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History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?

28 Mar 00 - 10:25 AM (#202605)
Subject: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: ajgoodkids

Thanks all for the Little Bunny Foo Foo lyrics. This children's song has been around for a while with surprisingly consistent lyrics.

The tune looks to be from Down By The Station, which I assume preceded Bunny Foo Foo.

With the lyrics "scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head" and "I'll turn you into a goon", I suspect this is a labor movement song mocking something or someone. Does anyone know the history of this song?


28 Mar 00 - 01:29 PM (#202694)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Joe Offer

Click here for related thread


Hi, goodkids. Do you have any reason to think it was a labor song? I think this one has summer camp origins, and that it's strictly meant for fun. I heard it first as a story, with just the chorus sung.
-Joe Offer-


28 Mar 00 - 01:53 PM (#202711)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: ajgoodkids

Thanks for inserting the link, Joe. I have no labor song evidence, just a suspicion based on the items I mentioned. I hope someone comes up with some info on the origin of this song.


28 Mar 00 - 06:18 PM (#202892)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Gary T

I have no knowledge of the song's history, but I suspect that "goon" was chosen to make the pun in the moral ("hare today, goon tomorrow"), rather than as a reference to strikebreakers. I don't get how the scooping/bopping lines might relate to the labor movement. What's the connection there?


29 Mar 00 - 09:22 AM (#203187)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: ajgoodkids

Let's keep this inquiry active and see if someone comes up with some real info.

This doesn't sound like just a kids' song. This song sounds satirical, plus it is oddly universal and the lyrics are quite consistent over distance and time. I think this was originally a satire mocking something or it came out of the media somewhere.

My guess at the labor movement is based on the combined odd insertion of "goon" and the "scooping them up and bopping them on the head" violence against the mice, which normally wouldn't be associated with a rabbit.

My kids, who have a knack for being right about things, tell me it's an Easter song.


29 Mar 00 - 09:54 AM (#203201)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Dan K (inactive)

old labor story: Two rabbits (or bunnies ) are being chased by a pack of hounds. They crawl into a hollow log to hide. The male rabbit turns to the female and says, "what are we gong to do?" She winks and says, "wait here till we out number them." dan Keding


29 Mar 00 - 09:57 AM (#203202)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Gary T

I can't help but think that the kids call it an Easter song only by associating Bunny FuFu with the Easter Bunny. While I can see the relation between the bopping on the head and the actions of some goons with their infamous axe handles, I think it's a stretch. For a bunny to be scooping up field mice and bopping them on the head is delightfully incongruous, and I find kids are often entertained by that kind of absurdity. Not to mention getting to sing about and maybe act out some socially unacceptable behavior, along the lines of playing the "Whack-a-Mole" arcade game. There's my opinion, that will be 2 cents, please.

Of course now you've got me wondering, just where DID that song come from?


29 Mar 00 - 04:43 PM (#203449)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Jeri

I've always believed the song was fairly (as in late 60s) recent. I went to a bunch of summer camps as a kid and never heard the song until I was about 14 or 15.


29 Mar 00 - 05:06 PM (#203465)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Larry Boy

My kids have just learned this song in the past couple of years. In fact, the 3 yeaar old just learned it last week. They learn a lyric that turns bunny foo foo into a GOOSE, a rather than a goon. What is your evidence of consistent "goon" lyrics. Are the lyrics published somewhere? If so, is there a credited author?


30 Mar 00 - 10:42 AM (#203879)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: ajgoodkids

My kids recently learned it with "goon" and that lyric has popped up steadily on the lyrics-request companion thread. This is turning into an interesting and elusive song-history search; let's keep this thread active and see if someone shows up with some info.


30 Mar 00 - 11:22 AM (#203917)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,NightWing

Larry Boy, it's "goon" because it has to complete the pun at the end: "Hare today, goon tomorrow."

That said, I have extreme doubts that this is anything more than a silly children's song. As someone said, an excuse to act out unacceptable behavior in an acceptable manner, even if it DOES have the moral that you get punished for such inappropriate behavior.

