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Fat, fat the water rat; fifty bullets in your hat."

 
 
Noddy24
 
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 11:44 am
Can anyone give me the source of this doggerel?

"Fat, fat, the water rat;
Fifty bullets in your hat?"

My daughter-in-law's mother used to chant the couplet at odd times. Lately the lines have been running through my daughter-in-law's head.
She Googled and found nothing. Can anyone help?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 18,313 • Replies: 26
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jespah
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:05 pm
Okay, I found it's the title (the "Fat, Fat the Water Rat" part, anyway) of the 37th episode of the old series, "Family Affair" - first aired on 10/23/67. Here's a link: http://www.tvtome.com/FamilyAffair/season2.html#ep37

It's also a song by an artist named Eric Von Schmidt (he plays guitar and kazoo!), on his 2nd Right, 3rd Row album, released in 1972. Here's a link: http://www.geocities.jp/hideki_wtnb/eric.html

It's also part of the title of a Dave Barry column, see: http://www.s-t.com/daily/11-96/11-03-96/e02li119.htm

Hmm, I wish some of this stuff was helping, but it was an interesting investigation just the same ...
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:09 pm
I came up with two references to the "fifty bullets in your hat" part, neither were useful.

A "water rat" would have to be a muskrat, and their pelts were used to make hats, I think... I wonder if Setanta might be able to make heads or tails out of this.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:18 pm
Phonenix, Rick Von Schmidt (a guitar player from up around Harvard University) along with Richard Farina (Joan Baez posthumous brother-in-law) recorded some music with Bob Dylan before he was Dylan and using the name "Blind Boy Grunt"
trivia, I know but interesting.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:22 pm
I came up with about a dozen recollections on the web of that being used as a playground taunt many years ago.

I lost the window while tinkering with some other stuff but all I'd established is that it predates the songs and tv show mentioned here.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 02:55 pm
By the strict iambs, this could be a jump rope rhyme--of course, you'd have to jump to 50 for the bullets.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2004 03:36 pm
Don't know the origin, but it sure is a catchy title for a thread.
0 Replies
 
pjnbarb
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Oct, 2004 01:32 pm
Childhood memory
When I was growing up in NYC, the chant went like this"

Fat, fat, the water rat,
Fifty bullets in his hat;
Bumped his head
When he went to bed,
and couldn't get up in the morning.

However, I have no idea what it means.
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Oct, 2004 02:24 pm
pjnbarb--

Thanks for the update--and welcome to A2K.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Oct, 2004 04:21 pm
Re: Childhood memory
pjnbarb wrote:
When I was growing up in NYC, the chant went like this"

Fat, fat, the water rat,
Fifty bullets in his hat;
Bumped his head
When he went to bed,
and couldn't get up in the morning.

However, I have no idea what it means.


Well, goodness me - part of that little rhyme is known to me - but without the rat:

It's raining,
It's pouring.
The old man's snoring,
He bumped his head
On the end of the bed
And couldn't get up in the morning!
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Oct, 2004 04:28 pm
In the States our old men are less clumsy--

It's raining, it's pouring,
The Old Man is snoring.
He went to bed and covered his head,
And never got up until morning.
0 Replies
 
westonbird
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 06:36 pm
Re: Fat, fat the water rat; fifty bullets in your hat."
Noddy24 wrote:
Can anyone give me the source of this doggerel?

"Fat, fat, the water rat;
Fifty bullets in your hat?"

My daughter-in-law's mother used to chant the couplet at odd times. Lately the lines have been running through my daughter-in-law's head.
She Googled and found nothing. Can anyone help?


This comes from a Mad Magazine from around 1956 - 1958. There was also a poem called "Fat and Skinny"
Fat and Skinny had a race,
All around the steeplechase,
Fat fell down and broke his face,
Skinny said, "I won the race."
Fat said, "That's not fair."
Skinny said, "I don't care."
Noddy24
 
  2  
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 03:44 pm
Westonbird--

Welcome to A2K.

I checked with my d-i-l and her mother heard the chant as a child sometime in the 1930's. Oral history is frequently older than the printed record.

"Fat & Skinny" is a new one for me. Thank you.

Hold your dominion.
0 Replies
 
bmarte
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 02:28 pm
@jespah,
I remember hearing the phrase in a 1970's TV movie called "The Girl most likely to", starring Stockard Channing, Ed Asner.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 02:34 pm
@bmarte,
and welcome to a2k to you too, bmarte.
0 Replies
 
ttrocco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Apr, 2009 07:50 pm
My father, born in 1917, used to chant this during baseball games as a taunt to the umpire:
Fat, fat, the water rat
Fifty bullets in his hat
Couldn't cat an alley cat.

Don't remember the rest.

Tom
0 Replies
 
bhodi66
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 11:34 pm
It was used on an episode of Golden Girls too where Blanche's dad dies and Dorothy finds out Blanche was fat as a little girl and uses the line to make fun of her.
0 Replies
 
dcweber1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 06:57 pm
It was also used in an episode of "Get Smart" when 99 was pregnant.
99 (Upset): Go ahead and say it.
Max: Say what?
99: Fat, fat, the water rat.
Max: Fat, fat the water rat?
99: You take that back!
0 Replies
 
joncc
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 01:41 pm
@Noddy24,
I asked, and I am sure it goes back to something in the NYC area. Buddy Hacket used to use it and said it was from the old neighborhood. I just want the rest of it for the heck of it. Thank you for all the replies. JonC
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2010 02:41 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

Okay, I found it's the title (the "Fat, Fat the Water Rat" part, anyway) of the 37th episode of the old series, "Family Affair" - first aired on 10/23/67. Here's a link: http://www.tvtome.com/FamilyAffair/season2.html#ep37



I vividly remember that Family Affair episode.

Buffy made friends with a little girl who lived on the wrong side of the tracks. They were poor and humble folks. However, even though their clothes were worn, they were clean. Buffy was thrilled to learn about their strange ways, including eating snacks made of white bread with sugar sprinkled on the top, walking in line singing not only "Fat, Fat......the Water Rat", but also "Boom, Boom....Boom Chicka Boom".
Sadly, when Mr. French (the original one) showed up to take Buffy home, her new friends, upon seeing him in his "gentleman's gentleman" attire, shunned her, declaring her to be stuck up. Buffy spent the rest of the episode proving to them that "I ain't stuck up"

In the last scene eveyone was reconciled, and even Jody was playing with the poor kids, singing the Boom Boom Boom Chicka Boom song. They were both wearing old worn clothes, that undoubtably Mr. French had to go buy from a Goodwill.

Jody seemed to have a hard time keeping up with the others though. I doubt he made it.
0 Replies
 
 

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