Saturday, December 20, 2008
Buffalo Bill Comes to Town
Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917) was a legendary figure of the American West who popularized a mythic vision of the American frontier through his famous traveling Wild West Show. His immensely popular troupe of showmen, actors, fancy shooters, trick ropers, American Indians, cowboys and more traveled across the country and throughout the world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1902 they made a stop in Vallejo, performing two shows on the outskirts of town. The Vallejo Evening Chronicle of Saturday, September 6, 1902 reported on those shows:
The Big Show: Magnificent Audience Witness the Evening Performance
A Most Realistic Exhibition of Life in the Wild West – Daring Feats of Horsemanship
"Although the afternoon performance was the most slimly attended of any performance ever given by the Wild West Show, the attendance in the evening was much better, there being a vast crowd of spectators."
"Although considerably handicapped by the poorness of lighting of the big arena, which was due to a disarrangement of the electrical plant, the program was evidently appreciated by the audience."
"There were no doubt many who fully expected to see a circus performance, with trapeze artists, clowns, trained horses, fairylike soubrettes flying through hoops, who were disappointed; but to those who wanted to see a complete and magnificent reproduction of life on the frontier, daring feats of horsemanship, a splendidly conceived and dramatically and effectively carried out reproduction of San Juan Hill, fine marksmanship , a splendid and instructive representation of the life-saving apparatus, the exhibition was loudly praised."
"Previous to the opening of the evening exhibition Colonel Cody courteously received a Chronicle reporter in his tent. He said that he was very much disappointed at the matinee attendance, which was the smallest audience ever present in the history of the Wild West. He said their tour so far had been a triumphant artistic and financial success, but he was feeling the fatigue of traveling to fulfill engagements at “one – night stands” and was glad to have the San Francisco engagement, which opens Saturday, which will give him an opportunity to be in one place for a week. Colonel Cody takes all the people he has now under engagement to England with him, sailing for there on the 10th of December, and opening at the Olympia, London, for a ten week’s engagement on December 26th."
"The Olympia is one of the finest and largest amusement pavilions in London and seats about 7,000 people. He charges eight shillings, equal to $2, for the best seats, and will give two performances each day."
"During Colonel Cody’s New York engagement the show appears in Madison Square Garden, and the house is always packed at $2 for reserved seats, so that Vallejo saw the big show for just one-half the price that New Yorkers pay for reserved seats."
"Colonel Cody has met many old friends during his tour of the west and he said he had at least fifty callers yesterday whom he had met in various parts of the State."
"Miss Irma Cody, daughter of the Colonel, is on a short visit to her father."
"Miss Cody is a most attractive and handsome girl, and is evidently very proud of her distinguished father. She is loud in her praises of California and its people."
"The aggregation headed by Colonel Cody will no doubt retain the universal popularity it has so justly earned."