Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN outbreak of a boys' gang feud would clear the streets for several blocks. Rocks flying, windows smashing, the cops arriving—a little war springing up out of nothing and, as soon as a uniform was visible dying down into nothing again, with not a boy in sight. I still have a scar on my cheekbone from a brick and another under my chin where a rock ricocheted up from the pavement and clipped me a good one. We were always on hand for grown-up trouble too. That was the way I got in on the famous Orangemen's riot on the 12th of July. The annual Orangemen's celebration of the Battle of the Boyne always started a riot, but this was a particu- larly fine one. They called out the Ninth Regiment to restore order, with Jubilee Jim Fiske, their colonel, riding at the head in a uniform that was even harder on the eye than the one he wore as admiral of the Fall River Line. But somebody took him with a rock right over the eye and, in less time than it takes to tell it, Col. Fiske was off his horse, over a fence and through a backyard into the next avenue, leaving the regiment to clear the streets as best they could. We were all crazy about the theater, and so were our elders. Boxing was interesting but outlawed, base- ball undeveloped—the pitching was done underhand and a hundred runs a game was quite common. The theater was the whole thing. Down round Broadway and Houston Street, the center of the big variety houses, every theater had a saloon next door and out- side every saloon loafed the famous stars of the day— 17