Dakota Datebook

Mystery Guest

Sunday, December 14, 2008


In 1914, a 23-part silent serial film called “The Million Dollar Mystery” played at theaters across the country. It told a story about a secret society trying to gain a missing fortune for their own. The film was a big success in theaters, and many newspapers across the state chronicled the plot for their readers.

On this date in 1914, movie-goers in Devils Lake got the surprise of their evening when their own Gov. John Burke, who was currently the U.S. Treasurer, popped up in the twenty-first chapter. No one knew he would be in the movie, and when he appeared, everyone in the theater burst into raucous applause.

Word of Burke’s show-stopping appearance spread quickly, promising packed movie houses in the days ahead. It was yet another shining moment in the life of honest John.

By Sarah Walker

Dec. 15, 1914, Devils Lake Journal, Thursday Evening
Allmovie.com, “The Million Dollar Mystery,” http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:153348
IMDB.com, “The Million Dollar Mystery,” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0004336/

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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