin , 74^76 
For Mother's Sake, 340 
Forrest, Edv/in,"T!3, 45 
Forty Winks , 67 
Foster", fed'ward (Ned) M., 40 
Fowler, John, 202 
Francis, Carolyn, 207 
Pranko, Nathan, 368 
Pranks, Frederick, 48, 59, 64 
Fraser, 279 
Pravifley, Daniel, 305 
Prawley, T. Daniel Company, 

192, 199, 200, 201, 301, 328 
Freeman, Fred, 354 
Freeman, Max, 241 
Fremont, A . W., 291 
Premstad, Olive, 367-369 


INDEX (Cont.) 

French Opera Company, 191 
French Spy , The , 7, 120 
French thaatre, 5 
Fried, Richard, 296 
Frohman, Charles, 148 
Frohman Dramatic Company, 246 
Frohman Syndicate, 172, 196, 

Frohstrom, Mme , Alma, 263, 265 
From Sire to Son, or the 

Shadow oT^Shaata , 280 
Prou-Frou, 85, 88, 286 
Frye, Charles H,, 161 
Fxiller, Ethel. 348 
Fuller, LoiQ>190 

Gaborlau, Emlle, 233 
Gadski, Mme . Johanna, 296 
Gaelic League, 330 
Gaiety Girl , The, 204, 337 
Galassl, Antonio, 266 
Gale, Minna K,, 167 
Galloway, G,, 224 
Gamekeeper , The , 344 
Gardiner, Frank L., 120 
Gardner, Amelia, 207 
Gardner, Gilbert, 335 
Garnet t. Porter, 363, 366 
Gass, Miss. 8 
Gaugain, Mile. Marie, 106 
Gaynor, Bobby, 179 
Geisha , The, 237 
Geistinger, Mme. Marie, 

Geneva Cros s, The, 120 
Gentleman of France , A, 550 
German TheaTre, lOS, Til, 147. 
Gerster, Mme. Etelka, 250-253, 

255, 257 
Ghosts , 346 
Gianninii 264, 265 
Gilbert, Ferdinand, 28 
Gilbert's Melodeon, 181, 208 
Gilbert and Sullivan, 39, 108 
Gilbert, W. S,, 103, 108, 116, 

Gilded Age , 82 

Gilded Fool , A, 201 
GillettarrWilTiam, 328 
Giorio, Mme, Bianchi, 250 
Giovanni , Don , 314 
Girard Brothers, 121 
Girl from Chili , The, 301 
?IrI 1[^^ Dixie , I7~207 
Giamonda , 325, 34'S 
Gladiator , The, 185 
Gladatane, Mary, 87 
Gleason, Mina, 291 
Glendening, John, 360 
Gllckman's Theatre, (Chi- 
cago) 355 
Goal, Hov/ard, 207 
Golden Country , The, 355 
Goodwin, iJat, 163, 207, 304, 

Gordon, Marie, 48, 58, 59, 64, 

65, 67, 81, 84 
Gospel, 234, 235 
Gottlob, J. J., 178, 182 
Graham, Annie, 114, 120 
Graham, Donald de V,, 195 
Grand Battle, (tableaux) 256 
Grand Fairy Spectacle, 232 
Grand Opera House, 131 » 145, 

148, 162, 196, 217-371 
Granger, Maud, 143, 291, 292 
Grau, Maurice, 273, 308, 321, 

323, 324 
Gray, Mary, 224 
Great Diamond Robbery, The, 


Great Ruby, The , 301 
Grea^esl: T h in^ in the lliorld , 

G reen Bushes , 120 
(Treene, Clay M., 58, 59, 101, 

Gr imi-naldi , or The Life of an 

Ac tro 'ss', "57 
Gringo ire , 286 
Grismor, J. G., 253 
Guilia, Alberta, 266 
Guilty Vifithout Crime , 275 
'Gultry, Lucien, 304 
Gunter, Archibald, 169 
Guy Manner ing , 197 


INDEX (Cont.) 

Gypsy Baron , The , 299 

Hading, Mme, Jane, 285, 286, 

Hall, Charles P., 215, 269 
Hall, Isabel, 204 
Kail, Laura, 306 
Hall, Maude Edna, 292, 293 
Halllnan, John J., 40 
Hamilton, Edward H., 310, 314, 

Hamilton, Theodore, 260 
Hamlet , 8, 61, 77, 104, 126, 

1357 140, 151, 167, 187, 

306, 307, 355 
Hamlet , or The Wearing of 

the Black , 87 
Handel and Hadyn Society, 

Handy Andy , 93 
Hanford, Charles B., 204 
Hanley, Lawrence, 167 
Hanley, M. W», 183 
Hanlon Brothers, 26, 275 
Harlan, Otis, 179, 185 
Harrigan's Comedy Coinpany, 

Harrigan, Edward, 183, 184 
Harrigan, Ned, 153, 181, 183, 

184, 325, 326, 327 
Harrison, P., 167 
Harrison, Maude, 146 
Hart, James, 235, 236 
Hart, Mabel, 260 
Harte, Bret, 23, 26, 47, 48, 

56, 57, 280 
Hartman, Ferris, 271 
Hauck, Minnie, 255 
Hatik, Mme, Minnie, 263 
Haverly, J. H,, (Colonel 

Jack) 146 
Haverly's California Theatre, 

146, 265 
Haverly's Mastodon Minstrels 

40, 146, 148 
Haworth, Joseph, 305-308 
Hayes, Messrs., 16, 29-34 

Hayes, Mrs. Alice, 368 
Hayes Park, 19, 22, 29-34 
Hayes Valley, 32, 34 
Hayman, Al, 148, 149, 154, 

156, 161, 162, 172, 178, 

182, 240, 270, 271, 280 
Hayne, Mrs., 4, 6 
Haz el X irke , 346 
HearE of Chicago , The, 295 
H eart of Maryland , The, 200 
Fer.rts'Tf lame , 205 
Hearts of Oak, 253 
Heath, Marie, 340 
Hedda Gabler, 204, 344, 354, 


Heege, Gus, 174 

Heinrichs, August, 161 

Heir _at Law, 67 

Held by the Enemjr, 350 

Held for Ransom, 357 

Hender s o'n"^ 290' ' 

Henderson, Lucius, 214 

Hend rick Hu dson ^ Jr., 187 

Henr y V, 221 

Henry VITI , 173 

Henry, Marcus M,, 270 

Herbert, Victor, 320 

Her Majesty's Opera Company, 

250, 257, 263 
Herman, Charles, 264 
Heme, James A., 253 
Her old, Rudolph, 22 
Hertz, Alfred, 368 
Hess 'English Opera Company, 

He's a Good Brother, 180 
!nggins7-I5T TT., Sm 
Hill, Barton, 122, 125, 127, 

128, 130, 131, 140-142, 

Hilliard, Robert, 169 
H ills of California , The , 344 
Hinckley, Capt . Vifllliam C, 

Hinckley, Miss Ella, 9 
Hinckley, Sally, 68, 82 
Hindoo Hoodoo , A, 202 
His Ma.iesty , 281 
Hoity-Toity, 347 


INDEX (Cont.) 

