|Professor Grifter's Medicine Show
|Magic, Rope Spinning, Ventriloquism with Puppets,
and a Comedy Phony Remedy Pitch.
|It's more than an ACT, it's an ATTRACTION!
|All you need to provide is a stage or staging area and crowds of happy people.
Professor Grifter's show has the backdrop, sound system, prop medicine wagon
and a full day's entertainment. He does multiple shows a day with walk-around
entertainment in between. A power supply is appreciated if available, but he also
has his own generator. Hay bale seating is recommended as it fits the period, is
inexpensive and can be used for ground cover in the event of muddy conditions.
For those of you not familiar with what a Medicine Show is; I offer a brief history lesson...
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, American physicians were scarce and poorly educated.
Often the only medicines available for common ailments were ordered through the mail or
sometimes found in general stores.
Traveling salesmen figured out the best way to tell people about their products was to put
on a show. The Traveling Medicine Show was the birth of modern commercial
advertising. They offered short demonstrational pitches filled with overblown rhetoric and
testimonials about the miracle cure-alls between acts.
These shows would include magic, comedy, juggling, western skill demonstrations, puppets
and music. The Medicine Shows were often the only form of professional theater that
many small towns and villages would see. In many cases the arrival of the show was a
major event. Shops closed, schools let out and everyone got dressed up to go see the show.
In many cases the admission to the shows were free, with the performers making a living
from the sales of the products.
The more popular these shows became, the more shysters hawking potions of their own
creations became prevalent. The outrageous claimes seemed reasonable to the uneducated
masses. Smooth wrinkles, grow hair, remove stains, prolong life or curing any number of
common ailments and diseases were just some of the claims.
Though they were nothing short of wondrous to the locals who would flock to the pitch in
excitement, the products were not always as good as promised. Some often did more harm
than good. Though usually not before the show had already left town.
Medicine Shows are commonly associated with the old west; however they were prevalent
over every part of the United States. During the 1890's there were several thousand
Traveling Medicine Shows doing business around the country.
Professor Grifter's Wild West Traveling Medicine Show captures that historic feel in his
tongue in cheek parody of this legendary performance type. The show incorporates Magic,
Ventriloquism with Puppets, Western Style Rope Spinning and of course a comedy sales
pitch of his wondrous non-existent potions. This family friendly show is a great addition to
fairs, festivals and period themed events.