Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/137

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111
BOOMING THE BIG SHOW

would be their cost at the price paid in the pioneer show period.

The circus of the present day is judged by the quality of its paper. One season I arranged with a publisher to use a folded quarter sheet, three sides of which advertised our show and the fourth side contained the first chapter of a story about to be published in his magazine. These were furnished to us in enormous quantities and our agents distributed them. In Boston we had four four-horse wagons full and these followed our parade. The men tossed the folders high in the air and the wind carried them in all directions. While this style of advertising surprised the people, it was soon stopped, and properly, too, by city ordinance. I think circus people would be better off if ordinances were passed wholly prohibiting bill posting; but unfortunately such a movement would go far toward breaking up a profitable industry, since many of the bill posters are rich men, some making as much as $25,000 a year and a few fully $50,000. I believe Mr. Seth B. Howes, the veteran circus manager, was the first one to order a billboard made or paste paper on the outside. Previous to this all bills were hung or fastened up with tacks.