Holbrook, Nellie, 254 
Holden, E. J., 291 
Holland, George, 96, 97 
Holmes, E. B., 48, 59, 64 
Holt, Elise, 70 
Homan, Gertie, 170 
Home , 87 

Homer, Louise, 308, 368 
Home Secretary , The, 188 
Homespun Heart , A . 301 
"Home Sv;oet Home," 542 
Hooley's Theatre (Chicago), 

Hope and Emerson, 547 
Horizo n, 105 
ITois and Hoss, 177 
House with Green B linds , 

Howard Anthenaem Company, 

Howard, C. T,, 233 
Howard, Fanny, 10 
Howard, Lewis, 272 
Howard, May, 93, 106, 119 
Howell, Isabel, 354 
How She Loves Him , 8 
Howson English and Italian 

Opera Troupe, 14 
How to Fight a Fire , 341 
Hoyt, cFarles, 175, 176, 

180, 185, 188 
Hughes, W. C, 270 
Hugo, Victor, 205 
Huguenots , The, 255, 298 
Hunchback of Notre Dame , The 


Hunchback , The , 59, 68 

Hunt, Claude, 355 

Hunted Down , 79 

Hunt ingFonJ Agnes, 277-279 

Hutchins, Edith, 554 

Ibsen, Henrik, 345, 346 
"I Don't Care if You Never 
Cone Back," 364 

I Lombardl , 121 

II Trovatore, 191, 273 

"I'm Getting Quite American, 
Don't You Know," 335 

Ince, Annette, 59-62, 64 

In Central Park , 336 

Inco g, 180 

In Dahomey , 352 

Ingomar , 60, 197 

Ingraham, Lloyd, 207 

In Harvar d, 356 

Innocent Maids Company, 215 

In Old Kentucky, 187, 357 

In Our Se cond Ce ntury , 235 

In Pa radis e, 200" 

Interrupte d Wedding , The, 355 

Iii the Palace of the King, 

In Wall S treet , 336 

Iii Vifashington, 335 

I.O.U., 354 

I Pajllacci, 298, 299 

IriEh" Congress, The, 30 

Irish Lion , The, 126 

Iris hman 's Fortune , An, 248 

Trvin^, Henry, 282-2^, 290 

Irwin, Hay, 185, 193, 194 

Italian Opera, 121 

Italic Campanini Operatic Con- 
cert Company, 270 

"It Showered Again," 327 

Ixion , or The Kan at the 
V:heel, 6V^97~79 

Jack, Sam T., 279 
Jackson, Peter, 274 
Jacob and Esau , 355 

Jacoby, Mme . , 367 
James, Colonel, 50 
James, Louis, 187 
Janauschek, Mme«, 128, 129, 

147, 163 
Janice Meredith , 207 
Japanese Jugglers, 261 
Jeanne d ' Arc , 275 
Jefferson"^ Joseph, 39, 66, 

76, 143 
Jerome , 335 
Jerome, Jerome K., 201 


INDEX (Cont.) 

Jessup, George, 137, 176 
"Jewel Song," 342 
Jewess , The , 204 
Jewett, Sarah, 145 
Jewish Hamlet , The , 355 
Jim the "Penman , 524 
John Bull , 60 
John girth , 105 
Johnson, Alice, 328 
Johnson, Barry, 204 
Johnson, H. A., 180 
John the Baptist, 238 
Jolly Girls Companj'-, 215 
Jones, Henry Arthur, 174, 

175, 305, 360 
Jones, Ifeie, Sissieretta, 

197, 206 
Jose, Don, 322 
Joseph in Egypt , 355 
Jour net, Marcel, 308 
Jouvet, 367 
Juch, Emma, 267 
Judah , 175 
Judah, Mrs,, 8, 11, 48, 58, 

59, 64, 70, 114, 137, 143, 

144, 151 
Judith of Bethulia , 362 
Julius Caesar , 109, 157, 

204, 334 
Just S truck Town , 207 

Kerry , 122 

Kerry Gov/ , 169, 208, 209, 

210, 211 
Kidnapped , 288 
Kill arney, 180 
King Blear, 5 
King Caucus , 5 
Kin g John, 334 
King Lear, 204 
K ing of Kokomo , The , 215 
King o_f the Commons , 78 
long Richard III, 358 
Kingsbury, Alice, 241 
King » s Fool, The, 271 
King Solomon , 355 
Kirafly, Ballet Troupe, 149, 

263, 270 
Kirby, Sadie, 204 
Kirkwood, James, 351 
"Kiss Me Agflin," 320 
"Kitty of the Cows," 329 
Klaw and Erlanger, 185, 216, 

359, 340, 354, 357 
Itolckerbocker Theatre, 335 
Knights of Tar a, 330 

_„, 368 
5, 347, 354 

Kaderly, Professor Jacques, 

Kahn, Julius, 176 
Kean, Charles, 7, 8 
Keene, Tom, 128, 136, 151, 

174, 187 
Keith Circuit, 178 
Kelley, John T., 343 
Kellogg, Gertrude, 167 
Kelly, Alice, 355 
Kelly, Dan, 291 
Kelly, Harry, 354 
Kelly, Spenser, 363 
Kenilworth, 331 
Kennedy, M. A., 227, 231 
Kentucky Girl , A, 288 

La Bell e Helene, 110 

Tq Bohonie, r5S7 298, 312 

La^jkaye, James, 350 

Lackaye, %'ilton, 301, 328 

La Darae aux Gamelias , 286 

ridy Audre y's Secret , 7 

Lacly Clare , T02 

ridy Ox Lyons , 68, 75 

Lady P eGgy , 275 

ITady Slavey , The , 337 

La Favor it a, W9 

L'Af ricain e, 273 

la'Grande Duchesse , 110, 245 

La Gloc onda, 19^ 

ITAiglon, 301, 302 

La Joie Fait Peur, 286 


ind:::x: (cont.) 

