you put your left leg in... your put your left leg out...  (note: i do not know the people pictured)

as i've mentioned countless times on this site, there are many subtle and sometimes mildly amusing differences between American and British things.  today's item is a old party dance usually done by preschool children and drunk adults attending cheesy leisure cruises.

known as the Hokey Pokey, the "dance" became popular in America in the 1950s (copyrighted in 1950).  according to popular legend it was created to entertain crowds at a ski resort in Sun Valley, Idaho.  Ray Anthony's big band made it an American hit in the mid-1950s (most likely because it was the B-side to the "Bunny Hop").

here in Great Britain they call this same dance the Hokey Cokey.  internet research has revealed that the Hokey Cokey peaked in popularity as a novelty dance in Britain during the mid-1940s (making it about 10 years older than the States' version).  this means that strictly speaking, the dance should be called the Hokey Cokey in the States.  there is also internet research that shows the Brits sometimes call it the Cokey Cokey (go figure).

interestingly, in Britain the "Hokey Cokey" is regarded as a traditional song, and is therefore free of the copyright restrictions that are placed on it in the States.  (Ahh, the sweet Orwelian nature of the United States.)  One might argue that the American copyright should not exist at all, as the song existed in Britain 10 years earlier than America -- and is credited to completely different authors.

ANYway, that's all for this morning.  i'll try to keep posting as the holidays pass.  surely there's a blog or two to be written about lard-based mince pies, leaving whiskey out for Father Christmas in lieu of milk and cookies and eating flaming Christmas puddings soaked in booze.

Fun fact:  in New Zealand the Hokey Pokey is called the Hokey Tokey.  I expect a lot of hippies do this dance there...


12/23/2008 3:55am

I remember seeing that America uses the British National Anthem (with alternate lyrics, obviously) for their own patriotic song, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"... Even more bizarre than the cokey/pokey misrepresentation me thinks!

Left leg in
12/23/2008 3:55am

I was sure that was going to be a Bay High photo up there ;)

Knees bent, arms stretched, ra ra ra! (Lewis)
12/23/2008 4:01am

I guess they got copyright because the words are different...

You put your left leg in / Your left leg out / In, out, in, out, you shake it all about / You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around / That's what it's all about...

You put your left leg in / You put your left leg out / You put your left leg in / And you shake it all about /You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around / That's what it's all about...

01/25/2009 11:25am

Very interesting writing in regards to what you've heard across the pond. It's funny because I appeared with Ernie K Doe in the mid 60's and still perform his bigt national hit Mother In Law which is an all time favorite of mine. I saw Here Come The Girls on another radio chart which I was on some months ago on an oldies station. I know your have a great ear from music and an eye for movies so I would consider your information as very correct and informative. PS. We did do the Hokey Pokey in Panama City Beach but it was the x-rated version!! Thanks for more great writing and keep it coming.

02/15/2009 6:10am

Ah yes, the Hokey Pokey. The nemesis dance of all growing up in the Baby Bomm generation.
I sed to live in Sun Valley and even I did not know that it was invesnted there.


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