Monday, June 5, 2023

Orgin of The Googly Eye - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "King Coconut"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM I played The Nashville Teens' cover of the John D. Loudermilk song Google Eye which made me wonder about the term Googly Eye and where it came from. Before we get into that though, I'd like to point out that the song is actually referring to a fish, which I think is maybe a Rock Bass but to be honest I'm not too sure.

Anywho, when I first read the song's title, I thought of those little plastic pill shaped eyes that rattle around when you shake them. The kind of thing that you'd glue to puff balls or cardboard tubes as a child. If you are anything like me you've seen them throughout your life but you've never really thought about their origin and, disappointingly, as while researching Googly Eyes I found that their history is mostly lost to time.

From everything that I've read, the term Googly Eye comes from an American comic strip by Billy DeBeck named Barney Google and Snuffy Smith or rather a 1923 song named Barney Google (with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes) that was preformed by Ernest Hare and Billy Jones and found inspiration from the comic strip. Over the years Barney and Snuffy have been seen in comics, live action films, as well as a few cartoon series. I also found that there is a type of doll that predates DeBeck's strip that are known as googly-eyed dolls. I don't know if the googly-eyed name was used during the initial production of the dolls or if the name became popular after DeBeck's comic strip because there appears to be conflicting accounts. 

However, as I continued my research, I found an even older example of "googly eyes" in the Los Angeles Herald from November 1906. The article reads:

Googly eyes, made by Henry Dusso at a young woman escorted by A. Ayllllo, 1409 South Main street, at Ord and New High streets, were the direct cause of a pair of black eyes which Pusso will wear when he appears in Police court this morning.

From everything that I've read, googly-eyed dolls came out around 1910 and even Kewpie dolls which could be considered a version of a googly-eyed doll, weren't conceived until 1909. The way the newspaper article uses the term "googly eyes" makes it appear as if the term was already used in normal conversation, so although it's the earliest use of the phrase that I could find it's most likely not the first time the words were used. If anyone can find an earlier usage of the term "googly eyes" I'd love to see it.

Besides talking about google eyes, I also mentioned how jeans from the 19th century are occasionally found in abandoned mines and how they can be sold at auction for some hefty prices. Of course, the reason I brought up blues jeans is because you heard a British band that's best known for their version of Hippy Hippy Shake, The Swinging Blue Jeans, play their song Make Me Know You're Mine.

And that's it for this episode! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight, or on Mondays at 10pm PST. You can also listen through, Radio Garden, or Tune-In.

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