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Here Comes The Showboat!
     

Here Comes The Showboat!

by Betty Bryant
 

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"I was born at the tail end of a unique and delightful era and raised on one of the last showboats to struggle for survival against the devastating crunch of progress.... Our showboat's express purpose was carrying entertainment to hundreds of thousands of river-bottom farmers along our water-bordered frontier." — from the book

Betty Bryant was a river rat.

Overview

"I was born at the tail end of a unique and delightful era and raised on one of the last showboats to struggle for survival against the devastating crunch of progress.... Our showboat's express purpose was carrying entertainment to hundreds of thousands of river-bottom farmers along our water-bordered frontier." — from the book

Betty Bryant was a river rat. The Floating Theater was her home, and the river was her back yard. While other children were learning to walk, she was learning to swim. She knew how to set a trotline, gig a frog, catch a crawdad, and strip the mud vein out of a carp by the time she was four. In this colorful memoir, Betty shares her own piece of Americana, the small, family-owned showboat of the early twentieth century. Billy Bryant's Showboat plied the inland waterways of the Ohio River watershed from before the First World War until 1942, bringing a blend of melodrama and vaudeville, laughter and therapeutic tears, into the lives of isolated people in rural communities along the way. Betty made her first professional appearance at the age of six weeks when she played a baby in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." In her twenty years of touring, she acted, danced, and grew up in the tradition of "family entertainment, by families, for families." Here Comes the Showboat! is told with the ageless wonder of a child who loved the showboat and the eager audiences its uniquely American entertainment touched. It is a treasure trove of humorous anecdotes, touching remembrances, and delightful photographs of Betty, the three generations who ran the family showboat, miners, musselers, shantyboaters, farmers, merchants, and actors whose lives intersected along the Ohio River.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Practically impossible to put down." — Chicago Suburban Times Newspapers

"A delightful book." — Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three generations of Bryants who plied the Ohio River as showboat entertainers are the subject of this memoir. The author, a ``river rat'' who made her acting debut when she was six weeks old playing the baby in Uncle Tom's Cabin , recounts the vaudeville acts and melodramas that entertained audiences from the riverbank communities. Rich in anecdotes and character sketches, Bryant's delightful book recalls that last-minute substitutions were easily made, since all members of the troupe knew all the lines of every play; the crew also helped out in emergencies. The author's father sold his showboat in 1943 during the waning days of this sort of entertainment; a scale model of Bryant's Showboat is now on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Booknews
The author made her first professional appearance as an actress at the age of six weeks (the baby in "Uncle Tom's Cabin"), aboard a small showboat on the Ohio River, owned and operated by her family from before the First World War until 1942. She shares her memories of the shows, her family, and the patrons. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813129679
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
05/21/2010
Series:
Ohio River Valley Series
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
931,583
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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