Lots of children, and almost every adult, knows the Hokey Pokey. You just put your right foot in and put your right foot out to perform one of the best-known circle dances in American history.
Its popularity belies its age, and conceals its author. The man who wrote the song, Larry LaPrise, died last week at 83 in Boise, Idaho.
He wrote the tune for the Sun Valley, Idaho, ski crowd in the late 1940s, but it took a recording by big band leader Ray Anthony to make the Hokey Pokey a nationwide phenomenon. (It appeared on the B side of the "Bunny Hop" single.)
LaPrise didn't receive royalties for the song until the 1960s, when its rights were purchased by country star Roy Acuff's publishing company.
In recent years, LaPrise worked in the post office in Ketchum, Idaho. Children often wrote him notes addressed to "The Hokey Pokey Man."