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In the early 19th cent. entertainment was brought by boat to the pioneers that settled along the western rivers (especially the Mississippi and Ohio) of the United States. At first companies only traveled by boat, performing on land. Later the boats themselves, first paddle boats and finally steamboats, were equipped with stages. Docking near a town, they would herald their arrival with trumpets and flags. The companies presented popular melodramas, with vaudeville performances, called olios, between the acts; by day, the boats often served as museums. With the coming of the Civil War, their popularity dwindled. Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat is an interesting description of the life of its people.


See historical study by P. Graham (1951, repr. 1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
The society, which rehearses at Quarry Bank British Legion Club, is planning to stage Showboat at Netherton Arts Centre in Dudley next September.
Last night Mr Joe Brennan, president of the Studley Operatic Society, claimed the ruling could mean that Showboat was never again seen on British stages.
The numerous amenities including the main house, village and Showboat Theatre can easily accommodate a large party and still provide a feeling of quaint intimacy.
Jim Baxter Scotland v England 1967 The most famous Scottish showboat of all time.
The restaurant franchise owner, Bill White, said, 'We are excited to keep the good times rolling in Atlantic City with the opening of Johnny Rockets at Showboat Hotel & Casino.
Mark Jepp, Showboat's regional manager, said: "I am excited to be part of the team to introduce the first of these machines to the UK, it's unique and a huge coup not only for Showboat but for Coventry.
Showboat and Spindrift offer contrasting profiles, with Showboat having acquitted himself with credit in smart company all season and Spindrift returning from an absence of more than five months after a spell in Dubai.
In the first act of Showboat, the 1927 musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, Queenie, the cook, upbraids Captain Andy Hawkes because he just doesn't know how to sell tickets to the local black community.
But there proved no happy ending as VIP were sunk 2-0 by Showboat 11 who lifted the George Tomlinson Trophy.
18 at Harrah's Showboat & Casino in Atlanta City.
A BAN has been imposed on white actors playing black characters in the hit musical Showboat following a racism row triggered by a south Warwickshire drama group.
Showboat has not been disgraced in three runs since his storming triumph in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot and he can land the Listed Strensall Stakes (3.