Saturday 9: Mairzy Doats (1944)
Unfamiliar with this song? Hear it here.
While today this is considered a children's song, "Mairzy Doats" was a
#1 hit and a staple on radio stations in 1944. Do you know any of
today's most popular songs? (Here's this week's Hot 100.) Nope. I recognize the artists (Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber) but not the songs. This exercise made me feel most unhip.
2) One of the song's writers recalled that the song was inspired by an old English nursery rhyme. Tell us a rhyme you remember from childhood. "Jack be nimble, jack be quick, jack jumped over the candlestick and burned his pants off." That's exactly the way my mom taught it to me. I was very lively and mischievous as a child and she was terrified I'd actually try the candle thing, so she tried to make the rhyme a cautionary tale. I was so embarrassed when I recited it at school and my teacher called me a "smart aleck."
3) This week's group, The Merry Macs, was formed by three brothers -- Judd, Joe and Ted McMichael -- who learned to harmonize at home. Did you grow up in a musical household? Not at all. My dad liked to sing along with the radio in the car, and I always had music on in my room, but that's it.
4) When the McMichaels decided their new group needed a woman's voice, they asked Cheri McKay to join them. Realizing all their names began with Mc, they began calling themselves The Merry Macs. Have you ever performed with a singing group? (Yes, that garage band you played in after school counts.) If yes, what was your band called? I have nothing for this.
5) The Merry Macs' first gigs were playing high school dances. Do you have any memories of school dances you'd like to share this morning? For some reason, the first memory that popped into my head was from junior high. The first time I danced with a boy was to a song called "Things I'd Like to Say." I found him on LinkedIn and he's now a "retired investor."
Once their recording career took off, The Merry Macs went to Hollywood.
They appeared in a film with the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.
Who last made you laugh? PJ, who works at the vet's office. I don't recall what she said, exactly, but she always makes me laugh.
7) In 1944, when "Mairzy Doats" topped the charts, sunscreen was invented. It was first developed to protect soldiers during WWII, and that original formula was sold to Coppertone. Do you regularly use sunscreen? It's been so hot, and I've been working so hard, that I've seldom been outside this summer. This makes me sad.
8) Also in 1944, a board game called Murder! was introduced in England. In 1949 it made its way to the United States and was renamed Clue. It's still popular today. Can you name any of the original 6 "characters" in the Clue game? (Extra credit: One was replaced in 2016; who was it?) Mr. Green, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Miss Scarlett, Mrs. Peacock. That was from memory. I know Mrs. White was replaced by Dr. Orchid, but that's because I looked it up. The game my nephew and I often played included the original six.
9) Random question: The new house you just bought comes with a big mirror on the ceiling of the master bedroom. Would you take it down or leave it there? It would have to come down before I even slept there. I can't imagine waking up and having the first thing I see is my reflection with smeared mascara and messy hair. YECH!