Brunk, Henry and Mercedes Rey 1979-06-21

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The Brunks discuss tent shows during the early part of the 20th century. Certain instances involving credit card use and mail theft are discussed as well. Various photographs of people involved in the Brunk family tent shows are also dealt with; some of these were used as illustrations in the book, Henry L. Brunk and Brunk’s Comedians by Jerry Martin, who conducted this series of interviews with the Brunks. Note: some parts of these tapes are difficult to hear and hard to follow.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Henry and Mercedes Rey Brunk

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: June 21, 1979

Location: Wichita, Kansas

Interviewer: Jerry Martin

Length: 4 hours


Tape 1, Side 1: Various photographs discussed, Anecdote, California "Toby" show, Brunk's Hill Billy Band, Hollis, Oklahoma (1934), Maureen Caste, Crying Bill, Problems, Newspaper advertisements, Marpal theater, Universal Band, No admission on Sundays, Glen Brunk, Opening show, Nowata, Oklahoma, Newspaper advertisements (again), Liberty theater (1918), "Influence", "The Men God Forgot", Flu epidemic (1917), Beacon Paper (November 11, 1918), Developing photographs, Modern typesetting

Tape 1, Side 2: Universal Band (again), Playing for fun, Glen Brunk (again), Tent shows, Henry Brunk's position, Return from World War I (1919), Henry Brunk in Oswego, Kansas (1919), Harley Sadler Show, Davis, Oklahoma (1919), Glen Brunk, Henry Brunk, Pay increase, Various shows opened by Henry Brunk (1920), Fred Brunk's show, Played Kansas (1918-1926), Henry Brunk and Brunk's Comedians, Temple Theater, Mangum, Oklahoma, Local newspaper ads, publicity, Circle stock (1938), Springfield, Colorado, local paper, Layouts, Various show titles mentioned, Newspaper advertisements (1938) (again), Playing theaters, No front curtain, two performances nightly, Pictures between shows, Tent show, "Ten Nights in a Bar Room" (1933), Show performed as a burlesque, Overuse of comedy

Tape 2, Side 1: Story, dog on tent show, Circle stock, Colby, Kansas (1938), Theater shows (1938), Titling shows, Audience participation, Attendance gimmicks, Want ads for shows, Various towns played, Alamosa, New Mexico (1949), Clayton, New Mexico, Clovis, New Mexico (1951), Portales, New Mexico (1951), Story, betting with barber on World Series, "Where's My Teddy?", "Toby" show, Origin of name, Various paper advertisements and photographs, "Bing," tent show performer, Unicycle "Ride of Death" stunt, Live baby gag, "Ride of Death" (again), Additional entertainment on tent shows, Circus acts mentioned, Story, girl using special make-up

Tape 2, Side 2: Use of make-up tables in shows, Story, children watching "Alice in Wonderland" play, Credit cards discussed, Limits on credit, Visa card use in Grand Junction, Abuse, Story, stolen checks from mailbox, Allie Brunk, Health problems, Family mentioned, Problems in early years, Story, chairs overturned in home, Various play titles mentioned, "The Balloon Girl", "Mr. Wimple has a Dimple" (1937), Special features, Playing tow nights, Various titles mentioned (again), "The Unexpected Husband", Picking show titles

Tape 3, Side 1: Various photographs identified, "Toby" and "Susie", "Toby" shows, R. D. Post, Mercedes' son, Professor Boutin, Des Moines, Iowa, Faye Blackett Brunk

Tape 3, Side 2: Various photographs identified (again), Jamie Cole, Betty Honig, Buddy Manly, Jill and Jack Edwards

Tape 4, Side 1: Various photographs discussed, Story, actors smiling in tent shows, Publicity for tent shows, Monkey in a barber shop, Banner across a main street, Tent show flyers, Henry Brunk, Ordway, Colorado (1938), Fred Brunk, Fowler, Colorado (1938)

Tape 4, Side 2: Various photographs discussed

Range Dates: 1918-1979

Bulk Dates: 1920s-1930s

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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