Dublin Historical Society

Medicine Shows

Medicine shows would go from town to town selling their “cure-all” medicine. It was supposed to be an old Indian remedy that would cure any and all ailments. This show was held in Tuller’s lot located between the cemetery on the West, Carl Karrer’s farm on the South, the alley on the East, and the Parsonage on the North (now part of Franklin Street). The show consisted of songs, dances, skits, and joke telling by members of the troupe. It would start with some entertainment then the barker would go into his sales pitch, telling how the medicine would cure anything and everything that ailed you. When the sales slowed they would perform again, etc. To create added interest they held a contest to see who was the most popular little girl in Dublin. The contestants were Madge Smith and Polly Tuller, the prize was a diamond ring. Each bottle purchased was worth a certain number of points that the purchaser could give to the contestant of his choice. Madge said she lost.

Every summer a group of people would come to Dublin, pitch a tent in this field and put on a medicine show. The show was free and every night after supper everyone in Dublin would take a chair and head for the pasture field. The medicine, which consisted mostly of alcohol, cost $1.00 a bottle. When it was all sold the show would leave town. (Aly E. [Polly] Richards, “Memories”) 

(The fellow with the show) he had the stuff in the bottles that he tried to sell. I don’t know who bought it or anything. (The shows) would have an entertainment and sing the songs. (Ruth Moffit, from transcript of interview for “Reflections” videotape)

They would sell remedies that would cure everything. Then they would have skits, too. (Lester Leppert)