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The Best of Victor Borge – Acts One and Two – 3816

Good evening and welcome to… …Minneapolis I have been looking forward to this evening’s performance ever since… seven thirty… two weeks ago. We’re going to have an intermission pretty soon. Come right in please. Pardon me, pardon me… Where do you come from? Where? Oh, you don’t know each other. I come from Kopenhagen and I was here before you. Well, anyway… Are there any children in the audience? Yes? Ok. Out! We do have some children here that means i can’t do the second half “in the nude”. I’ll wear the tie. The long one. The very long one. I have a request. I usually do not do request numbers unless, of course, I have been asked to do so And that has happened. I have a request from a lady who called me at the hotel. She said: Mr. Boogy… would you be kind enough to play… And then she couldn’t remember the title of the thing she wanted to hear.

So I said: Perhaps you could… humm it, or sing it, for me… and if I know it I will play it. She said: Well, I can’t remember how it goes… and then she said: You’re the musician… you ought to know the piece. I said: I’m sorry, I can’t help you in this instant Then she said: It really doesn’t matter because I’m not gonna be there tonight. So, now I’m gonna play something else. I’m gonna play a little piece by a danish composer. Mozart. Hans Christian Mozart. As many of you know, Mozart was only from here up. You have seen replicas of Mozart, of course… Mozart was, what we call, a bust. And stood on many pianos, in windows… And the scholars insisted, despite of that physical handicap… Mozart was very hapily married.

But Mrs. Mozart wasn’t. She went all the way to the floor. I’m gonna play a composition he wrote in four flats because he had to move three times. He never stayed long enough in any of them to finish this peace. And this is called “The bagatelle” and it’s in the key of C. But who cares… I hope you will enjoy it. And if you don’t, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. Why were you so late? There’s three pedals and I only have two feet. Mozart. Bagatelle in the key of C. Where the heck is C… You didn’t mark the C! Now I understand why so many people in America say: “Long time, no C.” Isn’t it a shame this big fat opera singers always lean against the pianos and bend them? The heavy arias.

I’m always asked to play something straight. And you know it is not easy… Oh, my time is up! Sorry, upside down. My grandfather gave me this watch… a few minutes before he died… for twenty bucks. Plus tax. He was a danish inventor. He invented a soft drink which he called “4 up”. But the danes didn’t care for that. Then he added some sugar, I think, and he called it “5 up”. Still no good. Then he tried once more and that time he called it “6 up”.

But no luck, so… he finally gave up… died heart broken. Little did he know how close he came. Come right in. Pardon me, pardon me… You haven’t missed much. But I’m afraid you will never know who gave me this watch. And don’t tell them. As a matter of fact he added something to music, my grandfather. He wasn’t very musical and he was not a composer, but he wrote this… And that is very important because without this… we should never have had this. Would you like a picture? I gave my first concert at eight. Or a few minutes after eight… For twelve years I was concertising and I often had an opportunity to do an encore which I generally did early in the evenings So that people when they left early could hear some of the encores. Some of my favorite encores were a series of wienesse waltzes by a Japanese – by a…

Was that serious? I said… Japanese… There are three things, I must tell you, there are three things I can never remember… Four. I speak a little Japanese. And you know how I learned to speak… of course you don’t, but there’s a wonderful method which I will tell you about with which you can speak or learn to speak any language, anything you want to learn while you sleep! Not here of course, but…

Under the pillow in your bed or any bed… you put a cassette player. And then you insert a tape on which must be what you wish to learn. In my case it was lessons in the Japanese language. And then you run it every night until you have absorbed subconciously what is on the tape. It may take weeks, months, maybe a year, but that’s the way I learned… I know you won’t believe it of course, but this is true. I don’t speak it perfectly well, but I can get along. And I have been doing so.

Unfortunately I can only speak it when I’m sound asleep. But… I remember words like… “toyota” Here’s a good word – “negi-eni-gi-i” Negi means onion in English. “Negi negi”. Two onions. Such an easy language. I mentioned this particular word because if you are ever near a Japanese person who has eaten onions, and it kind of bothers you, just say “negi negi”. They are so polite. They would immediatly say “Ah so” and back up. And then they would take your picture. But remember they are not very tall people. They would only get you from here down.

