December 2, 2013

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“A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican”

by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1910 (not Ogden Nash!)

A wonderful bird is the pelican

His bill will hold more than his belican

He can take in his beak

Food enough for a week

But I’m damned if I know how the helican.

I’d been trying to figure out how to include this classic limerick in “Pelican Dreams,” and two serendipitous events over the past month made it possible. First, Donna Shore sent me the photo above, taken by Tyrone Crossman. This pink-backed pelican with his wild and crazy hairdo made me laugh. I contacted Tyrone, a professional photographer in Durban, South Africa, who generously allowed me to use this photo plus several additional shots of the same bird to illustrate the limerick (which he remembered from his childhood also).

Next, a friend in Ireland, a radio/tv broadcast personality whose soul is essentially comedic, agreed to record the limerick at his studio in Dublin and send me the tape. So now I have a wonderful recording from Myles Dungan to go with Tyrone’s fabulous pictures!

Many thanks to the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation and to Bob McIntyre of the Wheeler Fund for recent grants that will help us get to the finish line. Lucy Massie Phenix, consulting editor, has been suggesting subtle tweaks to the movie’s structure and tone. As I mentioned in my last post, it really helps to have a fresh set of eyes on this footage. And speaking of fresh eyes:

“Save the Date!” We will have our final “Pelican Dreams” rough-cut screening on Thursday, January 16th at the Bay Institute’s theater at Pier 39 in San Francisco. I’ll hand out questionnaires and ask for written feedback from the audience.  The screening is free. We hope to have a reception beforehand. Come be part of the creative process! Details to come.

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3 Responses to “December 2, 2013”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Awesome photo! Have never heard of a pink-backed pelican, let alone seen a photo of one. Love the limerick, too. :-D

  2. Leslie Billings Says:

    Hello. would you please have your screening around noon or one oclock for those coming from very far away?
    thank you

    • judyirving Says:

      Hi Leslie,
      I’m sorry, but the screening is hosted (for free) by the Aquarium of the Bay, and they would like it to be in the evening. See the latest post for details.

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