Movies in the Mountains: Swiss Clown Glock entertains

I hope some of our Movies in the Mountains members will be entertained by Grock (1880–1959), a Swiss clown and comedian who influenced many younger stage clowns, such as Chico & Harpo Marx and Victor Borge. Search youtube.com for “Grock The Clown – Stage Performance (“Bühnen-Sketch”, 1931) to find it. Grock was not the daring acrobat of comedy as was his American contemporary, Fred Stone (1873–1959, the original Oz Scarecrow, long prior to Ray Bolger). Grock’s canvas was smaller but many colored: He spoke six languages and played as many musical instruments. His vocalized sound effects astonished his audiences.

I see a beauty in the finest of physical comedy. Wit is not restricted to written or spoken speech; it is the guiding refinement of motions into deft and delightful physical poetry. It isn’t Buster Keaton’s fall that is funny; it surprises and alarms us. It’s Buster’s adroit and swift recovery from the seemingly awkward and embarrassing, yet carefully executed, blunder that sparks our relief and wins our applause.

Undisciplined stumbling and flailing about may amuse children, but the clown that engages adults needs to employ discipline and demonstrate physical expression that is as neat, defined and sophisticated as in ballet or modern dance. Modern dance choreographer Doris Humphrey put into a phrase the dynamic that powered her dances: “fall and recovery.” Martha Graham’s impetus was “contract and release.” Both apply to physical comedy as well as dance, and in the craft and art of movement lay the kinship.

Frank “Chatty” Cullen, Edgewood

 

Pronghorn are amazing animals

I enjoyed James Taulman’s article in The Independent paper about pronghorn. I have lived with them for the last 50 years in Northeastern New Mexico. They are truly a great animal. I have found a pronghorn will run 45 to 47 mph. My F-350 and I have tried them a few times.

I have seen 2-4 coyotes run a mature buck into a fence, corner and bring him down. The healthy can be caught. I have witnessed pronghorn eating Loco Weed. It will kill them if they get enough of it. Elk will also die from Loco Weed poison. I happened two years in a row in the mid-80s—haven’t seen it again.

There is something else I have seen: a bald eagle can fly down a running pronghorn and take it to the ground. I have seen this maybe three times in my life. When that animal hits the ground, it is dead.

Why don’t they jump a fence? I have seen one buck pronghorn jump a fence, net wire, as two coyotes were after him. I have never seen a pronghorn jump a cattle guard. Amazing animals.

Red Bassett

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