A Connecticut Yankee in Procrastinationland (4 GIRLS: SAMBA!)

I have to deliver a paper at a conference on Thursday, so naturally today (Tuesday) I am working on it in earnest–and by working in earnest, I mean, of course, procrastinating on my blog. The paper I’m giving is about the 1949 musical version of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the one that starred Bing Crosby. The movie was based on an earlier stage musical by Rogers and Hart.

I bring this up, because in my previous post on possible topics of interest to BoingBoing readers, I lamented the lack of hobos in the medieval era. I should have remembered that this very subject is raised in the Rogers and Hart musical, when Arthur and the Connecticut Yankee are traveling incognito, they sing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” which segues into this exchange:

ARTHUR

‘TIS A JOLLY SONG IN TRUTH.

MARTIN

I LEARNED IN MY YOUTH
IN QUITE ANOTHER MUNDUS
FROM THE GENUS VAGABUNDUS.

ARTHUR

MEANEST THOU HOBOES?

I have to summarize the plot of this musical in my paper, because my paper is meant to trace the development of the story between these two modern adaptations. Because it is a musical, I keep having to use the phrase “for some reason,” to describe the plot developments in Rogers and Hart, such as:

  • During Hank Martin’s bachelor party, we discover that the suit of armor belonging to Sir Lancelot of the Lake is being stored in a broom closet on a Navy ship, for some reason.
  • When told that the date is June 21st, 543, the Yankee, for some reason, recognizes the date immediately as the occasion of a total eclipse of the sun.
  • When the Yankee awakens from his dream, he finds his friends have married him to Alice in a ceremony that was legally binding for some reason, even though he was unconscious during it.
  • Crashing their jeep forces Arthur and Martin to dress like peasants, for some reason.
  • When we arrive at Morgan le Fay’s castle, there is a long musical digression called, “The Camelot Samba,” for some reason.

Since there’s no good excuse for me to quote the Camelot Samba in my paper, I’ll indulge myself by quoting it here.

ENSEMBLE

HAST THOU HEARD ABOUT YE DANCE CREATION

4 GIRLS

SAMBA!

ENSEMBLE

THAT KEEPETH GETTING IN KING ARTHUR’S HAIR?

4 GIRLS

PRITHEEE AÏEE!

ENSEMBLE

ALL THE KNIGHTS JOUST TO ITS SYNCOPATION

4 GIRLS

SAMBA!

ENSEMBLE

YE OLD ROUND TABLE’S NOT SO SQUARE

4 GIRLS

‘Tis hep!

MERLIN

HOW I TRIED, BY MAGIC INCANTATION,

4 GIRLS

TO STOP THE DANCE!

MERLIN

TO DISCOURAGE THIS BRAZILIAN THRILL.

4 GIRLS

HE FAILED PERCHANCE.

MERLIN

NOW THE SAMBA SWEEPS ACROSS THE NATION.

Prithee aïee! indeed.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Emms

    Dear Medieval Bloggist: Not only am I within spitting distance of my Medieval Studies BA (one of one students to do so this year at my Connecticut University), but I also found myself embroiled in an attempt to eke MedStu worth out of “A Connecticut Yankee” last semester. I confined myself to the book, which I now realize was a great mistake. Clearly the musical version is much more pertinent.
    Now I am attempting to work on my not-entirely-medieval senior thesis, and, thanks to you, procrastinating.
    Maybe I’ll go rent a movie…SAMBA!

  • Larry Cebula

    What a great blog! How did you get the expandable posts option on Blogger? I can’t figure it out.

  • Sean

    ‘meanest thou hoboes?’ has pretty much become my favourite phrase these days…

  • Got Medieval

    Larry: Peekaboo posts require some fiddling with the template. Go here for info.

  • Larry Cebula

    Thanks!

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