March 1, 2013

Soapy Smith rides again!

Soapy Smith rides again as marshal of the parade!
"A little bar of hotel soap taped to one hand,
and a cardboard pistol taped to the other."
(courtesy of Brittney Thomas)
(Click image to enlarge)

n July 2005 the Skagway News published a black and white photograph of a July 4 parade entry showing a woman leading a small leashed dog with a doll dressed like Soapy Smith on it's back, as if it was Soapy riding his horse in the July 4, 1898 parade. I thought it was hilariously creative and I posted the picture on my original website. I came across the photo again a few days ago and wondered if I might be about to find out more about the story behind the woman and her idea, as well as hopefully find a color photo.

Facebook has been a great place for finding out information so I posted the old black and white pic and asked about it on one of the Skagway pages I enjoy reading. As small as technology has made the world, I soon found out the woman who owns, dressed, and led the dog in the parade is already one of my own Facebook friends. Her name is Brittney Thomas and she told me that in order enter

into the Soapy Smith and his white steed lookalike contest, you were supposed to register by 9:30. I didn't know that as I pulled this miniature Soapy together last minute and never saw the actual contest rules. I arrived about 10:00, a few minutes before the parade started, and they wouldn't allow me to enter the contest. They said I could march in the parade for fun though. So I did. There was only one official contestant, a younger boy with a pipecleaner beard and a stick horse. My Soapy blew him out of the water. The judge of the contest was Jim Richards (owner and star, at the time, of the Days of '98 Show), and when we got to him in the parade he LOVED my soapy. He might have said something along the lines of "That's one of the best things I've ever seen." At the end, he told me that even though I didn't officially qualify, he loved my Soapy so much he was going to split the $100 prize between me and the kid. So my late arrival Soapy swindled $50 from a kid who should have rightfully won it. Are you proud?”

I sure am proud Brittney, and I bet Soapy is just as proud.

Brittney Thomas leading Soapy in the parade
(Courtesy of Brittney Thomas)
(Click image to enlarge)

Brittney's parade entry was so popular that a local store in Skagway made a picture postcard out of it. Those who are on Facebook may recognize the doll. It is "Creepee Baybe" known for being photographed in unusual places around the United States.

Creepee Baybe at the Oscars?
 (Click image to enlarge)

"The greatest minds are capable of the greatest
vices as well as of the greatest virtues."
—Rene Descartes, 1637


1692: Four women are charged as the Salem witch trials begin in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1781: The Continental Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation.
1790: Congress authorizes the first U.S. census.
1803: Ohio becomes the 17th state.
1845: President John Tyler signs the Congressional resolution to annex the Republic of Texas.
1857: Henry Crabbe and his followers invade Mexico in an attempt to take over the state of Sonora.
1864: Louis Ducos de Hauron patents a machine for taking and projecting motion pictures. The machine is never built.
1867: Nebraska becomes the 37th state.
1869: Postage stamps with scenes are issued for the first time.
1872: Congress authorizes the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the first national park.
1873: E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, New York begin manufacturing the first practical typewriter.
1877: Jack McCall is hung in Yankton, Dakota Territory for the murder of William “Wild Bill” Hickok.
1879: The library of Hawaii is established.
1881: Outlaw Billy the Kid is placed in solitary confinement after jailers discover he had been digging a tunnel out of his Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory cell.
1890: The Literary Digest goes on sale for the first time. 

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