Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Memoirs:
Contributed and
Written by: Toby Nygaard
. Nygaard Gillett Memories.

.Regarding the paragraph entitled "Tent Show" on the History of Gillett, Oconto County, WI 1856 - 1976 web page written by Marie Darrow.

My father asked that I write you the following:  It is interesting to read your history of the "Tent Show", which was the high point of the summer for most of us until about 1940.  My name is Lyman V. Nygaard, but from early on I was called "Toby".  My sisters took me to a Gagnon-Pollack Show and since I was a little "cut-up", they labeled me "Toby" after the red-wigged comedian named Toby.  I'm approaching 76 years old and the name still sticks.   My birth name Lyman was given to me after the town doctor in Oconto.

I am also a cousin to Lee Nygaard, who you mentioned as providing much of the music for the traveling medicine show under the paragraph "Barbers" .

We hope you find this interesting.

Exerpt from:
HISTORY OF GILLETT 1856 - 1976
POTPOURRI
Written by Marie Darrow
Compositor - Ben Penkivich, for the Gillett Public Library
Scanned and contributed by Jennifer Bumann

TENT SHOW- For many years, and until about 1940, the high point of the summer for most of the youngsters in town was the annual visit of the Gagnon-Pollack Show.

    This was a touring tent show that stayed for a week and presented a different Melodrama each night. The tent was pitched on a vacant lot, often where the dry-cleaning shop is today.  Seeing the actors and actresses on the street each day was almost as wonderful to the kids as watching the show each night.  The perennials, Edythe Gagnon and Guy Pollack, stars and owners of the show, came every year, but the rest of the cast, and the red-wigged comedian named Toby varied from year to year.  After the regular show there was an additional concert which cost an additional dime.  Also, big "Treasure Chests" of candy were sold between the acts, each box containing a prize. The excitement ran high when someone found a coupon in his box and went to the stage to receive a major prize.  By happy coincidence the visit of the tent show each year came about beanpicking time. The kids quit grumbling about the troublesome bask and beans reAlly flowed to the canning factory as soon as the Gagnon-Pollack adver-tising posters appeared In the windows.

    BARBERS- One of Gillett's early barbers, Homer Kindness, who was part Indian, quit the barbering business and set out with a medicine show.  He had a gaily painted enclosed wagon with which he toured the lumber camps and neighboring communities, entertaining musical program and singing the virtues of his "Cure-All" Snake Oil made from an old Indian secret recipe.  For awhile, about in 1920, Lee Nygaard provided much of the good music for his show, and later "Doc" Kindness' son and daughter, both talented musicians, traveled with him.



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