No. 522
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
May 17, 2021

Did the Naughty Midway Dance

Pretty Ida Lawrence gets arrested while entertaining some hackmen in Cincinnati, O.
March 28, 2011
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Along with Bertie Whitehead, Abby’s half-sister, May 13th was also the birthday of Helen Craig, famous stage actress best-remembered for Johnny Belinda. Helen Craig, who played Abby in The Legend of Lizzie Borden was born May 13, 1912, a month after Titanic sank. Helen Craig was not a great beauty by Hollywood standards, but a very fine actress. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0185871/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Her portrayal of Abby Borden as a mean, greedy glutton, more than any other thing, has affected the way most people think of Abby Borden. Sadly it was not an accurate portrayal. Helen did some television in her later career, most notably The Waltons. She died in New York City in 1986. She was married to stage and film actor John Beal who played Dr. Bowen in Legend of Lizzie Borden. They are seen together in the publicity photo below.
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Did the Naughty Midway Dance

Naughty Midway Dance

Cincinnati, Ohio, November 1893 - Pretty Ida Lawrence gets arrested while entertaining some hackmen in Cincinnati, O. 

It was just 2 o’clock the other morning when Ida Lawrence reached Fifth and Vine Streets, Cincinnati, Ohio. She had a jag that would have poisoned an ordinary man.

But Ida was happy. She was still happier when she met with a crowd of all-night hackmen.

“Hello, Ide,” said one.

“Goo’ night,” said Ida.

“Hain’t seen you for a time. Where’ve you been?”

“Me? Where’ve I been? Oh, no place. I guess I ain’t been no place.”

Then she sang:

“On the Midway, the Midway, the Midway Plaisance,
Where the naughty Algiers girls
Do their naughty, naughty dance.”

And she danced a dance that made even the boy on the stone fountain blush. Behind a telegraph pole stood Officer Moffit. He sneaked over and stpped the performance by calling a patrol wagon. The next day he told Judge Gregg about it and the Judge sent Ida out for four months.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette - November 25, 1893