Monday, August 12, 2019

Puppies in Oz

One thing I quite love about this project is that now that my research has hit a kind of critical mass a lot of puzzle pieces are beginning to fall magically into place. Obviously, I most like it when a large mystery or previously unanswered question about the show is solved.

But some of the little discoveries are a lot of fun, too. One of these happened with a particular photo in the newly acquired Allie Palmer archive.

Allie Palmer in Brooklyn, NY (1908-09 season).

It is clearly a candid snapshot of Allie. The young boy is her nephew, Fred Wagner, hugging a spaniel-like dog. The photo is captioned "Taken in Brooklyn" and The Wizard of Oz was indeed playing in Brooklyn in March of 1909, but perhaps she made her home there during the 1908 summer break. Well, that's a pleasant little snapshot.

But later when I looked to see what information I had on Allie in my newspaper article binders, I found this:

 January 9, 1909, newspaper clipping from Dayton, Ohio about Allie's dog Betsy.

So, Allie Palmer was touring in The Wizard of Oz with her dog Betsy; and Betsy had puppies at the National Theatre in Dayton, Ohio. Who knew!  If the snapshot above was indeed taken when Wizard played Brooklyn in March 1909 it's nice to see she still has Betsy, though we'll likely never know the final disposition of the puppies.

This bit of research synchronicity allowed for a second puzzle piece to fall into place. The Dayton clipping above mentions that Betsy gave birth to the puppies at the National on Friday. Well, that information allowed me to fill in three missing dates from the Performance Schedule. I now know The Wizard of Oz played at the National Theatre in Dayton, Ohio, January 7-9, 1909. The schedule has now been modified.

Gosh . . . puppies on tour! Poor Allie, poor Betsy, poor Stage Manager!

Copyright © 2019 David Maxine. All rights reserved.

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