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Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady

GUEST,Cool Beans 23 Apr 02 - 11:59 AM
SharonA 23 Apr 02 - 12:27 PM
SharonA 23 Apr 02 - 12:32 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 02 - 05:59 PM
Hollowfox 23 Apr 02 - 06:54 PM
Mrrzy 24 Apr 02 - 03:27 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Apr 02 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,jeff@softmed.com 22 Sep 02 - 11:27 AM
Little Hawk 22 Sep 02 - 02:08 PM
toadfrog 22 Sep 02 - 09:31 PM
Frivolous Sal 23 Sep 02 - 01:46 AM
Bullfrog Jones 23 Sep 02 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Sep 02 - 12:46 PM
Little Hawk 23 Sep 02 - 08:20 PM
georgeward 24 Sep 02 - 02:19 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Sep 02 - 01:43 PM
Frivolous Sal 26 Sep 02 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Jon Hobden 15 Sep 09 - 01:40 AM
Joe Offer 15 Sep 09 - 01:52 AM
georgeward 15 Sep 09 - 02:28 AM
Micca 15 Sep 09 - 02:52 AM
Joe Offer 15 Sep 09 - 02:55 AM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Sep 09 - 11:02 AM
Micca 15 Sep 09 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Sep 09 - 05:48 PM
Cool Beans 15 Sep 09 - 10:14 PM
Effsee 15 Sep 09 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 Sep 09 - 11:19 PM
georgeward 16 Sep 09 - 12:05 AM
Jim Dixon 17 Sep 09 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,John Sheehan 28 Sep 10 - 04:54 PM
GUEST 16 May 13 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,Cool Beans
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 11:59 AM

Driving the entire New York Thruway (Canada to Massachusetts) last weekend I was reminded of a song called "I Can't Spell Schenectady.'' I remember the tune, but the only lyrics I recall are the words in the title. Big John and Sparky used to sing it on the radio. Anyone know the words? Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: SharonA
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 12:27 PM

Spelling is everything: the name of the duo is actually "Big Jon & Sparkie" (also listed as "Big Jon and Sparkie"). Here's a source for the "Schenectady" skit available on Streamload: http://members.tripod.com/~ghf11/otr/sparky.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: SharonA
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 12:32 PM

More "Big Jon and Sparkie" discussion here: http://www.old-time.com/cgi-bin/otrbbss/kidsbbs.cgi?read=170


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 05:59 PM

Don't worry about it. As long as you can spell "Shatner", you are on solid ground. If you can both spell and pronounce Schenectady, however, you get a free parrot. It's not guaranteed to be alive, but it's still free!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Hollowfox
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 06:54 PM

You clean it and I'll cook it, Little Hawk. (from the 'fox who used to live in Schenectady.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 03:27 PM

(cree alert) The only way I can spell Massachusetts is to remember the song by Arlo... (creep off)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 09:09 AM

For all you vinyl collectors:

"I Can't Spell Schenectady" appears on "Outdoor Songs for Indoor Days," performed by "Big Jon Arthur and the 'No School Today' Cast," Vocalion LP #73714. I don't know when it was issued and it's presumably out of print, but at least AMG gives a track listing.

"I Can't Spell Schenectady" was also issued as a single (flip side of "Clancey's Café") performed by Georgie's Tavern Band on Decca #28167, sometime between 1947 and 1952.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,jeff@softmed.com
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 11:27 AM

I actually have a recording of Big Jon & Sparkie singing the "I Can't Spell Schenectady" song.

It starts off with:

I can spell Dakota, Can handle Minnesota, but I can't spell Schenectady!

...and so on. If someone can tell me how to stream, I'd be happy to post it.

Jeff Pedneau


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 02:08 PM

Schenectady, glorious Schenectady! The place name that is even funnier than Guelph. I love it.

We also have a town in Canada called Penetanguishene. Pretty neat, eh? Most local people just call it "Penetang".

