Medicine Wagon Lyrics Follow
Medicine shows were touring acts (traveling by truck, horse, or wagon teams) which peddled "miracle cure" patent medicines and other products between various entertainments. They developed from European mountebank shows and were common in the United States in the nineteenth century, especially in the Old West (though some continued until World War II). They usually promoted "miracle elixirs" (sometimes referred to as snake oil), which, it was claimed, had the ability to cure disease, smooth wrinkles, remove stains, prolong life or cure any number of common ailments. Most shows had their own patent medicine (these medicines were for the most part unpatented but took the name to sound official). Entertainments often included a freak show, a flea circus, musical acts, magic tricks, jokes, or storytelling. Each show was run by a man posing as a doctor who drew the crowd with a monologue. The entertainers, such as acrobats, musclemen, magicians, dancers, ventriloquists, exotic performers, and trick shots, kept the audience engaged until the salesman sold his medicine.