‘Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh’ endures as classic song about summer camp

“Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter From Camp)” is without a doubt the most famous song ever written about the summer camp experience. Penned in 1963 by American comedy writer and television producer Allan Sherman, the song was inspired by letters Allan’s son Robert wrote home from a summer camp in New York. The “novelty song,” set to the tune of the classical song “Dance of the Hours” climbed as high as No. 2 on the Billboard charts and won Sherman a 1964 Grammy award for comedy.

The song and its fictional Camp Grenada spawned an industry of sorts with the release of a children’s book, a board game, musical revue and plenty of variations.

As a kid in the ’80s, I always heard the version sung as “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, I’ve been smoking marijuana, crack is good but coke is better, I’m so (expletive) high I can’t finish this (expletive) letter.” I so rarely heard any other version of the song sung, I barely know the actual words and don’t think I’d ever actually heard the song in its entirety until I watched a video on YouTube.

The story of Robert, whose horrible experience at summer camp started it all, is told in a fascinating 2003 article in the LA Times you can read HERE. Watch video of a sketch playing off the song on the television show Sha Na Na HERE.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

1 Comment

  1. I ran across this song when I was in junior high school in Ozone Park, NY. From what I remember, it kind of went like this:
    Hello Mother, Hello Father
    I’ve been smokin’ marijuana
    I’ve tried coke but crack is better
    (then it rolls into a rap song)
    Crack! It makes you go whack
    You’re Busted
    You can’t be trusted
    you go to jail
    you had to fail
    the dealers get glad
    from the money you had

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