A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Pinterest is Instagram for moms” (11/17)
“How did the Mayflower show that it liked America?"/"It hugged the shore.” (11/17)
“I was told that exercise helps with your decision making” (joke) (11/17)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/17)
“A cashier asked me if I wanted paper or plastic. I said, ‘Just put the money in a bag!!‘“ (11/17)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from January 12, 2009
“One for the money, two for the show, three to make ready, and four to go”

"One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go cat go!” sang Elvis Presley in “Blue Seude Shoes,” a song written in 1955 by Carl Perkins. The opening verses had long been a part of children’s counting rhymes. “One for the money, two for the show, three to make ready, four for the go!” was recorded from New York in the book The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children (1888).

The counting rhyme (recorded in various different versions since at least the 1820s) has been used at the start of foot-races and has also been recited when a child is placed in a swing. “One for the money...” became almost a catchphrase, after the recording of “Blue Seude Shoes,” whenever people got money.


Wikipedia: Blue Suede Shoes
“Blue Suede Shoes” is a rock and roll standard written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955. The 12-bar blues is considered one of the first rockabilly (rock and roll) records and incorporated elements of blues, country and pop music of the time.

Origin
Johnny Cash planted the seed for the song in the fall of 1955, while Perkins, Cash, Elvis Presley, and other Louisiana Hayride acts toured throughout Texas and the South. Cash told Perkins of a black airman whom he had met when serving in the military in Germany. He had referred to his military regulation air shoes as “blue suede shoes.” Cash suggested that Carl write a song about the shoes. Carl replied, “I don’t know anything about shoes. How can I write a song about shoes?”

When Perkins played a dance on December 4, 1955, he noticed a couple dancing near the stage. The girl was gorgeous, he thought, and the boy wore blue suede shoes. As they danced the boy cautioned his date “don’t step on my suedes.” Perkins was bewildered that a guy would value shoes over a beautiful girl.

Later that night, while in bed, Perkins began working on a song based on that incident. His first thought was to frame it with a nursery rhyme. He considered, and quickly discarded “Little Jack Horner...” and “See a spider going up the wall...”. Then settled on “One for the money...” Leaving his bed and working with his Les Paul guitar, he started with an A chord. After playing five chords while singing “Well, it’s one for the money… Two for the show… Three to get ready… Now go, man, go!” and broke into a boogie rhythm. He quickly grabbed a brown paper potato sack and wrote the song down, writing the title out as “Blue Swade, S-W-A-D-E”. “I couldn’t even spell it right,” he later said.

The song was recorded weeks later, and producer Sam Phillips suggested that Perkins’s line “go boy go” be changed to “go cat go”.

4 November 1828, Connecticut Herald (Hartford, CT), pg. 1:
They then, after half a dozen swings, and singing Tom Moore’s glee of
“One to make ready, and two to prepare,
Three to go slam bang, and four to go there!”
sent me half a mile in the air, exactly over the centre of the crater, where the lava was bubbling up with intense heat, like hasty pudding in a kettle.

Google Books
23 February 1832, The Bristol Job Nott, or. Labouring Man’s Friend, pg. 43:
Do you not know the words when a child is placed in a swing? (we were children once, and we have not forgotten it) “one to make ready, two to prepare, three and away.”

Google Books
November 1837, American Monthly Magazine, pg. 468:
“One to make ready.”
“Two to show.”
“Three to make ready,”
“And four to g-o.”

Google Books
The Nursery Rhymes of England,
Collected chiefly from Oral Tradition

Edited by James Orchard Halliwell
London: John Russell Smith
1846
Pg. 124:
[The following is used by schoolboys, when two are starting to run a race.]
ONE to make ready,
And two to prepare;
God bless the rider,
And away goes the mare.

Google Books
The Mother Goose:
Containing All the Melodies the Old Lady Ever Wrote

By Dame Goslin
Published by G.S. Appleton
1852
Pg. ?:
ONE to make ready,
And two to prepare;
Here goes the rider,
And away goes the mare.

