Dec. 31, 1906 (Monday)
DIVORCEE TRACKS DOWN WAYWARD HUSBAND, THANKS TO A PHONOGRAPH RECORD: Recently, a Brooklyn school teacher named Mrs. Grace E. Rorer, the former Mrs. Fred G. Rorer, decided to put a penny into a musical phonograph to listen to a song while waiting for a ferry. It didn't take long for her to recognize the high tenor voice that came out of the machine. She checked the phonograph record to find out who made it and hustled to the office of her lawyer. She told him she had a lead on the whereabouts of her former husband, from whom she had been separated since June 27, 1905. It had been a year and a half since Supreme Court Justice Kelly had ordered Fred Rorer to pay his ex-wife $7 A WEEK in support. Rorer, who had been a tenor soloist at the Clinton Avenue Congregational Church in Brooklyn (right) had since disappeared. The lawyer found him. He is evidently making $100 A WEEK as a vaudeville performer with the Rialto Comedy Quartet and as an employee of the phonograph company that made the record that Grace heard while waiting for the ferry. Rorer will now have to appear in court on Jan. 2 to explain why he should not be found guilty of contempt of court for not paying the alimony he has owed. (For 2006 dollar equivalents, multiply by 20.)
FAIRBANKS PLANS A PREMATURE FAREWELL: Actor Douglas Fairbanks, who is in his early 20s, said yesterday that his upcoming wedding to Beth Sully will likely take him away from the stage. Fairbanks, who currently has a role at the Savoy in "The Man of the Hour," expects to go into business with his bride's father, Daniel Sully, who has started the manufacture of toilet soaps. A producer named William A. Brady said last night that he has a five-year contract with Fairbanks and the actor would likely have to pay some kind of "bonus" to free him from that obligation. (Fortunately, Fairbanks' departure from the stage is brief, leading eventually to roles such as Zorro (right).)
DOZENS KILLED IN TRAIN WRECK NEAR D.C.: About 50 are killed and another 50 or so are injured when an empty freight train crashed into a passenger train about 6:30 p.m. yesterday at the Terra Cotta station, three miles outside Washington D.C. The fog was so thick, that people could see only a few yards. Some speculate that's why the driver of the freight train missed the red-light signal and kept moving -- at a speed that some put at 65 or 70 mph. That train of empty cars hit the passenger train in the back so hard that it "carried the wreckage nearly three-quarters of a mile along the track, strewing dead bodies and injured men and women beside the track for nearly half that distance."
REVIEWER IS DISMISSIVE OF YOUNG PIANIST AT CARNEGIE HALL: Miecio Horszowski, who's 14, gave a recital last night at Carnegie Hall. The reviewer for The New York Times says he "was heard by a rather sparse audience and applauded generously, but without special enthusiasm." He mentioned the technical skills of Horszowski, but added "he offers nothing very striking." The reviewer was scornful of musical prodigies, adding that "Local specimens appear from time to time in New York. They are of interest chiefly for what they promise and in the degree of their promise." As it turns out, the "promise" of Horszowski (right) was vast, and he had a remarkable career. Amazingly, he was still playing, and being reviewed, in 1987.