Swingin' the Alphabet

Last updated

"Swingin' the Alphabet" is a novelty song sung by The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard) in their 1938 short film, Violent Is the Word for Curly. It is the only full-length song performed by the trio in their short films, and the only time they mimed to their own pre-recorded soundtrack. It contains a censor-baiting line; when the singers start ringing the changes on the letter “F” it seems as though an obscene word will result, but it does not. [1]

Contents

For their 1959 album The Nonsense Songbook, the Stooges re-recorded the song (retitled as "The Alphabet Song") with Moe, Larry and Curly-Joe DeRita (filling in for Curly Howard, who died in 1952). The letters "G", "J", "M" and the "Curly's a dope" line were omitted, and new lyrics featuring the letters "N," "P," "R," "S," "T," "V," and "Z" were added. [1]

In 2005, Stooge film historian Richard Finegan identified the composer of the song as Septimus Winner (1827–1902), who had originally published it in 1875 as "The Spelling Bee". Septimus' own version, though, appears to have been based on an earlier version called "Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu", which has a centuries-old tradition. [2]

Origin

The lyrics of Septimus Winner's "Spelling Bee" (a.k.a. "Ba Be Bi Bo Bu") were slightly different. [3] A number of schools like Harvard University used this as one of their traditional songs, which itself may have originated centuries earlier in typesetting, as a very similar song or chant was used to help train apprentice printers in the structure of language, a tradition being described as "ancient" even as early as 1740: [4]

Whilst the Boy is upon his Knees, all the Chapellonians, with their right Arms put through the Lappets of their Coats as before, walk round him, singing the Cuz’s Anthem, which is done by adding all the Vowels to the Consonants in the following Manner.
B a - ba; B e be; B i - bi; Ba–be–bi; B o - bo; Ba-be-bi-bo; B u - bu; Ba-be-bi-bo-bu — And so through the rest of the Consonants. [5]

Notes

Use in other media

See also

Related Research Articles

An alphabet song is any of various songs used to teach children the alphabet. Alphabet songs typically recite the names of all letters of the alphabet of a given language in order.

<i>Punch Drunks</i> 1934 film

Punch Drunks is a 1934 short subject directed by Lou Breslow starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. It is the second entry in the series released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 short subjects for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

Guy Lombardo Canadian-American bandleader (1902-1977)

Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo was a Canadian-American bandleader and violinist.

Charley Chase Actor, comedian, director, writer

Charles Joseph Parrott, known professionally as Charley Chase, was an American comedian, actor, screenwriter and film director best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies. He was the elder brother of comedian/director James Parrott.

Fon language part of the Gbe language cluster and belongs to the Volta–Niger branch of the Niger–Congo languages

Fon is part of the Eastern Gbe language cluster and belongs to the Volta–Niger branch of the Niger–Congo languages. Fon is spoken mainly in Benin by approximately 1.7 million speakers, by the Fon people. Like the other Gbe languages, Fon is an analytic language with an SVO basic word order.

Mandaic script alphabet used for writing the Mandaic language

The Mandaic alphabet is thought to have evolved between the 2nd and 7th century CE from either a cursive form of Aramaic or from the Parthian chancery script. The exact roots of the script are difficult to determine. It was developed by members of the Mandaean faith of southern Mesopotamia to write the Mandaic language for liturgical purposes. Classical Mandaic and its descendant Neo-Mandaic are still in limited use. The script has changed very little over centuries of use.

Joe Besser American actor, comedian and musician

Joe Besser was an American actor, comedian and musician, known for his impish humor and wimpy characters. He is best known for his brief stint as a member of the Three Stooges in cinematic short subjects of 1957–59. He is also remembered for his television roles: Stinky, the bratty man-child in The Abbott and Costello Show, and Jillson, the maintenance man in The Joey Bishop Show.

"'A' You're Adorable" is a popular song with music by Sid Lippman and lyrics by Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise, published in 1948.

Septimus Winner American songwriter, lyricist, composer, music publisher

Septimus Winner was an American songwriter of the 19th century. He used his own name, and also the pseudonyms Alice Hawthorne, Percy Guyer, Mark Mason, Apsley Street, and Paul Stenton. He was also a teacher, performer, and music publisher.

