Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Seeing the Elephant--not the Pink One!

Playbill from Lyme Dramatic Club, December 1876You can't beat the way they ushered in the New Year in Lyme, New Hampshire, in 1877.  On New Year's Day, the Lyme Dramatic Club took over Church Hall in Lyme to perform the three act drama, Little Brown Jug, followed by the "side-splitting farce" Seeing the Elephant.

We had to know more, so we did a little research to see just what they were watching. Seeing the Elephant was written by Vermont native David "Doc" Robinson and was first preformed in California during the gold rush where Robinson opened a theater. It was an immediate success, and according to a 1969 article in Western Folklore, the phrase entered the lexicon of American slang. It carried the connotation of having seen everything and was used by people touring the rowdy Barbary Coast. It makes us wonder about the crowd that New Year's evening, 1877, in Lyme. After the show, did they "see the elephant" with a stroll through town?

Have a Happy New Year!

To see the playbill, ask for Broadside 876925.