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Song Parodies -> "The Man on the Flying Trapeze"

Original Song Title:

"The Man on the Flying Trapeze"

Original Performer:

Walter O'Keefe

Parody Song Title:

"The Man on the Flying Trapeze"

Parody Written by:

John A. Barry

The Lyrics

“Murder!” (1930). Doucie is convicted of murdering Diana (both in an acting troupe) by a reluctant juror, Sir John. She was found near the victim, apparently comatose, and won’t talk. But Sir John retrospectively believes she is innocent and set out to find the real murderer. He tricks Handel Fane, an actor in the troupe who moonlights as a trapeze artist, into nearly confessing, by writing a play that reifies the murder. Feeling guilt, Fane hangs himself from the trapeze platform.
He[1] is unhappy, and so he’s forsworn
His verdict to stretch her[2] neck ’cause it was born
Of peer pressure; he’ll start on the morn
To prove that the maid’s not guilty.

The girl’s going to go to the gallows;
Out of her the rope breath will squeeze.
He’s a hunch that who caused the victim’s death knell
Was the man on the flying trapeze,[3]

Who flies through the air with the greatest of ease—
He’ll snare the young man on the flying trapeze
Whose movements are graceful, but a girl he did grease—
It’s a hunch to prove straightaway.

The young man had a strange name: it was Handell Fane;
He’d had a beef with the gal[4] that was slain.
He’d smile from the bar, and he was in a show
With Diana, whom he did love.

Who was found with the victim, in a coma
Near a poker all covered in blood.
That poker was lying right there at her side;
In a trance they led her away.

She could not remember what happened that night
After acting per part on the stage.
The law licks its chops and it took her downtown—
Often the case, the law ain’t sage.

Then Sir John figures a way to nail the gnome
Who calls the state and the trapeze bar home.
So he summons Fane from the big top’s dome
To read for a role in John’s new play.

The scenario gives Handel quite a fright;
Sir John is putting on the squeeze.
The plot replicates what Sir John thought went down;
Fane escapes just as fast as you please.

But he realizes: he’s in John’s thrall.
He’s up in the air—looks like he might fall.
The thing he has done, he then starts to recall,
And his vision starts getting dim.

Now even gymnastics would not serve him right—
Diana’s image he sees.
Of the rope he makes a noose, in his shame
He’ll no more fly on the trapeze.

He hangs in the air; face is gray; he’s deceased.
There’s irony there that increased and increased.
No movements he’s making, but Sir John is quite pleased
Because Diana’s now his love.


[1]Sir John Menie, as played by Herbert Marshall (“Foreign Correspondent”)
[2]Doucie Markham, as played by Phillis Konstam (“The Skin Game”)
[3]Handel Fane, as played by Esme Percy
[4]Diana Bariing, as played by Norah Baring



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Pacing: 5.0
How Funny: 5.0
Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 5

Voting Breakdown

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User Comments

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Old Man Ribber - March 25, 2011 - Report this comment
JAB - Herbert Marshall = Class! Nice job here. ;D
John Barry - March 25, 2011 - Report this comment
Thanks, OMR. I learned in my "research" that Marshall lost a leg in WWI but managed to keep knowledge of his prosthesis secret throughout his career. He had a daughter, Sarah, whom I just saw in the 1966 film "Lord Love a Duck."
AFW - March 25, 2011 - Report this comment
Very interesting...nice Hitchcock movie review, as with all the others..
lilChapTress - March 25, 2011 - Report this comment
Oh, a cowboy's Chapese, will a Lady always please, SirSweaty!
John Barry - March 25, 2011 - Report this comment
Thanks, OMR, AFW, LCT.
Alpha Skua - September 07, 2018 - Report this comment
HE FLIES THROUGH THE AIR WITH THE GREATISTS OF EASE,GRABBED AND HE MISSED THE TRAPEZE,AND LANDED WITH DISTICT CRASHING SOUND,IN THE HOSPITAL HIS LEG IN A CAST,HIS LAST PREFORMANCE WAS SUCH A BLAST

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