Polly Wolly Doodle

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"Polly Wolly Doodle" is a song first published in a Harvard student songbook in 1880, but is probably older. It was sung by Dan Emmett's Virginia Minstrels, who premiered at New York's Bowery Amphitheatre in February 1843.[1]

"Polly Wolly Doodle" appears in the existing manuscript for Laura Ingalls Wilder's These Happy Golden Years exactly as it is used in the published version. It is sometimes credited to Dan Emmett (1815–1904). The melody of this song as it is usually sung formed the basis for Boney M.'s hit Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday in 1979,[2] and also for Alexandra Burke's song Start Without You, and is common in children's music, appearing in a Sunday school song called "O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E", the German group die Lollipops' "Radio Lollipop", and is the tune of the Barney & Friends song "Alphabet Soup" (though only using the first verse's tune) as well as "If I Had One Wish" (which uses both verses).


The Jukebox Puppet Band on Shining Time Station's third season episode "Schemer's Alone". The song has also been recorded by Larry Groce.

The song has been adapted in French by Francis Blanche under the title Le gros Bill and interpreted by Lily Fayol and Lucille Dumont.

Appearances in film and television[edit]

  • Shirley Temple sings "Polly Wolly Doodle" in the 1935 film The Littlest Rebel.
  • The song is featured prominently in the 1938 Academy Award for Best Picture recipient You Can't Take It With You directed by Frank Capra.
  • The song is the theme of the 1938 Donald Duck short film Good Scouts where it is played over the opening credits and sung by Donald and his nephews on their march.
  • Woody Woodpecker sings this while driving his car in the opening scene of the 1947 short film Well Oiled.
  • The song appears at the 2:19 mark of Sam Peckinpah's 1969 "The Wild Bunch", sung by Strother Martin's character, Coffer.
  • Julie Andrews sings the song in the opening faux-musical set piece of S.O.B (1981)
  • The Kidsongs kids sing this song in the 1986 video "A Day at the Circus".
  • In the Pokémon: Indigo League anime, as well as the video games Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the song "Road to Viridian City Leaving Pallet Town" sounds similar to this song.


  1. ^ Lee Davis, Scandals and Follies: The Rise and Fall of the Great Broadway Revue (New York: Limelight Editions, 2000), p. 31., according to http://civilwartalk.com/threads/polly-wolly-doodle.15345/
  2. ^ https://www.sonymusic.de/kuenstler/boney-m; in German
  3. ^ a b c d e http://www.originals.be/en/originals.php?id=4933
  4. ^ http://www.cmt.com/artists/gid-tanner/discography/2864192/