Cool Again

With less concern about its effect on the state's reputation, the Traveler in some of its old trappings lingered on the periphery of the state's life throughout the 20th century.

For example, well-dressed visitors to Hot Springs were photographed for Happy Hollow postcards, in front of rustic Arkansas Traveler backdrops. Bob Burns, “the Arkansas Traveler,” and the team of Lum and Abner (Chet Lauck and Norris Goff) achieved great success as radio and movie entertainers, basing their gentle humor on the backwoods image of Arkansas. Beginning in 1968, the Arkansaw Traveller Folk Theater in Hardy revived the music, story and image of the Traveler.

In 1941 the Arkansas General Assembly created the Arkansas Traveler Certificate to honor out-of-state visitors, presenting the first one to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These Certificates continued the “Traveler as outsider” theme, placing visitors in the role of the Traveler, but by this time the image had lost its power as a regional stereotype, and the Certificate has become a regular feature of gatherings where visitors are honored.

The "backwoods" aspect of Arkansas has now become a positive attraction – the tourism folks tout Arkansas as the Natural State.