Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts
The song "Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts" (also known as "Great Green Globs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts") is a children's public domain playground song popular throughout the United States. Dating back to at least the mid-20th century, the song is sung to the tune of "The Old Gray Mare". The song, especially popular in school lunchrooms and at summer camps, presents macabre horrors through cheerful comedy while allowing children to explore taboo images and words especially as they relate to standards of cleanliness and dining. Many local and regional variations of the lyrics exist, but whatever variant, they always entail extensive use of the literary phonetic device known as an alliteration which helps to provide an amusing description of animal body parts and fluids not normally consumed by Americans.
Smithsonian Folkways version
The song appears on the Smithsonian Folkways compilation release entitled A Fish That's A Song, a collection of traditional public domain children's songs from the United States performed by Mika Seeger. The Smithsonian release appears to be derived from an earlier 1959 release entitled The Sounds Of Camp.
The lyrics performed by Mika Seeger are as follows:
- Great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts,
- Mutilated monkey meat.
- Dirty little birdie feet.
- French fried eyeballs swimming in a pool of blood
- And me without my spoon.
ANOTHER VERSION: Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts; Mutilated monkey meat, Thirty, dirty birdie feet
French fried eyeballs soaked up in kerosene, floating in a pool of blood
Made without a spoon, but with a straw... slurp (sound).. awhhh
New York version
Lyrics of a more extensive version from New York was in use during the 1990s as follows:
- Yankee Doodle went to town a-ridin’ on a gopher
- Bumped into a garbage can and this is what fell over:
- Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts,
- Mutilated monkey meat, chopped up baby parakeet.
- French-fried eyeballs rolling down the street.
- Oops, I forgot my spoon!
- So they gave me a split-splat, pus-on-top,
- Monkey vomit and camel snot,
- All wrapped up in birdie poo,
- So eat it, (name), it’s good for you!
- With vitamin C, and protein too
- And don’t forget the doggie doo!
Bizarre Foods America rap version
Bizarre Foods America, a cooking show which began airing in 2012 on cable television's Travel Channel, uses a hip-hop version for its theme song. The rapped lyrics are backed by keyboards and electronically produced drum beats.
In popular culture
In the Stephen King book The Body (the basis for the movie Stand By Me), young Davy "LardAss" Hogan pretends that he's eating them instead of blueberry pies.
The song was also sung in the 1991 movie adaptation of the book Runaway Ralph.
The 2012 Aesop Rock album Skelethon features a track titled "Gopher Guts", which uses the first line of the poem to great metaphorical effect.
- Josepha Sherman and T.K.F. Weisskopf, Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood (August House, 1995).
- Pifer, Lynn."Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood." review of book by Sherman and Weisskopf). Journal of American Folklore. Washington: Winter 1997.Vol.110, Iss. 435; pg. 105
- del Negro, Janice. "Professional reading—Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood by Josepha Sherman and T. K. F. Weiskopt." book review in The Booklist. Chicago: April 15, 1996.Vol.92, Iss. 16; pg. 1448
- Ian Turner, June Factor, Wendy Lowenstein, Cinderella Dressed in Yella, 2nd Edition (Heinemann, 1978).
- Lansky, Bruce and Stephen Carpenter, I've Been Burping in the Classroom, p 10. Meadowbrook, 2007.
- Westfahl, Gary, et al, Foods of the Gods: Eating and the Eaten in Fantasy and Science Fiction, p 79. University of Georgia Press, 1996.
- Bronner, Simon J., American Children's Folklore, pp 81-82. August House, 2006.
- A Fish That's A Song, Smithsonian Folkways recording no. SFW45037.
- Booklet notes to the Smithsonian Folkways recording
- Tucker, Elizabeth. Children's Folklore: A Handbook, p 66. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008.