La Juive, 255 

La land , 267 

TTKml Fritz, 177 

lianoa shire Lass , The , 261 

Land, Miss, 4 

Landpr, Mrs. P. W., (Jean 

Davenport) 98, 99 
Land is, 161 

Land of the Midnight Snow, 
Lane, John E., 167 
Langtry, Lily, 149 
La Perichole, 110 
La Sonnambula, 90, 253, 

•—267, 27S 

"Last Rose of Siirumer, The," 

342 " 
Last Supper, The, 238 
La Tentation , 132 
Ta Tosoa , 2*54, 275 
la Traviata , 10, 12, 195, 

251, 260, 263, 264, 273 
La Verne, Lucille, 288, 299 
L' Aventuriere , 286 
La Vie de Boheme , 5 
Lawlor, Frank, ll, 141 
Leach, Stephen, 59, 64, 109, 

114, 115, 143 
Leah, or The Jewess , 361 
Leathes, jEdmund, 101 
Leavitt, M. B., 153, 154, 

Leclerq, Carlotta, 108, 
Ledv/idge, John, 161 
La Gendre de M, Poirer , 
Le ight on , W. anoPMriT, 

5 26 27 
L'Ellsir d' Amore , 251 
leman, Walter, 5, 114, 143, 

Leontine, Adolphe and Mme.j 

"Leprechaun, The," 329 
Les Eff rentes , 286 
Les Huguenot's , 273, 310 
TH Precieuses Ridicules . 

286, 303 
Le Vyne, Let tie, 295 
Lewellyn, Harry, 207 



Lewis, Annie, 174 

Lewis, Catherine, 233 

Lewis, George Kenry, 358 

Lewis, Jeffreys, 143, 150, 250 

Lewis, Mrs, Fleissner, 270 

Lewis, William, 192 

Liars, The , 305 

riTe of an Actress , 67 

Life oT _a San Francisc o Fir e- 
man , The , (or, Kow to Figh t 
a FireT ~341 

Lightnin ', 301, 344 

Lights "and Sh ades of San Fran- 
cisco7~l?19, 222 

Lily of France , 79 

LilZ °£ ^lllarn eyA The, 299 

"ETnda di Chamounix ,"T53, 266 

Linden, 161 

Lindon, George, 295 

Lingard, Alice Dunning, 88, 89, 
98, 128, 132, 151 

Lingard, Dickie, 88, 89, 98, 
128, 132, 151 

Lingard, William Horace, 88, 
89, 98, 132 

Lion 's Mouth , The, 174 

Little Chxirch Around the Cor- 
n«i', Tne, 57 

Littl e i;Jral_l2;, 88 

Little Lord Fauntleroy , 170 

Little lac7 ^^3 

Little Nell and The Marchion - 
ess , ■7c57~"7'S' 

LiWIe Outcast , A. 341 

Little Rabbi, The, 355 

Little Jycoon,~"The, 299 

Live Indian , The , 66 

rioyd, B. E . ,'~ST9 

Locke, Charles, E,, 267 

Locke, Llr . and Mrs,, 4 

Locke, Ivlra. G. E,, 9 

Locke's National Opera Co., 

Logan, Olive, 90, 92 

Lohengrin , 279, 308, 319 

Lolli, Signer, 266 

Lorabardelli, Signori, 250 

Lombard i Italian Opera Com- 
pany, 198 


Index (Cont.) 
London Assurance 

59, 60 

Long, J» K., ^^9 

Loi-'d _and Lady .4l3y, 305 

Loi'd CL'taIbj : 20 i~ 

L^Ox^na r-i":j ne, 328 

L u'uter: / o_i^ Love , Ti^£» ^^^ 

LouderSao'k, "Judge Davis, 

Louis XI; 147, 285 
Love, or Cupid and Psyche, 

"Low Backed Car, The," 

529, 356 
Low, Charles A., 227, 228, 

Lucia di Lammermoor, 121, 

195, "^53-257, 265, 275, 

Lucretia Borgia , 60, 69, 

Lupo, Eugenie, 224 

Lurline, 92 

Lynch, Kate, 64, 67 

Lyons Mail , The , 285 

Lyster, Fred, 102, 233, 241 

Lytton, Bulwer, 48 

Ma cbeth . 78, 187, 332, 361, 

Macdonald, J. R., 276 
MacDowell, Melbourne, 325, 

348, 349 
MacGregor, Nerval, 355 
Mack, Johnny, 68 
Mackay, John, 56 
Maclaren, Ian, 198, 199, 340 
Maclean, Phinias G., 207 
Madame Butterfly , 354 
Madame Favart , 243, 244 
Madame Sans Gene , 200 
Maddern, Minnie, 163 
Madison Square Theatre Com- 
pany, 267 
Magda , 204, 332, 333, 360 
''Maggie Murphy's Home,". 184 
Magic Flute , The , 270 
Maguire, John, 262, 265, 272 

Maguire, Tom, 4, 6-15, 67, 68, 

7^, ei. cO, C5, 87-89, 92, 

94, .\"v,-^, 1^0. 162, 232-235, 

25:', 240, 2^. , 262 
Maguiro's Nev; Theatre, 128 
Maguire 's Opera House, 2, 4, 

6. 7. 10, 11, 13. 14, 46, 

67, 68, 80, 82, 85. 86-90, 

94, 96, 241, 246, 262 
Mainhall, Harry, 150, 253, 

Majiltons, The, 107, 121 
Ma lone, J. T,, 241 
Mammoth Gigantic Minstrels, 

Man About T own , 180 
Man Among Men, A, 293 
Man at ohe 'wheel . The , or 

I xion , 67-69 
Mandeville, Jennie, 5, 6 
Man Frorn the South , The , 295 
Mann, Harry, 154, 161, 163, 

Manon Lescaut , 263, 311 
Manon, Louis, 343 
Mansfield, Richard, 147, 278, 

358, 559 
Mantell, Robert, 162, 168, 

178, 179, 180 
Mapleson, Colonel J. H., 250, 

253, 258, 263, 264 
Mapleson Troupe, 251, 259 
Marble, E, P., 64 
Marble Heart . The . 60, 78 
Marchi, Di, 322 
Marchioness ( Little Nell and 

the_), 70 
Marsden (author), 169 
"Marguerite," 181" ' " 
Mariana , 213 
Marlowe, Owen, 114 
Marmion , 187 
Marretti, Mrae,, 95 
Marriage of Figaro , The , 313, 

-314, 341 

Marriage of Kitty 

Married Life , 60, 87 
Harsh, Fanny, 59, 64, 65 


im)yx (cont.) 

