Medicine show from Lusk, Wyoming at Plaza of States (Photo property of The Seattle Public Library)
Last updated: July 28, 2011
The Lusk Herald
May 31, 1962
Stops Enroute to Promote Wyo. And Home Town
With a police and patrol escort leading them out of town, the Wyoming Medicine Show (Lusk's contribution for Wyoming Day at the World's Fair) got underway Monday morning at 9:00.
Newcastle was to be the first of at least nine stops enroute where the show would be put on, as the group of 11 adults and 6 children promote Wyoming and their home town of Lusk.
In the troupe are: Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bramlet and sons, Bob and Tom; Mr. and Mrs. Jim Berry and daughter Carol; Mr. and Mrs. Jim Griffith, Jr., and daughters, Sally and Laura; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Templeton and son, Tom; Mrs. Rita Babcock, and Nick Kaan, Jr.
Ron McPherson, Wyoming Travel Commission, and his family are traveling ahead of the troupe as advance man and publicity agent.
Jim Griffith, Jr., calling his father from Hardin, Mont., Tuesday night, said the troupe has had a wonderful reception and is having a grand time, except for the fact that the trio is getting hoarse from singing so much. At Newcastle, 250 people turned out for the street show. At Gillette an estimated 400 people watched the show in the rain. Two hundred were present for the evening show at the Sheridan Inn Monday night. Tuesday, 100 saw the show at Hardin, Mont., and at Big Timber where they were staying Tuesday night, 100 had seen the afternoon street show and another 200 were present for the evening show.
Since leaving, the troupe has also learned that in addition to giving a morning show at the World's Fair Plaza of States, they will put on their act in the big stadium in the afternoon between acts of the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
WYOMING DAY JUNE 3
The main performance will be at the World's Fair on Wyoming Day, June 3 in the Plaza of States. The Lusk presentation leads off the Wyoming Day program after which Governor Jack Gage and Governor Roseillini of Washington will speak.
Immediately following the Wyoming Day flag raising ceremony, the troupe will join Governor Gage's party on a conducted tour of the fair. Saturday night Governor Gage is to entertain the party at dinner in Seattle.
The troupe stopped Monday morning at Newcastle to make the first presentation and received a warm welcome. At mid afternoon they stopped at Gillette, and Monday night were putting on a street show at Sheridan and later a night performance at the Sheridan Inn in exchange for lodging.
They were taking out an hour Tuesday morning to tour Custer Battlefield, then on to Hardin for a show and lunch. An afternoon show was being given at Laurel, and the night stop at Big Timber, Mont., arranged by Henry Klindt, brother of Herb Klindt of Lusk. At that place the cast presented "The Farmer's Daughter," given at Lusk last summer. The Legion Auxiliary served dinner, and lodging was arranged.
Memorial Day was devoted entirely to travel with Cour d'Alene, Ida., as the evening stop. Thursday presentations are to be made at Cheney, Moses Lake, and Ellenberg, Wash., with advance arrangements being made through Lions clubs. No further stops will be made until Seattle.
The street shows feature the Diamond Annies trio (named Wyoming Winds for the tour), the children singing "Why, Oh Why Did I ever Leave Wyoming?" and a new meller drammer, "The Villian Still Pursues Her," a 10-minute farce on meller drammers. Jim Griffith, Jr. is the M.C. and Dick Price is always ready with his guitar and songs.
When the troupe gets to Seattle Mr. and Mrs. Donald Peet and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Kirk, former Lusk people, are arranging a picnic lunch in Peet's back yard.
TAKES MUCH PLANNING
Not only has the troupe been working hard for several months raising money for this project, but in preparation for the actual trip. Construction of the portable stage and painting of backdrops was necessary. The Lusk Lions Club financed the stage which folds up and fits into a 5x8 trailer loaned by American Rental Trailers, Inc. Signs were paid for by the Lusk Chamber of Commerce, and Coye Jennewein worked nights at Bonner's paint shop to prepare the backdrops.
In order to keep the group of five cars moving together as well as possible, the lead and last car were equipped with Citizen Band radios courtesy of Mr. Jennewein and John Backhus.
But for the most part, outside of group money earned, the troupe were financing most of their own personal expense. Inasmuch as Mr. and Mrs. Bramlet must return to an education conference immediately they will fly back with Governor Gage, while their sons take a train. Mr. Price is going on for a vacation in Hawaii. Others will take routes of their own coming back to Lusk.
Monday morning to help get the troupe underway, Mr. and Mrs. Art Dalgarno and Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Hollon were hosts at breakfast in the Dalgarno home.
To accomplish local promotion for the Pageant, the troupe is giving out Pageant postcards at each stop.
The Lusk Herald
June 7, 1962
Medicine Show Brings 'Yahoo's', Fairgoers Applaud Wyoming
by Ken Fleming in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A Wild West medicine man show direct from the rip-roaring town of Lusk, Wyoming wheeled onto the plaza of States yesterday at the Seattle World's Fair.
And sophisticated fairgoers who have seen some of the world's greatest musical and dramatic artists at the exposition loved every minute of it.
It was Wyoming Day at the Fair yesterday and the contingents from states yet to be honored will have to work mighty hard to top the fun dispensed at the Plaza by the folks from "Big Wyoming."
