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Origins: Bocephus

03 Apr 04 - 08:18 AM (#1153501)
Subject: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,vrnuta@comcast.net

I am looking for information about a song my father used to sing to me. According to an 88-year-old relative, it was popular in the early 1920s. It goes like this:

"There was a little boy whose name was Bo
He went into the woods when the moon was gettin' low
Where he met a big bear who was hungry for a snack
And the folks are still awaitin' for Bocephus to come back

Oh, Bo became the teacher of the kind and gentle creature
Who could play upon the fiddle in a very skillful way
And they wandered off together and will never ever sever
Bocephus and the fiddle and the big black bear."


04 Apr 04 - 05:16 AM (#1153999)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: dianavan

I always wondered where Bocephus King got his name.

d


04 Apr 04 - 09:50 PM (#1154483)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

I wonder if this started out as mis-heard Bucephalus (Alexander's horse).


05 Apr 04 - 01:37 AM (#1154573)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,Clint Keller

Q:
That's what I've always thought. And didn't Hank Williams call little Hank "Bocephus?"

clint


05 Apr 04 - 11:53 PM (#1155359)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST

I think the official story is that comedian Rod Brasfield of the Grand Ole Opry had a ventriloquist's dummy he called Bocephus, and Hank Williams Sr. commented on the resemblance when Hank Jr. was a small boy. The question remains, where did Brasfield get the name? I have wondered if it was derived from 'Cephas', the Greek name of the apostle Peter; it wasn't an unknown name in those days in the Bible belt, but maybe it's a play on 'Josephus'.


10 Jan 07 - 01:30 AM (#1932038)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,Bocephus

Comes from "Vociferus" the scientific name for a whippoorwill


10 Jan 07 - 10:25 AM (#1932322)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: mack/misophist

I suspect this is a reference to one of my favourite childrens' books Travels With an Arkansas Bear, (Title may not be exact.), which was first published in the mid 1800's. A search of Amazon will find it. The characters are a young fiddle playing boy named Bo and a talking bear. It's been 30 years since I had my hands on a copy, so this may not be exact. The author was one of the main editors of The St Nicholas Magazine for Boys.


16 Jun 08 - 04:17 AM (#2366739)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,matt

my great grandpas name was josephus. what is the meaning of that he was tied in to the nezperce indian tribe some how. some think he was chief josephs son who dissapeard without a trace and family history could not be traced any further than him cuz it was like the last didn't exist before he showed up. could he be that son and could i be the great great great grand son of chief joseph? and bocephus! means keeper of the wolves!


29 Mar 09 - 01:28 PM (#2599894)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: Jim Dixon

Wikipedia confirms the above story about Rod Brasfield of the Grand Ole Opry, who had a ventriloquist's dummy called Bocephus.

There is a formerly well-known comical song BOHUNKUS a.k.a. BOHUNKUS AND JOSEPHUS, about two brothers with those names. I suppose Brasfield invented "Bocephus" by combining "Bohunkus" and "Josephus."

So where did "Bohunkus" and "Josephus" come from?

Josephus was an important Roman-Jewish historian from the 1st century A.D. (Of course there have been other people with that name, but the historian is the most famous.)

"Bohunkus" is probably a made-up name invented by whoever wrote the song. It is probably based on "bohunk," a pejorative slang term probably formed from "Bohemian" and "Hungarian" and formerly applied to immigrants of Eastern European origin.


16 Apr 09 - 10:26 PM (#2612858)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST

Hank, Jr. was interviewed and said the name came from the fact that he used to play with the ventriloquist's dummy, Bocephus, at the grand old opry. Probably a combination of him liking the dummy and his dad thinking he looked like it.


17 Apr 09 - 01:42 PM (#2613244)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray)

Two versions in the Max Hunter Collection:

Bohunkus and Josephus

Josephus and Bohunkus


07 Dec 09 - 03:48 PM (#2783162)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST

durring the early 20th century "bocephus" or "bocephas" was refered to as a friend of mine, like this is my little friend, or my little pal. this is my bocephus. This was the name of Rod Bradsfield's ventriloquilsts dummy, and Hank Sr liked it and gave Hank Jr the nickname.


