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He Was Surprisingly Light on His Feet

August 30, 2008

Long before there were dancing hippos in Fantasia or Belle ballroom dancing with the Beast, there was “The Hippopotamus Polka.”

Hippo mania hit London way back in the 1850s when Obaysch the Hippo arrived at the London Zoo, becoming the first hippopotamus to be seen in Europe since Roman times.

Just like today, Obaysch’s celebrity generated all manner of merchandising opportunities, and thus was born “The Hippopotamus Polka.” Louis St. Mars‘ piano confection quickly became a big hit in London.

(You can find the sheet music at Penn’s Music Library.)

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