Haverstock, Rolland and Peggy

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The Haverstock’s recall their lives as performers with Haverstock’s Comedians, along with Harley Sadler’s show and the history of tent shows in general.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Rolland and Peggy Haverstock

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: June 14, 1974; February 24, 1976; July 6, 1978; October 18, 1978;

Location: Wichita Falls and Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Suzanne Ricker, Clifford Ashby's class, Jerry Martin, Bobby Weaver

Length: 7 hours, 5 minutes (total)


Tape 1, Side 1: [Note: First ¾ of tape is difficult to hear], Harley Sadler, Start in show business, "Toby" comedian, Took over Ray Howell’s show, Sadler style of comedy, Size of Sadler Tent show, Roy E. Fox’s Popular Players, Harvey Haverstock father, Start in show business (1911), Tent shows, 420 in operation at one time, Other shows, Haverstock show, Depression (1930s), Sadler show, Baseball team, Exhibition games, Haverstock show (again), Towns played, Vaudeville acts, Areas played, Length of stay in towns, Circle stock, Sadler’s show business career, Haverstock show (again), Traveled by train, Players, Lotta and Harvey Haverstock, Show business backgrounds, Ed Thardo, Employed by Haverstock and Sadler shows, Character actor, Son, Worked for Haverstock and Sadler shows.

Tape 1, Side 2: Haverstock began performing as an infant, Tent size, Construction, Ralph Nichols, Character actor, Photographs of Haverstock show, Tent damage, Tent interior, Art work, Crowds, Business (1940s), Tent damage (again), Tent interior (again), Bobby Warrens, performer, Ingenue roles, A. C. Hefner, Early vs. present performers, Photographs of Haverstock show (again), Various performers, Paul Thardo (Kalmbacher), Ethel Snow, performer.

Tape 2, Side 1: Haverstock Tent Show incidents, Jazz bands, Featured in shows, Beginning of the "Toby" character, Fred "Toby" Wilson, Other actors, Present-day tent shows, Grandfield Oklahoma High School tent show, Plays performed, Candy sale, Prizes, Singing in the show, Vaudeville acts, "Toby" character, "Susie" character, Photographs of Haverstock show, Tent interior, Haverstock show band, Members, Celebrity to play "Toby" character, Actors who started in tent shows, "Toby" costume, Cooling and heating the tent.

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Tape 3, Side 1: Haverstock Tent Show, Harvey Haverstock as a musician, Privileges during war years (1940s), Difficulties during performances, Improvisations, Harley Sadler Tent Show, Performances in small towns, Loving, Texas, Audience size, Harley Sadler, Stage lighting techniques, Rolland Haverstock, Sadler show (1927), Sadler show baseball team, Players, Teams played.

Tape 3, Side 2: blank

Tape 4, Side 1: Rolland Haverstock Grandfather, Was advance agent for Barnum and Bailey Circus (1880s), Put out early "mud show" circus, Transportation, Traveled by wagon, Dramatic shows performed, Played in Illinois and Indiana, Father, Baseball player in Chicago Illinois (White Sox pitcher), Joined circus (c. 1904), Personal background, Musician, First circus contract, Restrictions, Married in Evening Shade Arkansas (1907), Rolland born in St. Louis Missouri (May 1908), First stage appearances, Anecdote, Parents opened Haverstock Comedians (1911), In Roosevelt Oklahoma, Carlotta Mosier mother, Played for British royalty (1907), Teamed with Mary Pickford on stage, Medicine shows, Tricks used, Haverstock show, Family company played stock (1917), St. Louis, Father’s experience in World War I, First Toby character (1918), Fred Wilson, first Toby, Influence, Harley Sadler, Idea of a territory, Haverstock Comedians, Transportation, Winter quarters, Children on the show, Harry James, Incident in Olney Texas (1916), Train and outfit burned, Troupe wintered in Olney.

Tape 4, Side 2: Haverstock Comedians (continued), Incident in Olney (continued), Lost opportunity to be wealthy, Show reopened, Transportation, Trucks, Square end tent, Harley Sadler Tent Show, Size of tent company, Magicians on the show, Audiences, Repetition of tricks, Rolland and Peggy Haverstock, Heyday of tent shows (1915-1929), Depression (1930s), Haverstock show stayed open, World War II, Haverstock show not rationed, Rolland in the service, Problems with weather, Show in Blair Oklahoma lost to tornado, Show in Grandfield Oklahoma lost to flood, Incident in St. Joseph, Illinois, Met wife, Peggy Haverstock, From Alvord Texas, Met Rolland Haverstock and went with show, Married in Lawton Oklahoma (1933), Responsibilities on the show, Show in Petrolia Texas, Clean shows, Anecdote about salaries, Tent shows, Importance to people, Harvest Playhouse group at Grandfield, Plays performed, High school tent show revival, Group invited to Washington D. C.

