Sheared Bliss

It’ll Cure What Ails You
October 22, 2011, 5:58 am
Filed under: History, Museum | Tags: , , , , ,

Two weekends ago (yeah, I’m a little behind here) was the Harvest Festival at the Littleton Museum.  As a bit of a change from previous years, PioneerA organized a portrayal of an 1890s county fair complete with carnival games, competitions for preserves, bread, and handwork, a pie eating contest, and a traveling medicine show.

CodeMonkey portrayed Dr. Charles E. Tan, a traveling medicine salesman, along with Princess Bright Eyes, his lovely Indian assistant.

As with most traveling medicine shows of the era, Dr. Tan was peddling a wide variety of remedies as well as beauty and culinary products.

Most medicine showmen hawked products that had little to no curative value and often contained dangerously addictive ingredients such as alcohol, opium, morphine, heroine and cocaine if not outright toxins such as strychnine, turpentine, kerosene, and arsenic.  These patent medicines were popular with consumers because they were cheaper and more readily available than treatment by a doctor.  They also probably weren’t that much more dangerous given that it only took three or four months of study to become a doctor and many doctors were illiterate.  As late as the 1890s at least one medical school refused to give written entrance exams because they would exclude so many potential students.

Unfortunately, the cold, rainy weather meant that the good doctor didn’t have very many customers, offers of free samples notwithstanding.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am Dr. Charles E. Tan and it is my regrettable duty to inform you that you are all dying!  Every man, woman, and child here is dying; from the instant you are born you begin to die and the calendar is your executioner.  That, no man can hope to change.  Ponder well my words, then ask yourselves the question: 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 why I am here.  I hold the answer to this question right here in my hand.  Yes, this unassuming brown bottle of Dr. Tan’s Celery Compound contains the solution to all of life’s tribulations, large and small, and for just $1.00 a bottle, you owe it to yourselves not to miss out on the preventative and curative powers of this miraculous tonic.  Celery, you may ask, how can this humble vegetable contain the secret to a long and healthy life?  Why, in the Orient, celery is used strictly as a medicinal.  Even here in the west, the healing powers of this humble herb have been noted by physicians for centuries.  In his monumental 1747 treatise Pharmacopoeia Universalis, Robert James revealed that through the ages, celery has been used as a diuretic, an antiscorbutic, an aphrodisiac, an antilactogen, and a cure for fevers and dropsy.  And now, through the marvels of modern medicine, all of these phenomenal properties have been distilled, refined, and concentrated into their most powerful form – Dr. Tan’s Celery Compound!  Yes, folks, this miracle elixir is guaranteed to cure what ails you.  And for just $1.00 a bottle, there’s no reason that every man, woman, and child present can’t afford to live a long and healthy life with the help of this marvelous remedy.  But wait!  Do I detect some skeptics in the crowd?  Scoff all you like, but I am so convinced of the efficacy of this tonic that, for today only, I am offering free samples.  Step right up at the end of the show and experience the health benefits of Dr. Tan’s Celery Compound for yourself.


1 Comment so far
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Did any of these cure insomnia?

Comment by MommaCodeMonkey

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