Jerry Lewis Birthday and Memory Test

Jerry Lewis, renown comedian, dancer, and singer

Because I was away from my computer quite a bit Saturday, March 16th, I completely missed a very important birthday. Happy 93rd birthday in heaven to one of the greatest comedians who ever lived: Jerry Lewis. I owe him a debt of gratitude for teaching me a memory test when I was 15. This is the famous “One hen, two ducks….” test.

Happy birthday, Jerry. Thanks for all the great memories you gave me in my childhood.

When I was 15, Jerry Lewis was a substitute for Jack Paar (see, it was a long time ago) on the old Tonight Show. Jerry Lewis was known for having a phenomenal memory. Sidekick Hugh Downs queried Jerry about it. Jerry related a story that when he was 16 and wanted in radio, he applied for a job. The station manager gave him a “memory test,” which he amazingly passed and got a job in radio at 16. He gave the “test” to Hugh Downs, who exceeded the average of FIVE with an astounding SEVEN.

Here is the test, Jerry passed and also gave to Hugh Downs. It is a nonsensical, numerical test. Each sentence must be repeated in order and the one being tested must go back to the beginning each time and start with ONE and go upward, adding the latest addition to the end….then, after being told the next addition, start over with ONE and go up again, adding the new one. I was smart enough to write it down as he went (he repeated it the next night due to heavy demand) and then memorized it.

Here it is: One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters, five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Don Alverzo’s tweezers, seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth, ten lyrical spherical diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery all at the same time. 

Here is Jerry Lewis, years later, repeating the test on the 1990 Jerry Lewis Marathon:

The Battle for the Alamo Ends

Today’s post about the end of the Battle of the Alamo is authored by guest writer and Texas mother, author, and retired lawyer, Tara Ross from her daily historical posts:

By Tara Ross

On this day in 1836, the Battle of the Alamo is fought. Despite a valiant defense by the Texans (then called Texians), the Mexican Army is victorious.

Okay, so I already discussed the long siege and battle a few days ago. But can you ever really say too much about Texas?! Ha.  So, in that spirit, here are some random facts that you may not know about the Alamo.

When Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna arrived at the Alamo, he sent a courier with a demand that the Texians surrender. Do you want to take one wild guess as to how the Texians responded? They responded with a cannonball! The Texas spirit was born early, wasn’t it?

Three famous figures were killed at the Battle of the Alamo: William B. Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett. Travis was defending the north wall of the Alamo when he was killed, early in the battle, by a shot to the head. Bowie probably died in the Low Barrack. He was ill and confined to bed when the battle started. Crockett’s death is more of a mystery. He either died during battle or he was executed by Santa Anna afterwards.

The number of Texians who died defending the Alamo is also a bit of an unknown quantity: Depending on whose figures you believe, that number is as low as 150 or as high as 250. The youngest of these Texians was 16 and the oldest was 56.

Imagine that! No more than 250 Texians, defiantly refusing to give up the Alamo to the much larger Mexican force (as many as 1,800 soldiers) sitting just outside the Alamo’s walls. BRAVE. DETERMINED. And they inflicted heavy casualties on the Mexican force, although historians dispute the actual number of killed and injured among Santa Anna’s men.

Maybe one of the bravest acts at the Alamo? During the course of the siege, 32 men snuck past the Mexican lines and joined their fellow Texians inside the Alamo. They had to know that they were volunteering to go to their death. Yet they joined the Battle anyway.

Those men truly meant the words written by Travis during that 2-week siege: VICTORY OR DEATH!

P.S. The painting is of the death of Jim Bowie. It’s depicted as the artist imagines it, of course, since no one knows for sure how he died that day.


Gentle reminder: History posts are copyright © 2013-2019 by Tara Ross. I appreciate use of the share feature instead of cutting/pasting.

#TDIH #OTD #AmericanHistory #USHistory #liberty #freedom#ShareTheHistory

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