By Betty Bryant
"I was once born on the tail finish of a special and pleasant period and raised on one of many final showboats to fight for survival opposed to the devastating crunch of development. . . . Our showboat's show objective was once sporting leisure to millions of river-bottom farmers alongside our water-bordered frontier." ―from the book
Betty Bryant was once a river rat. The Floating Theater used to be her domestic, and the river was once her again backyard. whereas different little ones have been studying to stroll, she used to be studying to swim. She knew the best way to set a trotline, gig a frog, seize a crawdad, and strip the dust vein out of a carp by the point she was once 4. during this colourful memoir, Betty stocks her personal piece of Americana, the small, family-owned showboat of the early 20th century. Billy Bryant's Showboat plied the inland waterways of the Ohio River watershed from earlier than the 1st international warfare until eventually 1942, bringing a mix of melodrama and vaudeville, laughter and healing tears, into the lives of remoted humans in rural groups alongside the way in which. Betty made her first expert visual appeal on the age of six weeks while she performed a toddler in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." In her 20 years of traveling, she acted, danced, and grew up within the culture of "family leisure, via households, for families." Here Comes the Showboat! is informed with the ageless ask yourself of a kid who enjoyed the showboat and the keen audiences its uniquely American leisure touched. it's a treasure trove of funny anecdotes, touching remembrances, and pleasant pictures of Betty, the 3 generations who ran the kin showboat, miners, musselers, shantyboaters, farmers, retailers, and actors whose lives intersected alongside the Ohio River.
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Extra info for Here Comes The Showboat!
Dad said the next thing Sam built was a little towboat they named the Florence. Then they bought a little houseboat which they had until 1906, when a large raft of railroad ties brushed against them and sank the whole outfit. At nearby Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the citizens rushed forward to help, and the banker there found them a 16 x 90 foot barge which they bought for twenty-five dollars. They raised the Florence and cleaned her up. Then Dad and Sam went to work building their first real showboat.
To everyone's surprise the work of a shipwright came easily to Sam. He had only the few tools he had brought from England, but with them he was able to construct a serviceable flatboat ten feet wide and thirty feet long. It was just large enough to hold the Four Bryants, the mules, and the wagon. They pushed off from shore and soon found themselves in midstream, rushing down the river with practically no means of control. Dad said they hit the bank first on one side of the river and then on the other.
At a surprisingly early age, Nellie, as she was called, developed a pleasant soprano voice and quite a mature figure. One night she left her famil~ her home, and the despised name of Nellie to run away and join a Gilbert and Sullivan company that was touring the provinces. After an apprenticeship of singing in the chorus, Violet Chapman was given a principal role in Pinafore and each night thereafter, she sang, to a delighted audience, I'm called Little Buttercup Dear Little Buttercup, 'Though I could never tell why.