Harry Franck — “Prince of Vagabonds”
The competition among illustrated travel lecturers was fierce, and all of them looked for a way to distinguish themselves from the pack. Harry Franck —billing himself as “The Prince of Vagabonds”—was a major lecturer who specialized in traveling light, and actually living the life of the countries he travelled to.
In this brochure he appeared in Mongolian costume to promote his shows on China. He also used his China experience to tout cruise ships. Advertising using the endorsement of illustrated lecturers was common.
One of Franck’s vagabond experiences was as a policeman in the Panama Canal, shown in a slide image. The vast scope of the Canal project was a popular subject for lantern shows, though no others had the immediacy of Franck’s “cop on the beat” approach. The Pond Bureau booked Franck for New York in 1931 in the teeth of the depression at $125—a very good gig at the time and equivalent to about $2,000 today,