Friday 2 January 2015

Rowing on Film

I have been shockingly badly educated. At the age of erherm and a half and I have never seen the Wizard of Oz all the way through. The other day I caught the opening sequence for the first time, including the disturbing and bizarre twister that whisks Dorothy up to the Land of Oz.
On the way up she passes a boat being rowed by a couple of cheery coves who doff their bowlers politely. Apparently this is a reference to a number sung by the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman called Hurrah for Baffin's Bay, from the 1903 Broadway musical of the W of O.
The lyrics are passing strange (and you can listen to the original 1903 recording here):

'Twas on the good ship Cuspidor
We sailed through Baffin's Bay;
We tied her to the ocean
While the Bulwarks ate some hay.
The Captain said "We'll tie the ship,
Whatever else betide!"
And he drank a pint of gasoline
With whiskey on the side
He had lost his breath
But soon it was restored.

It was midnight in the galley,
It was one beside the dock;
But by the starboard watch
'Twas only half past nine o' clock.
The first mate said, "Unhitch the mules,
We're going thro' a lock!
And then the bo'sun went
And put the larboard watch in "hock!"
For the good ship didn't
Have a cent aboard.

Avast, belay--Hurrah for Baffin's Bay!
We couldn't find the pole,
Because the barber moved away.
The boat was cold,
We thought we'd get the grip,
So the painter put three coats
Upon the ship!
Hip, hip! Hip, hip!
Hurrah for Baffin's Bay!

The bo'sun asked the polar bear
Would she eat off his hand,
But polar bears talk Polish
And she did not understand.
She chased him up a mountain peak;
She acted very tough--
When she made him jump the precipice
He knew it was a bluff!
But if she had bit him
He'd have bit her back.

Two loving whales got in our net,
We knew they were insane
They blew themselves,
And then we saw,
They'd water on the brain.
The bull whale said "Soapine,
I love you best of all the whales."
The lady said "Don't talk so loud--
The fishes carry tails!"
And the bull whale kissed her
With a fishing smack.

Avast, belay--hurrah for Baffin's Bay!
Just three years is a lifetime there,
For six months is a day.
A whale can give a ferry boat the slip,
But it can't get full of sailors like a ship.
Hip, hip! Hip, hip!
Hurrah for Baffin's Bay!

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