Johnny Whoop, also known as Johnny, Johnny, is a children's hand game. One person holds out his or her hand and touches each finger with the other hand's index finger, from the pinky to the index finger, then slides the other hand's index finger down between the index finger and the thumb, then touches the thumb, and the repeats the sequence in reverse. As the person touches each finger and the thumb, he or she says "Johnny"; as the person slides the finger toward and back from the thumb, he or she says "Whoop" (or "Whoops" or "Whoosh"). The result is the sequence "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Whoop, Johnny, Whoop, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny." People in the surrounding group are then challenged to repeat the sequence precisely.
The trick is that the first person did something surreptitiously, usually at the end of the "Johnny" sequence, such as folding his or her arms, putting his or her hands together, or saying "Now, you try." When the other people in the group try to repeat the "Johnny, Johnny" sequence, then, they are told they did it incorrectly.
The fun in the game is predicated on some people knowing the trick and some people not knowing it. The people who don't know the trick may go to frustrating lengths trying to tap their fingers "the right way," do the sequence at the "right" speed, or simply just refrain from getting tongue tied from saying "Johnny" over and over again to memorize—when what they really need to do is the simple but unknown trick of, say, folding their hands.
The earliest known written reference to the game is from 1966, though it probably predates that considerably.
- Jackie Silberg. Games to play with babies. Gryphon House. (May 1, 2001) Page 221.
- "Roger Welsch. "Nebraska Finger Games." Western Folklore, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Jul., 1966), pp. 173-194. Western States Folklore Society. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1498819
- Doug Goodkin. A Rhyme in Time: Rhythm, Speech Activities and Improvisation for the Classroom. Alfred Publishing Company. October 1997. Page 17.
- Joan Holub. "Whoops! Johnny." Ladybug. April 1994, Vol. 4, Issue 8. Page 30.
- Karl Rohnke. Funn 'n Games. Kendall Hunt Publishing (August 30, 2004). Page 22.
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