Marshall, Edward G., 239 

Marshall, James v7., 253, 

Martha , 260, 263, 266, 273 

Mart in, Cornelius, 154 

Martinettl, Paul, 82 

Martinetti Troupe, 30 

Martinettis, The, 249, 275 

Martinot, Sadie, 189, 193 

Mary of Magdala , 344 

lasaniello , 97, 98 

Mascsgni, 177 

Ma si: 3 and Faces , 4 

Mason,'"ldith, 500, 355 

Massenet, Jules, 311 

Massey, Rose, 89, 92 

Mattfeld, Mme., 296 

Matthews, Charles, 98 

Matthews, Sherrie, 201 

Mavourneen , 189 

"Mavourneen Dheelish," 356 

Maxv/ell, Theresa, 207 

Mayall, Herschel, 214, 306 

Mayhew, Katie, 163 

Mayo, Edwin, 197 

Mayo, Frank, 4, 9, 10, 88, 
119, 125, 135, 144, 163, 
197, 269 

Mazeppa, 7 

Mazulm, 270 

McAllister, Hall, 213 

McAllister, Rosa, 192, 207 

McAllister, Ward, 184 

McCarthy, Dan, 291 

McConnell, J., 239 

"Mccormick's Fourth of 
July," 182 

McCoul, Finn, 329 

McCullough, John, 14, 45, 46, 
48, 49, 50, 58, 59, 61, 62, 
64, 69, 70, 76-82, 84, 87, 
92, 93, 94, 96, 101, 103, 
104, 106, 108, 110, 111, 
113, 114, 115, 117, 118, 
119, 125, 126, 128, 130, 
131, 132, 136, 138-142, 150, 
151, 154, 162, 163, 216, 
221, 23 0, 231 
McDonal'ci M. J,, 220, 227, 
228, 229, 232 

McDonald, M. M., 227 
McDonough, Mrs. Kate, 149, 

153, 154, 161 
McHenry, Nellie, 188, 275 
McLean, R, D., 334 
McVickers, Prank, 207 
Mechanics Pavilion, 39 
Mef istofele , 273 
Melba, Nellie, 194-197, £65, 

296-299, 312, 318 
Melville, Emelie, 59-62, 64, 

67, 74, 75, 79, 81, 84, 87 
Mendum, Georgie Drev;, 355 
Menken, Adah Isaacs, 7 
M erchan t of Venice , 167 ^'188,308 
Messiah , ^0 
Me stayer, Harry, 207 
Mestayer, William, 59, 64, 

75, 109, 114, 151 
Metropolitan, 246 
Metropolitan Opera, 308 
Metropolitan Opera House, 337 
Metropolitan Star Company, 6 
Metropolitan Theatre, 2, 5, 

6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 45, 

67, 77, SO, 82 
MeyerToeer, Giacomo, 310 
Middleman, The, 174, 175 
Midnight Alarm , Tlie, 295 
Mifihty Dollar , The , 126 
Mikado, The, 39 
Mrik" WhiTe~Fla.g , A, 192 
MiTe. ltodlste , 320 
Miller Company, 305 
Miller, Henry', 207-305 
Miner's Bohemian Burlesquers, 

Minister 's Son, The , 341 
Mire 11a , ^60 
Misanthropes , The , 358 
Mission Dolores, 23, 24 
Mission Street Theatre, 269 
Miss McGinty , 171 
Miss New York, Jr. Company, 

Modjeska, Helena, 137, 138, 

140, 141, 197, 242, 362 
Moliere, 287 
Monbars , 168, 180 
Money , 48, 50, 60, 103, 150 

INDIX (Cont.) 


Monna Vanna, 361 

Monroe, Maude, 207 

Monsieur Beaucalre , 211, 212, 

Montague, Harry, 128, 143, 

Montague, Vifinetta, 224 
Monte Cristo, 94-97, 149, 
—^34, 261 

Montgomery, Walter, 87, 92 
Mooney, Thor.ias, 30, 31, 34 
Moore, Flora, 39 
Moore, Louise, 338 
Moore, Maggie, 200 
Moran, Polly, 215 
More Than Queen , 334 
Morgan Edward. 327 
"Moriarity," 363 
Morlacchi, Mile. Guiseppina, 

Morosco Amusement Company, 

Morosco, Harry, 304 
Morosco, Leslie, 291, 338 
Morosco, Oliver, 338 
Morosco, Oliver, Company, 

Morosco, Walter, 221, 275, 

285, 288-297, 299, 300, 

304, 305 
Morosco 's (Grand Opera 

House), 288 
Morphy, Edward A., 9 
Morris, Clara, 126, 127, 128, 

178, 241, 244, 245 
Morris, Isabel, 272 
Morris, William, 262, 272, 

274, 275 
Morrison, Charles, 188 
Morrison, Judge Robert 

Francis, 239 
Morrison, Lev/is, 215, 234, 

Morrison, 125 
Morse, Salmi, 145, 234, 235, 

237, 239, 240 
Moses, Thomas, 161 
Morspite, E. J., 305 
Mother Goose, 354 

Mountebank . The , 204 
Mowry, Mrs. L. A., 34 
Mosart, 314, 319 
^* t3ai'nes of New York , 350 
Irs . Dane ' s Tef en s e, 210 
Mrs. Quinn"f_s Twins, 200 
Much JdcTTboiit Nothing , 99, 

Mueller, 271 
Muldever, Louise, 173 
"Muldoon, the Solid Man," 

r.'haldoon, Vvilllara, 248 
Mulligan 's Guards , 181 
Murger, Henri, 5 
Murphy and Bray Minstrels, 7 
Murphy, George, 215 
Mtirphy, J, L,, 157 
Murphy, Joe, 68, 146, 1G9, 

