Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN his pipe and stroked his beard, peaceful as you please, just a taciturn, nice, tired old fellow with his work done. I used to go over and sit with him and listen, on those rare occasions when he talked much, to his tales in very broken English of the war. All he had to do in the show was get in his little wagon and take a turn round the arena with the crowd cheering him and then hand over his sword to the fellow who played Lord Roberts. That may give you an idea of the risks of having to capitalize on the news if you aren't going to miss any tricks. I had a worse time and no profit whatever out of exploiting the furor caused by the discovery of the North Pole—with Dr. Cook and Admiral Peary split- ting the nation into opposing camps as rival claimants. This is no place to go into the merits of the contro- versy between them. From the showman's point of view, however, the Doctor had it all over the Admiral, although the Admiral won the decision by outstaying his opponent. Whether he ever saw the Pole or not, Dr. Cook had the gift of gab and a fine sense of pub- licity. His stunt of taking along a barrel of gumdrops for the Eskimos on his Polar expedition was a honey. And, when his discovery was challenged, he said he'd buried a brass tube containing full proof at the Pole— "I didn't leave my visiting card because I didn't hap- pen to have one on me. Let the skeptics who doubt my story go to the North Pole and see." When he was lecturing, turning them away at every stand, with the 249