Tape 5, Side 1: Harvest Playhouse group (continued), Use of wigs, Parts, Parts played by Haverstocks, Thardo family (actors), Heyday of tent shows, 480 shows, Letter from Neil Schaffner (1953), Shows performed by Haverstocks, Beginning feature and closing plays, Harley Sadler, Parts played, Toby character, "My Friend from Arkansas", Different plays discussed, "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners", Cleanliness of shows, Saturday afternoon matinees, Final show concert, First day in town activities, Advance man, Activities responsibilities, License auspices lights advertising, Show in Megargel Texas, Letter from governor of Indiana, Clothing worn by performers, Importance, Anecdote about being poor, Haverstocks, Settled in Wichita Falls Texas, Activities, Rolland as a performer, Father Harvey Haverstock, Comedy style, Peggy Haverstock as a performer, Haverstock show (again), Jazz band, Harvey Haverstock as a painter, [Note: The last 10-15 minutes of Side 1 is distorted].

Tape 5, Side 2: Blank

Tape 6, Side 1: Haverstock tent show, Territory covered, Brunk family tent shows, History, Territory covered, Friendship among competitors, Establishing new territories, Importance of first night, Use of advance agent, Town activities as competition, Annual performances, Haverstock tent show (again), Publicity and advertising, Obtaining permits, Lodging, Travel by train, Haverstock family show history, Mud shows, Early roles, First coach bought from Molly Bailey Circus, Managers’ Association Equity, Haverstock tent show (again), Establishing a good reputation, Publicity, Anecdote cat rolled in tent, Hank _____ manager, As a performer, Toby shows.

Tape 6, Side 2: Toby shows (continued), Fred Wilson first Toby actor, Neil Schaffner Toby actor and writer, Scripts used in shows, Theft of scripts, Haverstock tent show (again), Comedy announcements, Use of wardrobe trunks, Hiring of new personnel, Scarcity of leading man actors during World War II, Various roles described, Actors doubled during 1930s, Stories about alcohol use, Square end tent used, Magician on show, Blindfolded driving gimmick, Automobile give-away gimmick.

Tape 7, Side 1: Haverstock tent show (continued), Automobile give-away gimmick (continued), Brunk’s Comedians, Different companies played simultaneously, Haverstock tent show (again), Train fire incident, Harvey Haverstock father, As a musician, Helped employees after fire, Other tent shows in the area, Haverstock tent show (again), Employees excused from World War II service, Show declared essential, Henry Brunk, Travel trailers used, Played circle stock in Illinois, Free admission during 1930s, Other shows, Rolland Haverstock, As a magician (1934-1956), Act continually changed, As a tap dancer, As an artist.

Tape 7, Side 2: Haverstock tent show (again), Lost performers to television, Competition for audiences, Television, Improved transportation, Other night activities, Dale and Lois Madden performers, Henry Brunk’s Comedians (again), Haverstock tent show (again), Success, Audience capacity of tent, Reduction in show size, Trucks, Stage, Dale and Lois Madden (again), Equipment, Family name fostered acceptance, Friendships, Tent show people.

Tape 8, Side 1: Machine Gun Kelly, Tent shows, Problems, Storms, Band, Harvey Hill, leading man, Harvey’s comedians, Salary, Mail service, Home base, Tents, Materials, Water-proofing, Lodging, Trailers.

Tape 8, Side 2: Travel, Highway 66, Road conditions, Setting up, Booking, New York actor, "Show business", Reputations, Publicity, Advertising methods, Bally-hooing, Prices, King and Hazel Felton, Magic shows, Marriage (1933), Recruiting performers.

Tape 9, Side 1: Depression, Banking, Stock Market Crash, Salary cuts, Family show, Herb Swift uncle, Acts, Magic show, Vaudeville, Musical numbers, Dramatics, Parts played, Mr. Haverstock, Mrs. Haverstock, Dale and Lois Madden, Scenery, Square-end tent, Shooting incident.

Tape 9, Side 2: Dr. Jere Mickel, Mr. Haverstock, Grandfather circus owner, Grandmother character actor, Mother, Command performance for Queen, Picture trick, Education, Art major, Debating team, Speech classes, Roosevelt High St. Louis Missouri, Washington University, Baseball scholarship, Shortstop, Musical endeavors, Saxophone, Singing, Tap dancing, F. A. Noose leading man, Readings, Mr. Haverstock, Armed service, Signal Corps, Codes, Script memorization, Downfall of tent show, Causes, Roads, Television.

Range Dates: 1880-1950

Bulk Dates: 1911-1950

Access Information

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