The following is an anecdote from a 1916 book titled “Recollections of a Scene Painter”.
Another story of [John E.] Owens that Harry Phillips, the old Health Officer, will confirm. One night, at the old National, Owens was playing “Caleb Plummer” in “Cricket on the Hearth.” It is the scene of the toymaker’s cottage in the snow. The miniature is set in the middle of the stage and the characters are having a dinner party. It is just before Gruff Tackleton makes John Perrybingle jealous of Dot about the stranger. Caleb is carving the chicken, or trying to, for on this occasion he was not making any impression upon it. Of course, the property man, who is expected to be caterer as well as everything else, gets the blame, and Owens, boiling with rage, walked out of the cottage and across the stage to the little side door leading to that “L” in the alley back of Third Street, fired the chicken as far as he could up the alley, saying: “That is the same dâ€”d chicken I had in Chicago.”
Originally published in “Recollections of a Scene Painter”, E.T. Harvey, W.A. Sorin Co., Cincinnati, 1916,Â pp 37-38.