Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, February 5, 2016

Vi gefelt aykh mayn plan? (How do you like my plan?) to the tune of "Mr. Dooley"

I'm out of town and have some time to kill so I'm knocking a couple of these penny songs off the table, the last one (Zay a tate tsu dayn kind) for being too generic and this one for being too dumb.

Let's start with the annoying tune, which has an ersatz Irish feeling. Yes, it was popular in its day. Here it is: Dan W. Quinn singing Mister Dooley in 1902 (at the Library of Congress National Jukebox, which is a great resource). And you can get the sheet music here.

The tune was written by Jean Schwartz born 1878 in Budapest, Hungary and emigrated to New York City when he was 13. In 1901, he started working with William Jerome and they co-wrote "Mr. Dooley," which was sung in The Wizard of Oz, as well as in the Ziegfeld Follies.

Mr. Dooley was the pen-name of Finley Peter Dunne, the editor and humorist who satirized foibles of his time. W. H. A. Williams, author of 'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream, says: "The Dooley of the song turns out to be an early version of Mel Brooks's "Two Thousand Year Old Man."

I'm feeling a little guilty about bailing on this song so I'm including the English lyrics of Mr. Dooley at the bottom of the page.

First, though, here is the Yiddish parody written by Morris Rund, who continues to harp on his theme of borders seducing their landladies (or vice versa). I wonder if he and his wife had a border?

Hert, ikh bet aykh libe fraynd, derklert hob ikh a plan
Ven eyner krikt dem apetit un hot nit in moyl arayn
Klern zol er nit tsu fil nor folgn vos ikh zog:
Hunger vet er shoyn nit hobn un zat zayn yedn tog!

Ven der mogn heybt on nogn
Varft im a por gute klep arayn
Un fargesn vet er in esn
No vi gefelt aykh libe fraynd mayn plan?

A vaybele hob ikh gekent, sheyn un yung un fayn
Antlofn iz zi mit ir border ir man gelozt aleyn
Shoyn bald tsvey yor der man geyt im in hungert shtark nokh ir
Du man du yold zay nit keyn nar un folg dem plan fun mir:

Ven der mogn heybt on nogn
A tsveyter nem dir af ir plats arayn
Un der printsesn vestu fargesn
No vi gefelt aykh libe fraynd mayn plan?

Un far meydlekh hob ikh a plan ikh denk az er iz git
Ven eyne krigt tsum heyratn kholile apetit
Vartn zol zi gor nit lang nor fregn bald bay mir
A gitn plan vel ikh ir gebn az voyl vet zayn tsu ir

Ven der mogn heybt on nogn
Un keyner vil af ir keyn baln zayn
Zol zi nemen a zoyrn lemen
No vi gefelt aykh libe fraynd mayn plan?

Un far boys hob ikh oykh a gutn plan gemakht
Ven eyner krikt dem apetit nor in mitn nakht?
Zo hert di eytse vos ikh gib, es ken nit beser zayn:
Folgn zolt ir vos ikh zog, ikh bet aykh hert zikh ayn

Ven der mogn heybt on nogn
Un ir loyft in restoyrant arayn
Mit a yunger chicken - zolt ir aykh
No vi gefelt aykh libe fraynd mayn plan?

Listen dear friend, I ask you, I declare I have a plan
When somebody is hungry and has nothing to eat
He shouldn't think too much, he should just do as I say,
He won't be hungry any more and he'll be full every day!

When the belly starts to gnaw
Hit it a couple times, it'll forget about eating
Now, how do you like my plan, dear friends?

I knew a little wife, pretty and young and fine
She ran off with the boarder and left her husband alone
Soon two years went by, the husband was hungering for her
You chump of a husband, don't be a fool, follow my plan:

When the belly starts to gnaw
Take another in her place and you'll forget the princess.
Now, how do you like my plan, dear friends?

And for girls I have a plan, I think it's good
When, God forbid, one of you starts to have an appetite for marriage
She shouldn't wait long but should ask me right away,
I'll give her a good plan, it'll serve her well:

When the belly starts to gnaw
And nobody is volunteering to take her
She should take a sour lemon
Now, how do you like my plan, dear friends?

And for boys I have also made a good plan.
When you get an appetite in the middle of the night?
Hear my advise, nothing could be better:
Obey what I say, I ask you to listen:

When the belly starts to gnaw
And you run into a restaurant
You should thoroughly enjoy a younger chicken
Now, how do you like my plan, dear friends?

And here are the equally stupid lyrics to the original song, Mr. Dooley:

There is a man that's known to all, a man of great renown,
A man whose name is on the lips of everyone in town
You read about him every day, you've heard his name, no doubt,
And if he even sneezes they will get an extra out

For Mr. Dooley For Mister Dooley,
The greatest man the country ever knew
Quite diplomatic and democratic
Is Mister Dooley ooley ooley oo

Napoleon had an army of a hundred thousand men
He marched them up the hill and then he marched them down again
When they were up, why they were up, on that I'll bet a crown
And though Napoleon marched them up, who was it called them down?

'Twas Mister Dooley, 'twas Mr. Dooley,
He always knew a little parlez-vous
With Bonipartee a la Ma Carty
Was Mister Dooley ooley ooley oo

This country never can forget, forget we never will
The way the boys at San Juan they went charging up the hill
Though Teddy got the credit for that awful bloody frey
The hero who deserved it and the man who saved the day

'Twas Mister Dooley, 'twas Mister Dooley
Like a locomotive up the hill he flew
Who drove the Spanyards back to the Tanyards?
'Twas Mister Dooley ooley ooley oo

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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