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Common Stock Entertainments

Pat Richardson


Common Stock Entertainments

749-A East Drive, Woodruff Place
Indianapolis, IN 46201

317-635-5240 or 317-989-1848

​About Us

An overview of who we are and what we do in a day, when left to our own devices.  We find this approach usually makes the day fly by. 
Our company name, Common Stock Entertainments.  The older meaning of the term "common stock", comes from the definition heard in grade school history class.  The tale of the diverse group of settlers who, when landing at Plymouth Rock and facing their first hard winter, pooled all their resources into their common stock, so as to survive .  The common stock from which we draw are those bits of history that we feel we all share and should all know of. 
Since 1983, Becky McKay and I have been presenting traditional entertainments at Historic Fairs, Festivals and Museums.  We started with our Punch and Judy Show, "Random Acts of Violence," and kept finding more interesting history and tales to pass on.  Becky (Maddie Bliss) is Musician, Master Puppeteer and Artificer of Curios for our collection.  I, Pat Richardson (Jack Milgrew), am the occasional ballad monger and puller of both the Turnip Wagon of Wonders and legs.  Our program has evolved, over the 30 years we've been at this, into an interactive presentation in close proximity to patrons because we would rather talk with folks than talk at them.  There is some showmanship involved in our presentation, but our goal is to give fairgoers a chance to make us laugh as well.  


​​​​​​​​Our Normal Day
When at seasonal fairs and festivals, the chance for settlers to sell their crops and see new goods from tradesmen and mongers was the business part of the long trip made from their scattered homesteads.  These often isolated pioneers also looked forward to seeing old friends and new diversions.
One such diversion was the Curio (or Raree) Show.  Each of these shows was different depending on the collection and the exhibitor.
Our rolling exhibition, The Turnip Wagon of Wonders, features over a score of curios and relics including:
Historical- Relics from the Deaths of Cleopatra and Marc Antony
Biblical- The Stones That David Did Not Throw at Goliath
Fabled-  The Death Mask of Medusa
And many, many more!

Gallery of Curiosities 

A Day in the Life

Common Stock Entertainments

​​​​Also found atop our Wonder Wagon are Peepshows, including The Ocean in a Box and Jack and the Giant.
As fairgoers approach Jack & Maddie's Turnip Wagon on the street, they see a most striking creature standing on the back of the wagon.  This waxwork marionette, Dan the Dancing Monkey, is made to be operated by passersby.  Once they slow down to study Dan and exchange a few words with us, they will generally take the time to view an

​with us, they will generally take the time to view an object or two (or twenty) from the Wagon and hear the stories for each natural wonder or artifact.  The curious are always encouraged to be so.
The Peepshows are, of course, for the most part aimed at the children.  As your young patrons view an 18th-Century Ocean or find themselves looking over Jack's shoulder at the Giant, they are shown the perspective and perception used in viewing the world on a small scale.  Our purpose is to make sure the children walk away with a rudimentary understanding of Optics and the knowledge required to build a Peepshow of their own.
Another chance for children (and adults) to play is our Strolling Marionettes.  Depending on weather condition, we occasionally park our Wagon and walk down the lanes of your fair with either "Punch and Judy on Donkeys" or"Gentlemen Monkeys Astride Horses".  The puppets are made simply enough for almost anyone to operate.

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If a Shade Tree can be found, we'll stand under it with the Turnip Wagon, present Curios, demonstrate Marionettes a la Planchette and Sing Old Songs (while offering Broadsides for those wishing to better their lot in life by increasing their reading skills.)
When we've done everything else we can think of, we take a ride on our Hobby Animals.  These body-puppets are built on traditional basketry 

 frameworks.  Though this street entertainment goes back to the Middle Ages, they were known on this side of the Atlantic at least as late as the 1790's.  Both the word "Hobby" and Stick Horses find their origin in this bit of historic festival foolishness.