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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0919  Tuesday, 13 May 2003

[1]     From:   John Briggs <
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 >
        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 18:03:08 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0900 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey

[2]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 12 May 2003 13:42:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0900 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 18:03:08 +0100
Subject: 14.0900 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0900 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey

One hesitates to cast doubt on the historical erudition of Sam Small,
but the following information might be more relevant.  It is generally
accepted that "Hokey Pokey" is an American expression deriving from
"hocus pocus".  It appears to have become attached to a version of the
song "Hokey Cokey" (originally "Cokey Cokey") by the prolific and
successful songwriter, Jimmy Kennedy (1903 - 1984), born in Omagh,
County Tyrone (perhaps inevitably, Kennedy is claimed by both parts of
Ireland).  The following is the earliest version I have been able to
locate.

John Briggs

Hokey Cokey. Words and music by: Jimmy Kennedy, 1942 Kennedy Music Co.
Limited, England

'Way out West where there ain't no swing
Old time dancing's still the thing
They've a little song they like to dance and sing
It's called the Cokey Cokey!
Ev'rybody on their toes
This is the way it goes

You put your left arm out, left arm in
Left arm out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

You put your right arm out, right arm in
Right arm out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

You put your left foot out, left foot in
Left foot out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

You put your right foot out, right foot in
Right foot out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

You put your left hip out, left hip in
Left hip out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

You put your right hip out, right hip in
Right hip out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

You put your chest right out, chest right in
Chest right out and shake it all about
You do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

The folks away out West, 'way out west
Dance this song and never take a rest
They do the Cokey Cokey and turn around
That's what it's all about. See?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 12 May 2003 13:42:15 -0400
Subject: 14.0900 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0900 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey

Sam Small <
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 > writes,

>It seems like John W. Kennedy's research is suspect once more.

I said nothing on the subject of the origin of the "Hokey-Pokey" (UK
"Hokey-Cokey") whatever, but I can assure you that I am quite old enough
to comprehend that it existed _before_ being the basis of a joke in a
1994 television episode.

>Hokey
>Pokey is American.  Written by Roland Lawrence (Larry) LaPrise, who
>concocted the song along with two fellow musicians in the late 1940s for
>the ski crowd in Sun Valley, Idaho. The group, the Ram Trio, recorded
>the song in 1949. In 1953, bandleader Ray Anthony bought the rights and
>recorded The Hokey Pokey on the B-side of another novelty record, The
>Bunny Hop. After the Ram Trio disbanded in the 1960s, country star Roy
>Acuff's publishing company bought the rights to The Hokey Pokey.
>Copyright 1950, Acuff-Rose Music Inc.  When it finally reached London
>and England it became Hokey Kokey.  Don't ask me why.

In fact, the origin, date, original form, and provenance of the
"Hokey-Pokey", the expression, the dance, and the song, are all clouded.
A story in the "Telegraph" for 14 March, 1999, reports that it can be
traced to the 19th century on the Continent, and "Hokey Pokey" was a
19th-century British expression for "cheap ice cream and sweets".

If, as stated in the "Telegraph" article, "Hokey Cokey" or "Hokey Pokey"
is a variant of "Hocus Pocus", itself a variant of "Hoc est enim corpus
meus," it could, indeed, date back to Shakespeare's time.

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