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Cottom Blossom - MGM "Showboat"

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Old 04-18-2007, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,053
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I too was at one of the Louisville performances. Believe it or not, I was "hired" as the stand in for the calliope player should they need one. My father had something to do with this, I am sure!

Unfortunately, I never got to take hand to the Tangley Calliaphone aboard the unbelieveable mock up of the COTTON BLOSSOM that graced the stage of the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

Those instruments (for there were 2 of them) for the road show of "Showboat" were unique one-off calliopes built by Dave Miner of Miner Manufacturing Co. He built them to be quiet enough to mimick the sound of a steam calliope while inside a theatre. They operated on 1/4 pound of air supplied by a tiny vaccum moter sized blower. The "steam" was powder which was admitted into the blower unit for the calliope. This "steam" was quite messy and the actors had to pay great attention to be sure not to get anywhere around it for it showed on clithing quite well. They were also made to look like a steam calliope in that the whistles were mounted on a small air chamber painted black and rounded on the sides to look as if the whistles were mounted on a steel pipe manifold (like a traditional steam calliope). You had see this contraption from the keyboard to realize this was actually a shallow pipe chest like on a pipe organ modified for a look.

More than you wanted to know about that subject, huh?

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