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Pathways Through Our Past

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Once again while digging through old papers and records for specific information, one of our researchers, Mary Joy in this case, stumbled upon an article that she thought would be of interest to me. It's a play about a wedding where all the actors are men. Blackduck's very own men proffered their service to this community in a whole different way other than the town fathers and leaders we later knew them to be. Blackduck became a successful municipality because of them.

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'Tis a splendid bit of information from bygone years -- Dec.1927 to be exact. I think you'll enjoy it.

The Womanless Wedding which was presented Thursday and Friday evenings at the City Hall and which was sponsored by the local woman's study club, the Tri Sigmas, was probably the largest social event that has ever been staged in this village both as to the number taking part and the number of spectators. The hall was filled for both performances and undoubtedly if the weather had been favorable the hall would not have accommodated the large crowd. Proof the crowd enjoyed the spectacle was evidenced by the laughter and applause that followed the entrance of each one in the cast, which was composed of about 60 men of the community.

The play started with the announcement of the wedding by the stiff, pompous English butler, L.M. (Let) Moon, who during the play showed that he could qualify for that position with any family of the 400. He first announced the arrival of the punch girls, Raymond Ingram and Harold Juelson who served punch during the evening to all the guests in a charming and ladylike manner. The present takers, Oliver (Ollie) Jamtaas and Bud Keeney both dressed in fashionable gowns, were announced next to receive and take charge of the gifts.

The bride's weeping mother, Elmer Allen and the bride's comforting father, J. E. Johnson then appeared. The bride's mother is quite unstrung over the coming marriage of her daughter and the father spends nearly the whole time comforting her. The bad little brothers, L. F. Parker and Emil Winzer who arrive in their coaster, are also a constant annoyance to her and to all the other guests at the wedding.

Ikey Rosenstein, a Jewish character ably played by Harry Weller, comes to the wedding for business reasons and brings his bag of goods. The butler sends him away, but Ikey sneaks in and makes several sales, including handkerchiefs, etc., until he is caught by the butler trying to sell a tie to President Coolidge later in the evening. The bride's grandparents are next to arrive. Walter Lindholm took the part of the grandmother and F.L. Kolden the grandfather. J. C. (Joseph Chan) Moon taking the part of Charlie Chaplin was announced and came up the aisle in Charlie's usual fashion. He had all the accessories with him including the famous hat, hair, fingernail and shoe brush.

The uncle and aunt from Funkley were portrayed by J. F. Johnston and B. H. Stuart of Hines, who showed real ability in giving the audience a laugh. They also sang a duet. The twin sisters, Floyd Cam of Hines and C.W. Dudley came skipping lightly up the aisle with their dolls and ran to greet mama and papa and also their grandparents. Mary Pickford arrived next and with those golden curls and that sweet face, you never would have known it was Glenn Horton.

The groom's haughty mother, F.E. Bergin and haughty father, I.E. Stowell were next to come. The bride's weeping mother gave her the cold shoulder. Leonard Olson represented the Flapper of 1928 and was dressed in the latest flapper style. Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Vanderbilt were then announced and were later discovered to be Roy Balsiger and C.E. Powers. Both were dressed in the latest mode. The old Sis Hopkins was revived by Ward Lathrop and put the original Sis to shame. She sang, Give Me a Little Kiss, but no one took her up on it! Supt. J. E. Sutherland ransacked the attics for his costume as the old maid aunt and sure looked the part. She sang, I Want a Little Lovin' and presented a hen as a gift. Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller were also in attendance represented by Carl Bye and Lloyd Keeney.

One of the arrivals that caused a real commotion, especially in Charlie Chaplin's heart, was that of the fashion plate Walter (Bud) Moon, who was dressed in a sleeveless and backless gown, wore a beautiful headgear and was carrying a staff. Walter sang a solo, during which the bad boys were interested in the butterfly painted on her back.

Fritz Kreisler was asked to play a violin solo at the wedding and did until Mrs. Jacobson stopped playing behind the scenes, John Trautman, Jr., was greatly embarrassed. The country cousin, J.F. Sullivan, came up the aisle whistling and flashing his flashlight tie pin and was greeted by Sis Hopkins. The cousin entertained the audience with a solo and also sang Ain't She Sweet to Sis. The henpecked husband, Glen Squires, and his devoted wife, Byron Potter, arrived amid a roar of laughter. The way "she" could pick her husband up and keep him going and lift him up to shake hands with family was a scream.

Then followed another couple of old New York's "400" -- Jay Gould and his wife, impersonated by Wm. H Yancker and Henry A. Langord. Howard Johnston of Hines and Pat Collins took the part of Pat and Rosy O'Grady in the good old Irish style and the former sang Rosy O'Grady. Theodore Johnston, also of Hines, helped out by taking the part of Annie Laurie and sang the song moving the guests to tears.

The gathering was very much honored by the attendance of President Calvin Coolidge,

E.L. Oberg and Mrs. Coolidge and Herbert Lien were all afforded the opportunity of shaking hands with them, especially Charlie Chaplin. The Negro mammy, J.C. Thompson, had to come to the wedding to take care of the bride's baby sister, Mike Haley, who arrived in a baby buggy. Rastus, James Baney, Sambo and Francis Praught snook in and then their mammy made them perform. They sang What'll We Do. Two notables who then entered were General Pershing, Clarence Gilstad, Colonel Lindberg and Les Schippers. Carl Season made a wonderful vampire as Theda Bara and although they say Lindberg has never been vamped, he sure fell for her! Galli Curei, the celebrated singer in the person of Erwin Rolfe, rendered a solo without making a sound. (Mrs. Oberg sang behind the scenes for her)

The butler then announced Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford, which were really R.T. Praught and W. A. Cross. Mr. Irving Berlin -- Wm F. H. Brosvick then made his appearance and sang the wedding song Always.

After all the guests had arrived, the butler announced that the bridal party would enter. The pianist, Miss Virginia Witting who presided at the piano all evening, struck up the wedding march. The groomsmen -- Raymond Stoner, P.S. Langord, Gordon Mullins and Edward Oppegard were first. Following them was the best man, A. Orlebeke. Then came the Bishop -- W.L. Oberg in a regal robe who read the impressive ceremony. The bridesmaids -- Edwin Strand, Ernest Baker, Roy Zimmerman and Einar Gunderson were next in the procession. Henry Olson played maid of honor.

The bride, Isabella Snodgrass and the groom, O.U. Porfish then appeared with Fred Sherberg as the little trainbearer. Sam Keeney was the bride and was dressed in all white with a beautiful headdress and veil. Dr. D. J. Jacobson was groom and wore the conventional black tuxedo.

It didn't say, but I'm sure they lived happily ever after.

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