The "Wyoming Medicine Man" show preceded the speeches by the dignitaries including Gov. Albert D. Roellini and Wyoming Governor Jack R. Gage.
Jim Griffith, publisher of the Lusk Herald, and a bunch of his neighbors from the oil-cattle-sheep town in eastern Wyoming, danced and acted. The cast is comprised of a car dealer, public accountant, bank vice president, secretaries, schoolteachers and their children.
"It's more fun to put on probably than it is good," Griffith said before the show started.
But the audience disagreed. The Wyoming housewives, dressed as dance hall girls, got things off to a prancing start with a high kicking number that brought a number of shouts of "yahoo" from the would-be cowboys in the audience.
Griffith, waving his derby hat as the medicine man, said the medicine he had to sell was the fresh, smog free air of Wyoming guaranteed to make you live to 105 "just like this Indian here." The Indian was Robert Bramlet, 13, whose hide was covered with makeup and feathers.
Then there was an outrageous satire of an old-fashioned melodrama complete with bumpkin cowboy hero and mustachioed villian.
The puns brought happy groans. For example:
"Who stole the chimney"?
"Nobody, the chimney flue."
The children sang, "Who Oh Why Did I Ever Leave Wyoming" and did a western version of the twist. The entire cast came on for a socko finale of "Meet Me In Seattle."
As Governor Gage came to the podium to acknowledge the Fair's honor to the "Equality State", the Schulmerich Carillion tolled the noon hour and burst fourth in amplified melody.
"I want to intrrupt myself for a moment," Governor Gage said, "to ask Governor Rosellini if you arranged to have that background music?"
Somebody gave a quick signal and the booming carillion was silenced as the crowd laughed.
"Wyoming's proud to salute the State of Washington and to be saluted by Washington," Gov. Gage said.
Accompanying Governor Gage was his wife and Mrs. Tracy McCracken, widow of the well known Wyoming newspaper publisher, Marvin Stevenson, Wyoming state director of aeronautics, and his wife, and other officials.
The "Wyoming Medicine Man" show gave a second performance at the plaza during the afternoon thus affording Griffith another chance to tell Seattlites to come to Wyoming "Where the women are lovelier and the men are younger."
Lusk Troupe Says Response Exceeds Their "Wildest Expectations"
Accompanying the Post-Intelligencer story was a delightful four-column picture with Gov. Gage "collecting his share of kisses and hugs from the dance hall girls of Lusk". They were Mrs. Jim Griffith, Mrs. Jim Berry, Mrs. Rita Babcock, and Mrs. Robert Templeton, and the newspaper went on to explain that they are respected housewives, teachers and secretaries. The Seattle Times ran a 4-column picture of the entire cast singing the finale, "Meet Me in Seattle."
In a short letter accompanying the newspaper clippings, Jim Griffith said the "show exceeded our wildest expectations" and that films of the show were to be on TV Sunday evening.
He wrote further, "Saturday, June 2, Great Britain's Prince Philip had the World's Fair spotlight, Sunday, June 3, it was a group from Lusk that dared to be different who stood out. Even the stage, which was somewhat beat and tattered from being erected some 10 times in four states drew attention, even from the Fair's carpenters and stage hands who took its measurements and made sketches of its design."
The Lusk group gave two performance Sunday and crowds at each performance were very large. Griffith said he couldn't give too much credit to the gang that played in rain at Gillette, shouted over the roar of trucks in Cheeny, Wash., and came through to steal the show for a time from some of the better professionals and even such things as America's 6 million dollar scientific exhibit.
FIRST OF TROUPE RETURN
The first of the troupe to return were Nick Kaan, Jr. and Mrs. Rita Babcock Wednesday evening, and they supplemented information already received. The entire troupe got through the trip well, except for a case of hives on Friday for Rita.
That was a big day. The troupe had had picnic lunch at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Peet and with Mr. and Mrs. Sam Kirk. Then they went to the airport to meet Governor Gage and his part. From there they were conducted by police escort in open cars to downtown hotels.
The returnees said also that the reception for the Wyoming group and the show was simply beyond any expectation. First presentation was made Sunday morning at 11:00 in the Plaza of States, and it was the first time an outside performance was allowed to bring in their own stage into the Plaza. The show was put on again at 2:30 at the Plaza instead of the arena, and people asked to have it repeated, but this was impossible. The stage created much interest, several asking the name and address of the builder, which was Frontier Lumber Co.
Mr. and Mrs. James Berry and daughter were expected home Wednesday. The Griffiths will be home Sunday, and Templetons are continuing a longer trip on the Coast. Mr. and Mrs. Bramlet flew to Cheyenne Sunday night with Governor Gage. Mr. Price is going on to Hawaii.
The Lusk Herald
June 14, 1962
Open letter to the people of Lusk
To say that the state of Wyoming was well represented by the Lusk Medicine Man Show at the Seattle World's Fair would be an understatement.
I do not have superlatives enough at my command to describe the job they did for all of Wyoming and I think that even more deserving of comment is the appearances they made on the way to the fair for Wyoming and Lusk.
To the Bramlets, the Berrys, the Templetons, the Grifith, to Nick Kaan, Jr. to Dick Price, to Rita Babcock and especially to all the kids, a heartfelt thanks from the Wyoming Travel Commission for a job extremely well done.
For Wyoming -
Jim Spracklen, manager
Wyoming Travel Commission
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