A long-lost photograph of a daring damsel hanging upside down in a straightjacket, high above Rockland’s Main Street has recently been brought into the light of day. And along with it, The Courier-Gazette’s account of a major publicity stunt for the newly relocated H.H. Crie Hardware Store.

H.H. Crie Hardware prior to 1935 had been located at 408 Main Street (currently home to Loyal Biscuit). When Crie’s moved into the bottom floor of the Syndicate Building (currently FOG and Black Parrot) they left behind a trove of business and personal records from the Crie Family.

Those records, carefully stored for decades, now reside at Toad Hall (19 Traverse Street) here in the Lime City. Thankfully this trove has recently been opened by Brian Harden, Toad Hall’s Chief Curator. Brian shared with me the wonderful photo you see here. If you look closely, hanging upside down in a straightjacket from the 4th floor is one Doris La Tour. In a rare piece of good fortune, the photo is dated July 10-13, 1935.

H.H. Crie Grand Opening featuring the amazing Doris La Tour in straightjacket, circa 1935. Courtesy of Brian Harden

After Brian shared this photo with me, I began looking through old Courier issues beginning with the issue of July 11 and continuing through the 18th looking for an account of this major publicity stunt. No luck, pretty much a dead end. It was not until the assistant editor of The Courier-Gazette, Christine Simmonds looked in the July 9 edition and found the front-page advertisement for “The Stars of the Rajah Sigmund” performance at the Park Theater, a four-day run.

The attached front-page clipping shows the image of Miss La Tour in her special outfit and announces she will be hanging from the Syndicate block now occupied by H.H. Crie Hardware on Thursday “noon at 12:30.”

It is noted that “because of the fact that blood rushing to the head causes mental insanity, if Miss La Tour is unable to free herself in five minutes she will be released.”

Clipping from The Courier-Gazette, July 9, 1935.

The Courier-Gazette archives are available free online from 1882-1950. The decade of the 50s should be added soon.

Just type in “Courier-Gazette archives” on any search engine.