Dr. Terminus with underling Red Buttons
Notice US flag in the background
Pete's Dragon was a Walt Disney film based upon an unpublished short story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field. The story centers on the friendship between a dragon and little boy. But the primary villain in the story is Dr. Terminus - a less than scrupulous town to town traveling quack.
American Quackery is something of a cult institution. At the previous turn of the century pharmaceutical agents has to peddle their tonics and drugs from town to town and rely on a certain element of charisma. Some were genuine while others shaded the truth, and some were out right frauds and schiesters.
Fast forward from 1907 to 2007 - American Quackery has reaching new heights of selling the public drugs they may or may not need. Again the same basic formula continues with with snappy sales pitches, paid actors, and enchanting music. Some of it useful, some not necessary, some play on fears, anxiety, ego and charm. But as it was then and more so now - some are a few outright frauds.
Drink this tonic or swallow this pill and you'll feel great!