Who Dat!? History


Who knew? (Wright State University Library)

I am trying to get a table to work so I can post it for ya'll, but in the meantime, I will just have to hit you guys with some knowledge this morning.

Who knew that the history of Who Dat goes back so far. This little tidbit of info is pretty interesting.

The first reference to "Who Dat?" can be found in the 19th Century. A featured song in E.E. Rice's "Summer Night's" is the song "Who Dat Say Chicken In dis Crowd."

"Who dat?" was used as a tag line that has been around since the days of Negro minstrel shows. "Who dat?" "Who dat say who dat?" Many different black-faced gags played off that opening.

In the swing era, "who dat" chants back and forth between the band and the band leader or between the audience and the band were extemporaneous...made up on the spot. That is, there was no one specific set of words except for the two magic ones.

Staged minstrel skits had frightened black people saying "who dat" when they encountered a ghost, or someone imitating a ghost. Then, the "who dat"..."who dat say who dat"...skit would play itself out. This skit was done frequently in short reels from the 1930s - 1950s and in some early TV shows too. Even the Marx Brothers had a "who dat" routine. Often, a ghost was called a "who dat." An animated character, now banished to the archives as being racist, MGM's Bosko had such an encounter in a toon called "Lil Ol Bosko in Bagdad" in 1938.

"Who Dat?" became a familiar joke with soldiers during World War II.

Finally, it was adapted by Southern University and New Orleans Public Schools in the 1960s, and Saints fans adopted it in the early 1970s. It was also adopted by wrestling fans of the Junkyard Dog, who wrestled locally in the Mid South Wrestling area in the early 1980s.

Apparently it has had a lot of uses throughout history, going back quite a ways now. It has now turned into this...(only watch this if you don't care about your precious time! These guys obviously don't. Judging by the location of the filming, they live very close to me.)

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