The rest is Mozart. Well actually I’m gonna play a little of these encores I was speaking about. So these wienese waltzes. As a matter of fact it is very difficult, you know to choose a musical program for an audience who is not present on account of a specific musical program such as Bach… First of all, which Bach? Johann? Sebastian? Hofen? I found that generally half of the audience likes a little of this kind of music and the other half likes a little of that kind of music. And so I’m gonna play a little of this kind and a little of that kind. So there will be something for each one of you to enjoy. I have a problem as you have noticed pronouncing “th”… particularly when they are close together. It is not easy when you have to learn to speak English and you’re not brough up in an english speaking country. You have to stick out your tongue. Got to stick out your tongue. You never know how far.

In Denmark, where I grew up we speak way back here… But that’s just a small country and we don’t have much room to fool around in. And it’s cold in the winter time. We never stick out anything unless we are sure we can get it back in again. Well, I have some music here on the piano bench a little of this and a little of that and that’s what I’m gonna play a little of. I can assure you I play far better by ear. Oh this is supposed to be a book not loose sheets You care for piano music? Here’s some… That’ll be 85 cents. Do you read music? You do? Then it’ll be 1 dollar 50. This is supposed to be a little of this and a little of that.

These are all this’s. There’s not a single that among these. The one I gave you, is that a this or a that? Oh, that’s a this – you keep that. What’s that? Oh, that’s a this also. This that goes between those this’s. Thus… and that’s that. Actually, that’s a this – but you know… My glasses…? My glasses – they’re not on the piano… Oh, a stage hand. I told the doctor that I don’t need glasses. They always try to sell you something. We have a neighbour. Well who doesn’t? But he… he is our next window neighbour, because we don’t have a door in that end of the house.

I’ll give you five seconds more on that one. He is a phisician – a good friend of the family. His own, of course. And I went to see him and he said “You need glasses!” So on the way out of the office I took his And now he wants to see me when I get back home but he can’t because I got the glasses. The doctor told me that… and he’s a doctor, he knows what he’s talking about – he said… “A person with one eye can see more than a person with two eyes” And I doubted that of course, but he said: “That’s true” “because the one with one eye can see the other person’s two eyes” “whereas the person with two eyes can only see the other” That’s what he said.

Sorry… Well I’m sorry about that. Could somebody come and help me please? I need someone to turn the pages for me. Anybody. You work here? I thought you were bleading. – What do you do? – I call the lights. – I beg your pardon? – I call the lights. I don’t think you heard me I said what do you do here? – I call the lights. – You call the lights? That’s what you do… What do you call the lights? You don’t know? I do – Bulbs. What happens if the lights don’t come when you call them? You don’t know that? I do. “Long time, no C” – I run the lights. – What? You run the lights… That’s against the law! Are you afraid of losing your hand? You’re holding on to it. You make your own clothes? The bottom.

I like that. So what can I do for you? Whould you turn the pages for me? Nice fellow. Must have fertilized him a lot because he’s so tall. Wait a minute. When I’m playing. I should have told you that. I’m sorry. Pardon me madam, are you laying eggs? Ok, this is a nice piece. Negi negi. Apparently you don’t read music. Well I’m sorry, I should have asked you. We’ll do a slow one wich gives me a chance to tell you what to do and where to do it. This is a nice one. No, if you’d be kind enough… It begins here and it comes up here And here it says pp. But don’t pay attention to that because that means painissimo. That is an italian abreviation.

Just the opposite of ff. So when I say “now” you take this corner – a single sheet and you turn it “zuut” – like that. You don’t have to say “zuut”, you can just “zuut” like that… But take it up here otherwise you block my view. As simple as that. I need the back of it. And then I go over here and finish there. One single sheet. This is Liebestraum by Fliszt. – I don’t think so. F. Listz. – Fliszt. – No, it’s F. Liszt. – F-liszt, young man, is Fliszt. You don’t say M. Ozart, do you? Liebestraum by Fliszt. I hope you enjoy it. Could you put a foot on one of those pedals there? Too far. Okay, press down. Press. Like this. Here’s an early american folk song. “in the morning” From the wild wild west. Could you please welcome miss Marylyn Mulvey. Excuse me, what happened to your arms? It reminds me of Mozart. Marylyn has sung in many operas and has…

Also not sung in many operas… Also not sung in many operas. That’s exactly what I meant and exactly what I said. Hands off please. You shouldn’t lean agains the piano because sometimes there might not be a piano next to you. Might be a flute player, you’d hang on to the flute… You can’t flout the flute. Today Marylyn is celebrating her second wedding anniversary. Is that true? How long were you married? Oh, two years.