208, 209, 311 
Murphy, Mark, 179 
Murphy, Tim, 176 
Murray and Mack, 364 
M y Aun t 's Adv ice, 354 
■^y Dark Rosaleen, " 356 
My Friend from India , 335 

Naiad Queen, 121 

jJance Old fie Id, 285 

tannery, Edward, 335 

Nan the Good for Nothing, 73 

^arcisse , 77, 78 

Nast, Thomas, 40 

Natalie, Madame, 189 

National Opera Company, 268 

Neill Company,, 200, 

Neill, James, 337, 350 
Ncill-Morosco Company, 207 
Neilson, Adelaide, 121, 122, 

124-128, 157, 176, 242, 327 
Nell Gwyn, 301 
Nevada, Emma, 148, 199, 257, 

New California Theatre, The, 



IITDEX (Cont.) 

Newcomb, Thorns s, 223, 224 

Newell, V/illp.rd, 291 

Nev/ell, Vvilliam, 291 

Nev; Idea Melodeon, 7 

New York Ssrmphony Orchestra, 

Nightingale, The, 24, 25 
Nobles, Dollie, 272 
Nobles, Milton, 247, 272, 280 
"Nobody," 364 
Horde ck , 269 
Nordica, Lillian, 250, 252, 

257, 263, 264, 272, 273 
Norma , 260 
Norton, Emperor, 56 
Norton, Jessie, 295 
Norton, Lillian, 250 
No Thoroughfare , 126 
Notre Dame , 205 
Novara, Signor, 266 

Oberle, Thomas, 207 
O'Brien, Vvilliam S. 22, 232 
Ocean House, 25 
O'Connell, Daniel, 277 
Octoroon , The , 2S8 
Odell, Maude, 334 
O' Dowd 's Neighbors , 179 
OfTicer of the 2n'd, An, 301 
Old GeritTeman from Ireland , 

Old Glory , 295 
Old Homestead , The, 180, 

185, 346 
Old Lavendar , 325, 326, 327 
01c ott, Chauncey, 188, 189 
Olitzka, Mme., 296 
Oliver-Leslie Company, 301 
Oliver Twist, 197-204 
O'Mahony, John, 30 
O'Neil, Kitty, 39 
0»Neil> Nance, 196, 197, 204, 

205, 332, 333, 360, 361 
O'Neil, William, 5, 10 
O'Neill, Eugene, 194 
O'Neill, James, 94, 145, 149, 


One of the Four Hundred, 179 

Only a Jew , 116 

(Hi the Bowery , 190 

On the Brink, 79 

On The ^ule€ , 335 

^ t^ Slj, 8 

Operator , The, 291 

Ci^ell, Max, 277 

Orlandino, Signor, 12 

Orphee, 110 

Orpheum Circuit, 178, 304 

Orpheurn Theatre, 162, 163 

Orrin Brothers, 9 

Osborne, George, 272 

0' Sullivan, Denis, 329, 330, 

331, 356, 357 
Othello. 78, 126, 154, 167, 

180, 272, 273, 334 
Ouida, 337 
Ours. 80 

Over Niaga ra, 340 
Owen, Lillian, 256 
Owens, John E., 63, 55-68, 

78, 116 
Ovjens, W. T.,. 173 

Pace That Kill s, The , 293 

"Facific Theatre, 80 

Paderewaki, Ignace, 190, 200 

Pagliacci, I, 320 

Palace Hotel, 370 

Palace of Truth , 103, 106, 

Pandolfini, 296 

Pappenheim-Fabbri German- 
Italian Opera Company, 255 

Paris , 70 

Parisian Roma nce , A, 147, 201j 
550, 556, 359 

Parker, E, H,, 218 

Parker, Lottie Blair, 563 

Paroli, 367 

Parry, William, 296 

Parsons, George, 355 

Partington, Blanche, 345, 369 

Pasco, W. H,, 295 

Passion, 234, 235, 236 

.IITD3X (Cont.,> 


Passion Play, 145,235,237, 240 

Pat^Kian, Bob, 151 

Passion 's Slave , 249 

Pastor, Mrs, Emma, 9 

Pastor, Tony, 343 

Patenan, Bell.-^, 125, 151 

Patti, Adelina, 148, 195, 
250-53,255, 257, 258-260, 
263, 265, 266, 267, 269, 
272, 273, 274, 281, 290, 
296, 308, 318, 341-343 

Pat ton, V/. B., 341 

Pauline Blancha rd, 276 

Paul Jones , ^78, 337 

Peep O' Day Boys , The , 7, 

Peoples Theatre, 248 

Perkins, V/alter, 335 

Perrier, Monsieur, 38 

Perry, Agnes, 10 

Perry, Frederick, 192 

Perry, Ii/Irs,, 4 

Peters, Charles, 50 

Pet of the Petticoats , 72, 

Phedre . 303 

Phelps, Fanny Morgan, 8, 

Phelps, Josephine Kart, 346, 
353, 362 

Phelps, 4, 6, 11 

Phoenix , The, 247, 280, 294 

Piercy, Samuel W., 93, 94 

Piers on, John J., 295 

Pinafore , 39, 299, 337, 364 

Pinero, Arthur King, 360 

Pioche, 16, 28 

Piper's Opera House, 92 

Piratss of Penzance , 299 

Pitou, Augustus, 176 

Pixley and Luders, 351 

Pixley, Annie, 143, 221, 224, 

Pizarro , 60 

Plancon, Pol, 191, 312 

Plenquette, 278 

Piatt, Henry B., 2, 3, 4 

Piatt, Reverend, 239 

Piatt's Hall, 90 

Playing with Fire , 60, 69 
Plut o, 89 

Plynpton, Eben, 114 
Poc a honta s, or Ye Gentle 

Savage , 69 
Podester, Joe, 207 
Pollack, Emma, 184 
Pollard, 21 
Pollard, Alice, 337 
Pollard, Connie, 337 
Pollard, Daphne, 337 
Pollard, Jack:, 337 
Pollard Lilliputian Opera 

Cor.pany, 337, 364 
Pollard, Merle, 337 
Porter, W. T., 81, 95-100, 

102, 106, 107, 113-116, 121j 

Pov.'er _of Gold , The, 293 
Po'.ver £f the Press , The , 176 
Power, Tyrone, 93 
Prescott, Vivian, 343 
Preston, Robert, 154 
Pretty Peggy , 351 
Primrose and VJest, 178, 188 
Primrose, George, 365 
Prince of Liars , A, 207 
Pr incess and the Butt erf ly- 

~nj9 ^ 

P rincess Fan Tan, 350 
Princess Nicotine , 299 
Protestant Prot est, 236 
Pud din' Hea d Wi ls . on , 197 
Fu ritani , I, 253 
"^it On Your Bridal Veil," 

Pygmalion and Galatea, 116 

Quee n Elizabeth , 204 

Queen of S heba , The , 367, 369 

Queen _of the Highway, 357 

Queen '"s'^Lace Handkerchief , 


Quo Vadis, 306 


index: (Cont.) 