Night Time Is the Right Time Song recorded by Nappy Brown in 1957 & popularized by Ray Charles

"Night Time Is the Right Time" or "The Right Time" is a rhythm and blues song recorded by American musician Nappy Brown in 1957. It draws on earlier blues songs and has inspired many subsequent versions, including hits by Ray Charles, Rufus and Carla, and James Brown.

Little Brown Jug (song) Song

"Little Brown Jug" is a song written in 1869 by Joseph Eastburn Winner, originally published in Philadelphia with the author listed as Winner's middle name "Eastburn."

"Always" is a popular song written by Irving Berlin in 1925, as a wedding gift for his wife Ellin Mackay, whom he married in 1926, and to whom he presented the substantial royalties. Although legend claims Berlin wrote the song "Always" for The Cocoanuts, he never meant for the song to be included in that musical, and it wasn't.

Alphabet book educational book to teach a languages alphabet

An alphabet book is a book primarily designed for young children. It presents letters of the alphabet with corresponding words and/or images. Some alphabet books feature capitals and lower case letter forms, keywords beginning with specific letters, or illustrations of keywords. Alphabet books may consist of sentences, paragraphs, or entire pages highlighting letters and corresponding keywords in a variety of creative and imaginative formats.

Jump n the Saddle Band

Jump 'N the Saddle Band was a country pop group from Chicago, Illinois. They scored a regional hit with the novelty song "The Curly Shuffle" in 1983, a tribute to The Three Stooges. As the tune gained popularity on radio, the group signed to Atlantic Records and released a self-titled album, composed mostly of covers, in 1984. "The Curly Shuffle" became a major U.S. hit, peaking at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year. The song also peaked at number 30 in Australia.

Non-lexical vocables, which may be mixed with meaningful text, are a form of nonsense syllable used in a wide variety of music. Common English examples would be "la la la", "na na na" or "da da da".

The Three Stooges' comedy routines have inspired generations of tributes in other media. The following information is a partial list of such tributes. Depending on the form of media used, there are direct and indirect references to the Three Stooges. Beginning with the Stooges themselves as the trio did make small guest appearances in movies or in small bumper clips for their cartoon series. Clips from the Stooges shorts are sometimes featured in the actual footage of a movie, TV show, or advertisement, or the line from the 1934 short Men in Black, "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard" is used. Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard appeared as cartoon versions of themselves.

<i>In the Sweet Pie and Pie</i> 1941 film by Jules White

In the Sweet Pie and Pie is a 1941 short subject directed by Jules White starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. It is the 58th entry in the series released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 shorts for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

<i>The Three Stooges Scrapbook</i> television pilot

Three Stooges Scrapbook was an unaired 1960 television pilot starring The Three Stooges. In the opening title and Hollywood trade ads, the show's title is spelled without "The," including a promotional photograph of the Stooges holding an oversized scrapbook. The pilot featured the slapstick trio getting evicted from a rooming house for cooking in their apartment, looking for a new place to live, finding refuge in the home of a mad inventor, and presenting an animated short called The Spain Mutiny that imagines the funnymen as part of Christopher Columbus’ crew.

La Courte Paille, FP 178, is a set of seven songs for voice and piano, composed in 1960 by Francis Poulenc on poems by Maurice Carême. The duration of the work is about 8 minutes.

Ba is a consonant of Indic abugidas. In modern Indic scripts, Ba is derived from the early "Ashoka" Brahmi letter after having gone through the Gupta letter .

References

  1. 1 2 Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Glendale, California: Comedy III Productions, Inc. p. 133. ISBN   0-9711868-0-4.
  2. Finegan, Richard (Winter 2005). ""Swingin' the Alphabet" Composer Finally Identified". The Three Stooges Journal. Gyynedd Valley, Pennsylvania: The Three Stooges Fan Club, Inc. (116): 4.
  3. See Wier, Albert E. (1918). The Book of a Thousand Songs. New York: Carl Fischer Inc. p. 36.
  4. "Early Sports and Pop Culture History Blog: Ben Franklin, The Three Stooges, and Ancient Rites of Printers - the Inky History of Ba-Be-Bi-Bo-Bu". esnpc.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  5. The gentleman's magazine. 10. 1740. p. 240. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  6. Dickerson, Dale (2013-04-22). "More than you ever wanted to know about the Gene Vincent song "B-I-Bickey-Bi-Bo-Bo-Go"". Musings Of A Muleskinner. Retrieved 2015-04-21.