Chapter 18 Extras


“Hula Lou,” written in 1924 by Sophie’s buddy Jack Yellen, Milton Charles and Wayne King, is a guide to murdering your lover. On April 3, 1924, Beulah Sheriff Annan took the lyrics rather literally and shot her lover Harry Kalstedt in the back and sat drinking cocktails and listening to this song as she watched him die. She then called her husband to say she’d killed a man who “tried to make love” to her. Beulah’s story eventually inspired the character of Roxie Hart in Chicago.

Comedian W.C. Fields was wildly famous for his grumpy, drunk persona on stage. He was so well-known that his stage act became conflated with his true personality, but later biographies established that he was a kind family man. Along with Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers, Fields defined what comedy was to be in the Twentieth Century.