Sunday, August 30, 2015

Names Of Famous People In Children's Recreational Rhymes (Part II- rhymes whose titles begin with M-Z)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest Update: July 13, 2022

This is Part II of a two part pancocojams 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.

Most of these examples contain no information about how the rhyme is performed. However, 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.
Examples of rhymes that include a name or names of politicians are purposely omitted from this post. 

Click for an Oct. 2020 pancocojams post that showcases examples of that category of playground rhymes that include names of politicians. Those rhymes may also include the names of other famous peoples who aren't politicians. That 2020 post is an updated version of an earlier pancocojams post on that subject.

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.

In each example, the first mention of the famous person's name is given in italics.

M, N
I thought it was mama mama can’t you see look what Chris brown did to me he too away my tv now I can’t watch BET he took away my mini skirt now I can’t go out to flirt he has some bubblegum I ask him can I have some he looked at me like I was dumb so I shot him with my BB gun
-Kay, 2020, , 90s handgames


I remember quite a few as a kid growing up in New York

This one is specific to New York City, sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques":

Marijuana, marijuana


Rockefeller takes it

Mayor Lindsay makes it

Why can't we?

Why can't we?

This rhyme was popular in 1968-1970; teens started it and passed it down to the younger kids. I found out when I was older that this was a protest against the Rockefeller drug laws enacted when Mr. Moneybags was governor.
-meow2u3 Apr-17-11;
From Wikipedia:
"John V. Lindsay was the Mayor of New York City from 1966 to 1973. John Vliet Lindsay was born November 24, 1921, in New York City."...

"Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979) was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st vice president of the United States from December 1974 to January 1977, and previously as the 49th governor of New York from 1959 to 1973."

Miss Susie rode a steamboat, the steamboat had a crash

Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to

Hello Operator, get me number nine, and if you disconnect me I'll kick you...

Just behind the refrigerator, there laid a piece of glass

Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her little...

Ask me no more questions, Tell me no more lies

The boys are in the bathroom, zipping up their...

Flies are in the meadow, the bees are in their hives

Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the...

D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, Dark Dark Dark!

Darker than the ocean, Darker than the sea

Darker than the underwear Madonna gave to me!
-nodoubt_dancer, Apr 19, 2008,


I remember something like

My name is Diana Ross I'm a movie star

With the see through knickers and a ten foot bra.
-Jen85bnq, 05/10/2014;


My name is Elvis Presley
Girls are sexy
Sitting in the back seat drinking Pepsi
In the Royal Navy
Having a baby
Bow to the king
Curtsy to the queen
Show your knickers to the football team
-ML19dqs, 19/08/2014 ;

"My name is Shirley Temple
And I've got curly hair

I've got dimples and wear my skirts to there (gesture to indicate very short)
Got legs like Betty Grable
A figure like Marilyn Monroe
Got hair like Ginger Rogers
and a face like an elephant's toe!"

At seven years old in 1959 we didn't know who any of these people were but it didn't stop us playing it...
-Elspeth Scott, 15 May 2015, [comment]
Elspeth Scott wrote that she was from the west coast of Scotland.

Shirley Temple was a famous American (USA) child star. All of the other women were famous movie stars from the USA.


"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 

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)

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.)

-email 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

One, two three O'leary,
I saw Wallace Beery,
Sittin' on his bumbleerie,
Kissin' Shirley Temple

(showing my age now!)
-Jim McLean, 06 July 04,, Aunt Mary Had A Canary- where?

One, two, three o'leary
My ball's gone down the airy
Please give it back to Mary
Not to Charlie Chaplin.

The 'airy' was the 'area', the 'light well' in front of a basement, where the dustbins are kept and which gives access to the coal celler.

Thinking back, I must have picked this up from friends and/or family in the early 1960s - but as, by then we were living on a suburban estate with never the breath of an 'airy' for miles.:..
-The Walrus, 20 Aug 04,, Aunt Mary Had A Canary- where?

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,, March 23, 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
...gonna rock to the treetops all day long, huffin and a puffin and singin that song. all the little birdies on danbird street love to hear the robins go "tweet tweet tweet", rockin robin, tweet tweet, tweetle-eet, rockin robin, tweet tweet, tweetle-eet, mama's in the kitchen burning that rice, daddy's on the corner shooting them dice, brother's in jail, drinking ginger-ale, sister's on the corner selling fruit cocktail. went downtown to see james brown, he gave me a nickel, i bought me a pickle, the pickle was sour, so i bought me a flower, the flower was dead so this is what he said, black power, black power, your daddy needs a shower, don't laugh (haha) don't laugh (haha) your mama needs a bath!)
-AvengeThe90s [from the "late 80s"], 2015, Miss Mary Mack and other hand clapping games

TWEEDLEELEE (Example #2)
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

ROCKIN ROBIN (Example #3)
When I was younger it went like this

SWing SWing to my limosuene
hey hey then clap x2
Rockin in the tree top alll day long
Huffin n Puffin
n signing that song
all the little birds around my strret ll the little birds go tweet tweet tweet rocka rocka tweet twirly x2
i went downtown to meet Chris Brown he gave me a nickel to buy me a pickel
the pickel was sour he gave me a shower
the shower was cold
he gave me a bowl the bowl was craked and then he gave me a slap
idk bu ththats why we said
-Anonymous, December 24, 2019 (comment in Rockin Robin (Tweeleelee) - Analysis, Performance Activity, & Text Examples

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

Shirley Oneple, Shirley Twople….(etc)…Shirley Tenple
(a skipping rhyme recorded by Iona Opie in 1940 and 1952)
The editor of wrote that that "Along with Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple dominated chants and rhymes for a good chunk of the 20th century. Many of these also appear as Charlie Chaplin rhymes; the two names were used more or less interchangably."

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
The editor of [whose link is given above] wrote "Shirley Temple is a star" [is] "another skipping rhyme recorded in early [19]50s".

This is how sherlie temple goes sherlie temple is a star S T A R she can do the rumble she can do the splits she can do anthing just like this fire cracker fire craker boom boom boom
-TayShae07 ZigZag, 2017,

Shirley Temple is a star
She can do the tumble
She can do the splitz
She can do anything just like this
Firecracker firecracker boom boom boom
Firecracker firecracker boom boom boom
Boys go kiss kiss
Girls go wow"
-Chubby Clementine, 29 January 2005 [8 year old dd sings..],

Shirley Temple was a star,
S . T . A . R,
She could do the wibble-wobble,
She could do the splits,
She could lift her dress right up to her hips!"
-TheMaskedPoster, 21-Aug-07 08,

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.

Thats the way ahahaha i like it ahahaha thats the way ahahaha i like it ahahaha susy is a big fat bombom machel is a calypsonian my mother send me to school the teacher call me a fool the children tell me to whine so i whine down low to go down calotii lotii lotii come up a highka highka highka
-FRIES GURL,  2021,, 90s hand games!!!, 
"Machel" may refer to "Machel Montano (born 24 November 1974)[2] is a Trinidadian soca singer, actor, record producer and songwriter ".


THE JACKSON FIVE (* musical group, circa 1963 *)
The Jackson Five
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)

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.

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