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  1. #1
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    Kilted episode of Wagon Train

    I just watched this on MeTV (memorable entertainment). It featured clan McGregor , nobody wore sporrans, except while they were wearing coats. The bagpipe players didn't look very convincing either, I'm definitely not an expert on bagpipes but it looks like there isn't any air in them. In a nutshell the clan scared away a whole tribe of attacking Indians by playing their "evil" music. I guess the Indians were lucky it wasn't a Welsh regiment they ran into though, or it could have been a lot worse.

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    Last edited by tokareva; 1st September 18 at 09:08 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    10th October 08
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    Louisville, Kentucky, USA (38 13' 11"N x 85 37' 32"W gets you close)
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    I've seen that episode on MeTV a couple of times now, and no, the pipers are not really piping. The bags are not filled, they are in the wrong position for playing, and their fingers don't come anywhere close to playing the tunes you hear. (One appears to be moving mostly his lower hand fingers and the other, while lifting and lowering the fingers on both hands, couldn't be playing the notes heard because fingers on BOTH hands were off the chanter at the same time.) Neither appeared to be blowing into the blowpipes.

    The picture you have of one of the pipers also shows his hands opposite the way most pipers play when the bag is under the left arm. Due to the reach needed, most pipers learn with the left hand fingering the top holes on the chanter, with the right hand on the lower holes. Not to say that it's wrong, just very unusual.

    There was also a demonstration of Scottish folk dancing at one point. (I think both a strathspey and a reel were played during the scene, but I don't know if the steps were correct to the music.)

    Several unfortunate Scottish stereotypes were portrayed: being miserly, combative at a look, hard drinking, etc.
    Last edited by EagleJCS; 1st September 18 at 04:17 PM. Reason: added comments
    John

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  5. #3
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    Reality in US television

    US television shows are not noted for their accurate representation of facts. Most tv series are interested in telling a story. Back in the 1950s and 1960s when "Wagon Train" was on the air, they expected that the audience was the people they were entertaining back then and people within the US who would mostly be unaware of reality when it came to kilt wearing Scots and bagpipes. The Scots in the episode were there to help tell the story. When they were writing the series, they had no idea that decades later these programs would still be available and be available to people who might know better.

    Compare this to Early Hamner Jr. He had a very successful wholesome series "Walton's Mountain." It was largely based on his memories of growing up from the Great Depression to WWII time period. The time period was relatively recent and he had first hand knowledge of it.

    With the success of that show, Hamner decided to create a contemporary wholesome series, "Apple's Way." Where could you find a good, wholesome environment? Well, Iowa, of course! His portrayal of contempoary life in Iowa, was, to say the least, laughable! Hamner was expecting Iowans who were contemporary to his creation to be watching the show. Example: One of the kids took a test to get a driving license. He had to wait several days for the mail to come to find out if he passed. Reality: The Iowa State Highway Patrolman testing officer told you immediately upon completion of the test if you passed or not. You received the license that very day. (Now, with "star" licenses, officially "Real ID", you get a paper copy of your new license that day and have to wait for the permanent license to come later. Example: January in Iowa, trees full of green leaves, green grass growing, playing checkers on the front porch in shirt sleeves. Reality: January in Iowa, barren trees possibly covered with snow or ice, snow covered ground or brown, dormant grass, playing checkers somewhere it is relatively warm.

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleJCS View Post
    The picture you have of one of the pipers shows his hands opposite the way most pipers play when the bag is under the left arm.
    Though not normal, you do see pipers (in the old days and today) playing with their hands like that: the hands reversed, but the bag-arm not reversed. Or in other words bag under left arm but right hand on top.

    Some are very good players; some rise to the rank of Pipe Major



    I've heard tales of pipers who play reversed ("left handed") joining the army and being told to switch the bag under their left arm. I don't know if that's true- there have always been reversed pipers in the army.



    About actors mimicking musicians, yes it's usually obvious, whether it's woodwinds or strings or what have you.

    I remember seeing a scene in the TV show Fame showing a string ensemble. It was hilarious, the bowing having nothing to do with the music.

    When you see a piper in a film, even if the person is an actual piper, the sound you're hearing wasn't recorded during the shoot. A shoot is eerily quiet: the roomful of people chatting are actually silent, pretending to talk, and musicians seen are likewise silent.

    The sounds are all added later, except for the principle actors, who are the only ones talking on set. Everything else is silent so they can get a clean recording of the actors.

    With bagpipes funny things happen like the piper you see stopping playing but the music you hear continuing to play.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 2nd January 19 at 07:41 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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