A Man and his Tramp: Five Fun Facts about Charles Lummis

Image via loomis.8k.com

Image via loomis.8k.com

Editor’s note: On June 4th, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre will perform 143 Days, a modern re-telling of Charles Fletcher Lummis’s trek from Cincinnati to Los Angeles. In advance of the performance, HDDT Company Catalyst, Zach Davidson authored this post. Details about the performance follow.

  1. Charles Fletcher Lummis was a Harvard drop out, and a classmate (and later, and advisor) of Theodore Roosevelt.
  2. During his 143 day trek, Lummis met, befriended, and interviewed famed outlaw Frank James (older brother of outlaw Jesse James).
  3. After writing an article about corruption, murder, and crime bosses in San Mateo, a hitman shot, though did not kill, Lummis.
  4. Lummis once went completely blind for about 15 months, starting in May of 1911. He cited “Jungle Fever” as the cause, and often wore a bandana over his eyes when he left the house.
  5. Lummis held a special contempt for the various mis-pronunciations of “Los Angeles”, and once wrote a poem to help convert people to the “correct” pronunciation (which Lummis believed was “Loce ANG-el-ess”).
Image courtesy of the Braun Research Library, Autry National Center of the American West

Image courtesy of the Braun Research Library, Autry National Center of the American West

BONUS to that last point, a poem by Lummis:

The Lady would remind you please,
Her name is not Los Angie Lees,
Nor Angie anything whatever.
She hopes her friends will be so clever
To spare her fit historic pride
The G shall not be jellified.
O long, G hard, and rhyme with “yes”
And all about Loce Ang—el—ess.

The June 4th performance begins at 4pm sharp at the historic Southwest Museum (234 Museum Dr. LA). Tickets are required and will not be available at the door. Secure your ticket here.

Photo courtesy of the Southwest Museum

Photo courtesy of the Southwest Museum

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