Am I blathering again?

NW


30 Mar 00 - 11:28 AM (#203922)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

I learned it circa 1968 in summer day camp with "goon". I agree with GaryT & NightWing- giving it a labor connection is a bit of a stretch. Kinda like this thread
(sorry- it's close to April 1 and i couldn't resist!)


30 Mar 00 - 12:21 PM (#203959)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: DADGBE

In my family this was performed by my brother and me. He stood directly behind me with his arms in front of us both. He did hand gestures as I recited and sang. It never failed to crack my mother up. Oh for such good audiences these days!


02 Apr 00 - 12:47 PM (#205642)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: ajgoodkids

One more thread resurrection here. Does anyone have any info on the origin of this song?


06 Nov 03 - 10:41 AM (#1049227)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,inquiringmind

Some associates and I have been trying to find the original lyrics to determine if foo foo is a bunny or a rabbit and if he or she bashes, bats, mashes or bops the field mice if anyone has and author or information to the original sheet music please provide.


07 Nov 03 - 01:34 PM (#1049727)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: The Fooles Troupe

The word goon has its own origin theories - some of which will be on the web,

2 points

1) - although highly popularised by The Goon Show - penned mainly by Spike Milligan, it was something he had heard of int eh British Army.

2) - the word goon was used in early Popeye - there may or may not be a link - opinions differ.

Whiel I can't remember off the top of my head the dating for Popeye, the Goon Show reference dates to teh late 1940's the Goon Show from early 1950's.

I've got the song in a book somewhere, but it's a recent publication.

Robin


07 Nov 03 - 01:58 PM (#1049744)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,MMario

Popeye Cartoons go back to 1942


07 Nov 03 - 03:16 PM (#1049797)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Herga Kitty

In Popeye it was "Hair today, goon tomorrow". I remember going to Paris for New Year, as part of my break year after leaving school in 1969, and the Popeye cartoon about the goons came up on French TV, and I had a moment of deja vu, having already seen it years before in England.

Little Bunny Foo Foo was sung by a member of Herga back in the 60s and the field mice were definitely bopped.

Kitty


07 Nov 03 - 06:33 PM (#1049903)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Susan of DT

I knew it in the 50s and I doubt it was new then


08 Nov 03 - 12:34 AM (#1050015)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: LadyJean

I encounterd Bunny Fufu, with punny ending at Girl Scout camp in 1966.
The Popeye comic strip featured large, bald humanoids that went "mmmmmm" and were called Goons, chief among them being Alice the Goon.
My mother's initials were MMM, and she said they looked like goon talk.


08 Nov 03 - 10:47 AM (#1050141)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Mrrzy

This is fascinating, and possibly the first time on this forum where the answer seems to be, nobody knows! Let's start an Urban Legend. Back in Detroit there was a mean guy named Joe Bunfu, who liked to go to bars and beat up the people he met there, especially if they were kinda mousy...


09 Nov 03 - 10:51 AM (#1050624)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Giac

I've been searching for something I found on the web a good while ago about the maus-slaying bunnie, and at long last I've found it. I can't sit at this machine long enough to delve further, but I offer this for what it may be worth. If valid, it doth move the tale a bit further back than labor problems.

From:

http://www.spscriptorium.com/Season4/E409secrets.htm

There are definitely two separate literary traditions at work here. According to the OED2, the earliest reference for Bunny/Rabbit Foo Foo is Chaucer's _The Canterbury Tales_, "The Knight's Tale:"
"And in the grove, at tyme and place yset, This bunnie Fewfew and this field maus be met. To chaungen gan the colour in hir face;"

The next reference is from Shakespeare, in a sonnet believed to have been written in 1609 (about the time he was hacking the Bible):
"Clear wells spring not, sweet birds sing not, Green plants bring not forth their dye. Herd stands weeping, flocks all sleeping, Nymphs back peeping fearfully, For Rabbitt Foofoo hath killed a mouse."

