Song Lyric Sunday — This, That, and the Other

I’m am so honored that my blogging buddy, Jim Adams, has chosen to use the title of my blog, “This, That, and the Other,” as his theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. And thank you, Jim, for your extraordinarily kind words. If you could have seen my face beneath that bag, which I keep over my head, you’d have seen me blushing. That said, today is not my birthday.

This was harder than I thought it would be. There are thousands of songs with “this,” “that,” or “other” in their lyrics. But I decided that I was going to have some fun with this week’s “Fandango edition.” Some of you might know that I can be a bit pedantic when it comes to English grammar and usage. So I chose a song that contains both “this and that” and “this or that” in its lyrics and also pokes fun at my pedantic grammarian nature. That song is “Conjunction Junction.”

“Conjunction Junction” is the most popular “Schoolhouse Rock!” song. The music was written by Bob Dorough, the lyrics by Jack Sheldon and Terri Morel. It was sung by Jack Sheldon and animated by the people at the commercial animation studio Phil Kimmelman & Associates. The song marked Sheldon’s debut in the series.

In the song, a railroad switchman busies himself with hooking up clauses and phrases, which are represented by freight cars, using the conjunctions “and,” “or,” and “but.” The function of conjunctions, meanwhile, is explained in an Andrews Sisters blues style.

“Schoolhouse Rock!” was an American programming series of animated musical educational short films (and later, videos) that aired during the Saturday morning children’s programming block on the U.S. television network ABC. The themes covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics. The series’ original run lasted from 1973 to 1984. It was revived in 1993 with both old and new episodes airing and ran until 1996. Additional episodes were produced in 2009 for direct-to-video release.

The series was the idea of David McCall, an advertising executive, who noticed his young son was struggling with learning multiplication tables, despite being able to memorize the lyrics of many Rolling Stones songs. McCall hired musician Bob Dorough to write a song that would teach multiplication, which became “Three Is a Magic Number.” Tom Yohe, an illustrator at McCall’s adverting agency, heard the song and created visuals to accompany it. Radford Stone, who was in charge of the ABC account for the ad agency, suggested they pitch it as a television series. It caught the attention of Michael Eisner, then vice president of ABC, and cartoon director Chuck Jones.

Whereas the first season of “Schoolhouse Rock!” focused on math with Multiplication Rock, a collection of animated shorts adapting the multiplication tables, the next season, called Grammar Rock, focused on grammar, which included nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech (such as conjunctions, explained in “Conjunction Junction”).

Here are the lyrics to “Conjunction Junction.”

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Conjunction Junction, how’s that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.
Conjunction Junction, what’s their function?
I got “and”, “but”, and “or”,
They’ll get you pretty far.

“And”:
That’s an additive, like “this and that”.
“But”:
That’s sort of the opposite,
“Not this *but* that”.
And then there’s “or”:
O-R, when you have a choice like
“This or that”.
“And”, “but”, and “or”,
Get you pretty far.

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up two boxcars and making ’em run right.
Milk and honey, bread and butter, peas and rice.
Hey that’s nice!
Dirty but happy, digging and scratching,
Losing your shoe and a button or two.
He’s poor but honest, sad but true,
Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up two cars to one
When you say something like this choice:
“Either now or later”
Or no choice:
“Neither now nor ever”

Hey that’s clever!
Eat this or that, grow thin or fat,
Never mind, I wouldn’t do that,
I’m fat enough now!

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up phrases and clauses that balance, like:
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
He cut loose the sandbags,
But the balloon wouldn’t go any higher.
Let’s go up to the mountains,
Or down to the sea.
You should always say “thank you”,
Or at least say “please”.

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses
In complex sentences like:
“In the mornings, when I am usually wide awake,
I love to take a walk through the gardens and down by the lake,
Where I often see a duck and a drake,
And I wonder as I walk by
Just what they’d say if they could speak,
Although I know that’s an absurd thought.”

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up cars and making ’em function.
Conjunction Junction, how’s that function?
I like tying up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, watch that function.
I’m going to get you there if you’re very careful.
Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
I’m going to get you there if you’re very careful.
Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
I’m going to get you there if you’re very careful.

22 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — This, That, and the Other

  1. Maggie September 26, 2021 / 4:23 am

    My kids loved these shows and I often sang along with them. We had all the lyrics committed to memory. Great choice for your SLS day of honor. To add to your celebration I thought I’d drop this song in the comments since it’s not your birthday.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Melanie B Cee September 26, 2021 / 5:32 am

    Congratulations on your moment in the spot/lime light! What a great choice for this prompt too! It’s an honor to know you and I’ll continue to be a fan! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 26, 2021 / 8:47 am

      Thanks, Melanie. That means a lot!

      Like

  3. newepicauthor September 26, 2021 / 7:20 am

    I had no idea how many times this and that will precede or follow conjunctions. Thanks for being a good sport and providing the theme today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 26, 2021 / 9:05 am

      Thank you, Jim, for picking “Thus, That, and the Other” as your theme this week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. J-Dub September 26, 2021 / 8:05 am

    Schoolhouse Rocks! Classic. Cheers to a great pick for the Fandango edition!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Marleen September 26, 2021 / 12:37 pm

    My favorite!

    (We have a couple months to wait, right?)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing September 26, 2021 / 6:08 pm

    Yes what a great honor bestowed on you today Fan! Well deserved indeed. Thank you for all you do to bring so many of us together everyday. I really appreciate you. I love your choice of song today. Very clever ☺️💕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. King Ben's Grandma September 26, 2021 / 6:10 pm

    Can’t ever go wrong with Schoolhouse Rock! I can recite the preamble of the Constitution to this day thanks to the show.

    Great choice for your “honor day”!🎶💃🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nope, Not Pam September 27, 2021 / 2:56 am

    Well, I’ve never heard of it but it would have been handy when my kids were young

    Liked by 1 person

  9. leigha66 October 8, 2021 / 12:02 am

    I LOVE IT! Couldn’t be a better choice for you! I happen to have one of those DVDs they made.

    Liked by 1 person

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