Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah by Allan ShermanHello Muddah, Hello Faddah! Here I am at Camp Granada. . . . So begin the lyrics that have been cracking up listeners since 1963, when songwriters Allan Sherman and Lou Busch borrowed the music of Ponchiellis Dance of the Hours to create the funniest camp song ever heard.On a rainy first day, a young camper writes home in the hope that his Muddah and Faddah will let him leave the dreaded Camp Granada. Bemoaning everything from the lake that has alligators to battling counselors and waiters to a bunkmate with malaria, this kid lays it on thick. But just like the weather, a campers attitude can improve when the sun comes out. Jack E. Daviss exuberant and quirky watercolors are the perfect accompaniment to Sherman and Buschs tongue-in-cheek humor.
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As pop phenomena go, Allan Sherman may have been no Madonna. For one thing, it is unlikely that many folks would flock the bookstores for erotic photos of a 5-foot-6, pound balding man with nerdy, heavy black glasses. But for a while there in the mids, Sherman was as hot as it got in the record business, his albums of parodies of folk and popular songs selling at phenomenal rates. There were Sherman wanna-bes, nerdy kids with heavy black glasses attempting to match his parodying wit. People were just getting comfortable with the suburbs, crabgrass, polyester blends, traffic and shopping centers Sherman lampooned in his songs. Hello, Fadduh! They are born, go to school, marry, grow old and, oddly for a comic piece, die.
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The song hit No. Sherman tied his clever lyrics to a familiar tune in Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours, a ballet composed in as an interlude in Act 3 of his opera, La Gioconda, based on an play by Victor Hugo. The ballet was written into the plot as entertainment for the characters. The ballet music has been frequently parodied by a variety of artists. In , portions were used by Disney in its Silly Symphonies series; in , the full ballet is parodied in Disney's Fantasia , danced by hippos, ostriches, alligators, and elephants. Among other uses of Ponchielli's ballet music: Spike Jones parodied it in , Mel Brooks' comedy History of the World Part I included the music, and Christopher Wheeldon choregraphed his own version of the full Dance of the Hours for his company Morphoses.