Rabbi Osher in America ^ 355 

Radcllff, E. "7,7^33 

Radcliffe, Minnie, 170 

Raffael, J. J., 189 

Raglan •_£ Waj, 324 

Railroad to Ruin , or For - 
mosa, 74 

Rains, 296 

Ralston, Vi/'illlam C, 12, 46, 
47, 49, 55, 56, 59, 69, 81, 
114, 131, 139, 141, 142, 

Rankin Dramatic Company, 148 

Rankin, McKee, 148, 205, 232, 

Rat Catcher , The, 149 

Ratcliff, E, J,, 265 

Ravelli, 265 

Raymar, Vailiara, 233 

Raymond and Calverly, 336 

Raymond John T., 48, 58-62, 
64, 67, 70, 76, 81, 82, 87, 
116, 117, 125, 135, 154 

Rea, Frank, 233 

Ready , or California in '71, 

Red Lamp , The , 301 

Red Spider , The , 288, 291 

Reed, Charley, 163, 171, 172, 

177, 363 
Reese, Michael, 217 
Rehan, Ada, 147 
Reilly and the 400 , 183,' 184, 

185, 326 
Reilly, James A,, 291 
Reias, 367 

Reynolds, Maxwell, 215 
Rhoades, Lillian, 350 
Riall, Jay, 148, 262, 272, 

274, 275 
Ricaby, Sanford B,, 363 
Rice, Billy, 363 
Rice, John S,, 194 
Richard III , 82, 114, 115, 

118, 136, 334, 359 
Richelieu , 126, 187, 306 
Richings, Caroline, 10, 11 
Richlngs Opera Company, 10 
Ri£l, Betty, 115, 169 

Rigl, Emil, 115, 169 
Rignold, George, 143 
Rlgoletto , 253, 260, 269 
Rinaldini, Signer, 250 
Rip Van Winkle , 78, 116, 

Ristori, Mme,, 128, 129 
Riva ls, The , 331 
Robert" le Diable , 121 
Roberts, Florence, 206, 214, 

Roberts, H, R,, 200 
Roberts, Theodore, 288, 291, 

Robertson, Peter, 185, 208, 

209, 210, 213, 281, 340, 

344, 346, 360 

"Robin Adair," 542 

Robin Hood , 267 

tiobaon, Andrew, 352, 360 

Robaon, Eleanor, 192 

Robson, Stuart, 141, 144, 163 

Rodgers, R, C, 229 

Rogers, Ben G,, 167 

Rogers, H,, 241 

Rogers, J, P., 218 

Rogers, C,, 4 

Roland for an Oliver , A, 60, 
To - 

Romance of a Poor Young Man, 

The, 24H 
Romeo and Juliet, 79, 187, 

§0?, 298, 313, 327 
Roncovieri, Count Alfred 

Pierre, 5, 121 
Rookwood, 7 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 212 
Rosa, 296 
Rosedale , 60, 61, 63, 69, 75, 

87, 109, 253, 305 
Rose 'a Honeymoon , 206 
^sewald, J. H,, 255 
Rosina, 318 
Rossini, 272, 317 
Rossmore, Dorothy, 170 
Roy, Robert, 218 
Royal Comedians, 352 
Royal Guard , The , 269 
Royal Middy. THe, 245 


INDEX (Cont.) 

Royce, Louise, 214 
Ruling Passion , The, 250 
RiHiaway Girl , A. "2^4 
Suss hardens, 17, 23, 26, 30 
Russell, John, 39 
Russell, Lillian, 300, 343 
Russell, Sol Smith, 201 
Ryan, George, 291 

Salon Shingle , 63, 78 
Salvini, Alessandro, 177 
Salvini, Alexander, 177 
Sara and Kit, or the Ark ansas 

Tr aveler , 93 
Sanderson, Sibyl, 308, 311, 

313, 317 
San Francisco Minstrels, 6, 

7, 8, 11, 14 
San Francisco Operatic So- 
ciety, 281 
Sangalli, Rita, 68, 62 
Sappho , 301 
Sardou, 186, 204, 275, 287, 

325, 348 
Saunders, Mrs,, 10, 59, 60, 

64, 150, 151 
Saviour, Sbriglia, 12, 235, 

Scalchi, Sofia, 266 
Scanlan, Vif. J., 189 
Scheff, Fritzi, 314, 320, 

School , 69, 79 
School for Scandal, The, 

108, TI7, 331, 332 
Sch-umann-Heink, Mme , Ernes- 
tine, 308, 309, 310> 317, 

Sconcia, Olinia, 12 
Scott, Walter, 365 
Scotti, Antonio, 308-520, 

Scotty , King of the Diamond 

Mine , 365 
Scout, The, 279 
Scudder, Dr., 217 

Seamstress , The , 244 
Sea of Ice , The, 68 
Sears, Herbert, 336 
Secret Service , 328 

Serabrich, Marcella, 308, 311, 

314, 317, 318, 319, 320, 

322, 368 
Serniramlde, 258, 266 
Seppilli, Armando, 296 
Setchell, Dan, 13 
Seven Dv/arfs, The , 249 

Seygard, Camille, 317 
Seymour, William, 235-239 
S hadow Detective, 291 
Shadow of Shasta , The, or 

Prom Sire to Son , 280 
Shadows on th e Hearth , 360 
Shaftesbury Theatre, (London) 

Shakespeare, 209, 215, 525, 

333, 334 
Sharon, 56 

Shavighraun , The, 169, 329 
Shav/, George Bernard, 363 
Shawn , Rhue , 210 
Shenandoah , 205, 350 
Sheridan ,~2Ql 
Sheridan, W. E., 147 
Shlel's Opera House, 131 
Short, Captain, 274 
Show Girl, The, 352 
Shubert, Sam, 207 
Shy lock , or Much A do About a 

Me rchant of Venice , 70 
Sigurd , 191 
Silence of Dean Ma it land . The , 

— 2-00 ' 

Silv er King, The , 261, 301 
S ilve r Slipper , The, 354 
Simpson, Cheridah, 336 
Simpson, Russell, 357 
Sims, Willie, 224, 253 
Sinbad, or The Maid of Balsora, 

Sinbad the Sailor , 89, 276 
Sinclair, Catherine, (Mrs, 
Edwin Forrest) 45 


INDEX (Cont.. 

