Thursday, July 3, 2014

Larry Grayson - The Source For The "Shut The Door" Ending In "Say Say My Playmate" Hand Game

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is Part I of a two part series on the end line "Shut the door" that is found in some examples of the hand game "Say Say My Playmate" and that is also found, to a lesser extent, in the hand game "I Don't Want To Go To Mexico".

This post presents the theory that that the source of that ending line and its closely related form "lock the door" is an adaptation of the catch phrase "shut that door" which was popularized by the British comedian and television host Larry Grayson.

Information about the 1940 song "Playmates" which is the source of that hand game "Say Say My Playmate" is included in this post along with information about Larry Grayson and information about the television show "Generation Game". In addition, this post presents a video example and text for one "Say Say My Playmate" rhyme.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II presents text examples of Playmate rhymes and "I Don't Want To Go To Mexico" rhymes that "shut the door" ending.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those featured in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.

Special hip tip to mollymooly from the Language Log blog whose comment & link is found below for introducing me to the idea that Larry Grayson's use of "Shut That door" is the source for the ending line in "Say Say My Playmate" hand clap rhymes.

The children's rhyme "Say Say My Playmate" ("Cee Cee Oh Playmate" and other similar spellings) and its parodies are adaptations of a hit 1940s American song "Playmate". "Playmate" was written by American composer Saxie Dowell. However, its melody was lifted from a 1906 song composed by Charles L. Johnson entitled "Iola". Charles L. Johnson sued and there was an out of court settlement. The lyrics of the song "Playmate" were adapted from a 1894 song "I Don't Want to Play in Your Yard", words by Philip Wingate and music by H. W. Petrie, composed in 1894.

From "'slide down my cellar door' (Playmate)"comment , posted by GUEST,Q, Date: 06 Feb 03 - 04:57 PM
"The Saxie Dowell song was undoubtedly based on "I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard," words by Philip Wingate and music by H. W. Petrie, composed in 1894...

The chorus: [of "I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard"]
I don't want to play in your yard,
I don't like you any more.
You'll be sorry when you see me
Sliding down our cellar door.
You can't holler down my rain barrel,
You can't climb my apple tree.
I don't want to play in your yard,
If you won't be good to me.
One additional source for this information is "List Of Best Known Public Domain Songs".

Click for the complete lyrics to "I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard".
Also, note that "In various forms, “slide down my cellar door” became a kind of catchphrase to suggest innocent friendship" [from 1896 to the beginnings of the 1940s]. This was probably as a result of the "I Don't Want To Play In Your Yard" song. Read "Slide down my cellar door" March 16, 2014 @ 3:37 pm, Filed by Geoff Nunberg as well as a comment by JohnInKansas Date: 12 Nov 13 - 10:11 PM in the first Mudcat link that was previously given in this post.

I believe that the catchphrase "Shut that door" which was popularized by British comedian and television host Larry Grayson is the probable source for the "shut the door" hand game ending line. That ending is found in some examples of "Say Say My Playmate" rhymes and, is to a lesser extent found in "I Don't Want To Go To Mexico" hand game rhymes.

Larry Grayson popularized the catchphrase "Shut That Door" before, during, and after he was the host on the highly popular British television show "Generation Game". He was known as "Shut that door Larry Grayson, and the documentary that was produced honoring him after he died was entitled "Shut That door, a tribute to Larry Grayson.

From "Slide down my cellar door"
March 16, 2014, Filed by Geoff Nunberg

mollymooly said,
March 18, 2014 @ 5:02 am
"which can only be from a TV presenter's catchphrase of the day."

To supplement Rhoda's comment for those who can't Google: Larry Grayson presented "Shut That Door!" and retained the catchphrase when he took over "The Generation Game" from Bruce Forsyth."

"Larry Grayson (31 August 1923 – 7 January 1995), born William Sulley White, was an English comedian and television presenter who reached the peak of his fame in the 1970s and early '80s. He is best remembered for hosting the BBC's popular series The Generation Game and for his high camp and English music hall humour...

Grayson was one of the first television comedians to suggest an openly gay persona and many of his catchphrases, gestures and anecdotes were certainly suggestive, although he never publicly discussed or made direct reference to his sexuality, and was never known to have a partner."

From "Shut That Door"
"Larry Grayson (1923-95) spent decades working the club and cabaret circuit before finding fame first with his own TV show Shut That Door in 1975, and later as the presenter of the BBC family show The Generation Game. A drag artist as well as a comedian, he was a master of high camp; "Shut that door" was his catchphrase, so it was inevitable that he would record a song with that title. Credited to Worth/Peacock, it was released on York Records in August 1972, when he was on the verge of becoming a household name. The B-Side was "Slack Alice," one of the characters he created for his comedy act.

As might be expected "Shut That Door" is slightly risqué in the double entendre department, and it is surprising it didn't fall foul of the BBC censor. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2)"

Here's some information about the "Generation Game":
"The Generation Game is a British game show produced by the BBC in which four teams of two (people from the same family, but different generations, hence the title of the show) competed to win prizes. The programme was first broadcast in 1971 under the title Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game and ran until 1982, and again from 1990 until 2002....

The show reached its peak under Grayson [Host: Larry Grayson (1978–1982)] with an audience of 25 million. (It should be pointed out that its highest figures in 1979 were due to a strike that blacked out the ITV network, meaning the two BBC channels were the only ones the public could watch.) Grayson was loved for his apparent incompetence and inability to remember what was going on — all of which was carefully contrived.

... The show introduced a number of catchphrases, famously Bruce Forsyth's "Didn't he/she/they do well?", "Let's meet the eight who are going to generate", "Let's have a look at the old scoreboard"
…Grayson supplied his own catchphrases, notably "Shut that door!" "What a gay day!" and "Seems like a nice boy!"
Here's a 1972 video of Larry Grayson singing his song "Shut That Door".

Larry Grayson- Shut That Door (1972)

idak72's channel, Uploaded on Mar 30, 2009
The iconic Larry Grayson, doing his trademark song from 1972 'Shut That Door', on his TV variety chat show of the same name. We miss you Larry! apologies for the quality, seems to have come off a studio monitor or something.

Also, click for an clip of an episode of the Generation Game hosted by Larry Grayson. That clip features that show's theme song which includes the words "Shut that door” and enjoy the Generation Game/Larry Grayson is here to play/ shut that door.”

Say say oh playmate

norface5 Published on Jul 3, 2013

Say say oh playmate
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rainbow
Into my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends
Forever more more
Shut the door

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