KIDS, RAILROADS, PEOPLE & ACTIVITIES

STORIES OF A SMALL RAILROAD TOWN

IN THE 1930'S, 40'S & 50'S

...........by George.       John R. Warren

TOBY SHOWS

The Haverstock Comedians (Toby Show) came into Bluford every summer. We always looked forward to it, and many of us went every night. They would come in and set up their tent in the field between DeWitt's and Fred Lee's house, usually pretty close to Fred's house. They would let boy's in free, if they helped them set up the tent. There were many Toby Shows during the '30's, '40's, and '50's that traveled around the country. We think that "our" Toby Show, the Haverstock Toby Show was the best of them all. They didn't come during WWII, but returned in the '50's. They "wintered" in Texas. There was another Toby Show that came in for a year or two, and it was OK, but none could match the Haverstock's.

There would be a 3 act drama play and before the play and at each break, they sold candy in boxes for a dime. That seemed like a high price at the time, because you could get candy bars for a nickel. The boxes contained a few pieces of candy and a trinket. Popcorn, snow cones, and drinks were also available. They had a stage set up front and benches or folding chairs. The front section was reserved for kids. There would be some music , some vaudeville, some magic, comedy skits by Toby & Suzie along with the play. The admission price was probably a nickel for kids and a dime for adults --not sure of that.

Harvey & Lotta Haverstock were Toby & Suzie. Their son Rolland was the "hero" and his wife Peggy, the heroine or damsel in distress. They had a villain, of course, named Herb, I believe, with a sinister mustache. Toby was a red headed blundering country bumpkin, and the exasperated Susie tried to keep him inline.

Entertainment in Bluford was rather limited, except for basketball games in the winter and free shows in the summer, so this professional troupe of entertainers were well received and well attended. They sold advertising signs to local businesses, and those signs were displayed up front around the stage. They presented truly family entertainment with nothing offensive to anyone. Most kids in town went every night. I think maybe they were there 4 or 5 nights. The show was finally disbanded in 1956. Peggy, the last Haverstock survivor died Dec. 1, 2000. Her and Roland had no children, so that ended the Haverstock line.

Bluford
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