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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Examples Of The Punchinella Singing Game With The Line "Punchinella In The Shoe"

 Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part pancocojams series that speculates about the possible connection of the variant version of the children's singing game "Punchinella" which includes the line "Punchinella in the shoe" and Keds shoe commercials and/or Buster Brown shoe commercials and jingles . two American shoe company's commercials that were directed towards children: A 1950s Keds shoe commercial  and/or the 1950s Buster Brown commercials and jingles 

Part II of this pancocojams post presents several text (word only) examples of Punchinella singing games that include the line "Punchinella in the shoe." 

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2021/04/was-line-punchinella-in-shoe-in.html for Part I of this pancocojams series. Part I presents some information and two text (word only) examples of "Punchinello" (also given as "Punchinella"). This post also showcases three videos of that singing game  that includes the line "Punchinella in the shoe", a 1950s Keds shoe commercial .that features the clown Kedso coming out of a shoe and/or a 1950s Buster Brown shoe commercial and jingles about a boy named Buster Brown and his dog Tige, both of whom live inside a shoe.  

Information that documents the popularity of these two American shoe companies is also included in this post.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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EXAMPLES OF "PUNCHINELLA SINGING GAME RHYMES THAT INCLUDE "PUNCHINELLA IN THE SHOE"
These are all the examples of "Punchinella" that I have come across which have the line "Punchinella In The Shoe" and whose comments include demographic information.

These examples are given in chronological order.

Please add to this compilation by sharing the example of this version of "Punchinella" that you know (with or without the Punchinella in the shoe" line. Remember to add demographic information (where you chanted or heard this rhyme: city or state if in the USA or country if outside of the USA and when: year or decade). Thanks!

Example #1

(Oh)

Look who's here
Punchinella Punchinella
Look who's here
Punchinella in the shoe.

(Oh)
What can you do
Punchinella Punchinella
What can you do
Punchinella in the shoe.

(Well)
We can do it too
Punchinella Punchinella
We can do it too
Punchinella in the shoe.

Who do you choose
Punchinella Punchinella
Who do you choose
Punchinella in the shoe.
-Azizi Powell; childhood memories, Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s
-snip-
My daughter and her friends also recited this version of "Punchinella" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid 1970s/early 1980s. But that may have been because I taughte this version to her. 

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Example #2 
"Yes, this is a hit with the 6 year olds at school, too! Jeanie, I learned it at Brownies, too- same name in the US. We sing it a little differently:

Oh, look who's here, Punchinello, Punchinello,
Look who's here, Punchinello in the shoe.

Oh, what do you do? etc.
Oh, we can do it, too! etc.
Oh, who do you choose? etc.

There's a funny syncopation in the middle that I don't remember as a child, but my students love it!"
-AllisonA(Animaterra), 22 Jul 02, https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=49743, Play-party game 'Punchinello'
-snip-
The words in italics were written that way in this comment.

In response to a later comment that this version of that singing game might be "an East Coast, USA thing", Allison (Animaterra) wrote "...
I was living in Greeley, Colo, at the time, so there goes that idea!"

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Example #3

"Hi, I was checking out this site and got so excited reading all of these cheers. It is so cool to see the cheers I did as a child in Birmingham, AL and see how differently they are done in different parts of the county. I am 26 and I try to pass down as many cheers as I can remember to my nieces and my daughter (8,6,and 2). Here's one:

Look who's here punch-a-nella, punch-a-nella
Look who's here punch-a-nella in the shoe

Oh what can you do, punch-a-nell, punch-a-nella
What can you do, punch-a-nella in the shoe

We can do it too, punch-a-nella, punch-a-nella
We can do it too, punch-a-nella in the shoe

Now choose your partner, punch-a-nella, punch-a-nella
Choose your partner, punch-a-nella in the shoe

We would all stand in a circle and one person would be in the middle and we would clap and stomp. The person in the middle would perform a dance during the line "oh what can you do...", then the group would imitate that dance on the next line. Then the person in the middle would cover their eyes and spin around during the line "now choose your partner...." and whomever they landed on at the end of the rhyme went into the circle next."
-Joi, cocojams.com; 3/23/2008

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Example #4
"
I learned it from my ex-wife, who hails from rural upstate New York. She sings it as:

What can you do, Punchinello, Punchinello?
What can you do, Punchinello in a shoe?
We can do it too, Punchinello, Punchinello!
We can do it too, Punchinello in a shoe."
-Cool Beans, 13 Oct 10, https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=49743, Play-party game 'Punchinello'

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Example #5
"
I grew on Long Island, New York, and I learned to play this game in elementary school in the sixties.

