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A Traveling Salesman is an older character type that sometimes overlaps with the Snake Oil Salesman
. Typically, the traveling salesman is well-dressed and has some aspects of the Intrepid Merchant
to his character, or he may be more of an Honest John-type
As the numerous jokes linking his type to the Farmer's Daughter
suggest, he might be a somewhat lecherous character, because being always on the move isn't conducive to carrying on lasting relationships.
A British term for the profession is a "busman", and this is the origin of the term Busman's Holiday
. Not to be confused with Travelling Salesman Montage
- The Fuller Brush Man (1948)
- Ed Bloom in Big Fish.
- Door to Door was a Made-for-TV Movie starring William H. Macy as a traveling salesman with cerebral palsy.
- Todd Woods in Duets is a traveling salesman who gives up his current life to compete in a cross-country karaoke competition.
- In Walk The Line, Johnny Cash is shown working as a door-to-door salesman before he made it big in music. He wasn't very good at it.
- In a deleted scene, he and another salesman from the same company worked the same street. Johnny got nothing but doors slammed in his face, while his friend made several sales. He gave Johnny a couple of his commissions and told him he was the worst salesman he'd ever seen.
- Besides the more famous Lord Peter Wimsey, Dorothy L. Sayers also wrote some stories about Montague Egg, a traveling wine salesman who played detective.
- The first book in The Great Brain series had a story about a Jewish travelling peddler who decided to settle down and open a store in Adenville; he died of starvation because business was so slow. Because he was the only Jew around, he didn't have anyone to look out for him or check up on him or anything.
- In Stephen King's The Dead Zone, politican Greg Stillson used to be one in his youth, selling Bibles and books about a Communist-Jewish conspiracy against America. And indeed, once he made it with a Farmer's Daughter.
- Al Phee in Spider Robinson's "Did You Hear The One About..." was a con artist posing as an "Intergalactic Travelling Salesman", until he's taken down by a Farmer's Daughter. Specifically time cop Josie Bauer, the daughter of Philip Jose Farmer.
- A Fantasy Attraction has a gargoyle going door-to-door selling insurance. And you thought insurance salesmen couldn't get any worse...
- In Blondie, Dagwood had to deal with traveling salesmen as recently as the 1980s.
- Harold Hill of The Music Man is a Snake Oil Salesman who fits the lecherous part of the trope (until he becomes a Lady Killer In Love). Other traveling salesmen (including the villain, the anvil-toting Charlie Cowell) hate Harold for giving their profession a bad name, because when they visit towns Hill has just left, the populace generally assume they are con artists as well and give them a less than welcoming reception (read: tar and feather them).
- Ali Hakim, the peddler in Oklahoma!.
- Paris in The Golden Apple travels by balloon.
- Willy Loman, the eponymous character of Death of a Salesman.