Some other amusing Canadian town names: Wawa, Moosejaw, Coboconk and Apto. Apto contains a gas station and one house. You're apt to miss it if you blink.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: toadfrog
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 09:31 PM

What's so funny about Guelph?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Frivolous Sal
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 01:46 AM

If you go out in the woods today, prepare for a big surprise. The link to Big Jon wasn't there any more. I heard them on the West Coast. How far did they go? Did they reach central or eastern USA? Did they reach Canada? Was the show a big deal for anyone other than me? Bored minds want to know these things.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 05:49 AM

You want funny names? We got 'em! Some of my favourites are Pratt's Bottom, Nether Wallop, Pease Pottage and Indian Queens. Any Catters live in any of those?
BJ


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 12:46 PM

Mehitabel: I remember listening to Big Jon and Sparkie when I was a little child in Florida. To tell you the truth, I found the show confusing and irritating. I couldn't figure out what "Sparkie" was.

Hey! This could have been an early life experience which is the foundation of my lifelong aversion to TV and radio. Big Jon and Sparkie, I thank you!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 08:20 PM

What's funny about Guelf? Well, just put it into any song you know about some other city...

"I left my heart in ----------- !"

"Arriverderci --------- !"

"Do you know the way to ------ !"

And you will realize what's funny about it. :-)

It sounds like a large frog giving a truncated croak.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: georgeward
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 02:19 AM

Mehitabel, BJ&S were on the air out of New York City also. I heard them as a kid on Long Island. Can't remeber which station or network though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 01:43 PM

This Schenectady County Historical Society Newsletter says that "I Can't Spell Schenectady" was "written for the Kermis celebration in 1948."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Frivolous Sal
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 03:07 PM

I spent my childhood in traction,with a radio for company. BJ&S were a very big deal to me. Weekdays it was Arthur Godfrey, etc. I can beat nearly anyone at "name that tune", nearly any era.
I think the attraction to BJ&S was children's music (to this day I love "Teddy Bear's Picnic")Kid's shows were pretty limited then. BJ&S Saturday and someone reading the funnies on Sunday.
Later, Cisco & Lone Ranger were added in the afternoon, but they didn't play music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,Jon Hobden
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 01:40 AM

I first heard this song on my last trip to Schenectady in July 2004. I heard it playing on a loop in the Schenectady Museum, where I had gone as a kid w/ school a few times. It's a very catchy tune, IMO.


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Subject: ADD: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 01:52 AM

This was lost in a BS Thread, so I thought I'd copy the post here.

Thread #76600   Message #1362068
Posted By: georgeward
21-Dec-04 - 12:41 AM
Thread Name: BS: Schenectady jealous of Hull
Subject: LYRIC ADD: I Can't Spell Schenectady
I CAN'T SPELL SCHENECTADY

Intro:   I'm so very smart at all my lessons,
         Reading, writing and geography;
         But when it comes to spelling, I'm confessin'
         There's just one word that stumps me constantly.

Verse(1):   I can spell Dakota, can handle Minnesota, but
            I can't spell Schenectady,
            I can spell Havana and figure out Savannah,
            But I can't spell.....

Bridge:       Why, one time at a spelling bee
               Said teacher all at once,
               "Now, Willie, spell 'Schenectady',"
               I felt just like a dunce!

Verse(2): I spelled Anaconda and even Tonawanda,
          So what does she expect of me ?
          I just can't spell Schenectady.


V (1):    I can spell Pomona, Seattle and Tacoma, but I can't...
          I mastered Ypsilanti and Agua Caliente, but I can't..

Br:            Now teacher called on Percival,
               Who never missed a word;
               When he misspelled "Schenectady,"
               The class gave him the bird!

V(2):    I can spell Weehawken, but Teacher's alway's squawkin'
          So what does she expect of me ?


          I can spell Missoula and even Ashtabula, but I can't...
          I find Corpus Christi as easy as Poughkeepsie, but...

