50 years ago Sept. 16 1932
For the last 25 years the little Bates county town of Rich Hill has been denied an honor due it from the fact that the compilers of Who's Who on Broadway failed to double check the data on Ernest Truex, the "half pint" comedian, as Mr.Truex often refers to himself, who is know to theaters goers on two continents, has made famous a Missouri town which never existed."Red Hill" has received the honor of being the birthplace of Mr.Truex and only recently a prominent New York columnist referred to Mr. Truex as the "Red Hill Missouri boy who made good in the city."
With years of such misinformation going out to the reading public,Rich Hill citizens finally "got mad."They took the matter up with Ernest with the result that Rich Hill will replace "Red Hill" as the birthplace and the early home of Mr. Truex with the next appearance of Who's Who on Broadway.In an interveiw with Mr. Truex he said"There is no such town in Missouri as Red Hill,but I never denied it when writers gave that mythical town the honor,and for years that town has appeared as my birthplace."
In 1896 a stranded Shakespearean actor became ill. Ernest's father,Dr.J.L.Truex,then practicing in Rich Hill,now in Joplin,treated the actor-Edward M. Chamberlain.Unable to meet the bill after his recovery, Mr. Chamberlain organized a school of elocution and dramatics and agreed to pay the doctor's bill by giving five-year old Ernest lessons in the art of stage.The results was that Ernest made his debut a few months later on the stage of the opera house here in Nevada,playing the part of Hamlet.For some years he was billed as a child prodigy and appeared in many cities in Shakespeare's plays before landing on Broadway.
Rich Hill's older citizens, who knew Ernest as a boy and watched his rise to stardom in the theater world,had as their only regret for years the error consistently made as to Mr.Truex's birthplace.Now that Ernest has corrected this error everyone is again happy in the old home town and when he is next billed for an appearance in Kansas City,all his old friends from this little city will be there to greet him in a big way.