Green grow the pickles, O

This remarkable photo left me dumbstruck yesterday when Monica Macaulay passed it along on Facebook, having gotten it from the Art Deco FB group on 10/10:

The Pickle Sisters, a vaudeville group from the 1920s (photo:

[Here I repeat a note from the last posting I was able to manage, the 10/7 posting “THE shirts”, six days ago:

Note: this is massively a Mary, Queen of Scots, Not Dead Yet posting, indeed something of a celebration of my being able to post anything at all, not to mention through enormous pain in my swollen fingers. But no details about any of that here; at the moment, I truly am pleased to be still alive and want to show that I can manage a posting.

This caution applies fully to this Pickle Sisters posting.]

From the Art Deco site (text edited for mechanics):

Margaret, Mavis, Opal and Florence were just names that no one knew until they changed them to Dillie, Kosher, Gherkin, and Bee Bee [AZ: for bread and butter]. they recorded a few songs that got on the radio. They appeared in a newsreel that grabbed every moviegoer’s attention — and suddenly everyone was crazy about the Pickle Sisters. Green studded dresses started flying off the racks, children ransacked their parents’ wardrobe closet for anything that looked like a pickle hat, and “I’m Green for Your Form” reached 6 on the hit parade.

Alas, no recordings are available online; they might not have survived.

The category of the image on the Art Deco site. I had to file the image in one of my photo categories, at least six of which were all fitting:

clothing, food, women, musicians, phallic (all pickles being, by nature, phallic symbols)

On the grounds that the costumes the women are wearing are the truly remarkable aspect of the image, this one went into clothing.

The title of this posting. A play on the folk song title “Green Grow the Rushes, O”. From Wikipedia:

Green Grow the Rushes, O (alternatively “Ho” or “Oh”) (also known as “The Twelve Prophets”, “The Carol of the Twelve Numbers”, “The Teaching Song”, “The Dilly Song”, or “The Ten Commandments”), is an English folk song (Roud #133). It is sometimes sung as a Christmas carol. It often takes the form of antiphon, where one voice calls and is answered by a chorus.

… It is cumulative in structure, with each verse built up from the previous one by appending a new stanza. The first verse is:

I’ll sing you one, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What is your one, O?
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

There are many variants of the song, collected by musicologists including Sabine Baring-Gould and Cecil Sharp from the West of England at the start of the twentieth century. The stanzas are clearly much corrupted and often obscure, but the references are generally agreed to be both Biblical and astronomical.


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