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Randy Treadway

Elsie the Cow

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First thing I do before I post any of my info I got out of the NYPL today in another thread, is to do my mea culpa for ever having doubted that Elsie was anything but real!

You got to admit though, she doesn't suggest reality in all those pictures, but then again keeping her stationary the whole time was necessary to run that show as often as they could.

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My next archives visit is set, and this will be to Yale's Music Library on Friday to go through the papers of the composer of Borden's "All About Elsie" musical revue show from the BLC. The papers promise complete script and lyrics (which will eventually be featured in my BLC feature) as well as correspondence related to how this got put together.

Fortunately, all of the Fair materials take up only four boxes of material and Yale has a policy of only retrieving a maximum of five boxes from off-campus storage for these kinds of visits.

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Last week I met a man named Carl who is a musician, lived in Queens. So what

do I ask? Of course I asked Carl "did you play your clarinet in the 1939 Worlds

Fair"? Carl not missing a beat replied "Yes" and even recalled the row and seat

he would sit in every night, AMAZING. I don't know much about this fair but if any

one would like to ask Carl any questions, I would pass them along and answer

them on this board. Sincerely Vladimir

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We visited the Better Living only once and never returned so it must have been disappointing. We saw the Elsie show and found it boring, and as I recall, no hand-outs of any kind were given. I am a souvenir hunter, so I would have remembered.

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Well, I spent today at the Yale Music Library going through four boxes from the Kay Swift Papers pertaining to the "All About Elsie" show. In a few weeks photocopies of my request will come my way and it will consist first and foremost of the entire script and lyrics for the program in its final form, as well as complete script and lyrics for the five different "sideshows" that were also part of the Borden Exhibit and the "Elmer's Chemical Ark" show that also ran continuously every two and a half minutes. The script's stage directions are so detailed that in fact, I'll be able to correlate the precise instant where our several amateur pictures of the show gathered by Bill and Randy take place in the program based on the stage directions and set pieces.

Also part of this lot are the full music composition sheets for each song that was part of the program and sideshows, since this is the only way I can test out on the keyboard (in my one finger play the melody way of playing) just how these songs in the program sounded since recordings are apt to never surface.

Rounding things out are some clippings from Variety and other magazines mentioning Swift's involvement in the Fair. She was also responsible for the music and lyrics to an animated show in the Clairol Pavilion too (which was the women only pavilion).

The production notes for the script show the involvement of two recognizable actors contributing to the voice cast. Narrating the "All About Elsie" program in (according to the stage directions) a mock solemn style meant to parody Futurama narrator Alexander Scourby was Jackson Beck, a radio announcer who first became prominent on the Superman radio series for coining the phrase, "Look up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman!" Contributing the voice of "Elsie's Secretary" was Charlotte Rae, the future star of TV's "The Facts Of Life."

This is one part of the BLC feature that will end up requiring a big subset!

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Also part of this lot are the full music composition sheets for each song that was part of the program and sideshows, since this is the only way I can test out on the keyboard (in my one finger play the melody way of playing) just how these songs in the program sounded since recordings are apt to never surface.

Eric, you no longer have to sample it with the one finger method.

For just $199 you can now get some software that allows you to scan the sheet music on your scanner, and it will immediately play the full score in all its glory.

http://www.sibelius.com/products/photoscor...ofessional.html

If you want to spend an extra five or six hundred dollars on top of that, this company also offers software which will play your score and make it sound like the Paddon Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Eric, you no longer have to sample it with the one finger method.

For just $199 you can now get some software that allows you to scan the sheet music on your scanner, and it will immediately play the full score in all its glory.

http://www.sibelius.com/products/photoscor...ofessional.html

If you want to spend an extra five or six hundred dollars on top of that, this company also offers software which will play your score and make it sound like the Paddon Philharmonic Orchestra.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

LOL! "Just" $199 is not an option with me. Not after my contributions to the NYPL, Hershey Archives and now Yale for all of this material!

Seriously though, could something like that actually work when the sheet music in question is handwritten? Because that's the nature of what this is, the composer's original handwritten score with notations. There was no formal published sheet music for any of this.

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Ooh- good point Eric.

This software is basically Optical Character Recognition, programmed for musical staffs, notes, symbols, etc., and the italian language instruction commands and abbreviations.

I saw in the 'features' for the 'Professional' version that it will recognize 7 different kinds of clefs, many different shapes of notes, etc. I guess this is similar to font recognition in regular OCR programs.

But handwritten- I'm guessing it would have a pretty hard time with that.

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Four weeks have elapsed and I still haven't received the material. Looks like I'm going to have to start giving them some polite reminders (and this was something I paid for upfront during my visit!). I can't finish the BLC project until I get these items.

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Well, they came through at last before I had to make a call to them! This material is more problematic to do from a scanning standpoint, but I'll see what I can do as far as sharing some of it here (though much of it will end up in that eventual BLC feature).

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Here's the first item that was easy to scan, since this lists the voice cast, song list and the complete program structure of the whole Borden exhibit. "All About Elsie" was the main show with six short "sideshows" to I would assume, fill time for those either waiting for the next main program or to allow for the resetting of everything.

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Here's an interesting set of clippings in the same photocopy from early 65 which mentions that there were some minor tweaks made to "All About Elsie" for 1965 in terms of a slightly revised script and the addition of a "well-known male comic" to the voice cast, but no indication who that might have been. No changes were made to the music score.

