Mademoiselle from Armentières
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"Mademoiselle from Armentières" was a song that was sung during World War I. It is also known by its ersatz French line, Hinky Dinky Parlez-vous (variant: Parley voo). It was considered a risque song, and when sung on the radio and TV, as in The Waltons, typically only the first verse was sung. The lyrics on which this opinion is based are recorded in the Gordon "Inferno" Collection.
The tune of the song was believed to be popular in the French army in the 1830s, and the original words told of the encounter of an inn-keeper's daughter, named Mademoiselle de Bar le Luc, with two German officers. During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the tune was resurrected, and again in 1914 when the Old Contemptibles got to know of it.
During World War II the comic duo Flanagan and Allen had a hit with Mademoiselle from Armentières [A. K. A. "If a grey-haired lady says 'How's yer father?'"] (1940), with other music and lyrics written by Ted Waite, referring to the original song.
"Three German Officers Crossed the Rhine" is a song with much more ribald set of lyrics, but sung to the same tune. It was originally sung in the trenches during the First World War.
There are a couple of claims to having written the lyrics for this song: E.g., Edward Rowland and a Canadian composer, Lt. Glitz Rice, is one pair; Harry Carlton and Joe Tunbridge is another. Lastly, many also refer to the famous British songwriter Harry Wincott.
The song was first recorded in 1915 by Jack Charman.
In episode 113 of The Golden Girls, entitled "Ebb Tide," Sophia sings a variation of the song with a group of guests, to whom she is renting rooms while Blanche and Dorothy are out of town.
"The first Marine, he found the bean, parlez-vous.
The second Marine, he cooked the bean, parlez-vous.
The third Marine, he ate the bean and blew apart the submarine.
Inky dinky parlez-vous."
- One version of lyrics
- firstworldwar.com – Vintage Audio – Mademoiselle from Armentieres
- horntip.com – "Hinky Dinky Parleyvoo (2148) & "Mademoiselle from Armentieres" from The Robert W. Gordon "Inferno" Collection in the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress
- horntip.com – Mademoiselle from Armentieres (3144) from The Robert W. Gordon "Inferno" Collection in the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress
- Mademoiselle from Armentieres at the Internet Movie Database
- Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous (Mademoiselle from Armentieres) on YouTube
- originals.be – More information about the song