Fact Checking Broadway Musicals


I woke up this morning with a thought.

In the Rogers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, Curly sings that “the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye.” Immediately I was suspicious. How many elephants lived in Oklahoma territory in 1906? Smart money is on double zero. Did they even grow corn in Oklahoma? I’ve been to Oklahoma, and if I were planted there by some farmer, I’d move to a new dang state.

Well, I checked out the facts.  I’ve spent the last 30 minutes. The National Corn Growers Association reported that in 2010, Oklahoma farmers produced 44 million bushels of corn. So we know they’re growing corn there now.

As to the elephant problem: There are 3 in Oklahoma City, 2 in Tulsa.

I don’t know about 1906, when Curly McLain said chicks and ducks and geese better scurry. But if he were living today, he could rate his corn by the truest of all measurements, the elephant eye.

You’re welcome. Now you can sleep easier. I’ve done the research for you.

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