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Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

Staged Under Fire

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He got long ropes and tied one end around each rafter and then tied a lot of knots in the ropes. These ropes would take the place of stairways.

We figured out that the rafters would seat about forty men and sold that number of tickets accordingly,

When the ticket-holders for the boxes got a glimpse of the rafters and were informed that they had to use the rope stairway, there was a howl of indignation, but we had their money and told them that if they did not like it they could write to the management later and their money would be refunded; but under these conditions they would not be allowed to witness the performance that night.

After a little grousing they accepted the situation with the promise that if the show was rotten they certainly would let us know about it during the performance,

Everything went lovely and it was a howling success, until Alkali Ike appeared on the scene with his revolver loaded with blank cartridges. Behind the bar on a shelf was a long line of bottles. Alkali Ike was supposed to start on the left of this line and break six of the bottles by firing at them with his revolver. Behind these bottles a piece of painted canvas was supposed to represent the back of the bar, at each shot from Alkali's pistol a man behind the scenes would hit one of the bottles with his entrenching tool handle and smash it, to give the impression that Alkali was a good shot.

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Alkali Ike started in and aimed at the right of the line of bottles instead of the left, and the poor boob behind the scenes started breaking the bottles on the left, and then the box-holders turned loose; but outside of this little fiasco the performance was a huge success, and we decided to run it for a week. New troops were constantly coming through, and for six performances we had the "S. R. O." sign suspended outside.

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Over The Top
Arthur Guy Empey

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