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Old 18 April 2008, 08:44 PM
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Icon106 Caruso, the San Francisco Earthquake, and the Good Samaritan

Hard to know which section this belongs in, but it is an early glurge. I found it while looking up information on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Enrico Caruso was performing in SF at the time and did indeed experience the quake. This is a letter to the New York Times, published November 19, 1922. Caruso and the Earthquake

It is an early version of "Celebrity Rewards Good Samaritan." (See Trumped Up.) Unfortunately for the story, although the Italian in question said he had lost everything, in reality, Caruso (or rather his valet) saved all his belongings from the hotel. He certainly did not stay with some lady for a few days; he left the day after the earthquake. Enrico Caruso and the 1906 Earthquake is his eyewitness account.

The eyewitness account was published in 1906. There is one interesting similarity between it and the 1922 letter to the NYT. Caruso writes "Then I make my way to Union Square, where I see some of my friends, and one of them tells me he has lost everything except his voice, but he is thankful that he has still got that."

The letter writer says that after Caruso declared he's lost everything, he said "No, I have one thing left, I think" and went to the piano, played a few chords and discovered that he "still was the possessor of his voice."
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Old 18 April 2008, 11:46 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
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Hello KathyB!

And then I gather my faculties together and call for my valet. He comes rushing in quite cool, and, without any tremor in his voice, says: “It is nothing.” But all the same he advises me to dress quickly and go into the open, lest the hotel fall and crush us to powder.
Interesting that Caruso didn't seem to think to do that himself, and doesn't seem able to dress without his valet giving him clothes...

In fact the actual account, with the valet having to go back into the building to fetch all the trunks, and the person wanting to take his luggage until he reminds the soldier "who he is", and the escape by cart and train, is significantly less glurgy than the letter might suggest.

To be honest, though, I might well have reacted like that if I was in a strange country or city with a guide who was responsible for my well-being (having a valet must be a bit like that), and I just wanted to get out of the way.
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