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The History of the Haverstock Tent Show
The Show with a Million Friends

by Robert Lee Wyatt III

Softcover, 156 pages, 6" x 9"
Copyright 1997
Southern Illinois University Press

From the back cover:
"How good it is to have someone care enough to remember," notes Peggy Haverstock in her foreword to Wyatt's history of the Haverstock Tent Show, which brought live entertainment to rural Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois from 1911 to 1954.

Although rural America supported more than seven hundred tent repertoire groups during the first half of the twentieth century, little is known about the many players and companies that strolled the land to bring live entertainment to small towns. Thus, Wyatt's chronicle of a pioneer dramatic tent repertoire company is more than just a fascinating story; it is also a particularly significant piece of American theater history. Founded in Roosevelt, Oklahoma, in 1911 by Harvey (Haver) and Carlotta (Lotta) Haverstock, the Haverstock Tent Show proved to be one of the most enduring of these tent theater companies - and of family enterprises. Rolland Haverstock, the founders' son, played leading-man roles for thirty of the company's forty-three years, and Rolland's wife, Peggy, who joined the company in 1933, toured with the group until it dissolved in 1954.

As Wyatt reports the life and work of this remarkable family of thespians, the schedule sounds grueling - at least one new town every week with a different three-act play for each night they worked a town - but apparently the Haverstocks and the actors who traveled with them loved their work. And they thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people in the towns along the route. Unlike many such companies, the Haverstocks made a point of fitting into the community, including going to church with their audiences on Sunday mornings.

Wyatt was exceptionally fortunate in finding such willing and able subjects as he investigated the tent theater movement. Not only did Rolland and Peggy Haverstock spend hours regaling him with tales of the family touring company, but they also provided him with their own archival records. Through these two veteran players, Wyatt had access to family letters, Haver's memoirs and diaries, copies of scripts, route books, record books, and scrapbooks and photographs, some of which are included here. Wyatt supplemented this material with interviews with those who had worked with the Haverstocks or who had known the company by reputation.

About the author:
Robert Lee Wyatt III is an associate professor of education at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He has directed more than a hundred plays at the Harvest Theater in Grandfield, Oklahoma.

Table of contents
Foreword by Peggy Haverstock
1. Tent Repertoire's Place in Rural American Culture
2. Harvey and Carlotta Haverstock Before Tent Repertoire
3. Haverstocks Found Their Tent Show
4. The Early Years, 1911-1919
5. The Good Years, 1920-1929
6. The Lean Years, 1930-1939
7. The War Years, 1939-1945
8. The Years of Decline, 1946-1954

Rolland, Lotta, and Harvey Haverstock
The F.G. Perry Uncle Tom's Cabin Company
The front entrance to the King-Haverstock Company's Tent
The Haverstock Comedians' stage front with advertising signs
Harvey Haverstock in his first Toby costume
Harvey Haverstock in his 1930s Toby costume
Lotta and Harvey Haverstock in their Susie and Toby costumes
Lotta and Harvey Haverstock as Toby and Susie playing a song
Susie Haverstock (Lotta) and Toby Haverstock (Harvey) in the early 1950s
Portrait of Lotta and Harvey Haverstock
Rolland and Peggy Haverstock
Rolland, Lotta, and Harvey Haverstock before their fleet of cars
Peggy with her accordion helps Roland and Lotta perform magic
The Haverstock Theatre Company's first railroad car
Lotta Haverstock
Some of the cast
The Haverstock tent ready for use
The Haverstocks' automobile trailer
Lotta Haverstock in a glamour pose
The Olney Hayseed Band

Book condition:
This is a new "remainder" book. A remainder is a book that may have been unsold by the publisher, or it may have been an "unsold" return from a bookstore. It may have minor shelf wear on the cover, or other mild imperfection. We do not ship books with major damage. No remainder mark.

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