Post by Doris McCraw
I love entertainment; movies, plays, opera, and symphony along with so many other forms. One thing I always stop and read when I’m researching is the entertainment that those in the 1800s enjoyed. Since I’ve been in the ‘stacks’ lately researching an outlaw for an upcoming presentation and paper, I thought I’d share some ‘lighter’ news.
Many think of the Old West as cowboys, outlaws, and generally an overall free for all. That was not always the case. There were many a traveling company who were available and put on many shows across the Western states. You also individual entertainers who ‘rode the circuit’.
In Colorado Springs in 1881, the town was treated to a presentation of Camille. You can follow the link to the ‘review’ of the event. camille in colorado springs 1881
How about the “Old Time Medicine Show”? Back Stage with a Medicine Show Fifty Years Ago by William P Burt is an article from the Colorado Magazine from July 1942. If you would like to read the article, and I suggest you do, follow this link: http://www.historycolorado.org/sites/default/files/files/Researchers/ColoradoMagazine_v19n4_July1942.pdf
Back then, there was no television, radio let alone computers and streaming. Many people found ways to entertain themselves with dances, musical recitals. If you look at the city directories of the day, you would find a number of musicians and actors offering their services as teachers. I suppose dreams of making it were just a valid back then as now.
You had people like Lilly Langtree, Sarah Bernhardt, Eddie Foy, Blind Tom, Lotta Crabtree and many a traveling theater companies. Of course there were the Booth’s, one of whom became famous for his actions as opposed to his talents, which from reviews of the day were considerable.
So the next time you turn on the television, radio or listen to your device, remember the ‘entertainers’ who became famous in the early day. Maybe even check out your own newspapers to find out who entertained folks back in the day. You may be surprised.
And to book release news, I’ve a story in the newly released Medieval anthology “One Yuletide Knight” from Prairie Rose Publications.
Doris Gardner-McCraw -Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History
Angela Raines – author: Where Love & History Meet