The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Parade of the Wooden Soldiers

Words by Ballard MacDonald, 1922

Music by Leon Jessel, 1905

MIDI / Noteworthy Composer

The toy shop door is locked up tight
And ev'rything is quiet for the night
When suddenly the clock strikes twelve
The fun's begun

The dolls are in their best arrayed
There's going to be a wonderful parade
Hark to the drum, oh, here they come
Cries ev'ryone

Hear them all cheering
Now they are nearing
There's the captain stiff as starch
Bayonets flashing
Music is crashing
As the wooden soldiers march
Sabers a-clinking
Soldiers a-winking
At each pretty little maid

Here they come
Here they come
Here they come
Here they come
Wooden soldiers on parade

Daylight is creeping,
Dollies are sleeping,
In the toyshop window fast;
Soldiers so jolly,
Think of each dolly,
Dreaming of the night that's past.
When in the morning,
without a warning,
Toyman pulls the window shade,

    There's no sign of the Wood Brigade
    Was ever out upon parade.

William L. Simon, ed., Readerís Digest Merry Christmas Songbook (1981)

Leon Jessel caught the jaunty strut of toys exactly when he wrote his "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" as a novelty item in 1905. It was published in Germany and apparently heard there by a Russian producer who was readying a new revue for Paris bearing the title La Chauve-Souris (The Bat), for which he needed an offbeat dance number. He chose Jesselís rakish "Parade." The Bat opened on Broadway, finally, in 1922, and Ballard Macdonald, who wrote songs for the George White Scandals of 1924 and Ziegfeldís Midnight Frolic, gave the tune lyrics that although seldom heard anymore are included here. The arm-swinging melody and strutting rhythm of the piece make the march a charming one for children and adults at Christmas or any time of the year.