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How many of you got to ride on the American Horror Story: Asylum express and remember The Name Game song? Sometimes a TV show comes along that plugs right into your brain and carries you along for the ride, we’ve seen it with The Wire, Breaking Bad, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead and Homeland. But American Horror Story: Asylum was something else completely, on a totally different level than all the other TV shows around at the time. It was one of those rare shows that you either waited with baited breath for the first episode. Or it passed you by and you never noticed, a real sleeping giant of a series that redefined ‘DAFUQ!?!’.

If, like me however you were glued to your tv/laptop/tablet when ‘American Horror Story: Asylum‘ was airing, then just when you thought you’d seen everything that the show had to offer they suddenly had a totally surreal music scene playing to the song “The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis (in the episode of the same name), with the amazing Jessica Lange as Sister Jude showing off her musical talents, which leads to the most glorious fantasy dance sequence you will ever see. Ever. In all your life. Honest.

The Name Game Song & Dance Scene

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The scene in question has Sister Jude hallucinate a song-and-dance number after receiving some electroshock therapy, prompted by Lana … ‘Lana Bobana, Banana Fana Fo Fana‘. At this point in the series, almost everyone’s names and identities have become unglued.

Sister Jude, defrocked, is Judy again. Dr. Arden is also a Nazi. Sister Mary Eunice is also the devil. Threadson is also Bloody Face. And if you want to pull back even further, you can argue that “naming” is the most terrifying thing in this show.

If someone calls you crazy, whether you are or not, then you get tossed in Briarcliff. So to sing a peppy ditty like “The Name Game?” Where the singer gets to manipulate your name however she sees fit? In Asylum, that’s kind of terrifying. If you want to see how your name plays out try the ‘The Name Game Generator‘.

It was a great TV series and if you never got to see it i highly recommend you rectify that asap – But don’t let that deter you from enjoying this masterpiece of madness. Enjoy.

Background On The Name game Song

Background On The Name game Song - 44

According to Wikipedia:

“The Name Game”, or “The Banana Song”, is a rhyming game that creates variations on a person’s name. It was written by U.S. singer Shirley Ellis with Lincoln Chase, and Ellis’s recording, produced by Charles Calello, was released in late 1964 as “The Name Game.” That record went to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number 4 on the magazine’s R&B charts in 1965.

The record was re-released in 1966 and again in 1973. While Ellis’ stock in trade was novelty hits, she was not a one-hit wonder. A serious R&B singer for 10 years before that hit, Ellis also charted with “The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)” (#8 pop and #16 R&B), and “The Nitty Gritty” (#8 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box R&B chart). Ellis performed “The Name Game” on major television programs of the day, including Hullabaloo, American Bandstand and The Merv Griffin Show. The song later became a popular children’s singalong.

“The Name Game” has been recorded by dozens of recording artists in the years since, notably Laura Branigan, whose version produced by Jeff Lorber, appearing on her 1987 album Touch, features a classroom of third-grade schoolchildren singing along to the tongue-twisting game. Tom Hanks sang ‘The Name Game’ to pass the time while he was waiting to be rescued from the second story floor boards that had given way and left him dangling between floors in THE MONEY PIT.

The Name Game Song Lyrics

The Name Game Song Lyrics

Judy! Judy, Judy bo Budy
Banana fanna fo Fudy
Fee fy mo Mudy, Judy!

Lana! Lana, Lana bo Bana
Banana fanna fo Fana
Fee fy mo Mana, Lana!

Come on everybody!
I say now let’s play a game!
I betcha I can make a rhyme
out of anybody’s name

The first letter of the name
I treat it like it wasn’t there
but a B or an F
or an M will appear

And then I say: bo add a B
then I say the name
and Banana fanna and a fo

and then I say the name again
with an F very plain
and a fee fy and a mo

and then I say the name again
with an M this time
and there isn’t any name that I can’t rhyme

Pepper! Pepper, Pepper, bo Bepper
Banana fana fo Fepper
Fee fy mo Mepper, Pepper!

But if the first two letters are ever the same
I drop them both and say the name
like:

Bob! Bob drop the B’s Bo ob
For Fred, Fred drop the F’s Fo red
For Mary, Mary drop the M’s Mo ary
That’s the only rule that is contrary

Okay?
Now say: Bo!
Bo!
Now Tony with a B:
Bony!
Then Banana fanna fo:
Banana fanna fo!
Then you say the name again with an F very plain:
Fony!
Then a fee fy and a mo:
Fee fy mo!
Then you say the name again with an M this time:
Mony!
And there isn’t any name that you can’t rhyme!

Kit.
Kit, Kit bo Bit
Banana fanna fo Fit
Fee fy mo Mit, Kit!

The name game!

the name game song - 35

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  • Vermin8

    Absolutely the best music scene in a TV show (other than variety or music shows) ever!
    I do wonder if it was written in originally or if the actors started getting silly and it was decided to include this.
    Regardless, it worked. I can’t get the music & scenes out of my head but I don’t care!

    • smashdotcom

      Yep, you summed it up perfectly!

    • Alex Scott

      I loved this episode so much that it inspired me to create a web page that generates lyrics for peoples own names. Was a fun little project for me. The page is at http://www.techhelpinc.com/namegame

      • Vermin8

        Awesome! I even tried Esmerelda (not my name, just playing) and it came out singable.

      • smashdotcom

        Hi Alex. Glad you liked the show as much as we did. I liked your web page so much we’ve included a link to it in the article.

        Smash Smash bo-bmash
        Banana fanna fo-fmash
        Fee, fy, mo-mmash.
        Smash!