Sinclair, Edith, 354 

Sixth Commandment , The , 334 

Slavin, John, i304 

Sleeping Beauty and the Beast , 

Slocum, John P,, 260 
Smith, Beaumont, 167 
Smith, Thomas J., 344 
Smith, W, H. Sedley, 48, 57, 
59, 62, 64, 65, 74, 77, 
81, 96, 102, 104, 154 
Snowflake , 221, 224, 225, 

Society , 82 
Solid Silver , 103 
Son of~7hespi3 . A, 280 
Sosman, 161 
Sothern, E. A., 119, 124, 

125, 137, 163 
Soudan , The, 180 
Sovisa's Band, 191 
Sousa, John Philip, 299 
Southwell Opera Company, 299 
Sparks, John, 194 
Spectre Bridegroom , Th e, 60 
Spiering, 161 
Sport McAllister , 179 
SpotleTs Town , g59 
StafTord,iriTliam, 167 
Standard Theatre, 148, 162, 

189, 363 
Stanford, Leland, 56 
Stanley, 176 
Stanley Sisters, 114 
Stanton, Vk'alter, 354 
Stark, James, 74 
"Star Spangled Banner," 224, 

Stehmann, 296 
Steindorff, Paul, 324 
Stetson, E, T,, 256, 258, 

Stevens, 261 
Stevens, Ashton, 201, 207, 

302-306, 308-313, 315, 

318, 319, 322, 325, 327, 

332, 334, 337, 339, 345, 

Stevens, John A,, 248-260 

Stevens, Landers, 295, 299 
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 56 
Stewart, Elizabeth, 328 
Stewart, K. J., 270, 277, 281 
Stewart, Julie, 274 
St, Francis Hotel, 365 
Stocks, 105 
Stockton, May, 341 
Stockwell, L. C,, Company, 

188, 189, 199, 205 
Stockwell, L, T,, 246, 247 
Stoddard, Blanche, 335 
Stoddard, J. H., 146, 340, 

Stoker, Brara, 285 
Stone, Florence, 325 
Stowaway , The , 294 
St. Peter, 236 
Stranger , The, 75 
Stranglers of Paris, The, 261 
Streets of New York , '767 119^ 


Sullivan, Arthur, 108 
Sullivan, John L,, 178 
Sullivan, P» C;,, 233 
Sun Up, 289 

Sutherland, Lillie, 355 
Swain, Charley, 291 
Sweet, Lulu, 10 

Tale of Two Cities , A , 301 
Tama g no. Signer Pra nc e s c-o , 

265, 273, 274, 281, 296 
Taming of the Shrew , The, 

204, 354 ■ 

Tannhauser, 279, 310 
Tanzman, Mme , Bertha, 355 
"Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-DeWiy," 181 
Tarkington, Booth, 211,^366 
Tartuffe, 286 
Taylor, Charles^ 365 
Tearle, Osmond, 248 
Temperance Town , A , 185 
Templeton, Pay, l7l, 172 
Ten Nights in a Bar room , --3^6- 
'Terry, Ellen, ^82-286 
Tess of the D' Urbervilles ^ 

gU2, 2^S7 1J14, M4 

INDEX (Cont.) 


Tetlov.', Saruel, 15, 68 
Texas Steer , T_h_e, 175 
Thais, 511 
Thalia Theatre Company, 

Thatcher, George, 179, 363, 

Thatcher Minstrels, 178 
That 's No Joke , 180 
Tha3Fer, 1097~Tl4, 233 
Theodora , 275 
Thernidor , 286 
Thoman, John, 117 
Th-^mas, Augustus, 201, 335, 

351, 357 
Thomas, Theodore, 267 
Thomas, V/alter, 167 
Thompson, Charlotte, 68, 79, 

80, 119 
Thompson, Clara, 360 
Thompson, Denman, 180 
Thompson, G , W., 233 
Thompson, H. D., 241 
Thompson, John, 150 
Thompson, Lydia, 67, 86, 89, 

90, 92, 336 
Thompson, V/. 3,, 261 
Thorne, Charles, Jr., 10, 

Thorne, Charles, Sr,, 261, 

Thorne, Virginia, 241 
Thorou,q;hbrcd Tramp, A, 207 
Three -c orner ed y.'e dding , 276 
Three Guardsme n, The , 177 
Three Musketeers , The , 177 
T hrough Fire, 247 
Tibbetts, Charles, 56 
Ticket -of- Leav e-Manp 7, 73, 

Tittei,- Charlotte, 150 
Tittle, Maude, 253 
Tittle, Minnie, 253, 260 
Tivoli Theatre, 108, 141, 

163, 300, 319, 369 
Tobln, Mrs. Agnes, 368 
Tobin, Mrs. Clement, 368 
Todd, Harry, 207 
Toodles, 116 

Torning, A,, 4 

Torrence, John, 8, 11, 53, 

113, 114, 115, 233 
T osca , La, 303, 325 
Tour of "The World in Eighty 

Days, The , 256 
Town and Co untry , 66 
Tracy,~llelcn, 114 
T raviata , 264, 320 
Tree, Ellen, 7 
Tried and True , 261 
Trilby, 185, 200, 301 
Trip to Africa , A, 281 
Trip to Chinatown, A, 180, 

Triumph _of F aust , The, 311 

Trovator'e , II, 253, 260 

True, Carro, 233 

Turkish Texan, A, 355 

Turner, Vfilliam H,, 211 

Twain, Mark, 197 

Twelfth Night, 68, 79, 173, 

Two Or phans , The, 151, 328 
Two Thom psons , The, 67 
Tylor, Odette, 334 

Ulrich, Olive, 3^6 
Ulmer, George, 275 
Un Ba 11 en Ma sc her a, 12 
TJncTe~ Tom"^ Cabin, 76, 247, 

Under The Gaslight, 247 
Undu'r Two Flags , 337, 350 
Underwood, Isabelle, 365 
Underwood, Franklin, 214 
Undine, 261 
U nequal Match, An, 331 
Union Square~Theatre Company 

of N. Y., 144, 146 
Unkn own, 249, 261 
UnweTcome, Mrs, Hatch , The , 

Vagrant , The 



INDEX (Cont.) 

