John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
"John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" is a traditional children's song in the United States and Canada of obscure origin. The song consists of one verse repeated over and over again while decreasing in volume for each iteration. There are other ways of singing this song such as increasing (accelerando) or decreasing (ritardando) in tempo or pitch after each iteration. The lyrics of the song depend on who is singing.
Lyrics and Melody
There are various lyrics to the song; for example, the following is one version:
The entire verse as shown before is repeated several times while altering the tempo or pitch.
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. 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.'" A 1941 Milwaukee Journal article also refers to the song, with the same uncommon alternate spelling of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith."
Versions of this song also appear in other languages, such as the Spanish rendition; "Juan Pedro Pablo de la Mar".
- Daddy Dewdrop released a version of the song, entitled "John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith", as the B-side to his 1971 single, "Chick-A-Boom (Don't Ya Jes' Love It)".
- 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 at 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.
- This song is featured on Wee Sing in Sillyville in 1989, along with two characters collectively known as the Jingleheimers.
- 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.
- In "Strawberry's Big Journey" from the 2003 version of Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry's friend Orange Blossom leads several rounds of the song.
- In American Dragon: Jake Long season 1 episode 13 "The Long Weekend". Jake listens to his dad and along with his two friends sing this song in the car.
- A Baby Looney Tunes song called "John Jacob Jingle Elmer Fudd" is a parody of this song.
- Being Ian season 2 episode 25 Hurry for Hollywood Part 1, February 27, 2007.
Note and references
- Lynch, Dan (1991-06-23). "Bug Juice Days". Albany Times Union. p. B4. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Wasson, Andrew. "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt is not a Person". Dairy River.
- Elmira Star-Gazette "Scouts Open Camp Seneca Term Sunday," , . July 6, 1931, p. 8. Retrieved on October 9, 2014.
- Milwaukee Journal. "Youth Finds Fun at Fair". August 17, 1941, p. 4. Retrieved on July 3, 2014.
- Daddy Dewdrop, "Chick-A-Boom (Don't Ya Jes' Love It)" single release Retrieved February 14, 2016.