a Free Ticket to the Circus is Called an “Annie Oakley”
By Lee Kolozsy
Back when legendary sharpshooter
Annie Oakley was a household name around the world and she was
touring with the “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show” a pretty sharp
promoter and publicity agent came up with a scheme that never
failed to get the show a ton of free ink in the local news rag.
Here’s the play…
A meeting was arranged at the local
news where all the town VIPs and media people would get to meet
the visiting frontierswoman
The press agent would send a runner
to the local saloon to get a deck of cards and would open the
sealed pack in front of all the star struck fans. He would
announce that the lady markswoman would give an amazing
demonstration of her uncanny speed and accuracy right here on
the main street in front of the newspaper office.
Then without any warning he would
throw the entire deck into the air scattering cards to the
winds. Fast as lightning, Annie Oakley would draw and fire into
the air, and the promoter would ask her, “What did you hit
Ma’am?” “ Ace of spades” came the answer. “Look for the ace”
he’d tell the crowd. Without fail an amazed spectator would find
the ace with a clean bullet hole dead center through the spade.
In the stunned silence he would announce… “Present that card at
the ticket office for free admission at any performance”
The story would appear in the very
next issue of the local paper.
The gag was pure magic, literally…
I am quite certain that the promoter pulled the old switcheroo
and substituted a deck of previously prepared cards that matched
the cards used by the saloon. Magic…that sold a load of tickets…
The shooting wasn’t all that was sharp on that outfit.
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