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Copied from www.thonline.com/th/news/1996/th0413/stories/7200.htm on April 22nd 1999. Please visit the original page.
Thanks to Doug Gray <Doug.Gray@mitchell.com> who pointed me to that page.


April 13, 1996

Creator of 'The Hokey Pokey' dies

Associated Press
Every schoolchild in America knows the Hokey Pokey. You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in ... well, you know what it's all about.

What you might not know is who wrote the song. Larry LaPrise, aka The Hokey Pokey Man, died last week at age 83 in Boise, Idaho, after a career that brought him no fame, modest fortune, and a job with the Postal Service.

That's right. Someone actually wrote "The Hokey Pokey."

For many baby boomers and their children, the Hokey Pokey is simply part of the national legacy, right up there with Mother Goose and Twister.

The Hokey Pokey, it turns out, isn't so old after all.

LaPrise, a Detroit native whose full name was Roland Lawrence LaPrise, concocted the song along with two fellow musicians in the late 1940s for the apres ski crowd at a nightclub in Sun Valley, Idaho. The group, the Ram Trio, recorded the song in 1949.

In 1953, bandleader Ray Anthony bought the rights and recorded "The Hokey Pokey" on the B-side of another novelty record, "The Bunny Hop."

"Everybody was doing the 'Bunny Hop' before long, which meant that everybody was doing 'The Hokey Pokey,"' observed LaPrise's daughter, Linda Ruby.

There followed a steady succession of recordings.

After the Ram Trio disbanded in the 1960s, LaPrise, by then a father of six, went to work for the post office in Ketchum. At about the same time, country star Roy Acuff's publishing company bought the rights to the Hokey Pokey.