H.L. Mencken's _History of the American Language_, however cites a 1623 manuscript from the Plymouth colony that claims John Alden sang a "lullabye about Bunnie Foofoo" to his children.

From here, the trail disappears for several centuries. The OED2
cites a 1910 draft manuscript by B. Potter titled "Peter, Mopsy, Flopsy, and Foo-Foo Rabbit."

Back on this side of the pond, the OED2 cites a 1925 letter by Zelda Fitzgerald records that "Scott is quite upset because the publisher elided a poem about Bunny Foo-Foo from _This Side of Paradise_. Scott believed it to be essential to the narrative."

In the same year, Ernest Hemingway's journal records on 25 June (cited in Random House Hist. Dic of Amer. Slang): "Had a long argument with Joyce and Stein today. He recited some doggerel about Little Rabbit Foo-Foo. Gertrude and I recalled it as Bunny Foo-Foo. Became quite heated, and Joyce stiffed us by leaving without paying the check. Bastard."

The tentative conclusion must be that "Bunny" is the older, but changed to "Rabbit" quite early on in Britain. In America, the older form seems to have been preserved. So Americans that use Rabbit Foo-Foo are following the British tradition.
------------------------------------------
-Mary ~:oD


09 Nov 03 - 07:02 PM (#1050812)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,northfolk-Al Cholger

I learned this from my kids in about 198?... but heard Utah Phillips do it at a kids concert at the old old Ark... closest I can come to making it a labor song...


10 Nov 03 - 03:36 PM (#1051220)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: JenEllen

Mary.....sigh......(thanks)


11 Nov 03 - 11:51 AM (#1051689)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: mike the knife

My mother tells me that as a very small child I had a babysitter who used to sing that to me and I would get very upset about the poor fieldmice being bopped on the head. I don't remember being traumatised by it, but even now I am uncomfortable with arbitrary violence (funny, being a former rugby player for 10+ years).


17 Nov 03 - 02:36 PM (#1055651)
Subject: Little Bunny Foo Foo copyrighted?
From: GUEST,Childrensbookwriter

I'm writing a picture book and wanted to use the song Little Bunny Foo Foo in my book. Can I legally do this?
                                 Thanks, Jude (judeblank@yahoo.com)


17 Nov 03 - 02:43 PM (#1055654)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,MMario

Jude - there has been a 'little rabbit foo-foo' sotry book quite recently published - so it was either public domain at that time or they had a copyright license source. You might want to check with that publisher.


17 Nov 03 - 03:16 PM (#1055664)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,Cluin

I heard a completely saccharine Disney version that changed it to "scoopin' up the field mice and kissin' them on the head". Made me just about want to vomit.

... either that, or sing scoopin' up the field mice and f###ing them up the @$$.

On the up side, when the vocalist said "Down came the fairy...", she drags out the "Dowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn" word and with her flattened vowel accent it sounds like she's cursing "Daaaaaaaaaamn!"


04 Dec 03 - 02:33 PM (#1065604)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,shortygirl2shy

ummm little bunny fu fu i used to sing it as a child with my sister and now i have a 2 year old who has picked it up from somewhere and it seems to be her fave song right now so i was trying to see if i cold download it but i had no matches for it on my imesh so i found the lyerics oh well ......... as for the history i think it is just a childs song nothing to do with labour


05 Dec 03 - 09:07 AM (#1066036)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Cluin

I found an alt-punk version done by The Moldy Peaches.


20 Jun 07 - 12:02 PM (#2082275)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST

>>There are definitely two separate literary traditions at work here. According to the OED2, the earliest reference for Bunny/Rabbit Foo Foo is Chaucer's _The Canterbury Tales_, "The Knight's Tale:" "And in the grove, at tyme and place yset, This bunnie Fewfew and this field maus be met. To chaungen gan the colour in hir face;"

The Knight's Tale includes the lines,
"And in the grove, at tyme and place yset,
        This Arcite and this Palamon ben met.
        To chaungen gan the colour in hir face"

There is no mention of FewFew here, and I can't find one in Shakespeare's Sonnet either. I suspect that all of the references are fake.

