Behold a cross-eyed dandy lisp his way through the lyrics to “Ma, He’s Making Eyes At Me” while gently squeezing the scrotum of a mallard to provide the plaintive, squawking “Ma!”
The performer? Mr. Gus Visser, vaudevillian extraordinaire, and his incredible Singing Duck. While, at first glance, just a bizarre oddity of the early sound era, this film clip is of actual historical note. It was made by Theodore Case in 1925 as a proof-of-concept for the sound-on-film process he was shopping around an all silent Hollywood… a process that would eventually lead to the birth of the talkie in 1929’s The Jazz Singer.
Gus Visser And His Singing Duck was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2002 by the Library of Congress as a film of note deserving of cultural preservation. Who could possibly argue against its inclusion?
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