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Tony Grist

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Shavian [Dec. 15th, 2004|10:29 am]
Tony Grist
1960-61- approx. My Dad brings a portable reel-to-reel tape-recorder home. A toy to keep the kids amused through the Christmas holidays.

I say portable- but it's the size of a small suitcase and housed in lovely polished oak (or mahogany or something)

So my sister and I record a couple of forgotten one-act plays by George Bernard Shaw. The Inca of Perusalem is a satire on Kaiser Bill, in which a lovely, intelligent English lass persuades him of the error of his ways. I like it because it allows me to show off my manic German accent.

I have wispy hopes of becoming the next Alec Guinness.

They blow away once we hit play-back.

Oh well. I'll be the next W.B. Yeats instead.

I guess it's this early exposure to Shaw that convinces me that loonies can be argued out of their looniness by logic and good-natured wit.

I still believe it- against all the evidence.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-12-15 12:34 pm (UTC)
I have wispy hopes of becoming the next Alec Guinness.

They blow away once we hit play-back.

Oh well. I'll be the next W.B. Yeats instead.


I loved this.

It would have been so much fun to watch you and your sister recording Shaw plays into a reel-to-reel.

That's pretty sophisticated, you know! Most of us were singing the latest songs and hoping to be--um--singers.

Actually, my brother and I used our first (Christmas gift) tape recorder to make up Rin Tin Tin radio sagas: my brother would imitate the sound of a mighty Arctic gale, slam the door, and I'd yell into the mike "Come on, Rinnie! The sheriff says there's a man lost out in the blizzard!"

"Arf! Arf!" would bark my talented brother, the voice of Rin Tin Tin, dog of the North.

"Boys, we've got to bundle up! It's fierce out there!" I'd say, and my brother would make more blizzard sound effects.

We rarely got beyond Act I, Scene I.

--

It is also fun to think about your "manic German accent."

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-15 02:08 pm (UTC)
Singing was never an option for me.

The one time I was co-opted into a choir- for my school's Christmas show- I was told to stand at the back and mime.

But I did fancy myself as an actor. At prep school- aged 12-13- I played Mark Antony and Macbeth in successive years.

"O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth
If I am meek and gentle with these butchers..."

My public school had a deeper well of talent to draw from. I played a couple of jeune ingenues (lovely 18th century frocks) and then, after my voice broke, had to settle for minor supporting roles. By the end I was specializing in old men. I did a lovely high-pitched, quavery voice.

Finally, as Antigonus in The Winter's Tale, I got to enact the most famous stage direction in all Shakespeare and "exit, pursued by a bear."

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-12-15 02:24 pm (UTC)
I did a lovely high-pitched, quavery voice.

:)

Delightful!

I bet you could act. I bet you could!

Marc Antony AND Macbeth! Most impressive.

I was Spring in the fifth grade play. I wore a raincoat.

Never mind.

I bet you could. Your photograph shows it clearly: wit, intelligence, a sense of droll irony.



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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-15 02:32 pm (UTC)
What a gloomy sort of Spring!

Thank you for you faith in me, but I have my doubts. Much later performances in Church pantomimes and the like were ignominious. Even though I was the vicar- and people were required to butter me up- my comic performances
rarely raised a laugh.

I'm a ham. I know all about underplaying and value it in others, but I just can't get the hang of it myself.



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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2004-12-15 03:23 pm (UTC)
Rin Tin Tin was not the dog of the north! That was King the Huskie from Sargent Preston of the Yukon. Rin Tin Tin lived in a fort...

But no matter. What creative children you both were. We had no tape recorder, so my brothers used to make up plays and I'd play the music for background. It was usually cowboy stories...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-15 03:35 pm (UTC)
I had a full set of cowboy clothes.

When I outgrew them, I cut bits out of the trousers to make myself manly moustaches!
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-12-15 08:42 pm (UTC)
I cut bits out of the trousers to make myself manly moustaches!

How funny! Were they handlebar moustaches, like the old cowpokes wore, or were they fancy elegant ones like David Niven's?

We played cowboy all the time. And Superman. And Dick Tracy.

In fact, there was construction going on across from us, so my brother and I would find some odd boards and use them for horses. We'd pretend the construction site (houses) was an old Western town, and we'd take turns being the mean saloon keeper, the mean cowboy who rode into town lookin' for trouble, or the hero cowboy who rode into town to save everybody.

I liked the sounds of the cowboy shows--the muffled horses' hoofs on the trail, the whing of the bullets, the click of the silverware on the willow ware plates in the Fort dining rooms. When we played at the construction sites, the dust and dirt seemed just like the Old West.

Well, it was Kansas. It was the New West.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-15 09:21 pm (UTC)
I guess I wanted to look like a British World War One fighter ace- so yes, it was pretty much the David Niven look.

I would sit under this folding card table and pretend the table top was the upper wing of my biplane and the legs were the wing struts.

And I would have one of my cowboy rifles laid across the table- in which position it became a wing-mounted Vickers machine gun.

Rat-a-tat-tat.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-12-15 08:35 pm (UTC)
Rin Tin Tin was not the dog of the north! That was King the Huskie from Sargent Preston of the Yukon. Rin Tin Tin lived in a fort...

Well.

I forgot!

Yet I can see exactly where we were standing when we recorded, and I even remember that Mike glued a poinsettia sticker on top of the doorway.

And I remember that it really seemed like there would be a ferocious blizzard just outside the bedroom door!

I wish I had those tapes back. Wouldn't it be fun to hear them now? My brother barking, both of us dissolving into laughter.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2004-12-15 02:51 pm (UTC)

looniness

This loonie - and I am, I have the papers to prove it - can't be argued out of her looniness. Even the meds I take only even things out. However, when I am in the pit of despair I appreciate a little good natured wit. Logic does not exist.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-15 03:18 pm (UTC)

Re: looniness

Alas for Mr Spock.

Even so he remains one of my heroes- with that eyebrow of his cocked quizzically at the follies of humankind.
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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2004-12-16 12:29 am (UTC)
>> I guess it's this early exposure to Shaw that convinces me that loonies can be argued out of their looniness by logic and good-natured wit.

They can't, but oh, doesn't it ever make you feel so much better when you try! :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-16 11:04 am (UTC)
But after a while one's head gets sore from all that banging of it against brick walls.
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