Buttercup


20 Jun 07 - 12:24 PM (#2082294)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: MMario

I can't believe that www.spscriptorium.com would publish something that b>wasn't true!

Next you'll be telling us that stonehenge was not a pen for the Picts Riding Chickens!


20 Jun 07 - 06:05 PM (#2082617)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Anne Lister

Hadn't seen this thread before - I learnt the song from a class of 5 yr olds who had had an Australian supply (substitute) teacher while I was ill. This was in 1993 or so. In this case she turned Bunny Foo Foo into all sorts of things, so when I teach the song I've felt totally free to turn the wretched wabbit into a tickle monster. Which works very well in provoking squeals from the children.

There is a story version (I think by Michael Rosen) in which there are various variables, but in the light of the contributions to this thread I can at least be sure that the song pre-dated his book (I had wondered).

Anne


20 Jun 07 - 07:24 PM (#2082677)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST

>>I can't believe that www.spscriptorium.com would publish something that >wasn't true!

Awh yes! Consider the source.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


20 Jun 07 - 08:32 PM (#2082716)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: Bee

Generations of Nova Scotia kids have done it this way:

Little Rabbit Foofoo, hoppin' through the forest, scoopin up the field mice and boppin' 'em on the head. (sung)

Then, spoken, Along comes the good fairy and says: "Little Rabbit Foofoo, if you don't stop bopping those field mice on the head, I'm going to turn you into a GNU!"

whole thing repeated twice, then third time, Poof! She turned him into a gnu, and the moral of the story is "Hare today, Gnu tomorrow!"

Always gnu, never goon.


21 Jun 07 - 09:00 AM (#2083012)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: EuGene

One shouldn't dance about, puntificating about FooFoo, lest they bee bopped.   Eu


22 Jun 07 - 10:38 PM (#2084562)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,Jodi

Singing this to my five month old, and it suddenly kind of creeped me out. Bunnies hitting field mice, good fairies coming down and chastising bunnies...so I thought I'd google and see if I could find the acid droppin, pot-smoking origins of this weird little song. How weird that NO ONE knows where it came from!!! No known author, but we all know it and have sung variations. Too strange.
Where I come from, it goes:
"Little bunny foo foo hoppin' through the forest, scoopin' up the field mice and boppin' them over the head....DOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNN comes the good fairy....and THIS is what she SAID: Little bunny foo foo I don't want to see you scoopin' up the field mice and bopping them over the head....I'll give you three more chances, then I'll turn you into a goon." And when the fairy comes down, you do your fingers kind of like jazz hands coming down from the sky.


09 Mar 12 - 07:23 AM (#3320375)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST

I am a few years over 50 and I remember hearing it as a child of about 10. I do not know how old it was at the time.


08 Sep 13 - 03:30 AM (#3557063)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST,beth

This song was invented by a teenage girl to amuse her little brother whose nickname was Fufu, in the late 60's in Pittsburgh Pa. Several years later this boy was minding some children during a church function, and taught them the song. From there it seemed to spread like wildfire.

The original song was only the first four lines, sung to the tune of "Down by the Station". I do not know who developed the rest of the story regarding the involvement of a fairy. I would very much like to know. Perhaps one day, someone will chance upon this thread as I have, who can answer this mysterious question.

These responses are delightful, the OED2 especially. There was also a camp song that predated bunny Fufu, about a hopping rabbit who was rescued from a farmer, that may cause confusion.

This is truly a modern day folk tale, and I am sure we can all feel free to use and adapt it as we please, thereby perpetuating the story of Fufu into the future!


02 Apr 18 - 02:31 PM (#3914739)
Subject: RE: History of Li'l Bunny Fufu? Labor song?
From: GUEST

Please see:

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/the-hoax-behind-little-bunny-foo-foo?page=2