Truth in Advertising

The street in front of The Olympic Theatre Source: Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Vol. 1 No. 10 (Saturday, September 6, 1851), Boston, p. 152

The street in front of The Olympic Theatre Source: Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Vol. 1 No. 10 (Saturday, September 6, 1851), Boston, p. 152

The street in front of The Olympic Theatre
Source: Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, Vol. 1 No. 10 (Saturday, September 6, 1851), Boston, p. 152

In the year 1840, the following very clever advertisement was used to promote a production of 1940! or, Crummles in Search of Novelty.


“Produced without an Immense Expense the entire cost being considerably under Ten Thousand Dollars!!! The New Scenery is painted on less than 50,000 square feet of canvas, and it has not been many months in preparation!!!
 


As far as I know, any actual copy of the ad is lost, but you get the idea.

The show itself was a fanciful look into the future of 100 years hence.   It played at the Olympic Theatre at 485 Broadway, New York, NY.

This was a good four blocks south of 1st Street in Manhattan, near what is now Little Italy.   At that time, the Theatre District was still very much in the south end of Manhattan.  It would remain so for another 42 years, until the Casino Theatre opened on 39th Street, in 1882.

485 Broadway today, as per Google Street View.

485 Broadway today, as per Google Street View.

 

Source:  Bordman, Gerald Martin. American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

  • Author Spotlight

    Matt Kizer

    Matt Kizer
    Matt Kizer lives with his wife and son in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is the resident scenic and lighting designer for Plymouth State University, where he has been the head of the design and technology program since 1996. He designs for theate and dance companies, tours, and colleges in many parts of the Unites States. He serves as a regular designer for Auburn University in Alabama. He served as faculty lighting designer for Operafestival Di Roma in Italy, where he designed lighting for L’elisir di amore and The Magic Flute, both produced with the Orchestra Sinfonica dell’ International Chamber Ensemble at Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza in central Rome. He has designed for dance and movement in Potsdam, Germany at T-Werk in Schiffbauergasse with A-Fortiorni.He holds a BA in Theatre from Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Design from The Ohio State University. He serves on the International Activities Committee for the United States ... Read Full
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