Walt Kelly & Pogo: Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

Those of us of a certain age remember with great fondness the cartoon strip Pogo by Walt Kelly. Much too presciently, perhaps Pogo’s most famous line, speaking to Porky Pine, was in the 1971 Earth Day message:

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

There was also Pogo’s famous Freudian slip:

“It was a finger of speech — I apologize!”

Kelly created his first two characters, Pogo Possum and Albert Alligator, in 1941. Once he created the comic strip Pogo in 1948, it ran until Kelly’s death in 1973. The strip had elements for children but was clearly designed for adults.

The Okefenokee strip denizens loved singing Christmas carols, none more revered than that time-honored classic “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie.” You remember that one, don’t you?

Perhaps you don’t. In 1956, Kelly published a book titled Song of the Pogo with his lyrics and music by Norman Monath. The songs were later recorded for an album, with Kelly contributing to the vocalizing. Here is that version of the song.

And the six stanzas:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an’ Kalamazoo!
Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don’t we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don’t love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker ‘n’ too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloupe, ‘lope with you!

Hunky Dory’s pop is lolly,
Gaggin’ on the wagon, Willy, folly go through!
Chollie’s collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!

Dunk us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an’ polly voo!
Chilly Filly’s name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly’s jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!

And this was simply too irresistible for the remarkable jazz vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, featuring Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, and Annie Ross. Their brilliant catalog includes recreations of jazz classic with vocals replacing the horns and the best “Halloween Spooks” ever.

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