In 1890 “Doc” M.F. Chamberlain founded the HERB 0 LAC MEDICINE SHOW which toured all over the United States. He operated this show until 1936 at which time he gave the formula of HERB 0 LAC to Tommy Scott and asked him to continue the operation of the show which he has done until the present time.
Tommy Scott first started entertaining in 1930 in and around his home town, Toccoa, Georgia. His first full time job was on the Chamberlain Medicine Show at a salary of $6.00 per week and this has been his basic work his entire life.
Snake Oil: On April l, 1933 he did his first radio broadcast on WAIM in Anderson, South Carolina. It was about this time that he formed the Original Georgia Peanut Band and did the blackface monologue comedy act called PEANUT. Then he went on WPTF in in Raleigh, North Carolina; WFBC – Greenville, South Carolina and WRDW – Augusta, Georgia doing live programs as a solo act.
He later entertained for a year and a half on the WORLDs’original Jamboree on WWVA – Wheeling, West Virginia.
It was there that he joined Charlie Monroe as one-of the Charlie Monroe’s Original Kentucky Partners with Fiddlin’ Dale Cole and Curly Sechler. He did his straight singing act and he and Dale Cole did the blackface comedy team of Midnight and Peanut.
The Tommy Scott medicine formula was used under the name of Manoree trademark and was sold on Charlie Monroe’s radio show in 1939 and 1940 at which time there was as many as 10,000 bottles of medicine sold a week. These programs were on the Manoree Network originating from WBIG – Greensboro, North Carolina.
This came to a halt because of disagreements over money. Scott pulled his medicine out and continued on his own with his trademark HERB 0 LAC. He went on to early morning shows on the 50,000 watt WHAS station in Louisville, Kentucky. It was there that the late and great Dave Aikman, Stringbean of HEE-HAW fame joined his act. Tommy and Stringbean formed a blackface comedy team called STRINGBEAN AND PEANUT. They later (in the 1950’s) toured together for about two years across the United States and Canada.
A “Patient”Also, in 1941 Tommy appeared for about a year on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry; Nashville, Tennessee. In 1941 and 1942 Tommy Scott and Curley Sechler had a Medicine Tent show and were on the radio for VIM HERB throughout the South East.
From 1943 to 1947 The MEDICINE SHOW started appearing in theatres nationwide and Tommy was one of the first to do transcribed programs which were broadcast over some of the world’s most powerful radio stations from XEG – Monterey, Old Mexico; XERF – Del Rio, Texas; XERB – Tiajuana, Old Mexico and he also did 15 minute transcriptions for the American Tobacco Company: Dental and Garrett Snuff which were heard over 82 stations nationwide.
Then Hollywood beckoned him to come to the movie capital of the world where he starred in a full length western movie called TRAIL OF THE HAWK. He also did quite a number of musical movie shorts for Astor pictures. It was at this time that he met such great stars as Johnny Mack Brown, Col. Tim McCoy, Al “Fuzzy” St. John, Maxx Terhune and Sunset “Kit” Carson all of whom later worked for him on his traveling show. Incidentaly Col. Tim McCoy co-starred with Tommy for over 13 years playing more than 300 different towns per year in live performances.
But back in 1937 Tommy Scott made his first recording in Rock Hill, South Carolina where Eli Overstein had set up a mobile recording studio for RCA Victor Records. Tommy has written and recorded around 200 songs, many of which have been recorded by other artists such as: The Willis Brothers, Red Sovine, Lester Flatt, George Morgan and others. Some of his most unusual songs are ROLLIN’IN MY SWEET BABY’S ARMS: ROSEBUDS AND YOU, POLLUTION, SLOW DOWN WORLD, WE’VE GOT A CRISIS, MEDICINE-SHOWS BACK IN TOWN, EXORCISM, HAVE A GOOD DAY and MEDICINE MAN. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and also a member of the Country Music Association. In 1976 he was placed in the Walkway of Stars at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. During this ceremony other notables such as Ronnie Milsap, Mickey Gilley, Hoyt Axton and Ray Whitley were also installed.
Frankie ScottFrankie Scott, Tommy’s wife worked with him on the stage as a feature doing her magic, and Clarabelle the gal from the mountains, for many years and now is his assistant in the production of his stage show. For over 30 years Tommy’s sidekick, Old Bleb, has been one of the key performers of the show.
In 1948 Tommy was the featured attraction of AMERICAN United carnival, touring basically in the North Western states. From 1949 to the present time he has continued to play 325 to 350 different towns per year across the United States and Canada giving his MEDICINE SHOW the distinction of having played more towns and performances than any other show on earth.