True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 135
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 185
are to guard the good people from being shocked. In the olden
days there was nothing of that kind attempted and the places of
amusement had everything their own way and did whatever they
pleased. Of course, some of the plays and exhibitions they put
on were outrageous and scarcely fit for anyone, but there was
no other remedy than to boycott them or literally run them out
I remember a novel and most effective plan adopted by Chief
Coyle and a number of the members of the "Left Hand Fishing
Club," for suppressing one of those shows, which created immense
amusement at the time. It was a sort of Adamless Eden Company
and had about 15 or 20 girls who were traveling on their
shapes. The first night the house was crowded, but nearly all
the respectable people left before the show was half over. The
next night the "Left Hand Fishing Club" took the matter in hand.
A number of them secured seats, all in a row, near the front.
They sat quietly and with a wonderful amount of dignity, until
the curtain rose on the great scene, which was. the troupe of
girls all dressed up, or more properly speaking, all undressed
up. Then each member of the club, with a face as serious as
if he were at a funeral, produced from under his coat a big tin
cylinder, which he carefully extended into a telescope about
four feet long and with it slowly reviewed the whole line of
beauty. The effect was marvelous. The girls could not stand
the thing and broke for cover behind the wings of the stage,
while the audience went wild with delight and the show came
to an abrupt end. The funniest part of the whole thing was
the serious faces of the "Left Handers." Not one of them
smiled and all seemed puzzled to understand what had occurred.
In the early seventies there were several good amateur and
semi-professional actors in Houston. There was Charley Wallace,
a professional actor, who had great talent, and Charley
Evans, a scene painter and actor, besides a number of amateurs.
Above and far beyond all was Captain Charles Bickley, who
wrote plays and often took prominent parts in them. He was a
great favorite among the professionals, for he had written a play
for a young actress which had made for her fame and fortune.
He gave it to her and as it proved a success and had a long run
in New York and made a fortune for her all the actors watched
the captain closely, hoping he would do something of the kind
for them. They always gladly helped him to put on anything he
On one occasion the captain produced one of his plays at Perkins
Hall. He insisted on taking the leading part, but unfrtunately
he took so many drinks during the first act that it became
necessary to kill the hero, which was Bickley, in that act,
an event scheduled to come ok at the end of the play. Then
the plot was changed and the piece was played kind of backwards,
presenting the most confusing and amazing coications
imaginable. It was wonderful and to add to the fun of the
situation, Captain Bickley could be heard behind the scneS,
Here’s what’s next.
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/135/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .