Here are the acts that The Beautiful Jim Key performed back in the 1890’s and those first six years of 1900. A movie is being made about this horse and his breeder and trainer, William Key. William Key was born a slave in 1833. Morgan Freeman will be William Key in the movie. I’m really looking forward to seeing it!
Act I: The Schoolboy
1. Jim’s admiration of the ladies (he nodded his head to individual ladies, sort of a bow)
2. Jim opens school ringing brass bell and silver bell around the ring, tells time and reads the calendar for any date asked for.
3. Jim picks out any letter, playing card or number asked for.
4. He will spell any ordinary name requested by anyone in the audience.
5. Jim brings various names from the rack at command.
6. His views on politics.
7. Jim shows his proficiency in figuring, adding, multiplying and subtracting in any numbers below 25.
8. He writes.
9. Jim plays the organ. (I’m wondering if the organ is a mouth organ. It would have been placed in a bridle and served as a “bit” for Jim to blow on.)
Act II: The Office had Dr. Key in the role of the Employer and W. G. Griffin in the role of the Chief Clerk, both guiding most of the questions (with some audience input), in a more scripted format, with Jim doing some of his harder or newer bits:
1. Jim goes to the post office.
2. Jim distinguishes various pieces of money from 1 cent to $20, ringing the amount on a street car register as correctly as the conductor.
3. Jim goes to a regular cast register with a five dollar bill, rings up an amount requested and brings back the correct change.
4. He will show how he rang up money in his cash box used at the Nashville Centennial.
5. He rings up the telephone.
6. Jim takes a silver dollar from a large glass bucket filled with water, without drinking a drop.
7. Jim distinguishes colors and flags, and tells how it is he is able to do these wonderful feats.
8. Jim offered for sale—not wanting to leave his owner he becomes lame—well again.
9. Jim says good-bye.