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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Terrapin Blues


Milwaukee vaudeville entertainer and instrument maker Anton Hudy believed the crowning achievement of his career was fashioning this mandolin with a sounding board made from a snapping turtleís shell.

In the first decade of the 20th century Hudy and his wife entertained large audiences in Wisconsinís principal city, he on various stringed instruments and she playing the fine-toothed hair comb. When demand for vaudeville diminished, he spent years as an inventor and repairer of musical instruments before coming up with the idea of backing stringed instruments with turtle shells. At the time this 1935 interview was done, Hudy was about to send his 22-year-old son down the Mississippi and around the Gulf of Mexico in quest of the perfect terrapin for musical purposes.
:: Posted in Animals on May 12, 2005

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