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Warm-Up: Ducks, Brass Monkeys,
Apathetic,  Sympathetic ... Best Test!
By Bobbin Beam
Voice Actor
It's been told that some decades ago, Jerry Lewis "performed" the following exercise while filling in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
It was called The Announcer's Test, originated in the early 1940s as a reading test for prospective radio talent. In that era, the "prospect" would read the progression for clarity, enunciation, diction, tonality and expressiveness.

And the prospect had to perform it PERFECTLY! No stumbles or stammers. Plus, it was to be read with FEELING and MEANING!

It's still a good tongue twister and a challenge for technique - and it's silly. In my opinion, this is one of the best warm-up exercises evah!

So enjoy while you warm up those articulators - tongue, teeth and lips.

The trick that Lewis did was to read it like we sing The Twelve Days of Christmas - a progression, where you start with line one, then repeat line one and add line two. Then you do line 1 and 2 and add the third  line. Ready? Set ... GO
  • One hen.
  • Two ducks.
  • Three squawking geese.
  • Four limerick oysters.
  • Five corpulent porpoises.
  • Six pair of Don Alversos tweezers.
  • Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array.
  • Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred scripts of Egypt.
  • Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a masked propensity towards procrastination and sloth.
  • Ten lyrical, spherical diabolical denizens of the deep who hall stall around the corner of the quo or the quay, all at the same time.

You did it!

Bobbin Beam is a very active voice talent, based in the San Diego - Los Angeles area, who specializes in projects for broadcast and business. She also writes a very entertaining and informative blog, Bobbin's Blog.
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