Political Philosophy and Medicine Shows


Well-Known Member
Reaction score
Political Philosophy and Medicine Shows

I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma during the late 30s and early 40s.

Each summer a medicine show would come to town. The show consisted of two trucks pulling two house trailers and maybe a half-dozen men, women, and children.

The show would set up in a vacant lot with the truck bed as a stage and 2x8s were placed on small kegs for the audience to sit during the shows; they would stay in town for two or three nights then head for the next small town.

The shows were free and the medicine show made their money by selling bottles of “medicine” during show intermissions. I thought the shows were great. I laughed and cried along with many of the adults in the audience.

The bottles of “medicine” (evidently there was no government regulation on such matters in those days) were peddled to the audience during intermission. Just before the intermission one of the show people would explain that the “medicine” healed whatever ailed you. Just take a swig and you would be cured of such ailments as diarrhea, constipation, warts, etc. Anything you could name could be healed by a swig from that bottle. They of course restricted each consumer to a maximum of four bottles because supplies were limited.

I heard some men laugh and say that the bottles consisted of whiskey mixed with cough syrup. I did not know anything about such matters but every one seemed to agree that it was “darn good medicine”. Oklahoma was a “dry” state populated with many “God fearing citizens”.

Every time I hear the political “philosophy” that “tax cuts” could heal all our ailments I remember those summer medicine shows in my home town.