What can you do, Punchinella, Punchinella?
What can you do, Punchinella in a shoe?
We can do it too, Punchinella, Punchinella!
We can do it too, Punchinella in a shoe

Oh who do you choose Punchinella, Punchinella?
Who do you choose Punchinella in the shoe?
(until everyone in the circle had a turn)"
-GUEST,Ladybowler, : 07 Nov 10 - 01:20 PM, https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=49743 RE: Play-party game 'Punchinello'

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Example #6
"Bronx New York Version from the 1970s:

Look whos here
Punchanella Punchanella
Look whos here
Punchanella in a shoe

(children circle around one kid while singing)

Well what can you do
Punchanella Punchanella
What can you do
Punchanella in a shoe

(child in the middle usually does a dance move)

Well we can do it too
Punchanella Punchanella
We can do it too
Punchanella in a shoe

(other children copy dance move)

So who do you choose
Punchanella Punchanella
Who do you choose
Punchanella in a shoe

(child closes her eyes and spins with her finger pointing out. whomever she is pointing to when the song stops, goes to the center next)

Thank you for posting this. My sister posted this song on FB and we all knew the words, but no one knew the origins.
-GUEST, 29 Nov. 11, https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=49743 RE: Play-party game 'Punchinello'

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Example #7
"
I grew up in Pittsburgh as well in the 70's. We used to sing it as follows:

 "What can you do Punchinella, Punchinella? What can you do Punchinella in the shoe?

 We can do it too Punchinella, Punchinella. We can do it too Punchinella in the shoe.

 Choose your partner Punchinella, Punchinella. Choose your partner Punchinella in the shoe."
-Ms. Boop, November 29, 2017, http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-changing-faces-of-punchinella.html

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Example #8
"From the isles of Bermuda, we played a version of the game:

Typically, the child that suggested playing the game, started as the first one in the middle of the circle of other children. The circle of children would sing first, asking, "What can you do..." The child in the middle would respond, singing, "I can do, this..." while performing an action; the funnier the action, the better. The circle would respond, "We can do it too..." while attempting to imitate the action that had been performed by the child in the middle. Then, the child in the middle would close their eyes, stretch forth one arm, with their index finger pointed, and begin to turn around in place, while the children in the circle would continue on singing, "Shake it to the East. Shake it to the West. Shake it to the very one that you love the best!" The child in the middle would stop turning when the singing stopped. The child in the circle to whom the child in the middle was then pointing, would be the next one to be in the middle of the circle.

However, we sang the words:

What can you do Poinciana, Poinciana?
What can you do Poinciana-in-a-shoe?

We can you do it too, Poinciana, Poinciana.
We can you do it too, Poinciana in a shoe.

Until now, I had thought that the game was liklely native to Bermuda, and other islands, given what was thought to be a reference to the Royal Poinciana tree, of which there used to be a preponderance.

I used to wonder how the tree and shoe were connected. At some point, I figured to myself that perhaps, some people used to start growing a Poinciana tree in an old shoe, inside the house (vs. in an old "tin" can), and then would transplant it outside once it grew to a certain size. In thinking about it now... haha... it would have to be a large shoe.

The other possible explanation of which I had thought, was that perhaps the game had originated as one that would be played outside under the shade of a Poinciana tree, and the children in the circle were supposed to play with their shoes off, representing "grown up" Poinciana trees, while the child in the middle had to keep their shoes on, representing a sapling still growing in a shoe, receiving all the attention, etc., until they performed an action which then allowed them to join the cirle of grown trees. Hmmm...ok... please keep in mind that I was around 7 or 8 yrs-old at the time that I came up with these explanations.

Anyway, in reading this blog, it appears that in Bermuda, "Poinciana" was either mistakenly, or deliberately substituted at some point, at least over 70 years ago. (My mother, who will be 80 yrs-old, confirms that she also grew up singing "Poinciana".)

Very interesting to read about different versions of essentially the same children songs and games."
-J. [unknown], Nov. 8, 2019, http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/examples-of-singing-game-punchinella.html

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Example #9
"I learned this as a child in Jersey Coty in the late 60’s. It went like this:

Look who’s here,
Punchinella, Punchinella!
Look who’s here,
Punchinella in the shoe!

Now, what can you do,
Punchinella, Punchinella?
What can you do,
Punchinella in the shoe?

Now we can do it too,
Punchinella, Punchinella!
We can do it too,
Punchinella in the shoe!

Now, who do you choose,
Punchinella, Punchinella?
Who do you choose,
Punchinella in the shoe?"
-bakingmecrazy, April 9, 2021 http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-changing-faces-of-punchinella.html
 -snip-
"Jersey Coty" is probably a typo for "Jersey City, New Jersey" [USA]

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This concludes Part II of this two part pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a comment exchange from the discussion thread for a video of the singing game "Punchinella" in which the singer gives the last line of the verses as "Punchinella from the zoo":

    1. xanfus, 2011
    "i'm 31 and untile just right now i thought it said Punchinella in the shoe lol"

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    Reply
    2. RubyDragon722, 2014
    ' "In the shoe"...........not "from the zoo". Unless it's a regional thing...

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    Reply
    3. Emanuela Rocco, 2016
    "that's how we sang it, "in the shoe!""

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    Reply
    4. RubyDragon722, 2016
    "Emanuela Rocco, actually, if I remember correctly (considering it's been a little more than 30 years ago since I sang this), I think our version (at least in Northeast NJ) was "in my shoe""

    ReplyDelete