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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Medicine Show Info Needed (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

shomemagic
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Inner circle
Missouri
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Not sure where to post this..so moderators move it where it needs to be.

I am looking for some Medicine Show scripts hopefully free... I am also intersted in Dr. Wizzards Snake Oil Elixer available from Hocus Pocus as I understand the pitch is right on the bottle..no memorizations... I would purchase it but I only have paypal and they don't accept paypal payment..if anyone has one let me know your price or what you might be looking for in trade.
Magically,

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

You can e-mail me at: shomemagic@gmail.com
ChrisJ
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Loyal user
Lapeer, MI
226 Posts

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Have you done a search on the net for others who do this type of show? Perhaps they can help. I did a quick search and you might try here:

http://www.memoryelixir.com/history.html

see if it helps.

Good luck.

Chris
shomemagic
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Inner circle
Missouri
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Chris thanks for the link, really interesting.. I am looking for complete pitch scripts.. If anyone has one they would like to share please PM me.
Magically,

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

You can e-mail me at: shomemagic@gmail.com
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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I have some bits and pieces:

"You are dying, every man, woman, and child is dying; from the instant you are born you begin to die and the calendar is your executioner. That no man can change or hope to change. It is nature’s law that there is no escape from the individual great finale on the mighty stage of life where each of you is destined to play his farewell performance. Ponder well my words, then ask yourselves the questions: Is there a logical course to pursue? Is there some way you can delay, and perhaps for years, that final moment before your name is written down by a bony hand in the cold diary of death? Of course there is, ladies and gentlemen, and that is shy I am here. That is why I have traveled over great wastes of stormy seas, to ask that you let me help you to good health, vigor, and a long life, with the aid of the remarkable carton I now hold in my hand."

"What does it cure? It doesn't cure a thing. Nature does the curing. Any good physician you go to will tell you the same thing. You break your arm, you go to the hospital … You cut yourself, you put mercurochrome, or iodine, or whatever you want to put on it. That doesn't heal it … Nature heals it. There is no medicine that heals anything; it helps Nature."

"Sagwa, the wonderful remedy for catarrh, pulmonary consumption, and all of the ills that afflict the human body. It is made from roots, barks, gums, leaves, oils and berries gathered by little Kickapoo children from God's great laboratory — the fertile fields and vast forests."

I suppose I'll be aeen as a self-promoter, but my "Bally" audio CD has a medicine pitch re-created from archival scripts, and you can buy it fairly cheap at http://www.goodmagic.com/websales. (I have lost the text file, I fear) But for a few days, I'll let you download the audio file for the pitch free (7 megs .wav file) at http://www.goodmagic.com/film/medpitch.htm
Roslyn
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UK
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The website http://www.memoryelixir.com/history.html is for Dr Wilson, you can find him right here on the Café. He mainly hangs out with us escape boys at the All Tied Up forum.

He's very kind and will help where he can. Give him a PM and say Ros sent ya.

Ros
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Todd Robbins
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V.I.P.
New York
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That med show opening that Ross put here was the actual pitch used by Canadian pitchman T.P. Kelly. His autobiography is a great read. As for magic pitches, contact Magic Inc. in Chicago. They have a bunch of them. It will cost you a little bit, but it's worth it. Well worth it.

As for the thing from Hocus Pocus, don't think for a moment that you will be able to just read the pitch off of the bottle and make it work. It will look like someone reading off of a bottle and will be lousy. The important thing about doing a pitch act is for the words to flow out effortlessly. Also, do think that you can go on and on with a long flowery pitch. An audience's ears will tire very quickly of hearing about a panacea perfect for the problems that plague the population of our petite planet. The will stop listening and you will loose them. Use this kind of stuff sparingly.

"It makes the old feel young and the young feel frisky. It makes old maids smile and children cry for it!"
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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The answer to your opening question really depends on whether you are studying, or trying to actually pitch something, or trying to comically portray a theatrical-style stereotyped medicine pitchman.

In the first case, your study should certainly include Brooks McNamara's "Step Right Up" - you can get it used on Amazon for $1.88. There is also "Medicine Show: Conning People and Making Them Like It" by Mary Calhoun, "The Great American Medicine Show" by David Armstrong, and "Snake Oil, Hustlers and Hambones: The American Medicine Show" by Ann Anderson.

If you're actually trying to pitch medicine, I refer you back to historical study to start - the people who actually did it had ways of selling effectively that go far beyond the mere reading of a script. And what medicine should you pitch? Most of the traditional medicines were simple liniments (like any "soothes the ache with a warm glow" product advertised today), laxatives (to "clean out that filthy colon"), and (usually fake) vermifuges (to expel tapeworms). You'd do better to sell the more modern products like copper or magnetic bracelets, or "fat burning" pills, something you'd see on infomercials today (it's what they're buying.)

