In a terrific historical prank that sent Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels storming out of the screening room, British minister Charles A. Ridley edited together scenes from the film Triumph of the Will with the music from the musical Me and My Girl to create a spoof that infuriated leaders of the Third Reich.
Lambeth Walk—Nazi Style was released in 1941 to newsreel companies. It was billed as “Schichlegruber Doing the Lambeth Walk, Assisted by the Gestapo Hep Cats,” and lays the catchy tune against images of Hitler and Nazi soldiers from Leni Riefenstahl’s seminal propaganda film.
The story goes that the parody enraged Goebbels to such an extent that he ran out of the screening room, kicking at chairs and screaming obscenities.
“The Lambeth Walk” tune was written for the 1937 musical, about a Cockney boy who inherits a fortune and must leave behind his working-class ways to become a gentleman. Nazi party officials called the tune “Jewish mischief and animalistic hopping,” making it even funnier as the background music for Nazi soldiers parading.
The name “Schichlegruber,” by the way, was also a dig at Hitler. It was the name of his maternal grandmother, whose son Alois (Hitler’s father) was an illegitimate child. Oops!
Kate Rix writes about digital media and education. Read more of her work at katerixwriter.com.