29 Jul 10 - 06:29 PM (#2954773)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,mr. connor

i recently lost my best freind. i named him bocephus on accound of hank sr. he looked like a dog but he was my little boy. 12 years together. he was wise, kind, gentle, and never done no wrong. jesus got a new lead dog......MUSHHHH


30 Jul 10 - 05:26 PM (#2955394)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: Artful Codger

The book by Albert Bigelow Paine was titled The Arkansas Bear: a tale of fanciful adventure (1898). The complete book can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg. In the book, the proper name of the boy Bo is Bocephus--long before Brasfield's dummy was a log in the woodcarver's bin. (In case you're wondering, the bear's name is Horatio.)

I suspect the book (and the requested song) grew out of a poem Paine had written called "The Dancing Bear", which appears in Rhymes by Two Friends, by Paine and William Allen White (1893):


THE DANCING BEAR

Oh, it's fiddle-de-dum and fiddle-de-dee,
The dancing bear ran away with me ;
For the organ grinder he came to town
With a jolly old hear in a coat of brown,
And the funny old chap joined hands with me,
While I cut a caper and so did he.
Then 'twas fiddle-de-dum and fiddle-de-dee,
I looked at him, and he winked at me,
And I whispered a word in his shaggy ear,
And I said, "I will go with you, my dear."

Then the dancing bear he smiled and said,
Well, he didn't say much, but he nodded his head,
As the organ-grinder began to play,
"Over the hills and far away."
With a fiddle-de-dum and a fiddle-de-dee ;
Oh, I looked at him and he winked at me,
And my heart was light and the day was fair,
And away I went with the dancing bear.

Oh, it's fiddle-de-dum and fiddle-de-dee,
The dancing bear came back with me ;
For the sugar-plum trees were stripped and bare,
And we couldn't find cookies anywhere.
And the solemn old fellow he sighed and said,
Well, he didn't say much, but he shook his head,
While I looked at him and he blinked at me
Till I shed a tear and so did he;
And both of us thought of our supper that lay
Over the hills and far away.
Then the dancing bear he took my hand,
And we hurried away through the twilight land;
And 'twas fiddle-de-dum and fiddle-de-dee
When the dancing bear came back with me.


05 Oct 10 - 11:16 PM (#3000657)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST

Did you know that "bicephalous" means "having two heads"? Hank Williams Jr. nearly split his head in half down the middle in 1975 in his mountain climbing accident.


12 Jan 11 - 12:19 PM (#3073042)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,Its from the book The Arkansas Bear

My grandfather used to tell me the stories of Bocephus and the Big Black Bear. I think he got them when he lived with my grandmother and family in Memphis. After he died in 1952, I looked for 50 years for a book or the story and finally a dear friend found it for me two years ago.

Alas, children today would not find this exciting.


17 Sep 12 - 12:59 PM (#3406236)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,manicbull

does anyone know or has a photo of rod brasfield ventriloquist dummy?
I've been seaching but no luck. any info will be greatly appreciated.
thanks


25 Apr 15 - 07:35 PM (#3704171)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,Darren "D" Ventriloquist

hi'
I was wondering if anyone has or knows where I can find a photo of Rod Brasfield's Ventriloquist Dummy Bocephus?It's very hard trying to locate a photo.
If you can help it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you


26 Apr 15 - 08:11 AM (#3704242)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,#

For a second or two, I thought this was a thread about that twit, Hank Williams, Jr.


30 Apr 15 - 10:56 PM (#3705604)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,Olfactory Ventriloquism

If my Greek doesn't fail me, Bocephus would roughly translate as bull-headed.


01 May 15 - 12:54 PM (#3705755)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: BigDaddy

Hank Williams Jr. being named after a ventriloquist's dummy seems particularly apropos.


01 May 15 - 01:58 PM (#3705770)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: GUEST,#

LOL, BigDaddy.


01 May 15 - 09:58 PM (#3705841)
Subject: RE: Origins: Bocephus
From: LadyJean

Bohunk is a perjorative for a Czech. In Western PA, where I live, anyone of eastern European ancestry is referred to as a "hunky". My next door neighbor, who is Slovak by ancestry and annoying by nature, has it on his license plate.