Puzzling word in old Eddie Cantor routine
Posted: 20 December 2010 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Cantor was one of the vaudeville artists chosen to make a series of short experimental sound features in 1923. A Few Moments With Eddie Cantor can be seen on YouTube (and if you watched Boardwalk Empire you’ll recognize part of the routine instantly). The word that has me stumped comes at the 50 second or so mark.

“Homely? You’ve heard about people’s faces being wrinkled? Hers was a *********.”

It sounds like cordedith. I’m probably missing the obvious here but I just can’t figure it out. (A couple of the comments on the vid show that I’m not alone in this.) Any ideas?

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Posted: 20 December 2010 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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No clue. One of the suggestions in the comments is accordion. That fits for sense, but what Cantor is saying just doesn’t sound like that.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s a poor recording. Given that a split second may have been dropped I would settle for ‘accordion-pleated.’

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Posted: 20 December 2010 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Interesting!

Aldi, I would have to say that I would have transcribed it the same as you. A cordedith, or possible a cordedis.

It would appear to either be “a” plus noun or possibly some adjective “acordedis”. Wrinkled would go well with another past form ... e.g. acordeded.

Listened several times but I think it may be something I’m not familiar with.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Someone has suggested that it is “accordion pleated”, and that the “ion pl” part has been lost in the recording or not preserved.

Accordion pleated is a common enough phrase and the meaning certainly fits.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, skibberoo suggested that just above.  I think that it most likely: to me it actually sounds like there’s an abrupt break in the word, which would be consistent with a few frames of the film being lost due to a bad splice.

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Posted: 21 December 2010 03:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Sorry, I missed Skibberoo’s entry.

Gotta say (and slightly off-topic) ... the whole act seems to be made of fail. What’s with that joke about the Jewish guy on the train?

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Posted: 21 December 2010 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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the whole act seems to be made of fail. What’s with that joke about the Jewish guy on the train?

Senses of humor change regularly and irrevocably.  Trust me, your grandchildren (or the generational equivalent, if you don’t have any) will find your favorite comedians “made of fail,” except that they’ll use a different slang term that will make you want them off your lawn.

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Posted: 22 December 2010 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Mmmokay, though some humorists have held up well enough. I “get” Marx Brothers’ Animal Crackers and A&C’s What’s On First (though the latter is a bit later), and for that matter Eddie Cantor’s movies.

EDIT: In fairness, EC seems awkward here, doing a stand-up routine but not in front of an audience, in front of one of them new-fangled cinematographs.

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Posted: 23 December 2010 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dave Wilton - 20 December 2010 04:28 AM

No clue. One of the suggestions in the comments is accordion. That fits for sense, but what Cantor is saying just doesn’t sound like that.

I would have said “corrugated” but it doesn’t quite fit.

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