Can’t dance to it, but can you learn with it?


It’s an awkward scene.  John Goodman has a lousy role (and I’m not fond of the direction for him or Melanie Griffith here).  I’ve never seen the movie, “Born Yesterday,” and I don’t know the context.

But ten important amendments to the Constitution, to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a potentially useful mnemonic device for your U.S. history, and government students; it’s mostly accurate:

There is some skipping around —  the song covers the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, then skips to the Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments.  The First Amendment’s five freedoms are covered completely, other amendments not so much.

The actor in the scene, playing the senator who sings the Fifteenth Amendment, is former Tennessee U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.  Thompson staffed the Watergate Committee chaired by Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina, earlier — wouldn’t it be interesting to hear his views on this scene, and song, and what other tricks he may have encountered in the Senate, from Sen. Ervin, or the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd?

It’s not Schoolhouse Rock, but it’s really very good.  Everything covered in the song is in Texas TEKS, but some things skipped, like the Fourteenth Amendment, are also required.  Can you use it in your classes?

And by the way, does anyone know a rap for the Bill of Rights?

Tip of the old scrub brush to the Facebook status of the Bill of Rights Institute.

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4 Responses to Can’t dance to it, but can you learn with it?

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Using Bing, I found the Judy Holliday version on YouTube in about 14 segments. Broderick Crawford played the crooked construction guy in that version. Holliday really is a ditz. She was incredible, and gets way too little appreciation.

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  2. Ellie says:

    I don’t believe there are songs in the original..except that Judy Holliday sings “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” while she’s playing cards. I think that’s it. I mentioned it because you said you had not seen the original. I have not seen the remake because, although Griffith is certainly a talented actress, she’s no Judy Holliday and I like John Goodman and don’t want to see him in such a brutal role.

    There’s a stunning scene of Billie in the Rotunda, and her realization of just how wonderful this country is. It’s also a marvelous portrayal of how journalists should be, although perhaps that’s something that never really was.

    When next I can do YouTube, though, I’ll watch the clip.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Ellie, is the song about the Amendments in the original?

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  4. Ellie says:

    I still can’t do YouTube, and I don’t know a rap, but I do recommend that you see the original movie with Judy Holliday. It’s dated, yes, but the excitement and wonder she protrays while learning about our government and how it’s supposed to work, still moves me.

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