Valega, Mile., 250 

Valkyrie , The, 310 

Van Buren,"T3ai'y, 199, 328 

Van Cauteren, Mme., 296 

Van, George S., 363, 364 

Van Hoose, 296 

Vanity Fair , 202 


Veneta, Mme. Mathilda, 104 

Venturolli, Mile. Erminie, 

Verdi, 272 

Verne, Jules, 256, 263 
Victoria Theatre, 336 
Victor, John, 160 
Vigna, Arturo, 367 
Viola, Misa, 4 
Virginius , 82, 126, 204 
Viviani, 296 

Voegtlin, William, 232, 256 
"Vol Che Sapete," 342 
Volunteer , The , 275 
von Metter, Earry, 207 
Von Trautman, Ida, 242, 243 
Vroom, Frederick, 167 
Von Bulow, Hans, 319 

Wachtal Italian Opera Troupe, 

YJaddy Googan, 327 
Wade, E>r, Thomas, 217-221, 

227, 229 
Wade, George L., 288, 363, 

Wade's Grand Opera House, 

81, 217-371 
Wages of Sin, 291 
Wagner, Richard, 310, 311 
Wainwright, Marie, 173, 176, 

331, 332 
Wakelee, H. P., 49, 50 
Wakeman, Keith, 199 
Waldron, Georgia, 288 
Vi/alker, Antoinette, 335 
V;/alker, George, 352 
Vvallack, Janes W., 336 
Wallack, Lester, 61, 145, 

146, 253, 305, 336 

Wallack 's New York Theatre 

Company, 248 
Wallack 's Theatre, 71 
Waller, Emma, 135 
Walsh, Blanche, 325, 348 
Walsh, Flora, 176 
Walters Company, The Elmer, 

Walters, Theresa Belmont, 207 
Walton, Minnie, 67, 81, 106, 

Wambold, 11 
Ward, James M,, 248 
V/arde, Frederick, 150, 173, 

174, 188, 204 
Warwick, J. H., 12 
Warwick, Robert, 336 
Waterhouse, A. J., 298, 299 
V/atson, Rev» John, 198 
Way Down East , 362 
Yifay to Win a "Woman , Tlie, 201 
Wearing of the B lack , 87 
■"Wearing of" the Green, The," 

329, 356, 557 
Webb, Edward, 233 
Weber and Fields, 215, 343, 

344, 347 
Webdter, George, 295 
Webster, John, 188 
Weill, Raphael, 40 
Welch, A. J., 29 
Wells, Sam, 5 
West, (and Primrose) Min- 
strels, 178, 202 
West, Olive, 238 
West Minstrels, William H. 

363, 364 
Western, Lucille, 336 
Westwater, Mrs., 270 
V'/eyman, Stanley, 337 
What Cheer House, 35, 39 
Wheatleigh, Charles, 8, 9, 

11, 13, 82, 104, 231, 

When We Were Twenty-one , 

Whiff en, Mrs. Thomas, 213 
Whirl -I-Gig, 347 
White House, the, 40 

INDEX (Cont.) 


White Lies , 6 

White, Peter, Mr. and Mrs,, 

Wtilte Slave , The, 248, 249, 

Whitney, Fred C, 279 
.Whoop -dee"doo» 343 
Wicklow Rebel. The, 13 
Widmer, E. H., 235 
Widow Jones, The , 185 
V\/idows' and Orphans* Aid 

Association, 331 
Wife , The, 60, 201 
WiTi 's' -Ordeal , 115 
Wild "Pats , 60, 77, 78 
WIIkiiTTlfred, 270 
Wilkins, Mary E., 335 
Willard, E. S., 176 
Willard, Lee, 338 
William Tell , 272 
^nUiams, Bert, 352 
Williams, Esther, 360 
Williams, Molly, 120 
Williamson, J. C,, 114, 116, 

118, 122 
Williams, Walter, 277 
Wills.,, Nat, 288 
Willows, The, 23-30 
Wilson, John, 48, 59, 62, 

64, 76, 114 
Vifilson, Louise, 76 
Wilton, Ellie, 136 
Wilton, Marie, 233 
Wimmer Jacob, 28 
Witch , The, 262 
With Flying Colors , 199 
Withered Leaves , 274 
Within an Inch of Hie Lif e, 


Wolseley, J,, 167 
Woman in Red , The . 247 
Woman to Vifoman , 291 
Women's Christian Temperance 

Union, 325 
Woodland, H,, 239 
Woods, Joseph, 161 
Vifoodward, George, 207 
V\/oodward, Robert, 38, 40, 

Woodward's Gardens, 16, 17, 

19, 20, 22, 29, 33, 35, 44 
Woofington, Peg, 351 
V\foollcott, Alexander, 199 
Worrell Sisters, 26 
Worthing, Frank, 192, 213 
Wright, Fred, 350 
Wyatt, Carrie, 114, 151 
Wyatt, Jessie, 291 

Ye Gentle Savage , 69 

Yiddish Flayers, 355 

Yon Yonson , 174, 177, 362 

York State Folks , 350, 357 

Youth , 247, 288 

Young, Fannie, 150, 253 

Ysaye, 185 

Zapha , 232 

Zavistowskis, Sisters, 84, 

98, 101, 102 
Zaza, 214 
Zorah, 324 

Zira, 213 



















(PART 1) 


(PART 2) 


(PART 1) 


(PART 2) 

VOLUlffi XI. 








(PART 1) 

VOLUlffi XVI. 

(PART 2) 


(PART 3) 


(PART 4) 


(PART 5)