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- On the album Everything You Know Is Wrong by the comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre, the recording's narrator plays a wire recording of a medicine show featuring a "Dr. Firesign" promoting "Chief Dancing Knockout's Pyramid Pushover Paste" and "Don Bruhaha's Inca Hell-Oil Tonic".
- In High, Wide and Handsome, a medicine show helps the people of Titusville, Pennsylvania fend off a Railroad Baron who wants to take their property.
- Danny Kaye works for one for a while before being mistaken for The Inspector General.
- There's one in Pete's Dragon (1977), the proprietor of which is determined to capture Elliot the dragon to use as an ingredient in making more effective patent medicines.
- Little Big Man: Jack Crabbe (Dustin Hoffman) spends part of his adolescence working for Mr. Merriweather's Medicine show.
- The movie version of The Rainmaker has a Medicine Show prologue to establish Burt Lancaster in the role of the Snake Oil Salesman.
- Road to Singapore has Hope, Crosby and Lamour playing ocarinas and selling bottled soap as a miracle stain remover.
- Doctor Erazamus K. Thornett's Superior Elixir show in Apache Rampage by J.T. Edson.
- In Old Tin Sorrows, the exorcist Doc Doom self-promotes by traveling with one of these. Unlike many examples, he actually does have legitimate skill in curing (supernatural) ills.
- Water Margin suggests that the core concept of the Medicine Show is at least as old as Song-dynasty China. A few of the heroes are first encountered giving martial arts demonstrations in the street, trying to attract a crowd that they can sell invigorating medicines to. The source and efficacy of the medicine is not really addressed, as the point is generally to show that these genuinely skilled men have fallen on hard times before the plot gets them into some real gallantry.
Live Action TV
- There was an episode featuring this in the TV show, Little House on the Prairie - with a mistreated mute boy roadie, who Jenny Ingalls helps to escape.
- The Goodies performed a scene as part of "The Goodies Travelling Medicine Show" in the episode "Hospital For Hire". The scene included a plant from the audience (Tim) being pulled from the audience to 'prove' that the mystery elixir cured all ailments.
- On Good Eats, Alton does one of these while promoting celery water (water infused with celery seed, sweetened with "simple syrup") which really was touted as a Spice Rack Panacea at one time.
- Old Crow Medicine Show isn't an actual Medicine Show, but their music wouldn't be terribly out of place at one. Except for the one about Vietnam. And maybe this one.
- Referenced in "Your Song" by Elton John. "If I was a sculptor, but then again, no / Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show"
- Featured in the music video for "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.
- Referenced in the Big Audio Dynamite single "Medicine Show".
- Tommy repurposes Sonny Boy Williamson II's "Eyesight To The Blind" as the cry of a hawker advertising one of these.
Well you talk about your woman, I wish you could see mineYou talk about your woman, I wish you could see mineWhen she gets on to lovin' she brings eyesight to the blind
- Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps, And Thieves."
I was born in the wagon of a travellin' showMy mama used to dance for the money they'd throwPapa would do whatever he couldPreach a little gospel,Sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good.
- The song "Step Right Up" from Small Change by Tom Waits is an entire speech given by a medicine show host about some miracle cure he wants to sell.
- Pirelli from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street travels around hawking his Miracle Elixir via singing and feats of barbering. The primary ingredient is human urine.
- "The Carnival Song" from the semi-musical play Say, Darling, including a bit where a shill takes a swig of the product and bursts out into a dance.
- In Oregon Trail II, there's Dr. Brogan Cavanaugh, an NPC who shows up randomly in towns selling his brand of snake oil. You can't actually buy it, of course, and the "show" is very limited. He also shows up on a "Wanted!" Poster.
- In Kingdom of Loathing, we have Doc Galaktik's Medicine Show, though this is always in the same space, all the time. Unlike most snake oils, Dr. Galaktik's products actually work - despite the ingredients being fraudwort, shysterweed, and swindleblossoms. Perhaps it's the placebo effect?
- It's not always there, mind you. During the Zombie Slayer challenge path, Doc Galaktik has taken advantage of how his show's in a wagon and ditched Seaside Town completely.
- You're forced to help out one of these guys in Red Dead Redemption, to the point where it becomes an Overly Long Gag because it always ends with you driving away from the scene with a posse of angry people in hot pursuit, shooting at you.
- The Simpsons do this in "Grandpa Simpson vs. Sexual Inadequacy". It backfires when the townspeople notice that the shill - Homer - is shown in a massive portrait on the front of the bottle. Homer notes that the townsfolk didn't start chasing them until Grampa started playing a tape with some getaway music. Ironically the product is completely genuine, they just end up convincing the townsfolk otherwise. Springfield itself has ground to a standstill because all the grownups are at home taking advantage of the product.
- One episode of Gummi Bears featured a medicine show cast in a rare sympathetic light: the proprietor is genuinely trying to make his elixir do exactly what he says it will, but his efforts inevitably end in failure (and plenty of angry customers). A well-intentioned Tummi tries to help him by slipping some Gummiberry Juice into the mix, which gives the man's customers temporary super strength and attracts Duke Igthorn's attention. In the end, the man finally finds the success he's been looking for when he inadvertently discovers that his normal elixir makes plants grow like crazy - he makes his fortune selling it as fertilizer. (Could be a Stealth Pun, considering what one might call the claims made by the usual salesmen.)
- The Thundercats get involved with a medicine show in the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Recipe for Disaster".
- The premise for the Betty Boop cartoon "Betty Boop, M.D."
- When Flim and Flam, the twin unicorn con-artists from season 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic returned in the season 4 episode "Leap of Faith", they've given up their former cider-racket to instead run one of these.
- The Pink Panther runs one in the cartoon "Vitamin Pink". The "Pep Pills" he sells actually work, which gets him in trouble when one of his customers uses his newfound strength to rob banks.