Who’s Your Little Who-Zis?

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Who’s your Little Who-Zis? (m. Ben Bernie, Al Goehring, w. Walter Hirsch)  – an early Busby Berkeley-choreographed dance number from the film Night World (1932)

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Boris Karloff plays Happy MacDonald, the owner of the nightclub in which all of the film’s scenes take place.

I’ve transcribed the banter between the girls as they dance. The names they use to refer to people they are talking about (or to) are the most difficult thing to understand.

A. big plantation

  • Girl 1: He’s got a big plantation down in Nicaragua. He wants me to go down there and grow nuts?  Girl 2: Go nuts?
  • Girl: And I said to him “I know the Depression’s over and you’ve got to find work for your hands. But keep ’em all for me.”

B.  sugar daddy

  • Girl: Say [name], you’re a sap if you turn down that tall guy. He’s loaded with sugar and loves to give milk.” —  Milk is money or other gifts given by a “sugar daddy.”

C. plastered

Girl 1: Look at that kid. He’s been here three nights in a row, plastered [very drunk, stiff].
Girl 2: Yeah, he’s still fighting the same jag, poor kid.
Girl 1: Haven’t I seen his picture in the paper?
Girl 2: Yeah, the Radman case.
Girl 1: Oh, yeah. His mother killed his father.
Girl 2: Yeah, in the other woman’s apartment.

D. An older guy is bending low at the edge of the stage to get himself an eyeful.

Girl 1: There’s ol’ Papa Movert again
Girl 2: Yeah, and the more he comes here the lower he gets.

E. One of the chorus girls is dancing close to a patron who gives her his phone number:

patron: Brian 8-7-8-4-3, baby.
chorine:  My husband will be glad to see you.

F. One of the dancers speaks to a seated patron:

girl: “Hello, baby.”
patron: [effeminate voice] “Mister Baby to you!”
girl: “My mistake.”

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Who’s your little who-zis
Who’s your turtle dove
Who’s your little who-zis
Who do you love

Who’s the little what’s-it
That you’re dreaming of
Who’s your little who-zis
Who do you love

Tell me, who has you a-flutter
Whenever they’re passing by
Melts your heart like butter
Oh me, oh my

Say, when you get the blue-zis
Who you thinking of
Who’s your little who-zis
Who do you love

Selected other recordings:

Victor Arden and Phil Ohman (1)Sylvia Froos 1-d50-t50

Victor Arden-Phil Ohman Orchestra, vocal: Sylvia Froos 1931

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Vic Irwin and his Orchestra, with vocals by The Eton Boys: Jack Day, Earl Smith, Art Gentry and Charles Day

The side was recorded on 27 November 1931, and issued on Oriole 2386, c/w “I Don’t Blame You.” The Oriole 78 rpm discography for catalog numbers 2000 to 2500 at 78discography.com gives the recording artist for both sides as the Allstar Collegians (led by I. Abrams on “I Don’t Blame You”). Redhotjazz.com identifies Vic Irwin as a pseudonym of Irwin Abrams.

However, another Oriole 78 discography, at http://www.musiktiteldb.de, lists two band names separately for the “Who’s Your Little Who-Zis” side of Oriole 2386, Vic Irwin and his Orchestra, and Allstar Collegians. I don’t know if this indicates that the recording was released separately under each band name, or only cataloged separately under each name.

The label displayed in the video below indicates that “Who’s Your Little Who-Zis?” is the A-side of Oriole 2386.

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Ben Selvin’s Knickerbockers, vocal: Dick Robertson — recorded in New York on 29 December 1931; issued on Columbia 2591-D, c/w “With Love In My Heart” (Prager, Quinto, Klenner)

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1932 Who's Your Little Who-Zis-Jack Hylton and his Orchestra-Decca (UK) F.2904-(1-75p)Jack Hylton 1

Jack Hylton and his Orchestra — recorded on 3 March 1932; issued on Decca F.2904, b/w “With Love in My Heart”

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Ampico Lexington Roll # 213911, played by Paul Rickenbach — released in March 1932

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Anson Weeks And His Hotel Mark Hopkins Orchestra — 1932 radio broadcast transcription included on the 1979 (or 1980) compilation Hindsight Records HSR-146

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Dean Martin — recorded on 20 November 1952; issued on 12 January 1953 on Martin’s first studio album Dean Martin Sings

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Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra, vocal duet: Shirley Ost and Ray Michaels — from the 1960 album Ballroom Date, Columbia CS 8182 (Stereo), Columbia CL 1387 (Mono)

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