And in the last case, you can write a decent "snake-oil salesman" script yourself with only a little effort, starting with a bit of research, choosing the most florid phrases, and setting them into a simple outline with a beginning (extravagant claims), a middle (a testimonial, a demonstration, and/or a rationale) and an end (a strong sales closing).

In the end, remember that we seem to learn nothing in this field:

A short history of medicine:
"I have an earache..."

2000 BCE: "Here, eat this root."

1000 CE: "That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer."

1850 CE: "Prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion."

1940 CE: "That potion is just snake oil. Here, swallow this pill."

1985 CE: "That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic."

2002 CE: "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."
shomemagic
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Missouri
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Thanks to all, this has been an eye opening or should I say ear opening.. I will follow the advice of those above that know what they are talking about. I'm off to amazon now for the first book!
Magically,

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

You can e-mail me at: shomemagic@gmail.com
Utah Showmen
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Utah Showman
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Hi Shomemagic,

Check Sideshowworld.com you will find Snake Oil and Medcine Show.

There is a lot of information in that section. Also you will find a link to
Free Show Tonight. Great Video you will see a lot of the old timers as they pitch what is called the last medicine show. Also in the Blow-Off section you will find other bally clips there.

Hope this is helpful.
John Robinson
Sideshow World
Preserving the Past....Promoting the Future of the Sideshow

Step Right Up It's always Alive on the Inside of Sideshow World

So Go In Now!
shomemagic
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Missouri
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Utah Showmen... I appreciate the info and will check it out..I'm sure it will be a great help!
Magically,

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

You can e-mail me at: shomemagic@gmail.com
drwilson
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Bar Harbor, ME
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It's great to see someone else trying to revive this venerable practice!

This is great advice:

"And in the last case, you can write a decent "snake-oil salesman" script yourself with only a little effort, starting with a bit of research, choosing the most florid phrases, and setting them into a simple outline with a beginning (extravagant claims), a middle (a testimonial, a demonstration, and/or a rationale) and an end (a strong sales closing). "

Writing your own script is best, because you are the one that knows your character, your speech patterns, and your product.

Don't miss:

http://www.memoryelixir.com/lenapeliquid/history3.html

Mark Osterman did what must have been a brilliant show, with terrific research behind it. He has some bits that are really funny. Don't miss the capillerator! For a small version with a billiard ball, see Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms, a terrific book for any performer, but especially appropriate as you look to see how you can go through magic effects and make them into medicine-show effects.

Personally, I've been thinking of expanding into Dr. Wilson's Electric Liniment. I think that you can see the direction that this would take.

Yours,

Paul
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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You want snake oil? ... (excuse me) ...

"Ladies and gentlemen, did I detect among the fine people of this town a desire, nay, a veritable passion, for this miracle product that has saved the old from the clutches of death, raised the frail from their sickbeds, snatched the stricken from the bony grasp of the grim reaper? Do you want an opportunity to lay your shaking hands upon the elixir that has lightened the heavy tread of the aged, soothed the aching back of the working man, and calmed the overheated passions of the youth?...

"I said DO YOU WANT SNAKE OIL? if you want it, let me hear you say 'YES DOCTOR'!"

Friends, if you want snake oil, look no farther ... just read THIS (Click here)
jbohn
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Minneapoils, MN
102 Posts

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Try also the Medicine Show section of Whit Haydn's Scoundrels Forum. Great stuff all over that place...

http://whithaydn.com/smf/index.php?board=53.0

Jeremiah
buckeye bob
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I have been developing by own medicine show "Buckeye Bob's Backwoods Brew" I have found lots of good references. If you are looking for a complete script, Professor Pryor's Pain killer is an outstanding complete script. Bill Pryor works out of Haines House of Cards in Cincinnati and usually has ample copies on hand for a few bucks. Lot's of good routines. But I would have to agree with the other people here that making your own script or maybe borrowing just an idea or two is much more fun. Lines written by someone else I have never been very good at learning. It always seems more natural when I can use by own words. The medicine show manual by Tom Jorgenson has a lot of good ideas and plans for keisters.

Our course there is the every ellusive Genii magazine from July 1976 on the medicine show. I hear it has quite a lot in it. Don't know, never seen it, almost to the point of giving up looking for it. If any body can put me in touch with how to get a copy of the magazine or a copy of the articles that would be appreciated.
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