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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IN THE THEATRE, A PERFORMER IS NEVER SUPPOSED TO WISH
ANOTHER PERSON GOOD LUCK IN THE NORMAL GOOD LUCK WORDS.
YOU KNOW LIKE "GOOD LUCK" OR "KNOCK 'EM DEAD." HE'S
SUPPOSED TO SAY "BREAK A LEG." I THINK THAT IT HAS
SOMETHING TO DO WITH WHEN JOHN WILKES BOOTH JUMPED ONTO
THE STAGE AFTER SHOOTING LINCOLN AND BROKE HIS LEG.

Where learned: NASHVILLE, ASSUMED ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

Subject headings: DRAMA -- D000
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Good luck
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 07-23-1968

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ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL IN JACKSON, TENNESSEE USED TO BE TAUGHT BY
THE DOMINICAN SISTERS OF NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. THIS NEGRO
SCHOOL HAS SINCE BEEN CLOSED.
THEY WERE HAVING A PLAY ONE DAY AND ONE OF THE BOYS NEEDED A
COAT SO THAT HE WOULD LOOK THE PART OF AN ADULT. IT WAS TIME
FOR THE PLAY AND THIS BOY HAD NOT SHOWN UP. THEY WAITED AND
WAITED, BUT HE DIDN'T COME. FINALLY, HE ARRIVED AND THE
SISTER ASKED HIM WHY HE HAD TAKEN SO LONG. HE SAID THAT
THE ONLY ONE WHO HAD A COAT WAS HIS BROTHER, AND HE HAD HAD
BAD LUCK AND AS SOON AS HE WOULD PUT ON THE COAT HE
WOULD HAVE BAD LUCK TOO, AND IT WOULD MAKE HIM MAKE A
MISTAKE WITH HIS LINES.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE ; JACKSON

Subject headings: DRAMA -- D000
BELIEF -- Bad luck Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)

Date learned: 08-00-1968

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THERE IS A BELIEF IN THE THEATRE THAT A BAD FINAL DRESS
REHEARSAL PERFORMANCE MEANS A GOOD OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCE.
BY HE SAME TOKEN, A GOOD FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL PERFORMANCE
SHOULD WARN THE ACTOR THAT HE IS LIABLE TO GIVE A POOR
PERFORMANCE OPENING NIGHT.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; CLARKSVILLE

Subject headings: Observation
DRAMA -- D000
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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IN SHOW BUSINESS A BAD DRESS REHEARSAL MEANS A GOOD PERFORMANCE.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: Observation
DRAMA -- D000

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO WHISTLE IN A DRESSING ROOM OF A THEATRE, ON
A SHIP, (OR) IN A STORM.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: DRAMA -- D000
BELIEF -- Bad luck Games Pastimes Sports

Date learned: 07-00-1972

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THERE IS A BELIEF IN THE THEATRE THAT IT IS BAD LUCK TO WISH
AN ACTOR GOOD LUCK ON A PERFORMANCE. THE PERSON INSTEAD WISHES
THE ACTOR BAD LUCK BY SAYING "BREAK A LEG." THIS IN TURN WILL
BRING THE ACTOR GOOD LUCK ON HIS PERFORMANCE.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; CLARKSVILLE

Subject headings: DRAMA -- D000
BELIEF -- P82
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance
BELIEF -- Good luck
SPEECH -- Vocabulary of Special Group

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ALSO IN THE THEATRE, EVERYONE ALWAYS HOPES FOR AN AWFUL
DRESS REHEARSAL, BECAUSE THEN THE OPENING NIGHT
PERFORMANCE IS SUPPOSED TO BE TERRIFIC. USUALLY THIS
IS TRUE, TOO.

Where learned: HOME ; NASHVILLE ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): COMPENSATION CONTRAST

Subject headings: Observation
DRAMA -- D000
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 07-23-1968

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IT IS GOOD LUCK TO SAY "BREAK A LEG" TO AN ACTOR BEFORE HE GOES
ON STAGE.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: DRAMA -- D000
BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Good luck
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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DID YOU KNOW THAT MOVIE STARS HID A PENNY IN THE DRESSING ROOMS
AND IF THE NEXT PERSON WHO USES THE DRESSING ROOM FINDS THE
PENNY, THEN HE WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN HIS NEXT PICTURE.

Where learned: NASHVILLE ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

Subject headings: DRAMA -- D000
BELIEF -- Measure of quality
BELIEF -- Good luck Money

Date learned: 07-23-1968

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showing 9 items

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