That’s the second anniversary. Hands off please. What have you chosen to sing for us this evening? I’d like to start with a folk song. Oh, one of the folk songs your uncle brought from… from where? Croatia, yeah. Her uncle is an archeologist and has been archeologising recently… in the very far. Where Croatia is. And he found in an old monkery, in the basement… Monastery… Monastery. You can say nunery, why can’t you say monkery? But anyway that’s – my problem. Hands off please.

Marylyn’s uncle brought back some manuscripts he found in that – whatever it was… And there are six songs, and Marylyn sings all six. Not now but she knows them all. These are some old folk songs for the old folks. Which one have you chosen to sing tonight? – I wasn’t sure, what do you think I should start with? – Sing the one you like the most. Because I’m gonna play the one I like. Oh no no. I’ll try not to. Marylyn, she wants to say “don’t humm along” because you know, musicians when we play a concerto you sit there… and you sing along, without really knowing it you humm… all the violins… do all these things… and I have the habbit myself and I must remember not to – hands off please. This is one of those songs. Too late! Madam, if you don’t know the song you’re gonna sing, don’t sing it. You’re an opera singer, you should sing opera. Marylyn is a cagalatura. And she’s… Why don’t you sing an aria? You like arias? Wait ‘till you hear what’s she’s going to sing.

Thank you. When this ovation has died down… What have you chosen to sing? I’d like to sing the “Caro no me” from Rigoletto. Oh, God. Alright, for the ones of you who are staying… Marylyn will sing the cagame – the what? The caganomy… aria from the opera Rigor Mortis. By… by all means. – Who wrote that? – Giuseppe Verdi. Why? I mean: Why, yes… That’s an expression. It’s your language, I’m just trying to use it. That’s all. Giuseppe Verdi. Joe Green to you. Hands off please. It shouldn’t take long. Not if I can help it. Oh, you don’t tune up… What’s the matter, don’t you know it? Oh, one more. Sorry. Finished? Oh, shut up… We have an agreement: she doesn’t touch my piano I don’t lay hands on her colleraturo. You just said that. Twice. I thought you had that fixed. Three years ago in Denmark we had inflation. And you are familiar with that problem. I invented a language which I called “Inflationary” language. In inflation we have numbers rising.

Prices go up. Anything that has to do with money goes up. Except the language. See, we have hidden numbers in the words like… wonderful (1derful), before (be4)… create (cre8), tenderly (10derly)… All these numbers can be inflated and meet the economy by rising to the ocasion. I suggest we add one to each of these numbers to be prepared. For instance, wonderful would be twoteful, before shall be befive, create – crenine tenderly slould be elevenely. Leutenant would be a leuelevenent. A sentence like: I ate a tenderline with my fork would be: I nine an eleveneline with my fivek. And so on and so fifth. I have a book here I brought and I will read. This is an old book my father inherited from two of his cousins. I will talk to you about that later. I have a story here I’d like to read to you so you’d get an ideea of inflationary language, how it sounds…

Twice upon a time, there lived in sunny Califivenia a young man named Bob. He was a third leuelevenent in the US Airfiveces. Bob has been fond of Anna, his one and a half sister… ever since she saw the light of day for the second time and they were both proud of the fact that two of his fivefathers… have been among the creniners of the US constithreetion.

They were dining on the terace. Anna, he said, as he took a byte of the marinined hering… you look twoteful threenight. You never looked that lovely befive. Anna really looked twoteful despite of the illness from which she had not recupenined. Yes, repeated Bob, you look twoteful threenight… but you have three of the sadest eyes I have ever seen. The table was tastefuly deconined with Anna’s favorite flowers… threelips. They were now talking about Anna’s… tenth husband… from whoom she was sepanined. While on the radio sang “Tee for three”. It was midnight – a clock in the distance struck 13. And then, there in the moonlight stood her husband. Don Two. He was Don Juan. There stood her husband – Don Two – obviously intoxicnined. Anna, he blurted, fivegive me. I’m only young twice. And you are my two and only. Bob jumped to his feet: Get out of here you three-face tripplecrosser! But Anna warned: – Watch out Bob, he is an officer. Yes, he’s two, but I’m two three.

