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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 ?
Olympiakos still rely on a couple of 33-year-old showboaters, Rivaldo (right) and Predrag Djordjevic, to do the damage.
ALEX McLEISH last night accused Rangers of being everything from a Jekyll and Hyde outfit to a side of sloppy showboaters.
But it was Don Hutchison who emerged as the most reliable supplier because he had an eye for the sort of direct route shunned by the showboaters.
However, it is a mark of Favreau's generous but thoroughly controlled directing touch that, while he lets his friend (and, to a lesser degree, other sly showboaters like Falk) have his way, he keeps the film anchored with his own performance.
WATCH new talent contest Showboaters (starts Sept 13 on Sky1) then fly off to cruise on the ship where it was filmed.
But the favourites are more than just showboaters, as they showed in their battling 13-12 semi-final win over Munster.
They have shown a few clubs a blueprint on how to stop the Showboaters.
We had both on the Hotline - plus a few showboaters of our own.
The Bristol-born 24-year-old's grandmother from Maesteg is the key to him being hurled in Wales' showdown with Dino Zoff's multi-million pound showboaters.
Showboaters, a reality TV series made by Jamie oliver's production team, was recorded over four weeks earlier this year and is broadcast on Sky one from mid-September.
There are just too many lightweights and showboaters.
Some of Bolton's big-stage showboaters - Jay-Jay Okocha and Fernando Hierro in particular - liked the look of the slick and true pitch.