MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) --
Wanted: Personable employee who is good with water fowl. Classy work environment. No heavy lifting.
That's not exactly how The Peabody Hotel is wording its ads for a new "duckmaster," but it does indeed describe the job.
The Peabody, an ornate Memphis landmark, needs a new handler to lead the world-renowned, twice-a-day duck marches to and from the hotel's lobby fountain.
The ducks live on the roof and arrive at the lobby via elevator. From there, they march to the music of John Philip Sousa along a narrow red carpet to the fountain.
One mallard and four hens do daily duty from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., swimming around eating corn kernels and having their pictures taken by tourists.
"We have hundreds of spectators who will crowd the lobby and the mezzanine level every day to watch the march," said hotel spokeswoman Nikita Flynn.
The current duckmaster resigned, Flynn said.
To get the job, a candidate must be good with tourists as well as with ducks, and follow the lead of the first duckmaster, Edward Pembroke, in also becoming part of the show.
Pembroke, with a distinguished air and gold-trimmed red jacket, was the hotel's duckmaster for 50 years until his retirement in 1991. He died in 1994 at age 84.
The duck tradition got its start in the 1930s after a Peabody manager, Frank Schutt, and some friends returned from a hunting trip.
Live ducks could be used as decoys in those days, so they put a couple in the fountain.
The "March of the Peabody Ducks," as it is seen today, began after Pembroke got a job as a bellman in the 1940s. He was a former circus worker who had experience in training animals.