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Submmited 10/7/2005
Silly Songs
By WE. Reinka 
A Gershwin tune comes on the radio. "They don't write 'em like that anymore,'' remark to my wife who often endures my harangues about today's unsophisticated music. Sometimes seniors arc accused of having convenient memories.  Perhaps I m a tiny bit guilty of that. If I step out of harrumphing mode for a second, I might concede that not every song of my youth achieved the elevated lyrical standards of Ira Gershwin or Lorenz Hart.  Ja Da, Ja Da, Ja Da Ja Da, Jing Jing Jing They don't write 'em like that anymore either. "Ja Da" dates back all the way to 1918. Written by Bob Carleton, a navy reservist, he donated all proceeds from the song to the Naval Relief Society. That proved to be no insignificant amount. Twenty years after it was written, "JaDa" was still being recorded by such luminaries as Eddie Condon, Bobby Hackett and Tommy Dorsey. In 1939, it was featured in two movies, "Babes in Arms" and "Rose of Washington Square." Still not having had its fill, Hollywood reprised it in 1941 for "The Great American Broadcast." Good songs never die.

Johnny and the Hurricanes took it to the charts in the 1960s. The funny papers inspired plenty of silly songs. Back in 1923, Eddie Cantor sang of "Barney Google with his goo-goo-goo-gly eyes." In my 1960s collection of 45 rpm records is "Alley Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles. Next time I wonder why I'm not rich, I'll remind myself that I apparently lack the creativity to write a hit song with the line, "Alley Oop oop, oop, oop oop." Later in the 1960s, Snoopy and the Red Baron were dueling in the comics as well as on the record charts thanks to The Royal Guardsmen. Despite then-British name, they were six guys from Florida who milked Snoopy and the Red Baron through several sessions.

Long before the twist, Benny Goodman got people dancing silly with The Flat Foot Floogee. It took a team of three songwriters to come up with the immortal line, "The flat foot floogee with the floy floy." In the early fifties, Ray Anthony really struck pay dirt when he released "The Bunny Hop" with "Hokey Pokey" on the flipside. The Bunny Hop was created at a San Francisco high school in 1953 and, for a while, it seemed as if you couldn't go to a wedding without joining the line of dancers holding the waist of the person in front: "Right, right/Left, lefl/Up/Back Hop Hop Hop." In 1958, "Hand Jive" had kids dancing crazy without leaving their chairs.

Some pretty good singers got silly. In 1943, Bing Crosby was the biggest star in the world but that didn't stop him from singing "Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey." A decade later Perry Como crooned "Hot Diggety, Dog Diggety." Rosemary Clooney got into the act: "Go, go, Joe, shake like a Giovanno/Hello kess-a-deetch-a you getta happy in the feets a When you mambo Italiano."

Every decade has its share of novelty tunes but the 1950s probably comes in the silliest. Sheb Wooley stayed at Number One for six weeks warning about a "one-eyed, one-homed, flying purple people eater.''

Before David Seville got silly as straight man to Alvin and the Chipmunks, he had already zoomed up the chars by repeating his friend the Witch Doctor's advice: "Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang /Walla walla, bing bang." In 1955, Little Richard a-wop-bop-a-loo-lopped himself to rock 'n roll fame with' Tutti Frutti." Talk about changing times. Pat Boone actually outsold Little Richard with his' 'white cover*' version of the song a year later, leaving us to ask the obvious question today. Why?

WE. Reinka

Submitted 10/7/2005

Dear Dick and Shirley Finnell (and by copy to Frank E. Dee),

Thank you for your kind words about my Silly Songs article in Tri-State Senior. It took me a sec to remember which article you meant. I write for senior papers all over the country. Even the papers where my work appears every month will sometimes wait a year after submission to publish a piece. Given that we’re still in early October, I had it in mind that you meant another column entitled “September Songs” which a couple of papers revived last month. Anyway, after my brain hiccup we’re now on the same page so to speak.

Well, of course, it would be my honor if Mr. Dee posts this article on the GMMY website. I’m flattered by the invitation (and appreciate that you asked permission). The article is available to you free of charge with the proviso that it runs with my by-line, W.E. Reinka.

