Hello my baby, hello my *blank*, hello my ragtime gal

On Facebook, the topic of “Hell, My Ragtime Gal” came up. If you are familiar with this Andrew Sisters song – I know it from a cartoon short with a singing frog (apparently named Michigan J Frog) – sing it in your head, and what word do you naturally sing to yourself in the blank: “Hello my baby, hello my ______, hello my ragtime gal.”

The correct answer is “honey.” Now, for most others in the Facebook thread, “darling” was the word chosen. And, to be honest, that’s the first word that came to mind for me, as well, before I realized, wait, that doesn’t sound right, and I remembered it was “honey.” For many others, though, it’s a Mandela Effect type of phenomenon, and they swear it’s always been “darling.” Just curious if this effect plays out here and, moreso, why the word “darling” comes naturally to at least a good number of us.

Not sure if it’s best to spoiler at least the first few responses to as not to skew the results.

I always knew it as “honey”, from the cartoon with the singing frog. Never even considered the word “darling”.

The same incorrect word came immediately to mind for me.

I’d have said “darling”, and I’d have been completely wrong.

I’ve noticed this phenomenon as I get older. When I watch I watch older shows with my kids, I notice some lines of dialog are phrased different than I remember them. I know that sometimes re-releases have different edits (Han shot first, etc), so I find myself wondering whether it’s that, or whether my mind is just confabulating.

But this is not a different edit. I looked up the canonical pop-culture source and it was definitely my mind fabulating the wrong line.

“Honey” springs easily from memory, as did “every Mame and Jane and Ruth/from Weehawken to Duluth.”


Definitely honey.

What Qadgop said, verbatim.

Send me a kiss by wire
Baby, my heart’s on fire


Someone fix the title, please.

Honey for me as well.

Honey. Is there no poll?

No, I didn’t want the possible answers staring in the face to possibly poison the well.

In the other thread, the answers were split about 50-50, maybe slightly in the favor of “darling,” with a few dozen respondents.

I fixed the title, from “hell my ragtime …” to hello my ragtime …"

Hey! Results! Thank you, What_Exit!

Now that we’re far enough down the thread, I’ll stick in a poll:

  • honey
  • darling
  • something else
  • had no idea

0 voters

In my head, it’s very clearly and definitely darlin’, and honey just sounds wrong.

I’ll admit that baby - honey scans better than baby - darlin’. But I think it’s that possessive “my” that makes “darling” sound like it should be there. I’m used to “darling” being used as both a nickname/term of endearment, and as a possessive descriptor (“Oh my darlin, oh my darling, oh my darling, Clementine…”). On the other hand, while I’m used to “honey” as a nickname/term of endearment, using it as a possessive descriptor just sounds off to me. If someone said, “my honey”, in reference to a person, I’d understand what they were saying, but it come across to me as a non-standard usage.

OK, I voted “darling” in my own thread as, even though I almost immediately knew it was wrong, and I didn’t experience a Mandela effect where I could have sworn up and down it was the wrong way, it really was the first thing that popped into my head. From my perspective, I’m wondering why it’s a reasonably common substitution. Why did my instinct take me there? Are “baby” and “darling” more popularly paired than “baby” and “honey”? There’s no prosodic element I could detect that would want me to prefer “darling” over “honey.” Maybe @gdave is onto something with “my darling” being more familiar than “my honey,” at least to my ears, and “honey” bing more familiar in a vocative sense. It’s interesting.

My brain really wanted to say “darlin’” when I saw the thread, but something in the back of my mind was saying, “no, I don’t think that’s right.” I should listen to the back of my mind more often. :slight_smile:

In my mind it was darling too.