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View Full Version : What's the real name of that "There's a Place in France . . ." song?


smithsonian
02-16-2003, 02:46 PM
I recently went on a classic animation binge, watching a collection of old Mickey Mouse cartoons, followed by a bunch of Felix shorts. One thing that struck me as odd was how all the cartoons from the '20s and '30s seem to use the same songs over and over, particularly "Turkey in the Straw" and this . . . other song. The song in question sounds vaguely Middle Eastern, and in the cartoons it usually accompanies something exotic or foreign-seeming, like a snake charmer or a turban-clad man riding an elephant. Everyone's probably heard this tune, and when I was a kid (early '80s), we even had lyrics for it: "There's a place in France where the naked ladies dance; there's a hole in the wall where the men can see it all; but the men don't care, 'cause they choose their underwear . . . . "

So, what is the real title of this song? Who wrote it? Why was it used so extensively in old cartoons? And how long have kids had their own lyrics for the song?

Brian
Shreveport, LA

Walloon
02-16-2003, 02:52 PM
Here (http://members.lycos.nl/catchytune/egypt.mid) is the tune as a MIDI file.

smithsonian
02-16-2003, 03:02 PM
http://shira.net/streets-of-cairo.htm

Okay, I answered my own question. (Searched the archives here, which I should've done first). This site discusses the tune (written by Sol Bloom, but stolen and used by numerous performers at the turn of the century).

I am still curious about the schoolyard lyrics, though. Anyone know anything about variations/earliest recorded version?

Brian

Q.E.D.
02-16-2003, 03:04 PM
Not so fast: (http://ctc.portland.co.uk/answers.html)
B01.Kradoutja or Hootchy Kootchy Dance or Hoolah Hoolah or The Dance Of The Midway or Coochi Coochi Polka or Danse Du Ventre or Kutchi Kutchi or Kutchy Kutchy or Koochie Koochie Dance or The Streets Of Cairo or The Poor Little Country Maid (midi-9kB) - The 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition seems to be the source of - at least the popularity of - this tune. Sol Bloom claimed he ad libbed it to accompany a dancer and forgot to claim copyright. It quickly became very popular under scores of titles. However! An 1857 French print of the melody has been found, that states this actually is an Algerian or Arabic traditional called Kradoutja, dating back to at least the 17th century.

Revtim
02-16-2003, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by smithsonian
[url]
I am still curious about the schoolyard lyrics, though. Anyone know anything about variations/earliest recorded version?

Brian
The version I heard as a kid:

There's a place in France
where the ladies where no pants

(then it continues about underwear, but I think different from the OP's version. Can't remember it, sorry.)

The Flying Dutchman
02-16-2003, 05:55 PM
1950's, southern Ontario version

There's a place called France
Where the ladies wear no pants
And the men wear glasses
To see their dirty asses

Fear Itself
02-16-2003, 07:06 PM
I remember:

"There's a place on Mars,
Where the women smoke cigars"

zoogirl
02-16-2003, 07:29 PM
"There's a place in France
Where the ladies were no pants
And the men go 'round
With their hammers hanging down."

Burnaby (Vancouver) BC, c1970.

zoogirl
02-16-2003, 07:31 PM
Rat's!
I don't know what kind of ladies they WERE, but they didn't WEAR pants!

(Preview, zoogirl, PREVIEW!)

chique
02-16-2003, 08:26 PM
There's a place in France
Where the naked ladies dance
But the men don't care
Cause they don't wear underwear

Circa 1975, central Minnesota.

I'd like to get my hands on a copy of that Kradoutja.

02-16-2003, 09:29 PM
There's a place in France
Where the naked ladies dance.
There's a hole in the wall
Where the boys can see it all.

Was what I heard in St. Louis in the early 70s

racer72
02-16-2003, 09:43 PM
There's a place in France
Where the alligators dance
The one couldn't dance
So they kicked him in the pants
The pants next door
Cost a dollar forty four
Plus tax.

Q.E.D.
02-16-2003, 09:49 PM
There's a board we know
Where the happy Dopers go
Unca Cecil rants,
"Gotta stomp out ignorance!"

*takes a bow*

:D

Trigonal Planar
02-16-2003, 10:08 PM
I knew a slightly different version:


In the land of Oz
Where the ladies where no bras
But the men don't care
'cuz they wear no underwear

batsto
02-17-2003, 12:00 PM
The version we sang where I live (central NJ, late 70s) goes:
there's a place in France
where the naked ladies dance
There's a hole in the wall
Where the men can see it all

lost4life
02-17-2003, 12:13 PM
Hmmm,
of all the lost childhood memories, I still remember:

They don't wear pants
in the southern part of France,
But they do wear grass
to cover up their ass.

susan
02-17-2003, 08:04 PM
Similar to racer72's, Mid-Atlantic area, c 1970

There's a place in France
Where the alligators dance
One wouldn't dance
So they shot him in the pants
The pants he wore
Cost a dollar ninety-four
Plus tax.

Also,

There's a place on Mars
Where the ladies smoke cigars.
Every puff they take
Is enough to kill a snake.
When the snakes are dead
They put diamonds in their head.
When the diamonds crack,
They put mustard on their back.
When the mustard dries,
They put rubies in their eyes....

I don't understand their motivation, of course. I merely report.

december
02-17-2003, 09:24 PM
All I remember is the first two lines:

Oh, they don't wear pants
On the sunny side of France.

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