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43-02-02 Bright Kentucky Hotel and the Locomotive

  • Vic is just off the phone from speaking with Y.I.I.Y. Skeeber.  He almost  shuddered at the startling news.
  • Vic: "On the west side of the building – where our garbageman's room is located – there is only six inches of space between the speeding train and the wall."
  • He's waiting for further word about the arrival of train #9 south-bound from Chicago.  The hotel may remain standing or may not. It may become a pile of "remnants, a poor sick heap of twisted bleeding planks.  Vic drags out the story for dramatic impact.  Sade reacts impatiently.
  • Rishigan Fishigan is the hero of this tale, possibly having saved the life of every man in residence at the Bright Kentucky Hotel.  He had seen a newspaper article stating that the C & A Railroad had purchased a new locomotive.  It seemed to him that the locomotive was larger than the ordinary ones.  He called the Superintendent of Motive Power of the C & A shops and verified it's a larger locomotive.  He raced back to the Bright Kentucky which was quickly evacuated.
  • Now there's nothing to do but wait.  Skeeber phones.  Turns out the new locomotive had twenty-seven twenty-eighths of an inch clearance.
  • Vic: (low, vibrant tones) "In fact it scraped the paint."  - compiled by Barbara Schwarz, edited by Jimbo Mason
Realistically, the Bright Kentucky Hotel is probably a death trap.  Petitions have been drawn up for it's removal; it was condemned in the 1910's; this episode here proves that there could easily be a very drastic accident where a speeding locomotive runs into the hotel, potentially killing several people... and yet we laugh about it.

But that's a crazy Paul Rhymer script for you.

The hotel is full of the town's seediest - and most notorious - characters.  It's located near the most dangerous part of town (many rails from both the railroad and the interurban station's streetcars merge there.)

I recently went on Google Earth and took a look at the city of Bloomington, to see if there was such a convergence of tracks and here's what I found:

Bloomington, Illinois circa 2011
Perhaps in Rhymer's mind, this was very near the place where the Bright Kentucky Hotel sat. By my count, there are currently 13 tracks there; there's room there for many more and you wonder if there weren't 20+ tracks there in the 1940's?  No wonder Sade worried about Uncle Fletcher's welfare at night when crossing these tracks!  Look at the photo enlarged - imagine it's nighttime and there are 20 tracks there.  It looks to be a good 75 yards across.  Would you feel comfortable crossing those tracks at night?

The hotel is an icon for the show.  Exploring it's various stories can be a great way to spend an afternoon.

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