Bert & I

"Bert & I" is the name given to numerous collections of humor stories set in the "Down East" culture of traditional Maine. These stories were made famous and mostly written by the humorist storytelling team of Marshall Dodge (1935-1982) and Bob Bryan in the 1950s and 1960s, and in later years through retellings by Allen Wicken.

While many of the more prominent stories center around the title characters (Bert, and the narrator), others are stories of fabricated characters which communicate a quirkiness of rural New England and Maine culture. The stories are told in the traditional folksy New England storytelling vein, with a dry wit, of the sort generally considered as "humor," though not comedy in the common sense, akin to that of the (later) Lake Wobegon stories.

A number of well-worn sayings and rehashed jokes have their roots in "Bert & I" stories. One common phrase, sometimes said in a New England accent, "You can't get there from here" (or, with accent, approaching "You cahn't get theyah from heeah") was the punchline to the story "Which Way to Millinocket?" (not to be confused with "Which Way to East Vassalboro?", which had a different, anti-urbanite theme.)

The title characters are fishermen by trade, operating a motor vessel named "Bluebird" (and later "Bluebird II"), based out of Kennebunkport. Many of the longer stories of Bert & I collections involve incidents during a day's work, with careful detail given to the intricacies of the trade.

Bert & I stories spread beyond New England during the 1970s and 1980s, and introduced many parts of the country and world to the regionally distinct Maine (or "Yankee") accent. In 1982, Bryan released a "Bert & I" mock language tape, "How To Talk Yankee," with fellow Maine humorist Tim Sample.

Discography

* "Bert and I... And Other Stories from Down East"
* "More Bert and I... And Other Stories from Down East"
* "The Return of Bert and I: How the Bluebird II Plugged the Hole in the Machias Maru, Thus Saving the Coast of Maine and Other Stories"
* "Bert and I Stem Inflation (1961) BI-11"
* "Bert and I... On Stage"
* "How to Talk Yankee"
* "A Maine Pot-Hellion"

External links

* [http://www.bertandi.net/ Bert and I homepage]
* [http://www.timsample.com/bertandi.html What about Bert and I?] by Tim Sample


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