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[EDITOR'S NOTE: This item has not been previously republished elsewhere. It is included in this collection because of its potential to be the work of Clemens and is deserving of further research and consideration. The deceptive style of advertising mentioned in this article is the same ploy Clemens used for his first lecture on October 2, 1866. See Mark Twain: A Biography by Albert Bigelow Paine, chapter 54 for the wording Clemens used on his own poster.]



The art of humbug in the way of advertising amusements seems to have been carried to the utmost perfection in this city. Any one can write a "heavy political leader for our substantial" dailies, but to write a poster requires the genius of the Father of Lies. The Buislay Family have acquired high reputation and immense popularity for their amazing feats.Now, SHERIDAN CORBYN, the "manager" for GILBERT at the Willows, has been for some time in the habit of getting out glaring and flaring "posters" exhibiting this popular name, together with the titles of several of their most famous feats, in enormous capitals, thus conveying the impression that said family and said "feats" constituted a part of the attractions at the Willows. The fun of the thing (and the rascality, too) consisted in the fact that while the names were made to figure in exaggerated type on the bills, they were connected by a few words in letters so small as to require a microscope to read, which avoided the lie direct and conveyed a lie by implication. Charges of stealing and destroying the bills and posters of rival establishments (in particular those of the entertainments at Hayes Park,) are also made against the unscrupulous "manager." His own bills are so worded as to lead the public to expect performances which he never dreams of furnishing. Yet, when accused of bad faith and false pretences, he can squirm out of it by pointing to the fine print, which no one has ever noticed and which was artfully and deliberately designed not to be noticed. His wonderful "Balloon Ascensions" consist of the sending up of a few children's toy balloons. His "perilous ascent of the inclined plane" is a cheap imposture, yet it is impudently advertised as a "Daring Ascension on a Wheel, never before attempted by any other female." In order to draw custom from Hayes Park on Sundays, the same enterprising genious takes the trouble to assure the public that "in consequence of circumstances beyond control, there will be no balloon ascension at Hayes Park," thus implying that there will be something of the sort at the Willows. Now it requires but very little sagacity to see that disreputable acts of this kind, however successful temporarily, cannot possibly win in the long run in such a community as ours. On the contrary, they are sure to be found out; and when found out, to disgust the public and utterly ruin the reputation of the establishment that is short-sighted enough to resort to them.

[transcribed from microfilm.]

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