Marshall Dodge on the Maine Coast. Photo permission and courtesy of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
The A-bomb became unshackled, and dropped onto the bomb bay doors. The massive weight of the bomb forced the doors open.
37–year–old Walter Gregg, a former World War II army paratrooper, and his wife Ethelmae, along with all three children were injured. Not to mention the girls’ playhouse, the Gregg’s home, garage, car, toolshed and possessions were all destroyed. Their 6 to 14 free–range chickens had been vaporized.
When he started playing the record, I expected to hear classical music, or opera, which were his favorite kinds of music. Neither was playing. Instead, two droll voices held forth in a thick, Downeast accent. Punctuated with startling clear, vocal sound effects made by Marshall Dodge, he and Robert Bryan held forth on sides A and B of the album with a total of 19 stories.
It is not often that one gets to work with his or her childhood hero. I was blessed enough to have such an opportunity. I have never known anyone who worked as much and as “smaht” as Marshall. I consider him not only an entertainer’s entertainer, but a consummate storyteller as well. His ear for sound, especially for the patois, or distinct vocal utterance, of a regional accent was uncanny. All you need to do is listen to his audio or video recordings and you will see how apt he was in his performance.
Tourist: “Say, farmer, how do you get to Bar Harbor?
Mainer: “Weellll: my fahtha takes me theyah.”
Though I am a native and a resident of the city of New York, the State of Maine is closer to my heart. It was 15 years ago that I started delving into Maine humor. Since that time, I have worked to put out six records of Downeast stories and I have performed them from Maine to Texas. I am going to tell you some Maine stories. Some of them have been told to me. Some, I have come upon in books. And some I have made up myself. All of the stories reflect the spirit of Old Maine; and all are stories not jokes. They end gently, with a poke rather than a punch; and, most have a message that lives on through many tellings.
— Marshall Dodge < http://video.mpbn.net/video/1351825681 >
We often would get together in Portland. He would ride his bicycle to get to our meetings. Marshall loved getting around that way. He said that it was the most efficient form of transportation ever devised by human ingenuity. Rain or shine, mostly any time of year, he would hop on his bike and travel around the city that way.
Riding his beloved bicycle, a van fatally hit him from behind. He was 45.
Thanks, Marshall, for inspiring us with your love of life, the sharpness of your levity and your deep appreciation and joy of learning . . .
Maine Governor, The Honorable James B. Longley:
Charles Farrar Brown:
Samuel Langhorne Clemons:
Maine Arts Commission:
To obtain Marshall’s audio recordings:
To view Marshall’s MPBN recordings:
Dodge, Marshall, and Robert Bryan. Bert and I. Narr. Marshall Dodge and Robert Bryan. 1958. LP.
“A Downeast Smile-In: The Farm.” MPBN Specials . Maine Public Television. 6 Dec. 2009. Web. 15 June 2013. <http://video.mpbn.net/video/1351825681>.
“A Downeast Smile-In: The Sea.” MPBN Specials . Maine Public Television. 6 Dec. 2009. Web. 15 June 2013. <http://video.mpbn.net/video/1351805496>.
Information about the 1958 Mars Bluff B-47 nuclear weapon loss incident was derived from the report listed below:
Rumrill, Clark. ” ‘Aircraft 53-1876A Has Lost A Device.’ How the U.S. Air Force came to drop an A-bomb on South Carolina.” American Heritage 51.5 (2000). Web. 22 Mar. 2016. <http://www.americanheritage.com/content/%E2%80%9Caircraft-53-1876a-has-lost-device%E2%80%9D?page=1>.
If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products or services that I have mentioned here. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”