Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

B is for Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo

Extended Clip: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | Disney Video.

In my quest for the perfect, all-powerful magic word, I turned to that font of demonic words and symbology, Disney.  In the animated Cinderella (1950) I struck pay dirt with the song “Bibbetty Bobbety Boo.” The song is sung by the fairy godmother so how could it be bad? Well, let me tell you.

Strangely, the phrase has a history prior to Disney’s Cinderella. Ivan Turgenev was a Russion writer of short stories, novels, and plays. In 1842, he wrote a short story titled “The Adventure of Second Lieutenant Bubnov. “ In the story, The Devil invites Bubnov to dinner and introduces him to his grandchild, Babebibobu.  It’s difficult to tell if the Devil wants to marry Bubonov to the granddaughter or serve him as the main course.  Either way, it’s a difficult evening for Bubnov. The name of the girl/demon is a bit different from the title of the charming song in Cinderella, but it’s close enough to make one wonder if the writers were either A) very well read with odd, possibly alcohol-fueled, senses of humor, B) demons in disguise, or C) Both.

Notice also in the clip that the fairy godmother does a bit of widdershins wand waving (counter-clockwise used for banishing spells or even curses) and that the cat’s name is Lucifer. And she says the part that does the trick is bibbidi- bobbidi-boo.  All suspicious to conspiracy theorists, but tantalizing and enchanting to those of us who seek unique so-called coincidences.

And I don’t even want to get into whether Disney was a Satanist or whether he or his minions put Satanic signs and porn in their movies and cartoons. Usually, people see what they want to though a couple of instances are pretty graphic—cartoonists having fun, I think. For me, all this is just something fun to watch for—and the only reason I watch Disney movies at all.  If we’re going to gripe about Disney movies, I’d rather spend time on the historical inaccuracies and the horrible way women and people of color are depicted in them.

Since its use in Cinderella, the phrase has been used in a number of Disney products. It’s also been analyzed in a South Park episode and referred to in other forms such as characters in Dragon Ball.  I hum it all the time and taught it to my kids (which could explain a few odd manifestations and disappearances, now that I think about it.  Thanks, Walt.

The lyrics of the song, as with the title, are composed nearly entirely of nonsense. The Cinderella LP insert lists the lyrics as follows:

Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

Put ’em together and what have you got?


Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

It’ll do magic believe it or not.


Salagadoola means

Mechicka boolaroo,

But the thingmabob that does the job is bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.

Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo .

Put ’em together and what have you got?

Bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi-boo


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Cover by Oghma Creative Media
Cover by Oghma Creative Media

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