Poor Boy (1931); "Dunderbeck" at Princeton (1901)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Jul 8 03:07:10 UTC 2006

Barry, according to James Fuld's  famous _Book of World Famous Music_, the lyrics to the Dunderbeck song first appeared, as "Dunderbeck's Machine," in Our Own Boys Songster (N.Y.: R. M. De Witt, 1876), p. 6,   The tune is given as that of the rather less well remembered "Thomas's Machine."


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Subject: Poor Boy (1931); "Dunderbeck" at Princeton (1901)

OED has revised "po' boy," but I don't see its revision of "poor boy." Here
are two more cites on a re-check.
10 April 1931, Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent, "Boys Go To New Orleans...," pg.
29, col. 3:
"We bought poor-boy sandwiches for a dime and got two meals from each
sandwich," they said.
1 July 1934, Port Arthur (TX) News, pg. 8, col.2:
NEW ORLEANS, June 30 (UP).--A man with a dime in New Orleans will not go
Here's what he can buy:
Two eggs, two strips of bacon, grits, buttered toast and coffee. Or--
Wheat cakes, butter, sausage or bacon, coffee.
Then, there's the poor boy sandwich, which sells in some places for five
cents. It is composed of a half-loaf of French bread, sliced down the middle,
about a foot and a quarter of bread, and garnished with ham, cheese, pickle,
tomatoes and lettuce.
A re-check. The song is also called Johnny (Johnnie) Vorbeck or Verbeck or
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 14, 1901. p. BR10 (1

BENEDICT PRIETH, Newark, N.J.: "M. L. Paxson of Portland, Me. asks about a
song entitled "Dunderbeck's Medicine," of which he gives the refrain. When I
was a student at Princeton we used to sing the song in question, but we called
it "Dunderbeck's Machine." There were several verses .The refrain follows:
"Oh Dunderbeck, oh Dunderbeck, how could you be so mean,
I'm sorry you ever invented that wonderful machine.
For pussy cats and long-tailed rats, will nevermore be seen;
They'll all be ground to sausage meat in Dunderbeck's machine."

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