Date: Sat, 19 Oct 1996 01:13:42 -0400

From: "Barry A. Popik" Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: "Jazz" and "Hokum" in the Library of Congress

Just came back from a day trip to the Library of Congress. I did a

whole bunch of stuff, mainly on "jazz" and "hokum," but also "I'm from

Missouri--Show Me."


What you do when you go down to the L. of C. is that you first check

out the computer catalog. Then, in the Performing Arts Division, you check

out the card catalog. Then you ask a librarian, and he or she tells you

about other catalogs and collections that you almost missed, and you go

completely batty!

The Von Tilzers (Harry and Albert) wrote an amazing number of popular

songs around the turn of the century. My favorite is "Take Me Out to the

Ball Game"--which I can still enjoy listening to once a game. I looked

through six boxes of the Von Tilzers, and THEN the librarian told me about

this special collection. It was "acquired in 1982 by a purchase through the

Heritage Bookshop in Los Angeles from an unidentified owner." A special

collections guide was made in 1993, but it was made on TWO sides of the page,

and the guide I was given was some idiot's copy of just the ODD pages. (Good

enough for government work, I guess.)

Harry Von Tilzer wrote a song called "Chief Hokum" in 1923; Jesse

Sheidlower told me he now dates this term to 1908. However, the Von Tilzer /

Gum Collection had ANOTHER one, called "Hokem." Performers included "Laugh

Provokers--Red Nosed Jokers" and "Hokey Pokers--Slap Stick Soakers." The

song goes:

Oh, you've gotta give the folks a little hokum

You've gotta soak 'em--to make them laugh...

And if you ever find your act is slipping

Start ripping--...I feel a draft...

Now if a maiden says that she's not well sir

Use selzer--in the mush...

Oh you've gotta give the folks a little jokum

You've gotta soak 'em to get the cash.

Also in the Von Tilzer/Gum Collection was a song called "I Just Came

From Old Missouri." It's incomplete, but goes:

I just came from old Missouri

and you got to--show me

I am lonely awful lonely


So I asked the librarian--WHAT IS THIS STUFF? ARE THERE ANY DATES?


I was told it is what it is.


The Von Tilzers wrote many songs that are very similar to the 1898 song

that we have as the origin of "I'm From Missouri--Show Me." Their song

predate that one. When was this piece written? When was "Hokem" or "Hokum"


No one knows??