John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

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"John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" is a traditional children's song in the United States of obscure origin. The same verse is sung more and more softly in repetition. The lyrics of the song depend on who is singing. For example, the following is one version:

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too.
Whenever we go out,
The people always shout,
"there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!"
Na na na na na na na na (or other folderol)[1]

The following is another version, similar to 99 Bottles of Beer:

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
That's my name too.
Whenever I go out,
The people always shout,
"There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!"
Da da da da da da da da

The mock German name celebrated in the song suggests that English-speaking children find long northern-European names to be inherently funny words. The surname "Schmidt" and the surname suffix "-heimer" are of Germanic origin. Schmidt is one of the most common surnames in German heritage.

Origin[edit]

While the origins of the song are obscure, some evidence places its roots with vaudeville and theatre acts of the late 19th century and early 20th century popular in immigrant communities. Some vaudeville acts during the era, such as the work of Joe Weber and Lew Fields, often gave voice to shared frustrations of German-American immigrants and heavily leaned on malapropisms and difficulties with the English language as a vehicle for its humor.[2] Further, "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" shares many characteristics with "My Name is Jan Jansen", a song that can trace its origin to Swedish vaudeville in the late 19th century.

By the mid-20th century, the song appears to have already become widely known. In 1931, the Elmira Star Gazette, a newspaper in upstate New York, reported that at a Boy Scout gathering at Lake Seneca, as scouts entered the mess hall "Troop 18 soon burst into the first camp song, 'John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.'"[3] A 1941 Milwaukee Journal article also refers to the song, with the same uncommon alternate spelling of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith."[4]

The song can be sung in an infinite loop, like "The Song That Never Ends", "My Name is Jan Jansen", "Michael Finnegan", "99 Bottles of Beer", or "High Hopes".

Versions of this song also appear in other languages, such as the Spanish rendition; "Juan Pedro Pablo de la Mar".[citation needed]

Notable appearances[edit]

  • In the film In the Army Now (1994), four characters sing the song when they are deployed while in the army, and in a cutaway, are screamed to "shut up" by the rest of the Army.
  • In the film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), Robin Williams plays a character named John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. Noxeema Jackson (played by Wesley Snipes) remarks, "Oh, his name is my name, too!"
  • In the film RocketMan (1997) it is sung by Harland Williams.
  • In the film Disney's The Kid (2000) it is sung by Rusty Duritz (played by Spencer Breslin).
  • In the film Recess: School's Out (2001), the song is led by Mikey Blumberg (Robert Goulet)
  • In the film I Am Sam (2001), Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) sings "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" with his daughter Lucy Dawson (Dakota Fanning).
  • Featured as "Shane Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" in The Pacifier (2004), sung by Lulu Plummer (Morgan York) and her Firefly Scouts.
  • It has appeared in many television shows, including:
    • Happy Days season 5 episode 8, "Fonzie and Leather Tuscadero", Tuesday November 8, 1977.
    • The Andy Griffith Show season 4 episode 126 "Back To Nature", May 11, 1964.
    • Mystery Science Theater 3000 season 4 episode 21 "Monster A-Go-Go".
    • The Secret Life of the American Teenager season 1 episode 23.
    • sung by Sandra Bullock in Muppets Tonight season 1 episode 7, June 23, 1996.
    • Animaniacs season 1 episode 54 "Brerva", February 15, 1994.
    • Everybody Loves Raymond season 3 episode 6 Halloween Candy, October 26, 1998.
    • Psych season 5 episode 1 "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet", July 14, 2010.
    • Best Ed season 1, episode "Nightmare on Sweet Street": a ghostly figure named The Breadsless Northsman is scared away by using this song. Ed sings a line in a happy tune, while Buddy cries the next line.
    • In "The Duck Who Cried Wolf" on PB&J Otter, it is performed as "John Jacob Jingle Otter Breath."
    • The song has been featured in several episodes of the popular children's series Barney & Friends.
    • In the episode "Little Bunny Foo Foo" of the series No Evil, Calamity sings the second verse of the song.
    • In the episode "Nacho" of Better Call Saul, the Kettlemans, camping out after staging their own kidnapping, are about to sing this song when James McGill discovers their campsite.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lynch, Dan (1991-06-23). "Bug Juice Days". Albany Times Union. p. B4. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  2. ^ Wasson, Andrew. "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt is not a Person". Dairy River. 
  3. ^ Elmira Star-Gazette "Scouts Open Camp Seneca Term Sunday," , . July 6, 1931, p. 8. Retrieved on October 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Milwaukee Journal. "Youth Finds Fun at Fair". August 17, 1941, p. 4. Retrieved on July 3, 2014.

External links[edit]