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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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Prank

Fletcher Tube:

The Fletcher Tube us a non-existent piece of equipment. When freshmen are having problems in lab, you tell them that a Fletcher Tube will do the trick. They go to the stockroom to check one out and are laughed at.

Submitter comment:

Informant said that he pulled this gag while he was a graduate student.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CLASSROOM ; CHEMISTRY BUILDING

Keyword(s): ACADEMIC JOKES ; Chemistry ; COLLEGE ; COLLEGE PRANK ; COLLEGE PRANK ; Entertainment ; Freshman ; Hazing ; JOKE ; Laboratory ; PRACTICAL JOKE ; Prank

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Prank

TeePee-ing Houses:

A group of people go to a house late at night and throw toilet paper up into the trees, decorate the shrubbery and generally create a real mess.

Submitter comment:

This was done to my house by a group of friends who had attended Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI. It was done in May of 1968. It seems that this was not an uncommon practice for them to do to their friends.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): Amusement ; CUSTOM ; Diversion ; Entertainment ; JOKE ; PRACTICAL JOKE ; Prank ; Shrubbery ; Toilet Paper

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Superstition: Gambling

Good Luck:

Never win the first hand in a poker game. Otherwise you'll be a sure loser the rest of the night.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] crossed out and replaced with current classification

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): CHANCE ; Entertainment ; FATE ; GAMBLING ; Gaming ; jinx ; LOSERS ; LUCK ; NUMBER ; NUMBERS ; Poker ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Number

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Belief: Luck

Bowling: never change your line-up unless you have a losing streak.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] crossed out and replaced with current classification.

The word Luck is written across the top of the card.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): Bowling ; CUSTOM ; Entertainment ; LUCK ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

James Callow Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

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Belief: Luck

Luck:

If someone wants your place at Bingo, take your chair with you or you won't win.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] crossed out/replaced with current classifications.

Where learned: HOME ; MICHIGAN ; SAINT CLAIR SHORES

Keyword(s): Luck, Chance, Wagers, Bingo, Chair, Custom, Game, Entertainment

James Callow Keyword(s): LUCK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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Entertainment: Gambling

In poker, a full house - aces and eights- is a Dead Man's Hand. Supposedly Wild Bill Hickok had this hand when he died.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] crossed out/ replaced with current classifications

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Aces ; CARDS ; Dead Man's Hand ; DEATH ; Eights ; Entertainment ; Hero ; Legend ; NUMBERS ; Outlaw ; Poker, Gambling ; Wild West

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Secular hero
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- Folk etymology

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Entertainment: Gambling

Belief:

Aces and Eights - this is the Dead Man's Hand. Wild Bill Hickok was killed in a poler game with this hand.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [P880] was written twice and crossed out each time/replaced with current classifications

Where learned: SCHOOL

Keyword(s): Aces ; CARDS ; Dead Man's Hand ; DEATH ; Eights ; Entertainment ; Hero ; Legend ; NUMBERS ; Outlaw ; Poker, Gambling ; Wild West

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Secular hero
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
SPEECH -- Folk etymology

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CHANGE YOUR LUCK (COLLECTOR,S TITLE) ; CONVERSION: WALKING COUNTERCLOCKWISE (CLASSIFIER,S TITLE)

IF A PERSON IS HAVING A STREAK OF BAD LUCK IN A GAME SUCH AS BINGO,
ALL TYPES OF CARD GAMES, OR IN A GAME IN WHICH A PLAYER IS SEATED,
HE CAN CHANGE HIS LUCK BY WALKING AROUND THE CHAIR COUNTER-CLOCKWISE.
OF COURSE, IF THIS PROCEDURE DOES NOT WORK THE FIRST TIME IT SHOULD
BE REPEATED UNTIL A CHANGE OF LUCK TAKES PLACE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WESTLAND

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; Bingo ; CUSTOM ; DIRECTION: COUNTERWISE ; Entertainment ; GAMES

Subject headings: BELIEF -- P833 P833.6

Date learned: 09-15-1969

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Belief: Luck

Winning Streak:

Many coaches won't change a suit, socks or some particular piece of clothing if they have a winning streak going.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; CLOTHING ; CUSTOM ; Entertainment ; GAMBLING ; jinx ; LUCK ; SPORTS ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Fate Destiny Luck Chance

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Entry filtered.

Ethnic Joke: Misc.

One fellow advising another to buy Fisher Price Toy MFG.Co. stock, because they were planning to marker a new item that was expected to go great. It was a boxed jigsaw puzzle made expressly for (Poles, or Italians, or Irish, etc.) with instructions which would eliminate any confusion by saying "open either end."

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs and BN added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Submission located in pile marked [?]

Where learned: BUFFALO ; NEW YORK ; Collection

Keyword(s): BUSINESS ; Entertainments ; ETHNIC ; GAMES ; Investment ; Italian ; Jewish ; Mockery ; POLISH ; RIDICULE ; Stereotype ; Stock

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery

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Entertainment: Game

Method of Choosing IT:

To choose the "it" in a smae, the kids get together and someone would volunteer. Everyone eventually got chosen, and the ones that did not volunteer often enough were made "it" by mob rule. The informant learned it from the neighborhood kids.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C570, C570.500] crossde out. Replaced with current classifications.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHILDREN ; Entertainment ; GAME ; Playground

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime

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Entertainment: Game

Method of Choosing "it" for Games:

(Rhyme is chanted by one person who, at the same time, points to the children one by one. I will indicate when the person points by partially unerlining the corresponding words.)

