- Annie Oakley
- An Annie Oakley is a complimentary ticket to a theater. The ticket has holes punched in it to prevent its exchange for cash at the box office. This oddity came about in an unusual way.Annie Oakley (1860-1926), born in Darke County, Ohio, was the stage name for Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee. Annie was probably the , greatest female sharpshooter ever. She got her professional start when, at the urging of friends, she entered a shooting match in Cincinnati pitting Frank E. Butler, a vaudeville marksman, against all comers. Butler gave no thought to this fifteen-year-old girl who dared compete with him. But upon seeing Annie's first shot, he paid strict attention. ,She won the contest, and a husband to boot, for Butler and Annie fell in love and were married. They then began a vaudeville tour as a trickshooting team.The Butlers joined Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show in 1885, but it was Annie who became the star attraction. She remained as the rifle sharpshooter for forty years. She thrilled audiences with her expert marksmanship and dazzled them with her trick shooting. In one of her outstanding feats, she would flip a playing card into the air, usually a five of hearts, and shoot the pips out of it.But what, you might ask, has that to do with a free ticket? Circus performers were reminded of their meal tickets by the riddled playing cards, because their meal tickets were punched every time they bought a meal. Hence they came to call their tickets "Annie Oakleys." The idea of a punched card caught on, so that today a complimentary ticket to a show, a meal, or a pass on a railway has Annie Oakley holes. Annie Oakley needed no encomiums during her forty years with the Wild West Show, but she was given one, nevertheless, by Sitting Bull, who labeled her "Little Sure Shot." In more recent times Ethel Merman, the star of Annie Get Your Gun, popularized Annie Oakley once again, making her for today's generation a "big shot."
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.