The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 41
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Life at Winkler
on show nights. A man on his way to one in a wagon, sitting on
the spring seat in front with his wife, with the children on quilts
in the back, when he heard the sound of drum and bugle at the
show ground, could hardly keep from touching up his horses.
It must be said for the shows, that they were genuine pur-
veyors of mirth. There was no fraud about them. For the most
part they had good actors; and if a spectator did not get his
twenty-five cents worth it was because he had evolved a long way
from the man-in-the-wagon kind. Comedy was usually the main
kind of entertainment, and that was the kind most appreciated
by the audience. If the showman could bring someone of the
crowd in to help him, so much the better. Comes to mind one
beautiful example of this double-barrel work. The showman had
put through several humorous pieces, and he had the crowd well
worked up. After a while he abruptly stopped talking, and after
a rhetorical pause he called attention to a small rope hanging
down from the roof and said he was now going to put on the
Great Fishing Act. He said he would like to have help from the
audience, and he asked if there were three young men who would
come and help him. There were always young men ready to help
with shows, and presently one got up and went forward; directly
two more followed. When the boys got to the show ring the show-
man gave them some soothing words and still talking to them
gently, he had them take hold of the dangling rope and pull.
They did as he directed, caught hold and commenced pulling,
and he had them jerk and keep on pulling harder. When the
audience was well-nigh consumed with curiosity over the strange
doings, the showman turned to them with a sardonic smile and
said: "I have fished in the Mississippi River and in the Brazos
and in the Trinity, but this is the first time I ever caught three
suckers on one hook." That brought down the house-in the ac-
cepted meaning of the term, it brought down the house. Such a
roar of "wah," "wah," "wah's" went up as that old roof had
never heard before. As the crestfallen three made their way back
to their seats the peals of merriment redoubled, and it was
minutes before the showman could go on with his purveying.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/59/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.