Ee nie meenie minie moe

Catch a rabbit by the toe

If he hollers, let him go

My mother told me to choose the very best one

O U T spells out goes you.

Submitter comment:

I learned this in my grade school days in Detroit.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C570.560, C300.03] crossed out. Replaced with current classifications.

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): CHILDREN ; Entertainment ; GAME ; RHYME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

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Entertainment: Game

Variations of "one potato, two potato" method of choosing "it':

(Rhyme is chanted by one person as all the children stand in a circle with both fists in front, thums up. The person taps each fist in the circle of fists, not neglecting his own. I will indicate the words correcponding to the taps by partial underlining.)

One potato, two potao, three potato, four.

Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more.

The first hit on more is put behind the back and the rhyme continues until only one fist remains, this person being "it.")

Submitter comment:

My mother learned this rhyme in her grammar school days in Detroit.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C570.560, C300.021] crossed out. Replaced with current classification

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHILDHOOD ; Elimination ; Entertainment ; GAME ; POTATO ; RHYME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

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Entertainment: Game

A Chant for Picking the "It":

This is a chant that the neighborhood kids used to choose the "it" in their games. It went: "1 potato, 2 potato, 3 potato, 4. 5 potato, 6 potato, 7 potato, or." The person who "or" fell on was out and the rhyme started again.

Submitter comment:

The informant learned it from his friends.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C570] crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHILDREN ; Entertainment ; GAMES ; Playground ; RHYME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

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Entertainment: Game

A Chant for Picking the "IT":

To pick the "it" the people playing would gather together and someone would say: "Engine, Engine, number nine. Going down Chicago Line. If the train falls off the track, do you want your money back?" 

The person who "back" was said to is out and the rhyme is started over.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C570] is crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BASEBALL GAME. ; CHILDREN ; Elimination ; Entertainment ; Playground ; RHYME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse

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Entertainment: Game

Childhood Game:

When they were kids, they had a game called "Step on a crack and you'll break your mother's back." They would run along the sidewalk but not step on the pavement cracks or they would "break their mother's back" and lose.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C870] crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): Entertainment, Tabu, Game, Childhood ; RHYME

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse C750.520

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Ethnic: German

Tros, tros, tril,

Der Bauerhat ein Phil,

Das Philchen will nicht lauffen,

Der Bauer will verkaufen,

Tros, tros, tril.

This verse was sung by a grandfather to a small child. It accompanied a little game in which the grandfather sat with his knees crossed. On his right leg the child was seated facing the grandfather who grasped the child's hands. As the grandfather sings the verse, he gives the child a "pony" ride on his leg.

The verse tells of a farmer who had a horse, the horse would not run, so the farmer wants to sell the horse.

Submitter comment:

The informant remembers her German-born father entertaining his grandchildren with this game in Kenosha, Wisconsin about 30 years ago.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Loose (very loose) translation:

Tros, Tros, tril, The Bauerhat a Phil, The Philchen will not often run, the farmer wants to sell, Tros, Tros, tril.

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C520, C750] crossed out. Replaced with current classification.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHILDREN ; Entertainment ; ETHNIC ; Fable ; GAME ; GERMAN ; HORSE ; Play ; RHYME ; SONG

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse C750.520

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Entertainment: Game

"Pony Boy" game:

Put a small child on lap. Child should be facing you. Bounce shild up and down by bouncing your own knees. Continue the bouncing and sing:

Pony Boy, Pony Boy

Won't you be my Pony Boy?

Marry me; carry me

Right across the lane.

Giddy-up, Giddy-up....

(gradually bounce faster - at height of speed, extend your legs out and let child slide down, saying:)

Whoa! Don't you drop him!

(slide child back up).

 

Submitter comment:

My sister taught me it. As a nurse in the nursery she used to do it with the children.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C524.360] crossed out. Replaced with current classification

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHILD ; Entertainment ; GAME ; HORSE ; Pony ; RHYME ; SONG

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse C750.520

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Entertainment: Games

"It":

One of several methods of determining who would be "it" in games like tag and hide and seek was found in the following rhyme:

Lincoln, Lincoln, I been thinking,

What the world have you been drinking?

It ain't bourbon, it ain't wine,

Oh My God, it's turpentine!

All the participants put one foot into a circle. One goes through this rhyme and eliminates the participants one at a time. The one who is left is it.

Submitter comment:

I often used this methid to determine who would be it in the games in Washington DC (1950's)

Data entry tech comment:

motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original BN [C500, C750, C500.1; S555] crossed out. Replaced with current classification

Where learned: Myself

Keyword(s): CHILD ; CHILDREN ; Choice ; Diversion ; Entertainment ; GAME ; Play ; RHYME

Subject headings: -- .C750520

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Entertainment: Games

Hide and Seek Call:

When playing hide and seek, and the person who is it cannot find everyone, he calls out "Ally Ally in Free" and all those who are still hidden come out of their places to hide again for the next game.

Submitter comment:

The informant learned it from the other kids in the neighborhood

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Original Bn [C524, S70] crossed out. Replaced with current classification

Where learned: HOME

Keyword(s): CHILD ; CHILDREN ; Diversion ; Entertainment ; GAMES ; Play

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse C750.520

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