Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day, Jan. 24th!

Help me start a fun way to commemorate an important moment in California history. On Jan. 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered gold while building a saw mill for John Sutter in Coloma. These few nuggets ultimately led to the Gold Rush.
To honor this historic event, I'm proposing "Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day," to be celebrated on Jan. 24th of each year. All you have to do to join in is to talk like a grizzled prospector.
This idea obviously has roots in the popular "International Talk Like A Pirate Day." But it was also inspired by the Prospectors' Day event that Knott's Berry Farm once held each Jan. 24th. The photo below shows the parade from that event in 1973. (Note Walter and Cordelia Knott in the car at right.)
Finally, the event was also partially inspired by a brief exchange in a episode of The Simpsons:

Bart: That ain't been popular since aught-six, dagnabbit.
Homer: Bart, what did I tell you?
Bart: No talking like a grizzled 1890's prospector, consarn it.
You might be wondering how, exactly, one talks like a grizzled prospector. Opinions vary, but for my money, Dallas McKennon's narration for Disneyland's Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland, and Big Thunder Mountain is just about perfect.
However, there's also much to be said for the voices of Gabby Hayes (either drunk or sober), Gabby Johnson (from Blazing Saddles), or even Will Farrell as the "Old Prospector" on Saturday Night Live. Or watch and learn from countless grizzled prospector characters in your own favorite Western TV shows and movies.
Of course, if you really want to get into the spirit of things, you also do the "Walter Huston Dance" from Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Here in Orange County, the ranchos benefited dramatically from the Gold Rush, as miners provided a huge market for beef. Previously, only the hides and tallow from the cattle were particulary marketable. This prosperous period is still enshrined in California lore as the romantic era of the ranchos.
Also, some of Orange County's early gringo pioneers and luminaries first came to California as 49ers. One of these was J.E. Pleasants, who was (among many other things) among the founding members of the Orange County Historical Society.
Anyway, mark Jan. 24th on your calendar, spread the word among your friends, and be ready to talk like a grizzled prospector, dadgummit!


Capt. Tomorrow said...

I'm all for anything that allows me the chance to experience authentic frontier gibberish.

Unknown said...

Makes me think of Charles Christian Nahl's 'Sunday Morning in the Mines' at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento. You can see it here: http://www.crockerartmuseum.org/exhibitions/permanent_california.htm

David Daniels said...


Phil said last night that you'd be promoting this on the blog. Thanks for finally making our dreams come true. I know Phil had been proposing this idea for years.


Chris Jepsen said...

Phil and I have been batting this idea back and forth at the Archives for at least the past four years. It's time had come.

outsidetheberm said...

Well sir, that there sounds like a daisy of a notion, by cracky!
Sure hope you ain't just barkin' at a knot!

Anonymous said...

Sonny, that's a mighty fine idea.

colony rabble said...

OK, I'm in, but you will have to remind us, God knows what kind of mischief I may be involved with a year from now...

James Woest said...

This poor man was just ahead of his time:

Chris Jepsen said...

Thanks for the tip, Jim! I posted it on the official TLAGPD Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Talk-Like-A-Grizzled-Prospector-Day/290853327171