Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe - Popular Culture

Popular Culture

There are innumerable scenes in books, films, plays, cartoons and video games, as well as lines from many songs, in which "Eeny meeny ..." or a variant is used by a character who is making a choice, either for serious or comic effect. The phrase sometimes appears in other ways, including: as a popular song written in 1935 by Johnny Mercer and Matty Malneck. "Organ Grinder's Swing" was a hit in the 1930s for Ella Fitzgerald, who sang "eenie meenie miny moe, catch that monkey by the toe...". The vinyl release of Radiohead's album OK Computer (1997) uses the words "eeny meeny miny moe" (rather than letter or numbers) on the labels of Sides A, B, C and D respectively. In literature the title of Chester Himes's novel If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) refers to the rhyme. In Salman Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh (1995), the leading character and his three sisters are nicknamed Ina, Minnie, Mynah and Moor. In film, in the 1930s, animation producer Walter Lantz introduced the cartoon characters Meany, Miny, and Moe (later Meeny, Miney and Mo). First appearing in Oswald Rabbit cartoons, then in their own series. The rhyme appears towards the end of 1949 British black comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets. The use of the word nigger was censored for the American market. The rhyme has been used by killers to choose victims in several films, including the 1994 films Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers; and the 2003 film Elephant.

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