A couple of ancient musical jokes—much shared online, but hey:
What does Batman’s mum call out when she wants him to come for his supper?
Dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner Batman!
Where does the Pink Panther come from?
Durham (Durham, Durham Durham Durham Durham Durhaaaaaam)
(For UK and US variants, see comments below.)
For a more ambitious word setting for Berlioz’s March to the Scaffold, see here; and for a handy mnemonic for additive metres, here. For tributes to the artistry of theme tunes, see Pearl and Dean, Parks and recreation, Soap. For the Indian inspiration of the Pink Panther, see Rāg Vindaloo.
8 thoughts on “Lyrics for theme tunes”
LOVE this post. But I think your Pink Panther ex is both parochial and wrong — it confuses an iamb (U-) and a trochee (-U), of which “DURham” is an ex. This side of The Pond, we ask, “What does the Pink Panther say when he sees a dead ant?” “Dead ANT, dead ANT, dead ANT-dead-ANT-dead-ANT-dead-ANT, dead-AAAAAAAAAAANNNNTTT!! (yah-da yah-da DAH)”
For the hemiola-impaired, there’s the high-priced and the low-priced spreads. A hapless tympanist got through Dvorak’s Op.46 #1 and a snarky conductor with “BUTter BUTter BUTter MARgarine, MARgarine . . .”
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Indeed, it’s perhaps another instance of cross-pond linguistic obstacles (https://stephenjones.blog/2017/05/17/signoffs-and-other-cross-pond-drolerie/). For us Brits, it’s always Durham, despite your wise observation about stress (perhaps the very fact that it doesn’t really work adds to its naff charm); and I did see the Dead ant thing online, but however sound, it didn’t get me—Hey ho… Thanks!
Perhaps “Dead Ant” requires my native Brooklyn accent . . .
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To be fair, perhaps we should solicit contributions from native speakers of Xhosa and Tosk…
I’m more concerned that I forgot to acknowledge the anacrusis . . .
Now that you prompt me to reflect, the advantage that “Durham” has (apart from its naffness, only compounded by the faulty stress) is that it is quite close to how Brits do actually hum it. I surmise this is less true for Dead ant?!
Humming birds hum because they can’t remember the words. Don’t know about humans. Off to work, now. Addio.
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