Sunday, August 30, 2015

Playground Rhymes That Include Names Of Famous People (Part II)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series that presents some examples of English language playground rhymes that include the name of actors singers, or other famous people. This post features playground rhyme examples in this category whose titles begin with M-Z.

Click for Part I of this series. Part I features playground rhymes examples whose titles begin with A-L.

The online sources for these rhymes are given after the examples.

Information about these famous people can be found on their Wikipedia page. However, when just the first name is used for a celebrity, I've added a brief statement about that celebrity.

Examples of rhymes that include a name or names of politicians are purposely omitted from this post. Click for a pancocojams post that showcases examples of that category of playground rhymes that include names of famous people. Those rhymes may also include the names of other famous peoples who aren't politicians.

Although no performance activity is specified for most of these rhymes, I believe that most of these examples are either hand clap rhymes or jump rope rhymes.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, cultural, and entertainment purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those whose examples are quoted in this post.

This post isn't meant to be a comprehensive collection of English language playground rhymes that include names of famous people. In most cases, I'm only showcases one version of these rhymes.
However, all of these rhymes have multiple versions

In order of appearance in these examples*, the names of famous people that are featured in this post are Elvis Presley, Betty Grable, Dianna Ross, Jackie Chan, Charlie Chaplin, sabrina, Shirley Temple, Sonia Heeney, Liberace, Marilyn Monroe, The Jackson Five, James Brown, and the Beatles.
*This collection (Part I and Part II) includes more than one rhyme example for Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Betty Grable, Shirley Temple, James Brown, Bobby Brown, and Michael Jordan.

From my online collecting, my sense is that the celebrity whose name is mentioned the most in playground rhymes is Michael Jackson, followed by Elvis Presley. However, my guess is that Michael Jordan (and perhaps also Bobby Brown) are mentioned in the "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky rhymes because those names were mistaken for Michael Jackson.

Note: These examples are presented in alphabetical order based on the rhymes' titles (usually the first few words of there first line.) The titles are written in capital letters.

The famous person's name that is included in each example is given in italics.

M, N
My name is Elvis Presely Im a movie star
I walk like a hippy and i wear a bra
My bras 2 big soo i wear a wig
Thats why they call me sexy pig!!!!!
-Clo xx,">, retrieved by Azizi Powell in 2013

My name is MacNamara.
I am the leader of the band.
My wife is Betty Grable. (* Movie actress, circa 1940 *)
She is the fairest in the land.

Oh, she can dance and she can sing
And she can show a leg.
The only thing that she can't do,
She cannot boil an egg.

Source: Abrahams (1969)

I remember something like

My name is Diana Ross I'm a movie star
With the see through knickers and a ten foot bra.
-Jenni S,, Playground clapping rhymes from your childhood, 05-10-14

O, P
here's a version of God Save the King that [my daughter and son] proudly made up a few years ago:

Oh, tis our country be
I went to Italy
To see the king
His name was Jackie Chan
He smells like garbage can
He lives like a mouse
In the fat guys house

He fought with girls in court
He got a trial sport
He smells like an oil can
He's Jackie Chan

(They have no more idea what "trial sport" means than we do, but they liked the sound of it.)

-electronic message to Azizi Powell from Jacob {who learned this from his daughter Julia, 15, and his son Michael,13}; Arlington, Massachusetts; 3/25/2006

I taught 17 years in city centre schools and I always kept a sharp ear on the playground. Whenever we had to have indoor recess, I'd get the kids going on those timeless playground chants. Each youngster would get a turn. I swear they used to get some from their grandmothers. How else would you explain this one on 1988?
"One two three alarie
I saw sister Mary
Sitting on a bumblarie
Kissing Charlie Chaplin."
-Guest, I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes, 5/23/2005

Jeannie Robertson, in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1958, sang for us:

One, two, three a'leery,
I saw Wallace Beery,
Sittin' on his bumble-eery,
Kissin' Shirley Temple.
-Sandy Paton, Jazz Lyric '1 2 3 O'Lairy' - Count Basie 1940, [hereafter given as Mudcat: 1 2 3 O'Lairy, 19 May 99

Peter & Iona Opie give the WallaceBeery/ShirleyTemple version in The Lore & Language of Schoolchildren [1959], ch 7: attribd 'Edinburgh c1940; Girl, 14, Kirkcaldy, 1952, for ball-bouncing.'

They also give

One, two, three a-lairy,
My ball's down the airey,
Don't forget to give it to Mary,
Not to Charlie Chaplin.

