Monkeying Around

monkey
The Aba Daba Honeymoon is a popular song written and published by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan in 1914. Known through its chorus, “Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab, Said the chimpie to the monk; Baba daba daba daba daba daba dab, Said the monkey to the chimp,” the first recording of Aba Daba Honeymoon was a number one hit in 1914 for Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan. (see below)

The song was featured in the 1950 movie, Two Weeks with Love, a romantic musical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was based on story by John Larkin who co-wrote the screenplay with Dorothy Kingsley. The story is set in the early 1900s, and focuses on the Robinson family. The Robinson family leaves their home in New York City to stay at “Kissimee in the Catskills,” a resort hotel in upstate New York, where love strikes both of the Robinson daughters, Patti and Melba.

The basic plot centers around seventeen-year-old Patti Robinson (Jane Powell), who feels that she is a bit too strait-laced to attract the male contingent, and dreams of being a “woman of the world.” Naturally, the principal object of her affections, dashing Demi Armendez (Ricardo Montalbán), prefers an old-fashioned girl, but Patti does not find that out until the last reel. The supporting cast is well served, especially Louis Calhern and Ann Harding as the daughters long-suffering parents, Phyllis Kirk as a bitchy coquette, and Debbie Reynolds as the other daughter, Melba.

Debbie Reynolds and Carlton Carpenter sing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" in the motion picture, "Two Weeks With Love"

Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter sing Aba Daba Honeymoon in the motion picture, Two Weeks With Love


Stealing the film with break-out performances were relative newcomers Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter, who performed the delightful 1914 song, Aba Daba Honeymoon. Debbie Reynolds was just finding her way in Hollywood. She was singed under contract to Warner Brothers at age sixteen, appearing in two films (June Bride and The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady) before she was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Still working her way up the ladder, her role in Two Weeks With Love was a second-tier lead.

The lyrics of this cute novelty song tell of the love story “way down in the congo land” of a chimpanzee and a monkey, their wedding by a baboon, and their June honeymoon.

LYRICS
THE ABA DABA HONEYMOON (1914)
Words and music by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Means monk I love but you
Baba daba dab
In monkey talk means chimp I love you too
Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

Way down in the congo land
Live a happy chimpanzee
She loved a monkey with a long tail
Lordy how she loved him
Each night he would find her there
Swingin’ in the coconut tree
And the monkey gay
At the break of day
Like to hear he chimpie say

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the chimpie to the monk
Baba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the monkey to the chimp
All night long they’d chatter away
All day long they were happy and gay
Swingin’ and singin’ in their
Honky tonky way

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Means monk I love but you
Baba daba dab in monkey talk
Means chimp I love you too
Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

One night they were made man and wife
And now they cry this is the life
Since they came from their aba daba honeymoon

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the chimpie to the monk
Baba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Said the monkey to the chimp
All night long they’d chatter away
All day long they were happy and gay
Swingin’ and singin’ in their
Honky tonky way

Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab
Means monk I love but you
Baba daba dab in monkey talk
Means chimp I love you too
Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

Then the big baboon one night in June
He married them and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honey
Aba daba aba daba
Aba daba honeymoon…
Honeymoon

The hit recording of the song was cut by Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter in 1950, reaching number three on the Billboard chart in 1951. In the same year, Richard Hayes and Kitty Kallen, Freddy Martin and his Orchestra with Merv Griffin, Cliff Steward, and Hoagy Carmichael and Cass Daley also succeeded with the song. The song has been featured in a Three Stooges movie, a Fritos commercial, and in an episode of Laverne and Shirley. Not too shabby for a 1914 song about monkeys and chimps!

THE RECORDINGS
Arthur Collins and Byron Harland The Aba Daba Honeymoon
Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter (George Stoll and the M-G-M Studio Orchestra and Chorus) Aba Daba Honeymoon
Richard Hayes and Kitty Kallen (George Siravo Orchestra) Aba Daba Honeymoon [From Two Weeks with Love]
Freddy Martin and his Orchestra (vocals by Merv Griffin and the ensemble) Aba Daba Honeymoon
Cliff Steward and The San Francisco Boys Aba Daba Honeymoon
Hoagy Carmichael and Cass Daley (Matty Matlock’s All Stars Orchestra) Aba Daba Honeymoon

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