Was He or Was He Not a Kentucky Colonel?
Karen M. Vincent
Minnetrista Director of Collections
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The headline in the newspaper article said that he was set to “take part in all-male review,” but did he? According to the preview article, George A. Ball was to be one of eighty Muncie businessmen to play a Kentucky Colonel in “The Dream of a Clown” at the Masonic Temple auditorium on October 20 and 21, 1943. The revue was sponsored by the Professional Women’s Club of Muncie, and all proceeds were used by the club to purchase furnishings for Army Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, Indiana.
Leading roles were Mr. Fish, played by William H. Ball, and Miss Tartar, played by Dr. John Bowles. For his part, Dr. Bowles wore “a white evening gown with a décolleté neckline, silver slippers and a long blond wig.” Dr. Will Moore, longtime chief of surgeons at Ball Memorial Hospital, played the bride. The wedding party included two flower girls and six bridesmaids. “Bridesmaids” included prosecuting attorney Ralph Rector, Ermal Marsh, founder of Marsh Supermarkets, and Adjutant H.J. Rowland of the Salvation Army.
Approximately 2,500 people attended the first night of the show. The audience had the “privilege of discovering whether well-known Muncie attorneys and business men are bow-legged or knock-need.”
But did George Ball play that Kentucky Colonel? His name isn’t mentioned in the lengthy review that appeared in the paper after the first night’s performance. It also isn’t listed inside the program, but it does appear in a poem on the back of the program,
George A. Ball—a Kaintucky Colonel
– Hotter’n a hot box’s blazin’ journal!
He won all hearts both near and far
And ‘Went to Town’ in a Mason Jar!
Instead, George E. Myers—accountant and auditor at Ball Brothers—played the Colonel, at least for the first performance. Was Myers the understudy? Did G. A. ask Myers to take his place in the review? Did G. A. play the role the second night? Why didn’t he appear the first night? Who knows? It’s a mystery, but if I learn more, I’ll let you know.