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See, Hear and Sing Humor
 
Great Northern Train, Four Miles West of Minot, North Dakota.
Some mimics were so good it was hard to tell the difference between an imitation of a train whistle and the real thing

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John Orren and Lillian Drew performing the vaudeville sketch, "A Study in Mimicry" from 1918

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Can you imitate any sounds? Can you mimic the way a parent or a friend talks? Impressions were a common form of entertainment and a great source of comic material for many comedians. When people didn't have radio, TV, or movies, it was popular to imitate animals or machines. John Orren was a well-known mimic on the vaudeville circuit who worked with his partner, Lillian Drew. Listen to this audio clip of the two of them and see what kinds of sounds you can pick out. Do any of the imitations fool you?
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CREDIT: "Great Northern Train, Four Miles West of Minot, North Dakota" 1912?. The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collections from North Dakota State University, Library of Congress/Ameritech collections.
AUDIO CREDIT: Orren, John and Lillian Drew, performers. "A Study in Mimicry (Vaudeville Sketch)." Edison, Recorded 1918. Early Motion Pictures, 1897-1920, Library of Congress.