Monday, July 14, 2014

Speculative Source For The Children's Rhyme "Hey ...How About A Date Meet Me At The Corner Bout Half Past Eight"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the children's recreational rhyme "Hey ....How About A Date". That "title" is the first line of that rhyme. A celebrity's name is usually inserted after the word "Hey" (or "Hi"). The second line for that rhyme is "meet me at the corner at half past eight".

In Part II of this series I suggest that the Irving Berlin 1947 song "Kate (Have I Come Too Early Too Late)" is the song source for that children's rhyme.

Click for Part I of that series. Part I showcases seven examples of that rhyme.

The content of this post is provided for folkloric and recreational, and cultural purposes.

Thanks to Irving Berlin for his composition. Thanks to all who those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of the featured video on YouTube.


Hi, Roy Rogers how about a date
Meet me at the corner at half past eight
I can do the rumba
I can do the splits
I can do the turn arounds
I can do the kicks.
-girl 11 years, Swansea, 1957 for skipping.
from The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, first published in 1959 [UK] editors: Iona Archibald Opie, Peter Opie, p. 116

1947 HITS ARCHIVE: Kate (Have I Come Too Early Too Late) - Eddy Howard

MusicProf78 , Published on Jul 11, 2014

Kate (Have I Come Too Early, Too Late) (Berlin) by Eddy Howard & his Orchestra, vocal by Eddy Howard (CD audio source)

Howard's version of the Irving Berlin tune reached #7 on Billboard's weekly juke box play charts.
Another sound file of that song is found at That example was recorded in 1947 by Ray Bloch & Alan Dale.

(Irving Berlin)

Here's that man again waiting at your garden gate
With a bouquet, don't you send me away, have a little pity, Kate
Poor me, can't you see
I'm in an awful state?

How much longer must I wait, Kate
Till you let me know my fate, Kate?

The sun's down, the moon's out, there's no one in sight
My questions need answers, tonight is the night

Nine o'clock we had a date, Kate
I've been here since half-past eight, Kate

I came a little bit early, I couldn't wait
Have I come too early, too late?

I have only heard one example of the playground rhyme "Hey...How About A Date" - one given as Example #1 in Part I of this series. That tune didn't sound like that Irving Berlin song.
I'm not sure what other examples of that rhyme sound like, but the one example that I did hear sounded somewhat like the refrain to the song "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye".

UPDATE: July 14/2014 - The more I think about it, I'm going to have to retract my statement that the example of this rhyme sounded like the refrain to "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Aye". I can't describe how it sounds partly because I don't know how to write or read music. But, it occurs to me that that rhyme which my informant Barbara called "Hey Baby" (How About A Date" said that sometimes that rhyme would be "done" with the rhyme called "Ladies & Gentlemen, Children Too". She didn't say this but I think that one reason that those two rhymes might have been performed together was because they sounded alike. And, thankfully, there is a recorded example of the rhyme "Ladies & Gentlemen, Children Too". because The Pointer Sisters recorded it as an introduction to the "Wang Dang Doodle". Here's a link to that video:

How would you describe the tune to that rhyme? Is there a popular song that you think it sounds like?

Most examples in the rhyme family being discussed have the first sentence "Hey (or Hi) [celebrity's name] How about a date/Meet me at the corner about half past eight." I believe those lines are an adapted form of these lyrics from the Irving Berlin song "Kate (Have I Come Too Early, Too Late)": "Nine o'clock we had a date, Kate/ I've been here since half-past eight, Kate".

Given the examples that I've found of the children's playground rhyme "Hey ...How About A Date" (Meet Me At The Corner Bout Half Past Eight), I believe that that rhyme originated in the 1950s in the United States as a girls' recreation rhyme. Like most girls playground rhymes of the 1940s and 1950s, "Hey ....How About A Date" usually appears to have been performed as a jump rope (skipping) rhyme. After the 1960s, the usual performance activity for girls playground rhymes changed to partner hand claps (hand games). However, I've not (yet) found any examples of "Hey... How About A Date" that indicate that that rhyme was chanted as a hand clap game.

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