Parade of Ducks, Peabody Hotel, Little Rock, Arkansas
With JJ Kwashnak and Russ Minton
According to legend, the famous Ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis started nearly 70 years ago.
According to the Peabody's Web Site: "Back in 1933 Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas. The men had a little too much Jack Daniel's Tennessee sippin' whiskey, and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain.
In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke became the Peabody Duckmaster, serving in that capacity for 50 years until his retirement in 1991. " 1
When the Peabody opened a hotel in Little Rock, the March of the Ducks came to Arkansas also, starting November 1, 1986 and continuing daily at 11 am to the pool and 5 pm from the pool.
Every day at 11 am, the lobby is readied for the arrival of the avian ambassadors. Crowds gather to watch the ritual, and children are selected to be honorary Duck Masters.
The group go to the second floor home of the Ducks to gather them for their daily march. They are herded to the glass elevator for the trip down to the main lobby.
The March is overseen and guided by a Duck Master, clad in scarlet and gold, carrying a duck head cane.
Once their walk (duckwalk?) is completed, the celebrity ducks are allowed to paddle around in the fountain for the day, entertaining guests all day.
The Peabody uses the Ducks as part of their Symbol, as evidenced by the painting on the roof of part of the hotel.
Celebriducks, which makes celebrity themed rubber ducks even has a Peabody Duckmaster Duck. After the march that morning, NOT, Russ and JJ got to meet the Duck Master and get him to sign his duck.
NOT tried to find out how he could get in on such a cushy gig, but the ducks would not tell him. I guess they didn't want the competition. Oh well, more world travelling for NOT then. Quack.
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Photos courtesy of J.J. Kwashnak
Last Updated December 2010