Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!

It’s not a misleading title for the thread. This really is about that song. If any mods feel it should be in Cafe Society, please move it, but I’m looking for some factual info, and that’s why my first try is GQ.

On tonight’s episode of Jeopardy!, the Final Jeopardy category had something to do with “Musicals”. You know, either movies or plays that have lots of songs in them. I don’t remember the exact name of the category, and that may be what’s confusing me, so if anyone knows what the exact name of the category was, please let me know.

Anyway, the Final Jeopardy clue was: “The six-word title of the song that has the words: ‘the house fell on her head and the coroner pronounced her dead’”

I was stumped. The context sure sounds like the answer would be a song from The Wizard Of Oz, but I couldn’t think of any song which contained those lyrics. I was quite shocked when all three contestants were credited with the correct response, for “What is Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”.

I can’t deny that that title does have six words in it. After searching on Google, I must also concede that a song by that title does exist with those lyrics. Google found copies of lyrics to that song as sung by Barbra Streisand and Maureen McGovern, and probably others. But that’s not the song that appeared in the movie!!! Lyrics to the song that appeared in the movie can be found here, and it does NOT include the specfied lyrics!

Was there a musical other than the 1939 Judy Garland classic which did contain those lyrics? I thought of the play Wicked, but its Wikipedia page lists its songs, and does not list any named “Ding Dong The Witch IS Dead”.

So what’s going on? Am I misunderstanding something? Or did Alex Trebek and the rest of his staff mess up?

Moving this from General Questions to Cafe Society.
General Questions Moderator

Here. It was covered by Sammy Davis, Jr. That cover included the lyrics.

If you want to hear a surreal rendition of Ding Dong The Witch is Dead, you’ve got to hear Klaus Nomi do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vXR5gjRMPk

It’s the same song. That appears to be from the introductary verse, which – like many of its kind – is not nearly as well known as the rest of the song, mainly 'cause it wasn’t heard in the movie. But it was written and is part of the song, so I guess it counts.

Similarly, the intro to Somewhere Over the Rainbow:

You Tube link to the version I remember as a minor hit song back in the 60’s.

The OP is clearly aware that some versions contain the lyrics in question, having explicitly mentioned two versions and provided links.

The quibble seems to be over whether the response should count as correct, as those words did not appear in the movie.

However, I see nothing in the name of the category or the framing of the answer that would cause me to consider the response incorrect. It is a song from a musical, and some well-known versions of the song contain those lyrics, even if the original did not.

A six-letter title to that song? Um, “Wake Up?” But that’s not the title. I wish I’d seen Jeopardy. What was the answer?

Looking for the answer, I discovered that the throwaway title to the song in the Youtube link is Optimistic Voices. Now there’s a song that would have fit right into Pennies from Heaven.

You misread the OP. The song’s title has six words. The answer is: 1) Ding; 2) Dong; 3) The; 4) Witch; 5) Is; 6) Dead.

Jeopardy answer, BTW, are designed to give clues as to what the question might be. Thus quoting a line that didn’t appear in the movie is acceptable since the words given help identify the song by subject, if not by exact lyrics.

I think one guy missed it.

The OP acknowledges that there’s a song with those lyrics, but goes on to imply that he doesn’t think this is actually the song from the movie. So no, I’m not sure how aware he is that yes, those lyrics are indeed from the famous “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead” … just the far lesser-known verse.

And I will add it to my list. My church holds a regular Trivia Night fundraiser and I want to assemble a category of “Name That Tune From Its Intro.” Examples, from the easy:

The loveliness of Paris
Seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome
Is of another day
I’ve been terribly alone
And forgotten in Manhattan
I’m going home to my city by the bay.

To the harder (In this case, extra points for naming that shy young swain):

*When she mentioned how her aunt bit off the spoon,
She completely done me in.
And my heart went on a journey to the moon,
When she told about her father and the gin.
And I never saw a more enchanting farce
Than that moment when she shouted
"move your bloomin’ "… *

To the nearly impossible for anybody under the age of 110:

You don’t know who you’re lookin’ at, now just you look at me
I’m a bit of a nob I am, belong to royalty
I’ll tell you how it got about: I married Widow Burch
And I was King of England when we doddered out the church
Outside, the people started shoutin’ “Hip-hooray”
Said I “Go down upon your knee it’s Coronation Day!”

My problem is that the lines quoted on Jeopardy didn’t appear in the movie, so I felt the reference to the “musical” was unfair. If they simply spoke about any “song” which contained those lines, then it could be any version of the song, and I probably wouldn’t complain. But by referencing the musical, I thought they were referring to a specific version.

Anyway, this part of the Wikipedia article on the movie says that there was a longer reprise version of the song which was cut from the movie, and this article there says that the longer version was included as Track #17 on the “Deluxe Edition” of the soundtrack.

On the presumption that the longer version had the lyrics the Jeopardy mentioned, I guess I should give up and throw in the towel. Even if it wasn’t in the movie, being in the soundtrack album legitimizes it, I suppose, sort of.

But it is not Jeopardy’s style to do such a thing. They often include helpful clues on the board. This was the opposite; it was misleading.

The geek in the middle.

The inevitability of what follows where the lyrics and tune are going often gives a clue. In the Jeopardy case, “The house fell on her head and the coroner pronounced her dead” should have been all a Jeopardy champion needed to sort through a century or two of popular culture to find the answer in a few seconds.

dropzone, the only one of those I guessed was the last one, and I’m a lot younger than 110. It’s occasionally heard around Boy Scout campfires.

The only one I failed to get was the middle one.

Also much less than 110…I think that song’s better known than the second…I know the play, but not the song.

Was he a geek? I thought he might be a dork…or maybe even a dweeb. :slight_smile:

I missed the correct answer to this “Final Jeopardy!”; I guessed the song was titled “Ding-Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead.”