Any two for elevenis? Alright, said Don Two, as he wiped his fivehead. He then left and when he was one and a half way through the revolving door, he mubled… I’ll go back to elevenecy… and be double again. Farewell Anna. Three-la-loo, three-la-loo. I’m going to introduce a young pianist. He is a very very good friend of mine. He is an Armanian… and he has studied at the music concervatory in Istancow. …bull – Istanbul. He has also graduated in chemistry. He’s an excellent chemist. And he has just returned from a very succesfull concert tour and extesive concert tour in South America, in Oblivia…

Bolivia. And has just returned today and I must tell you, he’s a pianist and a funny thing happened He was supposed to play in Bolivia, he came to the concert hall and it didn’t have a piano for the piano recital. So he did some chemistry… for the audience and… where the concert hall used to be… is now just a big hole in the ground. But fortunately he is safe and sound. Could you please welcome mister Zhahan Azruni. That’s all that’s left of him after the… He used to be… anyway He lives in New York with his family and has not been in the US very long He doesn’t speak english. He understands a little. Fortunately I speak a little turkish so he can understand me… How’s everything? We will play together. Because the time is very precious. We don’t have too much time. Otherwise we would play two pianos but we cut it down to one piano. We will play the second Hungarian Rhapsody by Fliszt. Recently I conducted… “The Magic Flute”, Mozart’s great opera. I found in my research, an opera actually written by Mozart but it said Sallieri… on it.

But it’s understood that Mozart actually wrote it. So you can imagine what kind of opera it is, and put Sallieri’s name on it. Anyway, I’ll tell you a little about it because it’s quite interesting It is in one act. It begins with a 45 minutes intermission because it’s such a short opera. And when the curtin rises… first you hear the overture but when the overture is over the curtin rises otherwise you couldn’t see a thing. And on the stage are two large trees. One is on this side and one on the other side. And that indicates a small forest.

Now the tenor comes in – he’s supposed to meet the soprano But she hasn’t arrived yet so he hides behind one of the trees in order to surprise her when she comes in, a little later And when she comes in she can’t find him because he is hidden behind the tree. And she doesn’t know that. Of course she knows it because she must have seen it during rehersals, but she pretends. Well, she now hides behind the other tree waiting for him. But he’s there already so this is a little mess. Now the chorus comes in but nobody knows why except Mozart, and he’s dead.

Finally her father shows up. He’s very angry, because he just wants to get out of the opera as fast as possible. And he decides that she must die and she sings to her death aria and that’s the end of it. The curtain falls, but not hard enough. I’ll take you to the opera and play for you the overture First we hear the conductor’s footsteps when he enters the orchestra’s pit. As a matter of fact I like to call it the orchestra ditch. I suppose it’s a little more dignifying. Pit. First you hear the conductor’s footsteps when he enters the orchestra’s pit, or ditch. He walks sideways… because it’s a very narrow ditch. This is the overture. This was the first part of the overture. Now you’re gonna hear the second part and that’s exactly the same. Now this is a “blip”. The reason for that extra “blip” is that the fellow who does the “blips” started one measure too late. Now the curtin rises and the tenor comes in from that side in a single fire. And he goes behind the tree right away.

Thank you, I’ll tell him. He can’t wait, he is anxious to see her. Now the leading lady comes in. She’s supposed to fill the part of a soprano… she not only fills it she overflows it a little bit. She’s a big… She carries a lot of weight to the opera. She is about 4,5 feet (1,35 m) tall… lying down. She comes in from that side in a single pile… And she goes behind the other tree and surrounds it completely. Well… while you were laughing the chorus has been in and out… and now a baritone arives. But he finds out that he’s in the wrong opera… so he is fired. And now the father comes in. How low can a man get? Now she picks it up from there and sings her death aria.

And she dies by stabbing herself between the two big… trees there on the stage. I’m gonna play one of the waltzes, that I tried to remember before. This is a very lovely one. Whenever I would anounce them from the stages in Europe where I played the whole audience would go “Bravo! Bravo!”, because Bravo played them much better than I do Yes. He is Giuseppe Bravo, a great pianist. And he’s a portugoose. Oh yes, he and his wife are Portuguese, but you can’t have one gees. I told you, it’s your language, I’m just trying to use it. And they have three portugooslings. One of each. When you hear this… that is the introduction to the waltz. And when you hear this… that is the main theme of the waltz. And when you hear this… then there is definetely something wrong… because that’s Chopin… I didn’t even know I knew that one. Here’s a little danish… lullaby my mother used to play for me when I was…