Google Books
March 1856, The Knickerbocker magazine, pg. 285:
...very much after the same fashion boys play, “One to begin, two to show, three to get ready, four to go,” and then make a great leap—somewhere;...

Google Books
February 1867, Beadle’s Monthly, pg. 104:
One! two! three! fire! Or, “one for an offer, two for a show; three to make ready, and four to go?”

Google Books
Chris and Otho
By Julie P. Smith
New York, NY: G. W. Carleton & Co.
1870
Pg. 360:
..."one to begin, two to show, three to make ready, four to go!”

Google Books
October 1871, Scribner’s Monthly, pg. 628:
“One to begin,
Two for show,
Three to make ready,
And four to go!”

Google Books
The Little Corporal
By Alfred L. Sewell
Published by Alfred L. Sewell, 1872
Item notes: v.15-16 (1872)
Description based on: vol. 3, no. 6, Dec. 1866; title from caption.
Pg. 118:
“One for the money, two for the show, three to make ready, and four for to go!” and away they started, their feet, white and black, flying along the path to…

6 April 1879, New Orleans (LA) Times Picayune, pg. 8:
“One, to begin—
Two, to show—
Three, to make ready,
Four, to go.”

Google Books
Nimpo’s Troubles
By Olive Thorne Miller
New York, NY: E. P. Dutton & Co.
1880
Pg. 112:
Then he got up, and, after arranging harry in an undignified squat in the middle of the stage, he retired to the further end, swung his arms two or three times to get a start, counted “one to begin, two to show, three to make ready, and four to go,” and, starting full force, ran and gave a flying leap over Harry’s head.

Google Books
The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children
By Henry Carrington Bolton
New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co.
1888
Pg. 119:
GROUP XIV.—RHYMES FOR COUNTING-OUT IN SPECIAL GAMES.
838.
One for the money, two for the show;
Three to make ready, four for the go!
N. Y.; W. Tenn.
Used to start children in a game, as a race.

839.
One to make ready,
And two to prepare;
Good luck to the rider,
And away goes the mare.
Halliwell’s “Nursery Rhymes.”
Used in starting a race.

840.
One to begin,
Two to show;
Three to make ready,
Four to go!
Conn,; N. Y.
Used to start a race.

Google Books
Miscellaneous Notes and Queries
Volume VI
Conducted and Published by S. C. & L. M. Gould
Manchester, N. H.
1889
Pg. 250 (February 1889):
VERMONT FOLK-LORE. In Windsor county, Vt., when children are at play, and are about to jump off a fence, rock, or an elevated place, they often repeat the following:

One to make ready,
Two to prepare,
Three to go slender,
Four to go there.

In Rutland county, the children repeat the following:

One for a penny,
Two for a show,
Three to make ready,
And four for to go.
-- J. M. CURRIER.

11 January 1891, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 3, col. 6:
It is the old story of the children:
One for the money, two for the show.
Three to make ready and four for to go.

Google Books
January 1892, St. Nicholas magazine, pg. 183:
“I like to play with boys. Can you run fast? I bet I can beat you. Now, one for the money! Two for the show!” And Leslie put her foot out and began swaying her body for the start.

Google Books
November 1894, Scribner’s Monthly, “John March, Southerner” by George W. Cable, pg. 653:
So!—One for the money, two for the show, three to make ready, and four to—“Ha, ha, ha!”

5 June 1898, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 14:
On nice days we would run races. I would count one for the money, two for the show, three to make ready and four to go, and the piggie would give two little grunts—it was the only way he could count—and off we would go.
(AGNES E. BETCHER, Tecumseh, Tex.—ed.)

August 1919, Outing, pg. 402:
“One for the money; two for the show;
Three to make ready, and four for the go!”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, January 12, 2009 • Permalink