February 5, 2015

Soapy Smith and Martin Itjen invade Los Angeles, California.

Capt. Jefferson Smith and Martin Itjen
invade Los Angeles, California
Jeff Smith collection
(Click image to enlarge)

y latest acquisition!

I remember the first time I saw a photograph of Soapy's effigy on the rear platform of Martin Itjen's Skagway Street car. It was in his book, The Story of the Tour on the Skagway, Alaska Street Car, on page 27. Not a very big photo, and only the upper half of Soapy was showing. Over time, I found larger variations, and this 1935 copy is probably my favorite. A first for me, is that Soapy has a rifle at his side!

The rear of the photograph

Jeff Smith collection
(Click on image to enlarge)

Soapy Smith, Martin Itjen, and Mae West
courtesy of Bob Wieking

Obviously an old library copy, ready for publication, but from 1935, not a modern print. This was taken in Los Angeles, California, when brilliant publicist Martin Itjen insisted on meeting film star Mae West. Had Martin come down from Skagway just to advertise the town, he would not have received much attention, so he came up with a plan. A plan that caught the attention of the newspapers. Martin demanded to see famed movie-star Mae West. Mae came to visit, and so did the reporters.

Want to read more about Martin Itjen?
(operated by Itjen descendant, Bob Wieking)

Martin Itjen (Multiple posts, not in order of importance) 

Martin Itjen: pages 11-13, 453.

The citizens have called a mass meeting to consider what steps are to be taken, and it means a fight, and they look to us to lead them.
— Samuel H. Graves
president of the White Pass and Yukon Railway
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 556


1783: Sweden recognizes the independence of the U.S.
1846: The Oregon Spectator (Oregon City, Oregon) is the first newspaper published on the Pacific coast.
1848: Female outlaw Myra Belle “the Bandit Queen” Shirley, alias Belle Starr, is born in Arkansas. She married outlaw James Reed and joined the outlaw Tom Starr Gang.
1861: Samuel Goodale patents the moving picture “peep show” machine.
1881: Phoenix, Arizona is incorporated.
1897: Sylvester Scovel (Friend of Soapy Smith), a U.S. war correspondent for the New York World is arrested and jailed in Sancti SpĂ­ritus, Cuba. He is held on four counts, including communicating with the Cuban insurgents and traveling with forged papers. The World declares Scovel to be “in imminent danger of butchery.”

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