To my intense frustration, some self-important copyright upholder has removed all traces of the musical numbers from The Marx Brothers maiden cinematic effort ‘The Cocoanuts’ (1929) from the wilds of YouTube. Why? Why why why? Is it an Irving Berlin estate kind of thing? (Possibly). A DVD reissue kind of thing? (How silly if it is–seeing the clip on YouTube could only serve to awaken someone’s interest in seeing the whole movie. Right?) Anyway, I awoke with an intense desire to see the wonderfully awkward, very late 20s/early-talkie production number ‘The Monkey Doodle Doo’ and share it with you. The next best thing will have to suffice. Here’s the audio minus picture from the film’s production track. The song’s lyrics–some of Berlin’s most inventive–are an absolute necessity and are not easily understood, partly for audio reasons but also due to their intricate rhyming scheme and musical pattern. Below I’ve provided them, gratis. You’ll find real joy in singing along with the instrumental section (after Mary Eaton’s finished the lyrics). I suggest doing so in your underwear, outside in front of your house, preferably in the rain. The production number as filmed is truly the peak ‘Monkey Doodle Doo’ experience but in lieu of that being available this will have to do. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Copyright Dickhead.

Monkeys upon a tree never are very blue
They never seem to be under par that is true
Not like the ones you see on a bar in the zoo
Monkeys upon a tree do the Monkey Doodle Doo

Oh, among the mangoes where the monkey gang goes
You can see them do
The little Monkey Doodle Doo

Oh, a little monkey playing on his one key
Gives them all the cue
To do the Monkey Doodle Doo

Let me take you by the hand
Over to the jungle band
If you’re too old for dancing
Get yourself a monkey gland
And then let’s

Go, my little dearie, there’s the Darwin theory
Telling me and you
To do the Monkey Doodle Doo



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2 Responses

  1. I cannot wait for the next rainstorm, but no undapants!! Just my Monkey Gland 🙂

  2. Surprisingly racy lyrics, especially that line about the monkey gland (which readers might not get today). Irving Berlin was one of the founders of ASCAP, which has to do with licensing rights of musical compositions, so maybe his estate really is behind the removal. The Cocoanuts was also said to be the only musical out of which Berlin did not get a hit song, so maybe there’s a bit of pique in operation there…

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