9 Oct 2011


Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two
I'd always thought of Inchworm as merely a fun children's song until this afternoon when ABC FM played Frank Loesser's original version as sung by Danny Kaye in the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen. It is quite lovely.

Apparently Loesser was incredibly proud of the seemingly simple countrapunt - the round like double tune near the end of the song. When an admirer sent him this anonymous letter using the pseudonym 'a Kansas inchworm', Loesser was so pleased that he placed a quarter-page thankyou note in Kansas' largest daily paper, prompting the writer to reveal herself.
Dear Loesser your song Inchworm makes me very happy; not only from an inchwormitarian point of view ( I know you must realize people will not be so repelled by us after this) but from the aspect of downright beauty. It is conceivable that if Robert Burns and the god Pan, and Antoine de St. Exupery, and Euclid had gotten together for three days and three nights, they might have been able to write almost equally good words, but as I see it no group of musicians nor any other one musician could have written the beautiful music. It is simple, yet it is so intricate, the harmony is perfect and the counterpoint - well it gives me a headache when I think of what it would be like to try to write it tho I suppose for you it was easy.

Frank Loesser Thomas Laurence Riis 2008
Fascinating stuff!!

Anyhow, here's the song. I hope you like it. Have any of you seen the film? It looks delightful. Is it?


  1. ♥ Danny Kaye. ♥ This film. You & Jemimah would adore it.

  2. Yes, we love Danny Kaye here too. We own the DVD and the children all enjoy it, though I think our favourite Danny Kaye film would have to be The Court Jester. My mum met him years ago in Martin place in Sydney!

  3. Yes, you have to watch the movie. It is a nice sweet story of Hans Christian Anderson.

  4. I've posted two other versions of Inchworm for you: click on my signature to see them.

  5. That's one of my favorite Danny Kaye movies. I seem to remember a sad ending though. Still a great movie.

  6. Have never seen this film, I might have to check it out.

  7. Not sure whether I've seen that one but it sounds familiar and I like Danny Kaye too.
    Meeeelllllllll....your mother met him? Love these fascinating connection that come up on Jeanne's blog!


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