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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0941  Wednesday, 14 May 2003

[1]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 May 2003 02:27:34 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0919 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 May 2003 10:54:17 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0919 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 May 2003 02:27:34 -0700
Subject: 14.0919 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0919 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey

This is definitely getting OT, but did anyone turn up the
California-Oregon Indian dance called the hokee-pokee, ca.  1870s?  Or
the intriguing use of hokee-pokee in the words to a music hall song
"King of the Cannibal Islands" of ca. 1830?

First, OED online has this:

hokee-pokee

rare -1.
(See quot.)

1873 J. MILLER Life amongst Modocs (1876) xiii. 192 One man..danced a
sort of a savage hokee-pokee, and sang.

[Curiously, OED does not crossreference this hokee-pokee dance to the
definitions for hokey-pokey or hokey-cokey, the apparently later
dances.]

A Google search on hokee-pokee turned up the picturesquely racist comic
song in England in the 1830s about the cannibal king, with a chorus that
begins "Hokee pokee wonkee fum..." and in passing includes the words
"When they had done and bones pick'd clean, / They all began to dance I
ween; / The fifty wives slipped out unseen, / From King of the Cannibal
Islands. / He turning round soon missed them all..."  From this
developed a popular quadrille, later country dance whose tune, in
America, was used for the Cumberland Reel.  (Source:  South Riding Folk
Network, http://www.folk-network.com/products/notes/cannibal.html)

Seems to me that we could just keep pushing this hokey-pokey discussion
back and discover that it was Actually Written by the Earl of Oxford...

Making trouble,
Al Magary

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 May 2003 10:54:17 +0100
Subject: 14.0919 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0919 Re: Shakespeare and the Hokey Pokey

Larry LaPrise, the composer of the 'Hokey Cokey', died last year. All
went well until the funeral directors tried to install him in his coffin
(casket). They got his left leg in but his right leg caused a problem.

Ok, bad taste, but this is interesting.  In Irish folklore, the puca is
a malevolent being that spoils blackberries. In the form of a horse, it
takes unsuspecting mortals on a dangerous ride. Those who survive are
usually addled for the rest of their lives. A common speculation links
the puca to the English folk figure Puck, although the Welsh 'pwca' is a
more likely Celtic cognate.  Isn't it amazing how so many English words,
however banal, can be traced to Shakespeare?

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.com

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