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 risqué 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 Duc, 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 several claims to having written the lyrics for this song:
- Edward Rowland and a Canadian composer, Gitz Rice
- Harry Carlton and Joe Tunbridge
- the famous British songwriter Harry Wincott
- Alfred Charles Montin wrote "Mademoiselle Fram Armentieres" while stationed in France and composed the music for "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" at Fort Sheridan, Ill., shortly before his unit was transferred to Fort Sill. The lyrics for the artillery march were written by Brig. Gen. Edmund L. Gruber, when he was a second lieutenant. Montin was born and raised in Nice, France. He migrated to the United States and started a tour of duty as an army band director in the days when the band was an important regimental organization. Also included in his music career was a tour with the famed John Philip Sousa Band.”,
The song was first recorded in 1915 by Jack Charman.
In season 3 episode 3 of Malcolm in the Middle, Roy the truck driver makes Francis sing this song while wearing a red clown wig.
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."
The song is sung at the very end of the serial Parade's End.
In episode 612 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the song is started by the United Servo Academy Men's Chorus Hymn, only for Mike Nelson trying to stop them from singing the song just as the show goes to commercial break.
The song was the tune of Clarabell's theme song from Howdy Doody.
A variation of the song's tune was the theme song for the early 1970s cartoon series, Around the World in Eighty Days.
- The First World War Poetry Digital Archive – Three German Officers crossed the Rhine
- 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