Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bill Haley & His Comets – "See You Later, Alligator" (1956)

See you later, alligator
After ’while, crocodile

What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?  Do you know?

Both alligators and crocodiles are members of the Crocodilia order of reptiles, but they are members of separate families.  You might have heard that alligators have broad, U-shaped snouts while  crocodiles have narrower, V-shaped snouts, but that’s not really true.

There are two ways to tell the two apart.  First, alligators have an overbite, so only their upper teeth are visible when the mouth is closed.  (Crocodile teeth interlock, so you can see both upper and lower teeth.) 

Second, both alligators and crocodiles have integumentary sense organs (ISOs) – which look sort of like pimples – on the skin of their heads, but crocodiles have ISOs all over their bodies as well.

Crocodile's teeth
Alligators and crocodiles are not as closely related as you might think, so they can not interbreed and produce live offspring.  Even if their DNAs were more similar, alligators and crocodiles rarely cross paths.  In fact, the only place where crocodiles and alligators live near each other is in south Florida.  But alligators stick to freshwater areas, while crocodiles prefer saltier water.

Click here to watch a video that explains all this is some detail.

By the way, there are no alligators in Australia.  That’s why the movie character was named Crocodile Dundee.

Crocodile Dundee
(You don’t see many Crocodile Dundee hats these days.)

In the next 2 or 3 lines, I’ll explain the difference between a rabbit and a hare.

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“See You Later, Alligator” was written and originally recorded by Cajun singer-songwriter Bobby Charles (whose real name was Robert Charles Guidry) in 1955.  Its title was inspired by a teenage catchphrase that had become popular a few years earlier.  (Other rhyming catchphrases that were popular around the same time were “You’re cruising for a bruising” (which was a favorite of my parents), “Don’t get tough, powder puff,” and “What’s buzzin’, cousin?”

Bill Haley & His Comets
The next year, a cover version of the song was a big hit for Bill Haley & His Comets.  It was featured in the Rock Around the Clock movie:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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