The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is offered in full for online listening through June 22nd. You can also purchase a download of this story via Downpour, with proceeds going to Reach Out and Read.
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is an 1865 short story by Mark Twain, his first great success as a writer, bringing him national attention. How It All Goes Down: A man from the East comes to a western mining town. At the request of a friend, the narrator speaks with Simon Wheeler in order to ask after a man named Leonidas W. Smiley. Instead of giving the narrator the information that he asks for, Wheeler launches into a tall tale about a man named Jim Smiley. The story goes something like this: Jim Smiley was a man who would bet on anything. He turned a frog into a pet and bet a stranger that his frog, Dan’l Webster, could jump higher than any other frog. While Smiley wasn’t looking, the stranger filled Dan’l Webster with quail shot, and Smiley lost the bet. Before he could figure out what happened, the stranger disappeared with the $40 he won by cheating. Sick of the long-winded tale about Jim Smiley and his frog, the narrator tries to escape from Wheeler before he launches into another story. The narrator realizes that his friend probably intended for him to suffer through Wheeler’s tedious tale.
Kaleo Griffith is a classically trained, multiple award-winning Voice Artist and Actor living in Los Angeles. He has been called “Powerful, with the presence of a young Timothy Dalton” by The Hollywood Reporter. Griffith graduated cum laude from Franklin Pierce University with a B.A. in Theatre, holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has also lived and trained classically in the UK through Roger Williams University. Film & TV include: Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio; Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Diagnosis X, a “Host” on HGTV, and several soaps, Griffith has performed in over 50 professional theatrical productions across the country– like Pasadena Playhouse and South Coast Repertory Theatre- and working with veterans like Richard Chamberlain, Jessica Walter & Lois Nettleton. Voice work encompasses many commercial campaigns and audiobooks. Griffith recently won two “Earphones” for his narration work on Pamela Clare’s Extreme Exposure and Karen Russell’s(Pulitzer Prize finalist) Vampire’s In The Lemon Grove. Griffith is currently shooting the feature/western Six Gun Savior-with Eric Roberts and enjoying narrating so many wonderful audiobooks.