Polly Wolly Doodle
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Polly Wolly Doodle

"Polly Wolly Doodle" is a song sung by Dan Emmett's Virginia Minstrels, who premiered at New York's Bowery Amphitheatre in February 1843,[1] and which is sometimes credited to Emmett (1815-1904). It was known to have been performed by the Yale Glee Club in 1878[2] and was first published in a Harvard student songbook in 1880.[]

"Polly Wolly Doodle" appears in the existing manuscript for Laura Ingalls Wilder's These Happy Golden Years exactly as it is used in the published version.[] The melody of this song as it is usually sung formed the basis for Boney M.'s hit Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday in 1979,[3] and also for Alexandra Burke's song Start Without You. The tune is also found in children's music, including the Sunday school song "O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E", the German group die Lollipops' "Radio Lollipop", and the Barney & Friends songs "Alphabet Soup" (though only using the first verse's tune) and "If I Had One Wish" (which uses both verses).

Notable recordings

Appearances in film and television

  • Shirley Temple sings "Polly Wolly Doodle" in the 1935 film The Littlest Rebel.
  • The song is featured in two Frank Capra films, You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Pocketful of Miracles (1961).
  • The song is the theme of the 1938 Donald Duck short film Good Scouts where it is played over the opening credits and sung by Donald and his nephews on their march.
  • Clark Gable sings the song while wildcatting in the 1940 film "Boomtown".
  • Woody Woodpecker sings this while driving his car in the opening scene of the 1947 short film Well Oiled.
  • Character actor Frank Puglia sings this song continually (and eventually gets the whole Anderson family to sing along) in the first episode of season three of the TV show Father Knows Best. This episode originally aired 12 September 1956.
  • The song appears at the 2:19 mark of Sam Peckinpah's 1969 The Wild Bunch, sung by Strother Martin's character, Coffer.
  • Julie Andrews sings the song in the opening faux-musical set piece of S.O.B (1981) and the tune is heard several times throughout the film.
  • The Kidsongs kids sing this song in the 1986 video "A Day at the Circus".
  • The Juke Box Puppet Band performs the piece in an episode of Shining Time Station
  • Mr. Hollywood sings this song constantly in episodes of 2 Stupid Dogs.
  • In the video games Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow, as well as the Pokémon: Indigo League anime, the composition "Road to Viridian City Leaving Pallet Town" sounds similar to this song.
  • The song is played in a get-well card in the Monk season 4 episode "Monk Stays in Bed" (2005).


  1. ^ Lee Davis, Scandals and Follies: The Rise and Fall of the Great Broadway Revue (New York: Limelight Editions, 2000), p. 31., according to http://civilwartalk.com/threads/polly-wolly-doodle.15345/
  2. ^ "Mention of Polly Wolly Doodle, sung by the Yale Glee Club in 1878". May 26, 1878. p. 2 – via newspapers.com.
  3. ^ https://www.sonymusic.de/kuenstler/boney-m; in German
  4. ^ a b c d e http://www.originals.be/en/originals.php?id=4933
  5. ^ "Country Music - Music News, New Songs, Videos, Music Shows and Playlists from CMT".

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