Author of Peck's Bad Boy

Author, Politician, Publisher, and Statesman


Finding playbills for 19th century theatre presentations can be difficult. I suppose because these items are generally very fragile, not that many have survived in reasonable shape.

Here are some examples. Determining the dates of some of these is an ongoing effort.

July, 1884 Oakland Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Note that the managers were Rich and Harris. As noted above these men were later sued by Peck and Atkinson. After they were no longer associated with Atkinson's Comedy Company, they attempted to produce their own unauthorized play.

October 10-11, 1884 - New Haven Opera House
This playbill consists of four sides. Shown here is the front and the back. Of great interest is the documentation here of Peck's constant fight against the piracy of his work. Note on the back page the "WARNING" regarding authenticity. In particular on the back page Dan Sully is specifically mentioned as a pirate.

Mid 1880's
This flyer describes an authorized production.

1880's-Grand Opera House
This is an Atkinson production and thus authorized.

1890's Unauthorized play
Here is a playbill from a play produced by Charles Hassenforder. He was active in the theatre in the 1890's. I have been unable to determine the exact site and date of this play.

It was probably not authorized by George W. Peck since neither Peck's name nor the name of the Atkinson Comedy Company appear on this little ad.

It is 8.5 x 4.

1890's- Authorized play- Unknown location
This playbill is for a George W. Heath play.
Famous Peck performers, Willie McDermott and Fred Wenzel star.


January 10, 1895 - Boonville Opera House
This playbill moves into George W. Heath era.


Playbill - March, 1896
Here is another authorized play produced by the Atkinson Comedy Company. Two of the more well performers, Dot Karroll and Fred Wenzel were in lead roles.

Flyer- October 15, 1898 - Theatre Saratoga
This program is from Theatre Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York. The advertisements of local establishments surround the information on the play. It is unclear whether this play was authorized but because Atkinson Comedy Co. is not mentioned, it probably was not.

April 28, 1902 - Third Avenue Family Theatre
Dixon's Third Avenue Family Theatre was located in New York City.

Joe Madison along with Fred Wenzel starred in this play in the early 1900's. Wenzel had been the Groceryman in earlier plays as well. April 28th was a Monday in 1902 and thus is the most likely year for the play advertised below.

There is no mention of authorized producers on the playbill. I suspect that this was an unauthorized production.

November 11, 1904 - Lewisburg Opera House
This one page sheet (6.5 x 5.25) notes the play will be performed at the Lewisburg Opera House on November 11, 1904. This facility in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania was the site of a Peck's Bad Boy annual production for several years at the turn of the century.

Since no production company is mentioned on the flyer, it is most likely that this play was not authorized by Peck. In addition, the musical numbers noted on the flyer are not done in the authorized plays.

The Lewisburg Opera House was built in 1869. It burnt down in 1908.

Approximate date 1888-1890
This play was produced by an unauthorized producer. I believe the manager's name is actually Kusell not Kurell.

Chas. Guinness was an unauthorized producer of this play. This playbill was printed in 1885 for a production in Milford, New Hampshire. The three acts noted are different from the three acts of the authorized play written by Pidgin. The New York Mirror stated that "Guinness is presenting a garbled version of Peck's Bad Boy in the smaller New England towns. In December, 1886 Guinness produced a take-off of the Peck's Bad Boy play called "Fun in a Grocery Store".


Last Revision: August 25, 2015