Brass Bands and Snake Oil Stands

Brass Bands and Snake Oil Stands Summary

What a multi-colored stream of one-of-a-kind characters flowed across the recreational landscape of early America! Where else would you find Blatz the "Human Fish," "Dinner Pail McNutt" or "Big-eared Zip?" And where else could you find the vivid scene of "Sparrow," a vaudeville performer who would catch pumpkins with his face. Or a fast-talking medicine showman "curing" corns right through a country bumpkin's shoes with a secret ingredient - gasoline!

From the gleaming gold and silver stream of the great circus street parades, to the pounding of the tambourines of the raucous minstrel shows, the sights and sounds of our country's early entertainment are filled to the brim with a restless energy. Annie Oakley, the Christy Minstrels, the "Boston Bird Man," "Slick and Sleepy" and all the rest, rise from the dusty pages of history and live again for a few golden moments. Like true entertainers of all ages, they smiled and bowed through hard times and lean years, with a whole-hearted rough-edged gusto.

If only we could transport ourselves back to those days, what a show we would see! The airwaves would once again tingle with excitement as The Shadow and The Green Hornet filled our imaginations and our living rooms with "mind pictures" of their crime-fighting adventures. The circus tents would once more host the forerunners of today's glittering spectacles as "Old Bet" the elephant and the donkey named "Zebra" performed for us. And the tent shows would again bring to life the rough-edged adventures of Deadwood Dick and Roarin' Ralph, the Ring-tailed Screamer.

As we strolled around America's early amusement parks, moon maidens would offer us green cheese, and three hundred midgets would welcome us to their "Lilliputian Village." And we could sit back and enjoy the fabulous talkies, smiling as the sound and picture synchronization problems of the early cowboy movies often showed us "talking horses." Yes, someone may someday invent a way to drift back through the mists of time! Then we can come face-to-face with the one-of-a-kind characters that painted these unique images on our country's amusement landscape. But until then, please sit back and enjoy a word trip back to the glorious days of Brass Bands and Snake Oil Stands.

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