Jim's Jottings (part 8 #12)
By Jim Griffith, Jr.
Costlow Collection, Lusk Family, Part 8 #12
There are happenings in the course of human events that serve as mileposts in time. Thus we hear "before the war" of "after Jane's first baby." A trip to the Seattle World's Fair provided such a milepost for 11 Lusk adults and 6 children. These 17 were the "Wyoming Medicine Show" troupe that had the intestinal fortitude to take to the road with a show and compete with the really big shows at the World's Fair.
The reception along the way was amazing. At Newcastle and Gillette the troupe was provided refreshments. At Sheridan there were free rooms in exchange for a performance. At Hardin, Mont. the Lions Club served lunch. At Big Timber, Mont., thanks to Henry Klindt (brother of Herb) there was a very nice dinner and a special rate at the motel. At Cour d'Alene, Idaho we again had reduced motel rates. At Cheeney, Wash. came the inevitable flop - but only because of the small crowd. Moses Lake, Wash. more than made up for the Cheeney disappointment as the large crowd loved the show. Afterwards the local bankers insisted on filling everyone's cars with gas.
No one said so, but there were plenty of butterflies at Seattle. Of course, there was the usual mad rush to get the show on, but there was a lack of the usual chatter. I didn't see any butterflies, but felt them.
Never again will I believe these stories that one day stands are tough - not after doing three per day.
The stage that the Lusk Lions Club built excited interest among the Fair carpenters and stagehands. They thoroughly examined the construction of the stage that can be put upon 8 minutes and taken down in less than 4 as was the case in a rain storm at Gillette.
Doc Reckling is attempting to get the troupe a Las Vegas engagement. Don Peet of Seattle writes, "I don't think that you should listen to Doc Reckling about going to Las Vegas. The tremendous success here in Seattle should put the bunch of you directly on Broadway. (Why hit the whistle stops.)"
Incidentally Mr. and Mrs. Peet and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Kirk, former Lusk residents, entertained the whole gang at a picnic and then served as guides.
It was necessary for the gals in the troupe to do several fast costume changes. They can't have much modesty left for the changes were made behind two blankets that were held up in the middle of the street. We really fooled the audience. All the time they thought the show was on the stage, but the most interesting show was going on behind the stage.
Have reason to be proud of the children who stood up well despite the 6:30 a.m. to midnight schedule.
Most states are represented by bands on their day at the Fair. Bands don't attract much attention for bands, very good bands, are so common place that people won't even turn their heads to see them.
The big reason that the medicine show proved to be such a success was because it dared to be different. Don't believe that any member of the cast ever thought the show would turn out to be the success it was.
Learned that one tourist stopped at Bob Grove's Sinclair Service to see if the Wyoming air was as good as we advertised. Mr. Illinois tourist said he found that we hadn't misrepresented a thing.
There are a great many people that believe the Pageant must be a bloody thing looking at the hundreds of Pageant postcards that were passed out.
Was impressed with the Fair. If you are interested in the shape of the future and more especially in space travel the Fair is the place for you. In general would say that young people will find the Fair especially interesting. The theme Century 21 is carried out very well.
CITIZEN BAND RADIOS
Enroute the caravan stayed together very well. In part this was because of the citizen band radios that had been loaned us by John Backhaus and Coye Jennewein. These small radios are a wonderful method of communication. If I were in a business that had even two vehicles on the road they would be equipped with Citizen Band Radios. Understand they are becoming popular with ranchers and I can see why. What wonderful time savers.
Always nice to be home and a big thanks to Bob Darrow and Earl Peet for writing this column while I was gone.
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Can't ever recall the country looking better than it does right now. As the script says, "That's all, but come down and see us in Lusk, Wyoming. No, not lust, lush, not luck, but L-U-S-K, that's where the ladies are lovlier, the old men younger. We'll put a twinkle in your eye and a tingle in your spine in Big Wyoming."
Images & Attachments
|Jennewein, Coye (12/23/1906 - 03/27/1992)
|Backhaus, John (03/26/1919 - 07/16/1989)