Old West Entertainers

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.

One Yuletide Knight by [Macgillivray, Deborah , Townsend, Lindsay, Breeding, Cynthia, Raines, Angela, Kincaid, Keena, Sherry-Crews, Patti, Wells, Beverly, Thompson, Dawn]
Doris Gardner-McCraw -Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Angela Raines – author: Where Love & History Meet

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


Actor/Writer- How They Relate, Plus A New Release

Post written and copyright by Doris McCraw







As most readers of this post know I have researched the women doctors in Colorado prior to 1900 for some time now. During that time, I have also been pursuing other avenues of creativity. Since the release of my most recent work of fiction “Home for His Heart” is due on July 17,  I thought I would let you all know what’s been going on and why I felt the need to add another piece of pie to my plate.

Everything I attempt is really related. Although I had a mystery short story published about twelve years ago, I had not attempted historical romance. I spend a lot of time researching the past, so it seemed like a logical progression. But having written the piece and gone through the edits, the nervousness has set in.  Will readers like it? Did I tell the story well, and so on.

So many have been incredibly encouraging and it’s done a lot to bolster my confidence. It’s also allowed me to reconsider and compare this new venture with my past experiences.

I have performed in public for well over fifty years. I started when I was two and half. There is no worry about walking in front of five or five thousand. The comfort in my talent sees me through. I even have ‘groupies’ who come to see me  in the Murder Mysteries (improvisational at that) and when I am Helen (Hunt) Jackson, Katharine Lee Bates or the other historical personages real and fictional.

Murder Mystery Dead Body?
Murder Mystery Dead Body?

Why is it that I can do this, yet worry about my writing? I have performed longer, but I think it goes deeper. I’ve great confidence in my abilities when it comes to being on stage or writing a murder mystery script.  If I extrapolate out, I should have the confidence that my writing is also good.

Now here is the clincher: When performing you do the best you can at that moment and don’t worry about whether folks like you or not. That is when the great performances happen. I also think that happens when you write the story you want to tell. Now I just have to convince myself ( and I am already working on that) that I don’t have to please everyone, I just tell the best story I can and the readers who will like my work will eventually find me, with a bit of promotion of course.

Here is to the great performances and the stories we have to tell!

Cover for Home For His Heart
Cover for Home For His Heart





Can Sam find the courage to face his fear and save Clara when her past catches up to her?



HOME FOR HIS HEART by Doris McCraw,  Prairie Rose Publications due July 17, 2014

Follow my haiku post five days a week at: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com

Below is the link to my non-fiction piece on the first state film commissioner in the United States included in this book.

“Film & Photography on the Front Range” : the stories of the people who made film and photograph history on the Colorado Front Range. You can purchase online at: http://www.amazon.com