Saturday, March 19, 2005

One hen, two ducks...

Growing up, my dad taught us silly series, such as:

"Since Monday comes on Tuesday this week our regular Wednesday meeting will be held on Thursday since Friday's so close to Saturday and Sunday's a holiday anyway."


* One hen
* Two ducks
* Three squawking geese
* Four limerick oysters
* Five corpulent porpoises
* Six pair of Don Alverzo's tweezers
* Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
* Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt
* Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic, old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
* Ten lyrical, spherical diabolical denizens of the deep who hall stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.

According to a Jerry Lewis website, this is called the "Announcer's Test". It originated at Radio Central New York in the early 1940's as a cold reading test given to prospective radio talent to demonstrate their speaking ability.

Del Moore, a long time friend of Jerry Lewis', took this test at Radio Central New York in 1941, and passed it on to him. (Del Moore is best remembered as Dr. Warfield in "The Nutty Professor," 1963)

Jerry has performed this test on radio, television and stage for many years, and it has become a favorite tongue twister of his fans around the world.


Blogger Gadget Girl said...

I learned one hen, two ducks in the early 60's. My father could not remembert #10 so we made up 10-14 and recited it for years as a family and even at his funeral.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

My 8th grade english teacher had us do this for extra credit. It has been bothering me for 25 years. Thanks!

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a substitute teacher introduce this as a memory game in the 6th grade some 40 years ago. I never got 10 but remembered 1-9 perfectly from that day forward.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had heard this at summer camp in the 70's and also remember the verse (but can't remeber the number) " x- titillating, teutonic titwillows who twiddle their thumbs like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb to the tune of tea for the tillerman."

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the middle 1960's thie musical version of this was used as a kind of club theme song on the midnight shift radio show hosted by Dick Sommers. His other great contribution was to re-name sandwiches to "shrewbruies" in honor of the Earl thereof, from whom, it was said the Earl of Sandwich stole the idea

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I added #11 -- Eleven, elastic, plastic, powdered pooped polygons whose fierce sides are for a fact false

6:10 AM  
Blogger Nita Kinney said...

I learned "one hen, two ducks,," in the early 60's and never forgot it. Now in my mid 70's a young woman came to our senior housing to test us for memory ability. After endless streams of numbers to be recalled and recited forward and backwards and paragraphs to be remembered, etc. as the woman was getting ready to leave I told her it was her turn and I tried the oldOne Hen game on her. She got lost by #4. LOL

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My teacher made the whole class learn it and it has been bugging me cuz I forgot certain parts

9:42 AM  
Blogger Tyler Dahl said...

My high school contest speech coach used it to warm us up before we performed.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband used to give this as a "test" to friends at parties. He passed away earlier this year and I was afraid I would never hear it again. I was happy to find this - something to keep him with me - and to continue to make friends laugh.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Cassiandra said...

I use this for warm ups in drama for when we do shows to loosen up our tongues and help with memorization. I love impressing my friends by saying it super fast!!

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too remember listening to this on the radio from WBZ in Boston. I also remember shrewsbruies and the instant swamp!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

I once saw a version that went all the way up to twenty, but I couldn't remember it, and I don't remember where I saw it. The first time I heard it was from Jerry Lewis on the Tonight Show, possibly as far back as the days of Jack Paar.

6:12 PM  
Blogger stew said...

Learned this as a memory game 50 plus years ago, taught it to my kids (over long distance rides as a way to keep them from being bored and from driving us crazy with the whines "are we their yet?" or "how much longer?"
Now we are playing this wonderful distraction memory game with our grandchildren, and they are loving it!

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a teacher and made my students memorise this. My brother used to sing a song from an ad for "Akcent" basically monosodium glutamate in a jar. It as originally written by Stan Frieburg. Can you find it... "A leg of lamb, a roast, a wienie, chicken al a king and __________________. You can make them all taste like they never did before.

3:15 AM  
Blogger swirlinabc said...

I learned #10 differently from a Games magazine in 1978, "10 lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who stalk about the corners of the cove all at the same time." But i thunk i like the original version better. Unfortunately, the version i learned is now etched in my brain.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Me in Africa said...

I learned # 10 as "10, diabolic, apostolic, dinizens of the deep, who danced about the Key, on the banks of the River Quall.

6:24 AM  
Blogger JC said...

AKA "The Tibetan Memory Trick" by Flo and Eddie.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Collin said...

My dad taught this to my siblings and I when we were kids as something silly and we had no clue what it was. I later used it in high school as a vocal warm-up with my theater company. I also sometimes use it to talk someone out of driving if they have had too much to drink. If they can't repeat it then they shouldn't drive :P

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you all for each and every comment.Whenever I pull One hen two ducks on someone, they really have no interest in anything like that anymore. It's very few and far between that someone actually appreciates it.

8:21 PM  
Blogger William Lester said...

I learned #10 as “Ten death-defying, diving, daredevil, denizens of the deep, who can quack, quake , quip, quit, and quiver all at the same time”.

Yes , I still remember the whole thing almost 60 years later.

7:15 AM  

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