Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN when the crash came and the outfit was stranded in a little town somewhere in Mississippi. We got a tele- gram indicating surrender. I immediately sent Lewis funds to bring the show to New York and started rush- ing our construction to completion at Coney Island. Those Boer War veterans had already seen their share of hardships. But, by the time they got through with southern trouping under canvas, they'd probably gladly have returned to the comparative comfort of guerrilla warfare on the African veldt. Their troubles had begun even before they left South Africa. Either Lewis' backing was inadequate or he miscalculated handling it—anyway, when they reached Capetown, they didn't have enough money to pay their passage and got to the United States only because the captain of a ship was gambler enough to fetch them over on spec and hold them in pawn at New Orleans until the St. Louis crowd ponied up. After the Fair it was tough enough on Wall to find out so expensively that show business is no place for amateurs. But it was even tougher on the veterans who had to take the conse- quences on the ground. After the first few weeks they seem to have lived without salaries and without hope, braving the terrors of cheap southern boarding houses and sitting up all night in day-coaches between stands. Besides, to make sure everything was comfortable, the bad blood between British and Boers which had already shown up in St. Louis cropped up tougher and tougher as times got worse. Lewis' job was about as 243