October 5, 2023
Allen Public Library > Allen Public Library - Civic Auditorium
300 N. Allen Drive
Allen, TX 75013
OnStage @ APL presents Diamond King Medicine Show
Thursday, October 5, 2023
Learn the amazing story of medicine showman Dr. J. I. Lighthall from Texas author Gene Fowler.
While the tonics Dr. J. I. Lighthall, aka The Diamond King, peddled at his 19th century medicine shows may not have been any more effective than the remedies sold by the drugstores of that time, his enthralling presentation style was a powerful placebo that lifted folks' spirits.
The Diamond King died in San Antonio days after his 30th birthday in 1886. His death was noted in newspapers from North Dakota to New York to Bristol, England.
Decades after his death, San Antonio papers offered spectacular visual imagery while recalling his captivating stage attire. This included an ankle-length sealskin overcoat and large sealskin hat that "sparkled with diamonds arranged in designs of large stars," and a red velvet suit with buttons made of $10 and $20 gold pieces. His large sombrero decorated with gold and silver was reportedly a gift from the president of Mexico.
Gene is the co-author of Border Radio: Quacks, Yodelers, Pitchmen, Psychics, and Other Amazing Broadcasters of the American Airwaves, and Metro Music: Celebrating a Century of the Trinity River Groove.
Can’t be there in person? The program will be streamed live on ACTV. For online, cable channel, and streaming app options, view the Watch ACTV page or use the live streaming link provided in the sidebar.