Redcliffe Pier

Saturday, December 20, 2014

DUCKS TAKE OVER THE FOYER FOUNTAIN

I once saw on TV an article about the "Peabody Ducks". There are five ducks that live in the penthouse of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN, USA. Everyday at 11:00am the ducks come down in the elevator to the foyer fountain and swim there until 5:00pm when they are marched back to the elevator on a special red carpet by the Duckmaster. This tradition has been going for 80 years. 
When we were in Memphis last month Bill and I thought it would be fun to see the march of the Peabody Ducks our friends Kathy and Rob were not so keen but we dragged them along anyway. They thought we were nuts wanting to wait with crowds of tourists to see ducks.
The fountain is cut from one enormous piece of travertine marble made and shipped from Italy for the opening of the hotel in 1925. The ducks are hiding behind the front edge. The flowers are changed every second day in the middle of the night.
The elevator is stopped for guests and a sign placed inside saying 'Elevator in use by Peabody Ducks.

Hundreds of tourists pour into the foyer as it gets close to five o'clock. There are four female and one male Mallard Ducks. They are raised by a local farmer and each team only live in the hotel for three months and then they return to the farm where they are free to live as wild ducks.

After waiting for nearly an hour the Duckmaster (full of his own importance) proceeded to tell us the legend of the Peabody Ducks. Back in the thirties Frank Schutt, General Manager of the hotel  and a friend returned from a hunting trip. The men had a little too much whiskey and thought it would be funny to put some of their live duck decoys in the beautiful fountain. They were an instant hit with guests so the ducks stayed. In 1940, bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to deliver the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now famous Peabody Duck March. He became the Peabody Duckmaster for the next 50 years.

The marching music starts and the ducks march from the fountain to the lift on their red carpet.

Into the lift and up to the Duck Palace on the roof.

After the long wait for a few minutes action we decided to make the most of the visit and have dinner in the hotel. We found an Italian restaurant. I had spaghetti bolognese.

Bill had spinach and ricotta ravioli

Kathy and Rob had Brisket.
 They don't serve duck at the Peabody Hotel.



32 comments:

  1. Very quirky! I would not have missed it either.

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  2. Interesting as I never bothered to find out where the introduction of the ducks came from.
    You didn't happen to spot any spare long trousers around the lobby???
    Isn't "The Peabody" the place where this "hushed or whatever" mystery happened??

    The meal looks pretty enticing - I bet for the price at this place, it better be?
    Colin

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    1. My apologies to "The Peabody" - it was the "Admiral Benbow Inn" ( quite a few "rungs" below in status) where allegedly person and trousers became separated. Actually I give little credence to the story but it sure was a front pager!

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  3. Now, that is a different sight to see.. I can't believe they get to live in the penthouse and have their own elevator..lol! The food does look yummy! Great post and photos..

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  4. Oh that is the most amazing story I've heard in ages, Diane! I can see what a tourist attraction this is by the crowds in the foyer. When you said you had dinner there afterwards, I thought, I hope there isn't duck on the menu! Thanks for sharing! Jo

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  5. Well that's one unusual way to attract the tourists.

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  6. Your last sentence pre-empted my question. What a cute story.

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  7. What a story this is isn't it. I remember it but had not the time to wait for the ducks to see them walking.Some traditions are hilarious.

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  8. That's really quite a cute tradition. I'd never heard of this before. The meal looks delicious too.

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  9. Aren't they well-behaved ducks? All those flashes going off as they walk the red carpet don't even faze them! How fun to see.

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  10. We were asked not to flash directly into their eyes.

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  11. How wonderful. I'm glad you attended because we now all can see via your photos...thanks

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  12. it is cute. amazing the ducks have to learn the routine for only 3 mos. wonder what they think once they're returned to outdoors. :)

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  13. OF course they don't serve duck at the Peabody... LOL... they are so cute... ducks must be easy to train since they change them out... wonder where they live in the hotel when not marching... that fountain is stunning even without the ducks.

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  14. Now that's really an exceptional story ! Would have loved to see this duck march ! The Italian food looks delicious too ! I avoid to go into Italian Restaurants, because we eat mostly Italian at home, lol !

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  15. Thanks for your photos of the famous Peabody Ducks -- I enjoyed them very much. It looks as if you had a delicious meal afterward.

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  16. I have heard of the Peabody Ducks for years. They are real celebrities. Great photos Diane :)

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  17. Even though I live in Tennessee, I have never seen the ducks at the Peabody.... BUT--I've read about them and heard about them all of my life... Glad you all got to see them. Looks like you enjoyed a great dinner also.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  18. Oh how nice, thanks for show them to us

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  19. Grin. I was wondering if there was duck on the menu. This is an hilarious tourist attraction.

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  20. Oh love it what a great experience to see the ducks marching on the carpet. The meals you had look absolutely delicious What a great time you al had

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  21. I had never heard of the Peabody Ducks - what a fascinating tradition. I'm pleased to hear they only 'holiday' in the hotel for three months....

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  22. The food looks delightful and sometimes you just have to go see the whacky things - a one in a lifetime visit for sure!

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  23. That's AWESOME! I was a little worried when your photos skipped from the duck march to the food :D But ... so glad no ducks were harmed in the making of this post!! Have a great Christmas!!

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  24. Haha, well said Red - took the thoughts right outta my head.

    Isn't it amazing Diane, what a fabulous thing.

    It's probably going to be a tad cooler down your way for Christmas, its winding up to be a scorcher here.

    Christmas greetings to you and yours!

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  25. How funny! I've heard about this and never quite "got" it, but if we ever go to Memphis I'm sure we'd go see for ourselves cuz that's what we do (just like you obviously). Merry Christmas to you and TOH .

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  26. looks like you all had a great time. the food does look tempting. the brisket looks so deilcious...now i am hungry!
    great post and photos.

    wishing a very merry christmas to you and yours! xx

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  27. What a festive holiday post. Looks like you had a wonderful time. Sending you wishes for a very Merry Christmas and lots more of your great posts in 2015!

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  28. Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

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  29. Such fun! I'd love to see the ducks march in! Wishing you all the best this Christmas!

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  30. I was sincerely hoping I would not see any duck on the menu - that would be too weird! What a funny tradition though.

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  31. what a funny story and how from a joke that it became a tradition.
    food looks delicious

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