Vaudevillian Gus Visser (1894-1967) enters from our right, walking toward a white duck standing on an elaborate small table. Gus is comically dressed, with hair parted in the middle and slicked down, wearing a three-piece suit and extra-long shoes. He and the duck share a small treat Gus has taken from his pocket, then he picks up the duck, holding his legs in the right hand as he faces the audience and sings "Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me." At key moments of the song, the duck joins in with a squawk.Written by
One of the 50 films in the 3-disk boxed DVD set called "More Treasures from American Film Archives, 1894-1931" (2004), compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 5 American film archives. This film has a running time of 90 seconds and is preserved by the George Eastman House. See more »
Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me
(also known as "Ma (He's Making Eyes at Me)" and "Ma! He's Making Eyes at Me")
Music by Con Conrad
Lyrics by Sidney Clare
Sung by Gus Visser and his singing duck See more »
When I saw this very short film, I couldn't help but smile. Dutch-born Gus Visser had a very unusual vaudeville-style act and it somehow became one of the first experimental sound films. Of all the possible things to record for posterity, this is one of the oddest. Gus' 'singing' duck actually consists of Gus singing most of the time and periodically the duck loudly quacked! I really think that as Gus held it, he would 'goose' the duck's behind to make him quack. The end result is quite funny but also bound to make PETA-types mad at the possibility that duck abuse is occurring.
While this film seems unimportant but silly, it's actually super-important historically speaking as it's practically impossible to find another sound film earlier than this one.
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