A few years ago. As a matter of fact I never heard her playing it because I always fell asleep the moment she started it But the theme goes like this. Everything comes to an end. You wouldn’t believe it, would you? But this is it. This is what we have to offer, some laughs and smiles… and caughs and hickups. When once in a while a handkerchief comes out to wipe away a tear from laughter… that is my reward. The rest goes to the government. Perhaps we shall meet again sometimes. Maybe next time in your home. Maybe in your dining room. Maybe in your living room. Wherever your TV set is located. We should thank my parents for having made this evening possible. And my children for having made it necessary. I have five children by the way. Not by the way. I have five children. That stupid page-turner with the red tie happens to be one of them.

And there are four more like that. Oh, please… when you drive tonight, please drive extremely carefully. Extremely carefully… Because I walk in my sleep. If you could stop that racking for a second… on behalf of everybody involved in this evening’s performance from the management and from everybody backstage and in front of the stage and from all the artists who have joined me here on stage we wish to thank you profoundly for the curtesy and the honor you have bestowed upon us by rising to the ocasion. I thought you were on your way out. But in retaliation for you keeping me overtime I am going to do an encore. If I have known this we could have started with it and… but anyway I’m going to do a rutine now. The ones of you who have heard… Must have cost a fortune to build this hall.

For 50 cents more I could have gone all the way over there. We don’t waste a beautiful flower. Any flower. We don’t waste anything. It’s as beautiful as an artificial one. I’m going to do a rutine now. The ones of you who have heard it before may enjoy hearing it again. And the ones of you who have not heard it before may enjoy hearing it again next time. I’m speaking of the phonetic punctuation. Well I must compliment you on your endurance. However, have I known this, as I said before, we would have started with it and been home by now. But I certanly apreciate your enthusiasm. Indeed. I invented phonetic punctuation many years ago.

It was in 1936 when I first found that people who speak together don’t understand each other clearly. That when we read or write we use puctuation marks in order to underline the meaning of our sentences. But we do not have that support when we speak. So why not integrate punctuation marks by giving them sounds linked to our speech then we can underline what we intend to comunicate to each other verbally. Now what the heck was all that now? That was right. I’ll teach you how to use the system. A period sounds like this: – A dash: – An exclamation point is a vertical dash with a period underneath.

The comma: – Quotation mark: two commas Or if you happen to be left-handed: – Question mark is a little difficult. And finally the colon: the two little dots. You may put them over each other you may put them under each other. You may put them wherever you wanna put them. I’m gonna read a paragraph from a book I have here. The same book I read from before. My father inherited that from two of his cousins. They were twins.

Identical. But they never knew which one was the identical one because they looked so much alike. My father tought me… He was mighty older than I was, of course. My father was born in 1847, he was 60 years old when I was born. So he was almost my grandfather. And he knew I lot of things that I didn’t know. And I know it now. I wanted to show you a little thing. I have seven grandchildren. And the youngest one… When she was the youngest one which she isn’t anymore because there are two more She is now almost the oldest one. Not necessarily yet, but… And this is a thing she did in school for me. I always show that to the audience. I need a notebook I write notes in it.

Cute. From the school. Cost me 8.000 dollars. She was the one who came home from a beach party. She was this big, and she hardly walked. And i said: Were there many children there? Oh yes, she said, many boys and girls. I said: More boys or more girls? And she said she couldn’t tell that because none of them had any clothes on. I have a short story right here in the beginning of the book. Page… nine. Page six. In the open window there suddently came light – . Beautiful Eleanor sat alone dreaming of but one thing – .- Two years have passed – , – since she met Sir Henri – . She would still remember the unhappy evening – ; – when her father had thrown him out – . They have been sitting in the park and Henri has said – , ” – Darling – ! Is this the first time you have loved – ? ” And she has answered – ” Yes — but it is so wonderful – , – that I hope it shall not be the last – ! ” — Suddently she heard a well known sound – .

It was he – . – In two strides he was near her – , – embraced – , – kissed and caressed her – . – ” – Henri – ! What is love – ? ” – she asked – . He answered – ” – Well – , I couldn’t live without – ! ” — … She asked – ” – I’m sorry. Lefthanded. Where have your thoughts been – ? ” – and he answered – ” To you – , – my dearest – ” … Suddently he had gone – . All she hoid – heard was the well known sound of his departing horse

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