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The Hokey Pokey

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Written by Larry LaPrise, Tafft Baker, Charles Macek
Date 1950
Publisher Acuff-Rose Music

"The Hokey Pokey" is a popular song and dance which dictates specific movements, including shaking it all about. Versions, also known as hokey cokey, hinkum booby, and other phrases, date as far back as the 1820s in England. In the US, the popular version remains in copyright, registered by Larry LaPrise and two other members of the Rams Trio (who recorded an early version, and LaPrise claimed to have written it for ski lodge audiences).

The song has often been performed on Sesame Street, including "Elmo's World: Dancing" (as sung by the Lecture Lady). It was used in the Sesame Street Live shows Sleeping Birdie and Out of This World, and parodied on the TV show as "The Hokey Wormy".

The song also became the main feature of the 2003 Fisher-Price toy Hokey Pokey Elmo, which danced to the song. To promote the toy, at the 2003 Canadian National Exhibition, Kevin Clash led an estimated 196,569 people in "The Hokey Pokey," setting a Guinness world record. The book Hokey Pokey Elmo was another tie-in, and "Mini Hokey Pokey" versions of Elmo, Ernie, and Cookie Monster were added in 2004. A 2006 toy, Sing with Elmo's Greatest Hits, included the song.

Off the street, a portion of the song was danced by the "Bay of Pigswatch" cast in Muppets Tonight episode 204.


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