I went to the website and saw the photo of you two standing alongside Al Martino. It looks as if you’re really getting the most out of your love for vintage popular music. I love to see anyone indulging their passion. 

Speaking of passions, one of mine if you can’t tell, is the Great American Songbook. I often listen to the Cabaret section of while working. As I close, my wife’s and my special song, “How Long Has This Been Going On?,” by George and Ira just began to play.

Again, thanks for making my day with your kind words.
All best,

W.E. (Bill) Reinka

-----Original Message-----
From:Dick &  Shirley
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 10:41 AM
Subject: Silly Songs

Hi Mr. Reinka,

   We read your article in the Tri State Senior News...We think this is a classic....We would like your permission to post this article on  This is a site that features the entertainers of the 30's, 40's and 50's...Also GMMY Radio  plays music from the same period with Opera and classical Music...The host of this site, Frank E. Dee, would enjoy hearing from you...We are active on the Al Martino page and also the Tenors page...We also do 1 hour radio shows on GMMY Radio...

   Thank you for writing this great article...It brought back many memories....

Dick & Shirley Finnell

 Submitted 6/16/03- By Frank E. Dee
Annual Dinner Dance For Saturday Night June 28th Is Sold Out... I had started this dance 10 years ago, fighting a board of 15 members, who were against this dance, stating at that time; "IT CAN'T BE DONE". Now they ask; "When is the next dance going to be?" Ha! However we usually make $1,300 to $1,600 profit, after expenses. The band gets a grand. (there not too shabby) Certainly no Count Basie, or a Glenn Miller, but for young folks they do okay.

Thanks go to Carlos for all the printing, and of course working with him on layouts, was a bundle of good laughs. Thanks go to Lupi, Julie, Rich, and many more who sold tickets. This was the first year we raised the ticket price from $15.00 up to $20.00 per person, and its an open beautiful Italian buffet (all you can eat) of Lasagnan, Italian cold cut sandwiches, meatballs, salads, and fruit salads, soft drinks and coffee, and plenty of Italian pastries. Not bad for $20.00 bucks huh?? It's going to be as always a beautiful evening filled with Camaraderie, where good friends share friendly feelings and good food and music.

Submitted: 6/10/03 By Gmmy

A great web site to visit, where you'll find 
the popular quartets of the 50's.

We have added in our Crooner Section The Great History Of The Fabulous Groups Of The 1950's. To list but just a few...Four Aces, The Ames Brothers, Four Lads,  The Sensational Mills Brothers.  Plus Many More Are On This Web Site,  Please Visit  Primarily A Cappella at;
Submitted-6/8/03- By DickFinnell
Here is a little verse I wrote today.
  I took one  Viagra, or maybe more.
  Now I'm King on the Senior Dance Floor.
  But with my advanced years,
  I sit here in tears.
  I forgot what Viagra is for.

 Submitted 6/8/03 By Mel Pyatt
Crusade Radio
Cans't not uncrack'd mirrors image be a certain music, unknown before.
Unfixe'd twist a glance in thee
revery in untamed Mounts that soar.

Doorless chamber curtained amphigean, sleep well before unfinished pavilions.
Ran deep silent waters in darkness subterranean Foreboding streams and dashing amphictyons.

Wafting sobs the breeze from gulfward flow and billowy tufts the fleecy belly of a happy day.
Yet the least entrance found they none to go till sweet grew our languid sleep, unchosen did obey.

Submitted/6/8/03 By Julio Lancelotti
Can you identify with this?
My Father When I Was:
4 years old: My daddy can do anything.
5 years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.
6 years old: My daddy is smarter than your dad.
8 years old: My dad doesn't know exactly everything.
10 years old: In the old days when my dad grew up, things were sure different.
12 years old: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn't know anything about that. He's too old to remember his childhood.
14 years old: Don't pay any attention to my father. He is so old fashioned!
21 years old: Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly out-of-date!
25 years old: Dad knows a little bit about it, but he should because he has been around so long.
30 years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. After all, he's had a lot of experience.
35 years old: I'm not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad!
40 years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise and had a world of experience.
50 years old: I'd give anything if Dad were here now so I could just talk this thing over with him. 
Too bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was! I could have learned alot from him...