The Great Menken

Adah Issacs Menken

Provocative encores could be lucrative in those rich mining towns of the West. Adah Issacs Menken, a free-spirited performer, appeared in La Mezappa in Virginia City, Nevada, in a role that called for her to ride across the stage strapped to the back of a horse wearing nothing but a flesh-colored body stocking (Adah, not the horse.) The mostly-male, lonely, women-starved audience was so inspired by the illusion of this beautiful, nude nymph making a daring ride across the stage strapped to a black stallion that when she came out for an encore, they began showing the stage with gold and silver coins. Ms. Menken knew a good deal when she saw it. Wearing nothing but a smile and a gauzy, body stocking, she made encore after encore, raking in thousands of dollars in gratuities from her lusty, red-blooded male admirers. It’s been said (by me) that it was Nevada’s richest one night stand until Elvis came to town.

 

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