Bimbo is a little boy, who’s got a million friends

Its origins are red-blooded.  Still used in Italy, “bimbo” is an Italian derivation of “bambino,” a masculine gender word meaning “baby-or-little boy.”  Of course no one likes to mess with the nomenclature more than we Americans, and by the early 1920s “bimbo” was common American slang for a dull-witted or loutish man.  But why stop there?

In the 1929 film “Desert Nights” (John Gilbert’s last silent movie) it’s used to describe a female diamond thief (played by Imogene Wilson, a one-time Ziegfield showgirl who went by the name of Bubbles) and then later that year a chorus girl was referred to as “a bimbo,” in early Technicolor no less, as seen in “Broadway Melody” the first soundie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Such Hollywood moments were hugely influential and the feminine connotation quickly made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, and then slowly evolved to become a derogatory term for a salaciously attractive, cosmetically-enhanced, assuredly promiscuous woman, who may or may not have bleached blonde hair, and is most certainly not known for her intellect or erudition…Did I get it all?

Of course, evolution never stops and in contemporary gossip magazines the term, though still referring to salaciously attractive, cosmetically-enhanced, vacuous women, has distressingly taken on a positive undertone. Where Harvey Hadaway was with all of this, who knows?  But he wrote this catchy song in 1948 and it was recorded both by Gene Autry and as sung here, by “Gentleman Jim” Reeves, becoming his second Number 1 hit (after “Mexican Joe”) on the Billboard Country Chart in 1953.

Although its context harkens back to the original Italian colloquialism for a little boy, one  has to wonder about this kid’s rather precocious motivation.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Friday 30 November

Bimbo

Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya’ gonna go-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha’ gonna do-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know

That you’re goin’ down the road to see a little girl-e-o

 Bimbo is a little boy, who’s got a million friends

And every time he passes by, they all invite him in

He’ll clap his hands and sing and dance, and talk his baby talk

With a hole in his pants and his knees stickin’ out

He’s just big enough to walk

 Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya’ gonna go-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha’ gonna do-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know

That you’re goin’ down the road to see a little girl-e-o

Bimbo’s got two big blue eyes that light up like a star

And the way to light them up is to buy him candy bars

Crackerjack and bubblegum will start his day off right

All the girlies follow him just a-beggin’ him for a bite

 Bimbo, Bimbo, candy on your face-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, chewin’ on your gum-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, when you gonna grow

Everybody loves you, little baby Bimbo

 You never catch him sittin’ still, he’s just the rovin’ kind,

Altho’ he’s just a little boy, he’s got a grown-up mind.

He’s always got a shaggy dog a-pullin’ at his clothes,

And everybody calls to him as down the street he goes.

Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya’ gonna go-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha gonna do-e-o

Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know

That you’re goin’ down the road to see a little girl-e-o

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