|Source: Pembina Pioneer Press (August 13, 1897)|
The Tom Shows as they were colloquially known as, were “ubiquitous and part of the common culture by the end of the 19th century...” Professor Frick said – a theatrical phenomenon that bridged culture, commerce and ideology.
The shows were a small industry built on the genre known as moral reform dramas or melodramas, such as “The Drunkard," “The Gambler,” or "Ten Nights in a Barroom," which were widely received.
Midway through the traveling shows' popularity, the show advertised in this newspaper ad (see left) came to our area, including Pembina. Going by what the write-ups uncovered, it would have been quite the show, especially under a big tent as it was. Excitement would have pervaded the atmosphere as you waited for the show to start! Prior to the show, the show's performers would arrive in town to much fanfare, later parading through the town to drum up business, encouraging one and all to attend the show that night. Yes, it would be quite exciting for small towns in 1897...
|Part of the Terry Show's train, and company readying themselves for the pre-show parade...|
|Terry Show troupe portrait, in front of the show's tents; note Uncle Tom's Cabin in center back...|