'... heard recently in Camberwell and Hackney' [districts respectively of S & E London] '... reported as current in Montreal...'
-MGM·Lion, Mudcat: 1 2 3 O'Lairy, 31 Oct 09

Open up the barn yard
kick out the hay
cause we're the girls from the usa
turn on the radio what do you here
elvis peresly doing his cheer
hop on ya horses pull out ya guns
bum daddy bum daddy
we're number one"
-Thomara B., cheerleader cheers. 2/23/2007

THE ELVIS PRESLEY CHANT (Open Up The Barnyard, Example #2)
I'm submitting this on behalf of my 9 year old daughter. She came home from school today, we live in Clovis, NM, with a new chant that I've never heard of before so I thought that you would like to post this. Not sure of the name of it, so she's been calling it the Elvis Presley chant.
It goes:

Open the barnyard,
kick out the hay,
We're the girls from the USA.
Turn up the radio,
who do you hear?
Elvis Presley singing his cheer.
We gotta F-I-G-H-T,
We gotta F-I-G-H-T,
We gotta F-I-G-H-T, (throw out punches into the air as the word is being spelled out each time) We gotta fight, fight, fight, on a Saturday night".
-Alex, cheerleader cheers (Website no longer active), 9/19/2007

Open up the barndoor
Kick out the hay
We’re the girls from the USA
Turn on the radio
Who do you hear
Justin Beiber doin a cheer
We gotta F
an I
We gotta F
an I
We gotta F
an I

We gotta fight fight fight for victory!
-Supermaxkato,, Marc h23, 2013

Postman postman
don't be slow
be like Elvis
Go man! Go!

(and then you do hots 'til the jumper misses)
-Motorgirl (Location: Boston Metro), What hand-clapping and jumprope rhymes do you remember?, 12-25-2005
My guess is "do hots" means to turn the rope fast.

Q, R

S, T
SABRINA (Example #1)
This was one of the skipping rhymes we sang at primary school in the 1960s, with actions to match. blush

Sabrina, Sabrina, you ought to see Sabrina standing there

With her legs all bare

She does the wiggle woggle and the boys all stare

She swings it, she swings it, she turns around and swings it

One, two, three
-Grossi, [a UK discussion thread], 01-Feb-12
Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes (born 19 May 1936), was a 1950s English glamour model who progressed to a minor movie career. According to her Wikipedia page, Sabrina's main claim to fame was her hourglass figure.

SABRINA (Example #2)
Dancing game
sabrina,sabrina you ought to see sabrina. With hands up there and skirts up there.i'm shirley temple and I got curly hair,i got a dimple and I wear my skirts up there etc.
-Meriel Cr, [a UK facebook page], August 25, 2014

On the Shirley Temple rhyme - As a kid growing up in New Zealand (1970's) while waiting in line we used to hear this variant from the girls

"Shirley Temple is a Star, S..T..A..R..
She can do the wibble-wobble, she can do the splits
She can lift her dress right up to her hips!"
At which point they would briefly lift up their skirt (like we boys cared at that age)
-Guest, Jay,, I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes, 3/13/2008

sonia heeney skates like this(spin round and catch the ball after spin)
skates like this
skates like this
sonia heeney skates like this
skates(spin) like(spin) this (spin) !!!!!
-GUEST,Ann J Scotland> Mudcat: One-Two-Three-O'Lairy, 25 Jun 09

Shake, shake, shake
Eeny meeny
That's a queeny
Ooh ba Thumbalina
Ah cha ca che Liberace
Oh baby I love you
Yes I do.
Take a peach
Take a plum
Take a piece of bubble gum
No peach
No plum
Just a piece of bubble gum
Oooshe ahshe
Oooshe ahshe
I want a piece of pie
The pie too sweet
I want a piece of meat
The meat too tough
I want to ride the bus
The bus too full
I want to ride the bull
The bull too black
I want my money back
The money too green
I want a diamond ring.
-Barbara Michels, Bettye White, Apples On A Stick, The Folklore of Black Children (Houston, Texas; 1983, p. 17)

Temptation, temptation, temptation/Dick Barton went down to the station/Marilyn Monroe was there/Marilyn Monroe was bare/Temptation, temptation, temptation...
-Brian Grayson,, October 19, 2012
"Dick Barton" is the name of a character in the popular British radio series "Dick Barton – Special Agent" (October 1946 to March 1951.

The Jackson Five (* musical group, circa 1963 *)
Went to France
To teach the children
How to dance.
A heel and a toe (* Jumper lands on heel and toe *)
And round you go. (* Jumper turns full around *)
A heel and a toe (* Jumper lands on heel and toe *)
And around I go. (* Jumper turns full around *)
Salute to the captain. (* Jumper salutes *)
Bow to the king. (* Jumper bows *)
Turn your back (* Jumper turns other direction *)
On the ugly old queen.

Source: Knapp (1976)

TWEEDLEELEE (also known as Rockin Robin)
My Prop
Popsicle, popsicle
Your butt stinks
He rocks in the tree top
all day long
huffin and ah puffin
and ah singin his song.
All the little birds on Jay Bird street
Love to hear the bird go
Tweet Tweet Tweet!
Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee
Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee

I went downtown
To get ah stick of butter.
I saw James Brown
layin in the gutter. (or “poopin in the gutter”)
I saw a piece of glass
stuck up his butt.
I never saw a Black man
run so fast.
Mama's in the kitchen
cookin rice.
Daddy's outside
shootin dice.
Brother's in jail
raisin bail.
Sister's on the corner
Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee
Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee
-African American girls and boys ages 6-13 years old; Pittsburgh, Pa, 1999, collected by Azizi Powell

U, V

W, X,
We three Beatles of Liverpool are
George in a taxi, Paul in a car,
John on a scooter parping his hooter
Following Ringo Starr.
-Guest, Suffolk Miracle;, Famous People in Children's Rhymes; 10/13/2008
The British Rock band "The Beatles" consisted of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr

Y, Z

This concludes Part II of this series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Please share additional examples or additional versions of these examples in the comment section below.

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