Will Marries Betty
The British tour wasn't the only thing that went bust in 1907. Overextended credit, the issuance of valueless stock, and a run on the banks caused the American Panic of 1907, helping to widen the gap between rich and poor in the country. Indeed, the political gap between Will's White House buddy, Teddy Roosevelt, and the powerful eastern financial interests widened, too. Mr. Roosevelt denied having said that "every captain of industry should be behind bars," but few people found his denial credible.
The panic had a numbing effect on business, in general, which meant smaller crowds were turning out to watch vaudevillians like Will. It was, naturally, more difficult to get good bookings. Upon his return to the United States in June, Will found the rocky road of vaudeville more precarious than ever. Even the bidding war between the Keith combine and a new chain, run by Marc Klaw and A. L. Erlanger, failed to help Will: He still struggled to make $300 a week, even as others benefited from the heated competition in the business.
Other historic events in 1907 also had an impact on Will's life. On November 16, Oklahoma finally entered the Union as the forty-sixth state. For years