A Silly Song, But A Happy Memory

Phil Harris; actor, band leader, comedian, radio personality, singer, and silly song writer.

My Mom and Dad liked silly songs; songs that had clever and humorous rhymes. They were songs you didn’t have to think about deeper meanings or hidden emotions.

Dad used to sing a song called, The Grasshopper Sat on the Sweet Potato Vine. That was the only lyric; “The Grasshopper Sat on the Sweet Potato Vine.”  Come to find out later it was an old banjo tune that had no lyrics.

The first record, in fact the only record, I recall Dad and Mom buying was a song called The Thing. It was written by song writer and performer Phil Harris.

The song irritated me when I was a child. The hook line in the song was, “Get out of here with that boom, boom, boom and don’t come back any more.” I didn’t know what that boom, boom, boom was. I was too young to know that was the point of the song. It was left to your imagination. My imagination had not developed enough to conceive that it was supposed to be what ever I wanted it to be or nothing or maybe that in itself was the point; get out of here with nothing.

As you can see that silly little song left too many philosophical, moral, emotional, and ethical questions for a preschooler to handle.

All through the song I imagined a man coming upon an old chest and lugging it around from place to place unable to rid himself of it. Come to think of it; the song frustrated me.

Now when I think of that song it brings a smile, a tear, and my Mom and Dad enjoying a silly song.

I have not heard that song since I was five or six, but I found it.

Ready for a smile?

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11 Comments

    1. Hey ET, Thanks for reading and your comment. I’ve been looking for another funny song from the same time period called “Did You Ever in Your Life See the Devil Kiss His Wife?”. I found that Mel Blanc sung it (voice of cartoon characters), but have not found anything on the net. It’s another silly song Mom and Dad liked.

      1. Back in the 50’s, there was a Saturday morning kid’s show on the radio out of Cincinnatti called ‘Big John and Sparky’. It was radio, so I can only assume Sparky was some sort of a ventriloquist’s dummy. They did the ‘Did you ever…’ song on that program. The words just drifted thru my mind and I got here by googling the lyric.

  1. Brilliant memories, KL!

    I stumbled upon an old 78 rpm copy (on RCA Victor) of this song at a jumble sale in the UK in the late ’60’s. I was only about 6 or 7 years old at the time. My parents bought it along with a job lot of other old discs and it remained a firm family favourite right up until the day when … I sat on it and shattered it into splinters. Someone had left the disc sitting on the sofa after playing it on the gramophone. That was probably me, too.
    It was never replaced and I’d never heard it again until today, more than 40 years later. I was prompted to go looking for what I considered to be “the original” when I heard the melody in Alfred Ralston’s Overture from the original soundtrack for Richard Attenborough’s movie “THE YOUNG WINSTON” (1978). It is featured as one of a medley of old-time soldier’s marching songs. So now I guess I know “the original” was a recycling of an even older, traditional air – and so it goes!
    I’ve since found out Phil Harris’s connection with some of my favourite Disney songs and characters; and, given my enjoyment of his style, I was not surprised to hear that he played Baloo in “The Jungle Book” (“The Bare Necessities” is one of my all-time favourites), Little John in “Robin Hood” and anti-hero Thomas O’Malley, in “The Aristocats” – the last of these, interestingly(?), was just about contemporary with my felicitous discovery of him singing on a dusty disc in an jumble sale.

    A great entertainer and curator of a fantastic chunk of my childhood.

    1. Thanks for sharing that precious memory, it was great. I recall in my 20s seeing Phil Harris appear on talk shows. All I knew is that he had a lot of back stage type stories and seemed always amusing. At that time I never connected him with any songs I heard when younger.

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