As to what the exact changes to the script were, that alas would require the surfacing of an amateur recording or a script from an alternate source since the papers I went through only had the original 1964 script.

One of these clippings also notes the changes planned for the Tower Of Light program for 1965 as well.

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Interesting cast! The name Jackson Beck might not be immediately familiar to most, but here's a brief line from a bio that might help:

Beck was best known for introducing the Man of Steel with the thrilling words: "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" He narrated "The Adventures of Superman" on the radio from 1943 to 1950, and the "Superman" cartoon on TV through the late-1960s.

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Well I've been late in presenting new material on the "All About Elsie" show that I got from the Yale Music Library, but here at last is a bit of what I unearthed. I'm now recopying the program script for the upcoming BLC feature.

Here scanned is the piano manuscript for the first song in the program "Doin Fine" which was sung as guests settled themselves in and saw a curtain before them decked out with daisies with Elsie's picture all over them. The lyrics are printed below and maybe those musically inclined can use this imperfect scan of the manuscript to get a sense of how it sounds (some of it's chopped off on the sides because the manuscript sheets are too big for the normal scanner).

"Doin' Fine"

Oh, Elsie was a winner at the Fair in thirty-nine,

She was only a beginner, but she's a star that's got to shine,

An Borden said, "You're doin' fine, Elsie!"

Borden said, "You're doin' fine!"

Now Elsie is the greatest, your favorite an' mine.

Her products are the latest–she's everybody's valentine.

And Borden knows you're doin' fine, Elsie!

Borden knows you're doin' fine!

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Welcome to PTU cjnol!

Not sure that we've seen any photos of the pre-show to this point. We only have 2 or 3 pics of ANY part of the Elsie show. But we're always watching for more and will certainly share them here if we find anything.

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Here is a bit of history, my mother worked at the Borden pavilion and sent me this picture and some info about it, which I will share with you.

“I believe that this was taken at the grand opening of Shea Stadium in April of 1964 and the Borden people supplied a parade of sorts, it was all televised. Elsie the cow actually gave birth to a calf at the World’s Fair and she was named Fair Fancy and that is her in the picture. The guy in the glasses was the vet’s assistant and he took care of all the Fair Fancies. They grow so fast and Borden wanted to have a baby so when they got too big we traded them out for newbies.”

Shea Stadium Borden.jpg[/attachment:3812b]

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I am the then"young" lady in the picture. I was also the "entertainment" in the queue area for those waiting to get into the show to see Elsie. The show was one of the most popular in the BLC (believe it or not) and we had quite a time in the queue what with mooing contests, learning to use the "electrostaticgangleflapper," free ice cream cones for kids and lots and lots of trivia about Borden and Elsie. I think I had about 80 pages or so of "inside info" to commit to memory to use as I so chose. I also have some very funny stories to tell. It was a great time and I met some wonderful people with whom I have lost touch. Maybe someone from the BLC Borden show will see this and get in touch.

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Welcome to PTU! I'm glad you found us. I'll look to see if I have any other Elsie photos you might be in. Please feel free to share your memories of the days at the Fair.

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WELCOME to PTU Theresa!

We are anxious to here all about it. The whole nine yards.

For one thing, I think we heard that the Elsie show was NOT on the ground floor at the BLC.

So how did they get Elsie up and down every day? Freight elevator? At night, did they have a barn for her next door at Julimar Farms?

We have several color photos of the Elsie show here in various topics. Just put the word Elsie in the search box in the upper right corner of the screen, and you can find them. Feel free to add more info in any of those topics, or here.

I think one of our PTUers, Eric Paddon, was trying to find out information about the Elsie show to write up an article on it, but information has been extremely hard to find.

And what was the electrostaticgangleflapper? Was that a take-off on the current-at-the-time Disney movie use of the word supercalifragelisticexpialidocious?

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The Borden show was not on the first floor and Elsie stayed right where she was overnight with the vet tech...that would be the young man holding Fair Fancy in the picture. (He was also the shovel and pail guy at the stadium opening.) I'm not sure how they got her up in the first place but I'm sure there was a freight elevator somewhere in the building. They actually had a contest before the fair for a "beautiful" pregnant Jersey and she gave birth right at the fair, in the pavilion, in the wee hours of the morning.

The "eletrostaticgangleflapper" came into being because Borden sent us thousands of long, skinny plastic strips with Borden written allover them. They were about 5 feet long and were so light you could twirl them into circles and waves. Paul Castellanos (he was the director of the pavillion) gave them to me to me and told me to "think of something to do with them" and I did; I had the ushers hand them out and from my perch over the queue I gave the audience instructions on how to use them.

I told my first "gangleflapper" audience to wave them and scream "Hello Elsie" when the curtain rose. Unfortunately (depending on how you want to look at it) Elsie was so startled by the noise that her fright came out her back end and she bucked like a stallion. Poor Elsie and poor vet, who was always in attendance and not necessarily in the right place. I was forgiven, however, and thought up other schemes to entertain "my" audience. By the way, cjnol is my son, in case you were wondering. That's all for now.

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So that's what that is in my collection! An eletrostaticgangleflapper! I always wondered- it's kind of an odd souvenir. Like something you'd use to tie up a wrapped birthday gift.

And just to think, it must have been handed out by....you!

plastic_strip-yet_another.jpg

plastic_strip-another.jpg

plastic_strip.jpg

a8_1.jpg

2e_1.jpg

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