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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Pop Haydn Shell Game (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Whit Haydn
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Here is a video of my recent performance in the WC Fields Bar at the Magic Castle. This beautiful bar was from the set of the Granby Hotel in the movie "Hello, Dolly!"

The performance was from Oct 15, 2005. I am doing my presentation of the Bob Kohler Golden Shells routine:

http://www.whithaydn.com/video_clips.htm
Kent Wong
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I loved every minute of that! Thanks.

Kent
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Gary Dayton
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That's just wonderful, Whit. I really like your character. Everything--costume, accent, movements, pattern lines--is so well integrated and seemless; a real inspiration for me. Some day I hope you will add your version of the Pheonix Aces. I know from your previous posts how long you worked on that before it became part of your act. You are a real role model for all of us. It's always a joy to read your published material (I've learned so much from it) and to watch you perform with such a high level of professionalism and creativity.

Gary
lekin
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Thank you for posting that. It was both an unexpected pleasure as well as a valuable lesson.
Riley
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Wonderful Smile
Whit Haydn
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There is a second short clip, "The Hold Out," here:

http://www.whithaydn.com/shell_clips.htm
Pekka
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Absolutely wonderful, thank you!
TheAmbitiousCard
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Thanks whit.
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Bill Palmer
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Delightful!!! Just delightful.

Whereever did you learn that accent, Whit?
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Whit Haydn
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I don't know, Bill. I never had an accent growing up, I sort of just picked it up after I left home... Smile

Actually, I dropped my North Carolina/Tennessee accent when I was 24 years old, and have been working and living without it since. It always came sneaking back if I was drinking, or talking on the phone to my mom or anyone else from the South.

The accent that I am using for this character is a Westernized Virginia accent--the sort of accent someone who went to college and graduate school in Virginia and then spent years traveling on the trains out West, and from one mining camp to another during the 1880's-1890's would have developed--but for propriety's sake, leaving out the more colorful "Deadwood" language that he might normally use in personal conversation.

The character is largely based on my granddaddy's voice and mannerisms, as well as many other older men from the South that I remembered from my childhood.

My granddad was born on a poor farm in Western Virgina, near Martinsville. My mother was from Martinsville. I have family in Roanoke, Martinsville, and Lynchburg, as well as in the eastern part of the state in Virginia Beach and Newport News. I went to college and graduate school in Virginia at Lynchburg College and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. The accent is kind of a mishmash of Piedmont and Tidewater Virginia.

There was a black janitor from my church who told me wonderful stories of his service in France during World War II, and his participation in the battle of The Bulge. He was from Newport News, Virginia, and had the most wonderful resonant deep voice and drawl--like a sleepy old bear.

There was another old man who was a trainer of ponies for cart-racing who used to tell me stories of gamblers and bad guys. He had stables in downtown Greenville, NC, and I used to love to hang out there after school when I was in Junior High. There were tobacco warehouses near downtown as well.

He had the most interesting turns of phrase, and was an incredible story teller--funnier than Jerry Clower.

Well, I am robbing all those poor ol' boys blind of every tic, gesture, funny pronunciation, and facial and body expressions that I can remember. It is shameless really. Stealing from the dead.

But that is how we scoundrels are...

At any rate, after months of practice and use of this new accent, it is taking over. It is harder and harder for me to drop it after the shows. It is close enough to my real accent to want to be there, and I have to consciously stop and think before I speak not to use it. I suspect like making a funny face--it just might freeze on me one day and I will be stuck with it forever. Not an awful fate, but ironic considering the huge effort I went through to learn to get rid of all my suhth'nisms.

I spent a year watching movies and doing impressions of Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Jimmy Stewart, and Jack Nicholson just to break my speech patterns. I talked like Nicholson for several years after that, and people often commented on how much I sounded "just like Nicholson." I took it as a compliment back then.
wolfsong
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Great as always Whit!
Bill Palmer
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Funny you should mention Jerry Clower, Whit. My folks were from Mississippi. My grandparents on both sides of the family lived in McComb, Mississippi. One summer, I spent the whole summer in McComb. If you are familiar with Clower's routine about Marcel's Talking Chain Saw, you will recall a place called "Dixie Springs." This is a real place. I used to fish there. I know that place where Marcel threw the chain saw through the screen door. I caught the only fish I caught that summer, right about 25 yards from the door. Then I got busted for not having a fishing license.

That fish cost my dad $25.00. And I didn't even get to keep the fish.

Jerry Clower lived in Jackson. He took piano lessons from my Aunt Doris.
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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Whit Haydn
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That's a funny story, Bill. It was this story that cost your dad $25. It was a good deal.
Curtis Kam
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Brilliant as usual, Whit. Seeing a polished routine presented so well is a breath of fresh air. Do you teach the drawl on the DVD's, or does it come with the shells?
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GeordieJester
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Brilliant stuff.

I really love the "linking rings" routine clip too. Fantastic working of the audience. So entertaining to watch
Pete Biro
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Nice
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T. Joseph O'Malley
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Well, that made my day.

Heck, I recall saying that when I watched your clip of the linking rings too.

Thanks Whit.
tjo'
Whit Haydn
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Thanks, guys. I am glad you enjoyed the new clip. I should have some more up in a day or so, with my card work and some other stuff at the bar.
Foucault
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Another lesson or two for us all. Thanks once again, Whit!
Bill Wells
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Quote:
On 2005-10-18 18:26, Whit Haydn wrote:
The character is largely based on my granddaddy's voice and mannerisms, as well as many other older men from the South that I remembered from my childhood.

My granddad was born on a poor farm in Western Virgina, near Martinsville. My mother was from Martinsville. I have family in Roanoke, Martinsville, and Lynchburg, as well as in the eastern part of the state in Virginia Beach and Newport News. I went to college and graduate school in Virginia at Lynchburg College and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. The accent is kind of a mishmash of Piedmont and Tidewater Virginia.


Whit -

Just wanted to let you know that some of the "back East" brethen enjoyed the new Haydn character.

I was born in Tidewater Virginia and grew up near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford County. I also attended college and graduate school in Virginia (VMI and Virginia) and my parents attended Lynchburg College. Like you, I worked hard at losing my "twang" or western Virginia accent...particularly the words ending in "...ight". However, the pronounciation of words like "town" "cow" and "mountain" still betray my roots. I have always heard something of your background in your speech patterns in the past, but I especially enjoyed hearing you in the video clips although you did slip back into that "bland corrected" speech a time or two. Smile

"Mishmash of Tidewater and Piedmont.." I like that description, altho I think you ought to include a pinch of Blue Ridge hill billy as well. You have also included some great colloquialisms in your presentation. Well done!

That's a right fair use of the shells and pea too!!

Next thing you will be wanting some corn pone to dip in the pot likker...but I guess you left all that behind with your new city slicker airs.

I keep looking for a gold tooth to gleam when you smile!

Bill
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