A children's punning/rhyming game

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Sat Jul 24 16:56:23 UTC 2004

On Jul 24, 2004, at 8:55 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: A children's punning/rhyming game
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> The (white) character "Froggy" in an Our Gang short (ca.1942) pulls
> the same trick with the same words.  I too thought it was incredibly
> hip but am still waiting for a chance to use it myself.

Is this Froggy related to "Froggy the Gremlin" of the old
Saturday-morning "Smilin' Ed McConnell Show" - sponsored by Buster
Brown shoes: "'Arf! Arf!' That's my dog Tige! He lives in a shoe! I'm
Buster Brown! Look for me in there, too!" - on radio of the same era?

The show was cancelled after Smilin Ed, thinking that he was off the
air, commented, "There. That oughta hold the little bastards for
another week."

> Am fairly certain there is a ref. to the rhyme in use among white
> children in Ben Botkin's "Treasury of American Folklore" (1944). Will
> check.

Thank you.

-Wilson Gray

> JL
> Wilson Gray <hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Wilson Gray
> Subject: A children's punning/rhyming game
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> --------
> On my very first day in the first grade 1942 in Saint Louis, I was
> victimized by the following word game:
> Q. What's your name?
> A. Putting and ta'en!
> Ask me again
> And I'll tell you the same.
> This struck me as so hip that I couldn't wait to get home and tell my
> mother about. Unfortunately, she, born in Longview, TX, in 1914, was
> not impressed, since kids were already running this game on one another
> when she was a child.
> This little front-off game is so popular and well-known among black
> children that it was re-written as a rhythm-&-blues dance song for
> adults that was famous for fifteen minutes on black-oriented AM radio
> back in the 'Sixties.
> So far, I haven't met any white people to whom this is familiar.
> Ordinarily, I'd conclude that this game is only a black thing. However,
> over the years, I've found it in nursery-rhyme collections directed
> toward a white audience. In fact, had I not, I wouldn't know how to
> write it out the first line of the answer, since what I've always heard
> sounds something like this:
> Q. Whutcho name?/whussho name?
> A. Putnin tane!
> Ass/ax me agin,
> I teh yuh dih same.
> Anyway, are any of y'all white folk out yonder familiar with this?
> -Wilson Gray
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