This wasn't what I expected to write about today, but I've just been flabbergasted by news from Michael Quinion's World Wide Words that children older than my mother never had a chance to do the hokey-pokey.
Quinion writes of that song and dance:
Its history is bedevilled by accusations of plagiarism, but the original seems to have been that composed by Jimmy Kennedy in the UK in 1942, which was referred to during the War years variously as the cokey-cokey, the okey-cokey and the hokey-cokey.The term "hokey-pokey" had two meanings documented in the 1800s:
The US version under the name hokey-pokey is usually attributed to Larry LaPrise in 1949.
- cheating of some sort, probably derived from a conjurer's "hocus pocus."
- cheap ice cream, probably derived from milk.
A very familiar verse about putting limbs in and out and shaking them all about appeared in Edward Deming Andrews's The Gift to Be Simple, a 1940 collection of Shaker songs, still available in a Dover edition. Another such dance is reportedly described in Robert Chambers's The Popular Rhymes of Scotland, first published in 1826. (I've seen only the 1870 edition, and wasn't looking to put anything in or out at the time.) So children of yore were probably not as deprived as I feared.