[EDITOR'S NOTE: These two items have not been previously republished elsewhere. They are included in this collection because of their potential to be the work of Clemens and are deserving of further research and consideration. Both items are critical of other papers in San Francisco. The items titled "Immoral Little 'Call!'" continues a grudge Clemens held against that paper after his dismissal.]
WHAT'S THE MATTER?
It is not very often that the San Francisco Press agree on any subject; but any reader of our city journals who failed to notice their amazing unanimity and harmony, on Saturday and Sunday last, in their theatrical criticisms, must be very unobservant. The Alta, the Call, the Era, the Leader, the Mercury -- all the papers with the honorable exception of the Californian -- simultaneously "broke out" into the enthusiastic -- nay, rapturous, ecstatic, phrenzied admiration of Mr. Bandmann's "Hamlet" [Daniel Edward Bandmann]. All the papers were full of Bandmann. The Era had a "sonnet" to Bandmann, in which the tragedian is apostrophized as "The magnificent young Hamlet of our dreams," and also assured that "The World shall yet be proud of thee" -- language which, when applied to a very worthy middle-aged gentleman, and a highly respectable actor, sounds a good deal like sarcasm. This is not marked as a "star notice;" but it is headed "Communicated," to indicate that it is an advertisement. In addition to the "sonnet," the Era contains an article a column long (also "Communicated,") written in the ordinary style of paid puffs, in which Herr Bandmann is made out to be the superior of Kean, Macready, the elder and younger Booths, Murdoch and all the rest of the world. The Mercury of the same date fairly "gushes" with admiration of Bandmann; the Leader does its share of the work of adulation in neater style, the "puff" being "veiled" with some skill. The Alta evidently received its inspiration direct from the box-office, and the Call had taken "suggestion as a cat laps milk." But, after all, the coup was not skilfully managed. It was too palpable, and the engineer must have been a clumsy bungler. The people of San Francisco are tolerably keen; and when they see the entire daily and weekly press "breaking out" all at once in such an astonishing style, they will not be long puzzled as to "what's the matter." Managers will learn by and by, after a few more experiments, that it is a waste of money to practice the common arts of puffery in such a community as this; that our people will judge actors for themselves, without very much regard to newspaper notices; and that no artist can be either "written up" or "written down," unless the foundation for the work is furnished by their own merits or defects.
IMMORAL LITTLE "CALL!"
A. P. Johnson sent a nice long new advertisement to the little Call and the mean little thing on the day it received it thus refers to Johnson's conduct:
"The Tabooed Photograph Case. -- A. P. Johnson, having pleaded 'guilty' to the charge of making pictures of questionable propriety, was yesterday morning required by Judge Shepheard to forfeit a hundred dollars to the public use."
"Tabooed photographs," were they? Simply photographs which are forbidden! "Pictures of questionable propriety!" The wicked little Call thinks that there is a question whether photographs of this description are proper or not! Dear! dear! If the time-serving obsequious little Call were the only paper in San Francisco and everyone advertised in it, the public would never hear of evil doings, and we should abroad pass for the most moral community on the face of the earth. Were one of the proprietors put on the witness stand to testify to the character of a man charged with any heinous offense, he would say: "His character is irreproachable; he advertises in the Call."
[transcribed from microfilm.]
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