             Although it's such a pretty place,
             Yet isn't it a shame,
             They had to go and give it
             Such an awful funny name ?

          There is just one answer. As quickly as I can sir,
          I'm going to move to Albany.
          'Cause I can't spell....


          I can spell Beethoven and Reginald DeKoven, but I can't....
          I can spell Puccini and make with Toscanini, but I can't...

             Just try me on composers' names
             And I'll get through them all,
             I used to put the posters up
             Outside Carnegie Hall.

          I've juggled with Toplitsky and worked out Koussevitski,
          But one word gets the best of me.
          I just can't spell Schenectady!

This is from memory and notes(I do live near the burg in question). Apologies for not including composer and copyright info. I have a photocopy of the sheet music somewhere, but not where it should be.
I'll try to find it. I've no doubt the song IS in copyright.

On the website of the Schenectady County Historical Society there is a
note to the effect that the song was composed in 1948 to celebrate Kermis, an historical fall Fair date dating to early Dutch times in the Mohawk Valley. I recall no note to that effect in the sheet music.

More to come if I find that. Enjoy, - George


You can download a Big John & Sparkie recording here (click)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: georgeward
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 02:28 AM

Thanks Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Micca
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 02:52 AM

Spell it? yeah, difficult, but how do you SAY it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 02:55 AM

We'll give you lessons at the Getaway, Micca. Just give me a swig or two of whatever it is that you bring in your flasks.

Now, I have to work on learning to spell Poughkeepsie....

George, how'd you find my copy-paste of your post so quickly? It's almost psychic.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 11:02 AM

1. Micca: skeh (short e) Neck teh dee

2. So what was Sparkie supposed to be? A talking poodle? A strange kid?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Micca
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 12:19 PM

Thanks Leeneia, another Mystery exploded, I do not intend to visit there at this time but you never know" The Travelocity gnome is looking for new and exciting citys for you to visit"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 05:48 PM

You're very welcome. Even if you never go there, it's essential to know how to say Schenectady in order to be a true sophisticate.

Same with Poughkeepsie puh KEEP see.

This past weekend I did some travelling, but not to an exciting city. We went bird-watching in central Kansas. Saw egrets, avocets, pelicans, an osprey, ibises - all were migrants on the Central Flyway. Oh, and beautiful yellow-headed blackbirds.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Cool Beans
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 10:14 PM

Gee, we New Yorkers always pronounced it puh KIP see.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Effsee
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 11:18 PM

Anyone familiar with the Michael Marra song, "Schenectady calling"?
About how the late, great Shetland guitarist Peerie Willie Johnston, and his friend Tom Anderson used tune in their crystal sets to pick up the latest tunes and music from the USA.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 11:19 PM

You New Yorkers are closer, so let's go with puh KIP see.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: georgeward
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 12:05 AM

Effsee, somewhere on the 'cat there's a thread about that. A search should turn it up easily.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 12:31 PM

I started a new thread about SCHENECTADY CALLING PEERIE WILLIE JOHNSON by Michael Marra.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST,John Sheehan
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:54 PM

The melody is by Harold Arlen, of "Over the Rainbow" fame and many, many others. My father was from Schenectady but I've never heard the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: I Can't Spell Schenectady
From: GUEST
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:45 AM

So far have not seen this mentioned:
Big John and Sparkie 's broadcast was from a studio in downtown Cincinnati. They actually named that city on the show occasionally
and named the mayor as Mayor Plumpfront.
I remember listening to them in 3 of the places I lived as a kid-- FLorida, Texas, and Michigan.
Of course, when we visited their studio once, Big Jon said Sparky was away.

Sparkie was a kid but looked space-agey or futuristic or something for that era-- as per some old picture I had.-- now he should be on GOOGLE IMAGES.
When they went on adventures, they would locate them in real places, such as Mantinicus Island off the Maine coast


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