DescriptionAdvertising: Nineteenth Century Lithographic Poster for The Bandit King, a Melodrama, Circa 1886, 14." x 42¼" mounted on a larger board 18½" x 46½". by the Great Western Printing Co., Show PR., Eng. & Litho., 509 & 511 Market Street, St. Louis, advertises the Bandit King. The play is billed as having experienced "three years of unequaled success" and "witnessed by over one and a half million people". While the last claim was undoubtedly an exaggeration, the Bandit King was one of the most profitable melodramas of the day. The poster The poster, calls this popularization of the life of Jessie James, "The greatest sensation, the best Melo-Dramatic and Equestrian Drama ever produced on this continent". The author, producer, manager, and star of the Bandit King, James H. Hallick, shared the billing with his horse actors, "Raider" and "Charger". A beautiful poster. Professionally restored and repaired, else near very fine.
While the poster was printed in St. Louis, it is unlikely that the Bandit King found universal acclaim in Missouri, where much of the population reviled Jessie James as a murderer and cut-throat. In one Ohio town, the citizens, scandalized by the play, tried to ban its performance on the grounds that it was "familiarizing the youth of the city with scenes of bloodshed, robbery and other crimes, and by making heroes out of outlaw and desperadoes, [and] corrupting to their morals".
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