Title: The Wild West. The Return to America. Interview With The Manager.

Periodical: The Umpire

Date: January 15, 1888

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During the week a rumour has been freely circulated that the "Wild West," which is now situated on the Manchester Racecourse, was not going to carry out its previously arranged programme of visiting Paris, Brussels, and other Continental towns. In response to this rumour, a representative of "The Umpire" waited on Jno. M. Burke the general manager of the Show, who was in company at the time with Mr. Richard Mansell, [1] of the Queen's Theatre, one of the local managers, and our reporter asked respecting the truth of the rumor.

"Is it not true," said our representative, "that you have had invitations from various large towns to visit them?"

"Yes, it is true. We have had offers from Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Glasgow, Leeds, and other places, but we have concluded to go back to the States, and show through our own country.

"Why have you taken that step?"

"For various reasons. Our show has up to now been but imperfectly shown in the United States. Hitherto we have not attempted all the business we are now showing in Manchester, and you may take it that your population here are getting more for their money than ever it was possible for us to give before. But there are other considerations. Col. Cody is anxious to get back home. This desire does not spring from any home-sickness, as you might term it, but he has a large cattle ranch in Nebraska some miles in extent, and grazing on this are some thousand head of cattle, and a horse ranch that ranks as first in the north-west. These interest's demand his attention. He therefore naturally wishes to be in a country where he can be within easy access. He has a great deal of property at stake, and he, of course, feels anxious about it."

"Then after the 20 weeks are up you will positively sail for America?"

"Positively! Up to that time all the English people will have a chance of seeing what we consider to be the most interesting exhibition on earth. After that time the privilege will be gone."

"You have no intention of returning to England?"

"No! When we get to our own country we shall stay there. We are vastly indebted to the English people, who we consider our brethren in every shape; but we have a field in America quite large enough to run the show for a lifetime. No! we shall never see England again as public entertainers, and we doubt if it will be possible to ever reproduce the same scenes with the same fidelity. You see we have had to go bail to the Government for the loan of the Indians. Without the Indians the show would be worthless. We portray scenes with the actual characters. In another decade the Indian will be a farmer and will have lost all his savage instincts. Now they are Indians. That is where the merit of our show is."

"You are not afraid of present imitators?"

"No; puny and characterless imitators will seek gain and fame in this country with small affairs, and take advantage of our prestige and the confidence of your public. We have succeeded in effecting a feeling towards us and our country that we do not desire to be weakened by "cheap show methods." The field is large in Eastern America, and a great population need instruction there in Wild West history. Of course, with the happiest memories of the visit to England that we possess, there is hardly an individual from Colonel Cody to the humblest Indian that has not an ambition to return in the future and meet the many friends made, revisit familiar scenes and seek out new ones. In fact, as civilization progresses at a pace so rapid in our country, it is not impossible that Red Shirt and some of his young men may return in a few years to confer on domestic, economic, commercial, or even international subjects."

Note 1: Richard Mansell, manager of Manchester's Royal Queen's Theatre, along with Mansell's partner William Calder, was retained by Cody and Salsbury to anticipate problems in the construction of the huge building at Manchester Racecourse that would be the Wild West's venue for five months, as well as to facilitate the theatrical permit process required by the court at Salford Town Hall. [back]

Title: The Wild West. The Return to America. Interview With The Manager.

Periodical: The Umpire

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3679.13a (Stroebel scrapbook)

Date: January 15, 1888

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Britain

Keywords: American Indians Cattle Entertainers Horses Ranches Nebraska Ranching Royal Queen's Theatre (Manchester, England)

People: Burke, John M., 1842-1917 Red Shirt, 1845?-1925

Places: Berlin (Germany) Brussels (Belgium) Glasgow (Scotland) Leeds (England) Nebraska Manchester (England) Paris (France) Salford (Greater Manchester, England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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