Assassin in the Chair
DEMORALIZING EXHIBITION IN SALINA ST. AMUSEMENT
Phonograph Purports to Give Czolgosz’s Last Words and Screeches
Negro Being Burned at the Stake—Pictures Show Scenes of Electrocution.
The exhibit in the Wieting block
has among its features, which are in general purely amusing, a few
that have been exciting unfavorable comment.
Chief among these objectionable features
are a phonograph purporting to give the last words of the assassin
of the late President McKinley, a moving picture reproduction of
the execution of Czolgosz, and a phonographic reproduction of the
cries and groans of a negro burned at the stake.
The phonograph giving the last words
of Czolgosz has over it a large placard showing a crazed man peering
from behind bars, an allurement for the many children who frequent
Czolgosz—by phonograph—relates in
boastful tones the reasons why he shot McKinley and states that
he believed it a duty to murder to rid the country of what he in
his madness called a tyrant.
On the other side of the hall, marked
by a placard larger than those on the picture machines around it,
are the pictures showing Czolgosz in the death chair. It pictures
the prison officials bringing the man from his cell to the death
chair, fastening on his head the death cap, binding his arm [sic]
and ankles, fastening the electrode to his leg, and then the electrician
throwing the switch. The sharp contortions of the body as the current
is turned on and the features twisted into a leering smile are too
poisonous for the eyes of the children who are the patrons of the
But more hideous than either of the
others is the phonographic reproduction of the groans and pleadings
of a negro being burned at the stake. The negro pleads and begs
with the mob only to be greeted by fiendish yells of “Roast him,”
“Shoot him,” “Make it warm for him.” One hears the order to pour
oil over the body of the victim and apply the torch. Then the agonized
cries of the wretch and his final cry of defiance, “I done it. I’m
glad I done it.” The very young believe that Czolgosz or the negro
at the stake said these things into a phonograph.
Chief of Police Wright interfered
several months ago when a wax statue of Czolgosz was brought to
this city for purposes of exhibition and the thing was never shown.
It is to be hoped that he may find some way of suppressing these
objectionable features of this exhibition.