How to locate the names of these people who toured my school
March 5, 2010 7:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to locate more information about two events from my childhood/adolescence. The first involves a man who toured elementary schools telling stories to kids and the second involves a man who toured high schools advocating against drunk driving by telling a true story about a drunk driver who drove his car into someone's living room. I would like to have the names of these two people. More random details inside.

Here's my vague recollection of these stories.

1) This was in the late 80s in Florida. I'm pretty sure it was a tour and this man (Caucasian, in his 40s i think) told these funny stories. One involved a story of animals in the jungle. He would clap his hands against his thighs to mimic the sounds of an animal running in the jungle (?). He sold cassette tapes as part of his tour. I remember part of his routine included having the kids in the slap their hands on their thighs and change the speed of the slapping as the animals in his story ran faster or slower.

2) The second was in the mid 90s ('94ish) and the details are pretty blurry. It was another middle aged male who came to speak to our high school class about drunk driving. I remember he started his story by describing a scene with red lights and he comes to discover that its a tail light and there is a car in a living room. I cant remember if he's the victim or the person who drove the car into the living room. I do remember that the driver was drunk and the main point was to advocate against drunk driving. I'm pretty sure he was selling a book and may have had a son who was injured as a result of the accident.
posted by icy to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1. Odds Bodkin? I don't remember the story you're describing, but I used to have a couple of his tapes.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 8:19 PM on March 5, 2010

I can't help you with the identity of the first guy, but what he did sounds a lot like an incredibly common story form that was definitely circulating in schools and camps in the 1980s and earlier: Lion Hunt.

The story format was this. Everyone listening was enlisted into going on a fictional lion hunt. At the start of the story, you learned the basic clapping rhythm, and everyone clapped along. It was usually: thigh, thigh, clap, clap - where you patted your thighs twice with both hands, then clapped both hands together. And you were taught a refrain. The one I remember from camp was:

Goin' on a lion hunt (thigh thigh, clap clap)
But I'm not afraid (thigh thigh, clap clap)
'Cause I've got my gun (again with the thighs and claps)
And my bullets by my side (again, but hitting your side instead).

Then the storyteller would describe different conditions you encountered on the lion hunt - crossing a swamp, a desert, a swinging bridge, a mountain, tall grasslands - and for each one, the refrain would be modified a bit to reflect swinging, swamp squishing, chopping the grass, etc. Finally, in the story, you encountered the lion - and it was so scary you just patted your thighs constantly to make a running sound, representing the idea that you WERE afraid and were running back to safety. Big gradeschool laughs all around.

I'm sure you saw a unique performance, but it's a very widespread story.

Here's an example. Another featuring a 21st century GPS update. I have no idea why these corporate folks are doing it. It sometimes shows up as Bear Hunt.
posted by Miko at 8:42 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, Miko. I think you might be on to something. Maybe this was a unique version of the Lion Hunt. I remember that the thigh slapping involved slapping his thigh and then bringing his hand up and hitting the rising hand to the underside of his other hand and then repeating on the other thigh. He told several different stories though - not just one about a lion. They were all sold on a tape which I remember owning for several years after he came to visit our school.
posted by icy at 9:40 PM on March 5, 2010

I heard a speaker in school who told of a drunk driver driving a car into a house -- what I remember is that the car had come into the bedroom and driven onto the bed, in which he and his wife were sleeping - killing her. (I think the speaker was not the driver, in other words; could be wrong about that, though.) No further help with identifying the speaker, though.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:47 PM on March 5, 2010

Same with LobsterMitten! This guy was sleeping in the bed with his wife on the first floor and a drunk driver drove through their house and ran over his wife. This was probably aroudn 1996 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (I don't know if he was a national speaker or local, so that may help). No name, though.
posted by amicamentis at 6:48 AM on March 6, 2010

I'm guessing for #2, he was probably the driver or someone busted for some other drunk driving related offense and doing community service for it. We had tons of those types speak as a kid, including local celebrity "Mattress Mac" of Gallery Furniture who had to do community service for years after a tiger mauled a little girl at his store. If that's the case, though, it's going to be really hard to figure out who the guy was unless you find someone that went to your same high school or school district and remembers his name.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:58 AM on March 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the info, guys. Glad to know that this sounds like something that actually happened. For some reason I was sure there was a book involved. I figured this might make his appearance more than just a community service deal but it seems like that may have been the case.
posted by icy at 2:53 PM on March 6, 2010

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