The text in this poster originally appeared in a newspaper advertisement
for The Drunkard. It typifies Barnum's skill at promoting the American
Museum as simultaneously reputable, educational, and audacious. Barnum
manages to titillate potential audience members ("Drunken Orgies") while
also reassuring them that the play is both respectable (endorsed by the
city's clergymen and "first families) and entertaining ("lively sparks
of wit and humor"). The ad is quintessentially Barnum, promising an attraction
that is "as amusing as it is instructive."
The above poster reads:
'THE DRUNKARD, or, The Fallen Saved.'
Conceded to be one of the most powerful
auxiliaries that the
Temperance Cause has ever received in this country, and to which was
awarded the approbation and countenance of the great body of clergymen,
the religious community at large, and of all the first families in this
'The Drunkard' is one of the
most perfect and real Pictures of Life
ever placed before the public. In the first act we behold
THE MODERATE DRINKER
In the second act, we have his progress,
step by step, to ruin; his
increased appetite for strong drink; the distress of his relations; the
embarrassment of himself and family. In the third act, we have his
in Broadway, his bar-room debauchery, the degradation of himself and
vileness of his associates, loss of time, &c. In the fourth act, we have
DESPAIR AND ATTEMPTED SUICIDE
and in the fifth act, his restitution to sobriety and society, by the
a Temperance Philanthropist. It is a most thrilling and affecting
The whole drama is relieved with
lively sparks of wit and humor,
and the comic characters, funny scenes, country dances, songs,
choruses, &c. serve to render the piece as amusing as it is instructive.
As always, the entertainments
that take place in this Saloon every
day consist in part of highly moral and instructive Domestic Dramas,
written expressly for this establishment and so constructed as to please
and edify while they possess a powerful reformatory tendancy.
NO BAR OR INTOXICATING DRINKS
allowed upon the premises.