Sunday, January 15, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 15

January 15, 1911 – With the theater in darkness and while the audience at the Gayety Theater in downtown Minneapolis this afternoon was watching “The Girl and Eagle“ act, in which a huge white eagle on wires carried one of the chorus girls in its claws far above their heads, a break in the mechanism occurred and the girl was pitched headlong into the pit of the house.

Gayety Theater Downtown Minneapolis1

A gasp of awe went up from the crowd, the lights were instantly turned on and the girl, Alta Phipps, in a half fainting condition, was picked up. It was found that a scalp wound had been inflicted from which the blood flowed freely, although in a few moments she was herself again. On the stage, members of the company stood anxiously at the footlights to learn the extent of the accident, and at a call from the management, the finale was given with the smiles lacking.

Phipps says it is the first time an accident has happened and she continued the act undaunted at the evening performance. A breaking of one of the rods on the crane is blamed for the trouble. Several members of the audience received slight bruises from the claws of the eagle, which dropped heavily with the girl.

Gayety Theater Ad2

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Chorus Girl Falls From Wire. Break in mechanism Precipitates Alta Phipps Into the Pit.”; Jan. 16, 1911; p. 2.


2The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; Jan. 16, 1911; p. 5.


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