A Guide to the Tommy Scott Music Collection, [circa 1970s-1980s]
Born in 1917, Tommy “Doc” Scott joined M.F. “Doc” Chamberlain’s medicine show as a teenager, eventually inheriting the business in the thirties, including Chamberlain’s infamous Herb-O-Lac laxative, which he more appropriately renamed Snake Oil. In 1940, Scott married Frankie, who was a versatile performer, working as a singer, dancer, and actress. Frankie was also a co-producer of the medicine show, and could often be seen performing as a comedienne named Clarabelle while on tour. The couple traveled with the show extensively, and fame led them to Hollywood where they both appeared in musical shorts and the film Trail of the Hawk. Tommy Scott’s Last Real Medicine Show garnered much attention through the years and Scott has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman and Charles Kuralt.
Scott was also a singer and songwriter, sometimes known as Ramblin’ Tommy Scott, and sold his compositions to artists such as George Morgan, and Johnny Mack Brown, among others. In 1976, Scott’s name was placed on the Walkway of Stars at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN. He has also been inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s Hall of Fame.
The couple had a daughter who performed as an acrobat in the medicine show before moving behind the scenes and running the business for her parents. Frankie passed away in 2004, followed by her husband in 2013.
Yardley, William, “Tommy Scott, Country Singer With a Traveling Medicine Show Dies at 96,” New York Times. Accessed February 24, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/arts/music/tommy-scott-singer-songwriter-and-pitchman-dies-at-96.html?_r=0
The Tommy Scott Music Collection, [circa 1970s-1980s], is comprised of promotional materials for Scott’s traveling medicine show, including photographs, a pamphlet, a poster and the 45 record “Mini Mule Train Album.”
This collection is open for research use.
Tommy Scott Music Collection, [circa 1970s-1980s], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Amanda Reyes, February 2016.
Detailed Description of the Papers