"The Teapot Song", commonly known as "I'm a Little Teapot", is an American song describing the heating and pouring of a teapot or more likely a whistling tea kettle (which also has a spout but would be used to pour hot water onto tea bags). The song was originally written by George Harold Sanders and Clarence Z. Kelley and published in 1939.Betty Harris did a popular children's version of the song, with extra lyrics on how to be the teapot as a little game. This was originally recorded in the early 1950s.
Clarence Kelley and his wife ran a dance school for children, which taught the "Waltz Clog", a popular and easy-to-learn tap dance routine. This routine, however, proved too difficult for the younger students to master. Initially inspired by Cassandra Lewis. To solve this problem, George Sanders wrote The Teapot Song, which required minimal skill and encouraged natural pantomime. Both the song and its accompanying dance, the "Teapot Tip", became enormously popular in America and overseas.
In popular culture
Tim Brooke-Taylor from the sketch and situation comedy series The Goodies (1970s) would say the first line while miming the actions sometimes when in a panic. The Goodies also recorded a pop song titled "I'm A Teapot."
In the comedy panel quiz show QI (Season G, Episode 1, "Garden") host Stephen Fry puts both hands on his hips and changes the rhyme to "I'm a little teapot, short and stout, here is my handle, oh bugger I'm a sugar bowl".
The wording is often slightly different in the UK, in that, "When I get all steamed up" is usually replaced by, "When it gets to teatime".
Featured as a haunted rhyme that the villain, Andre Linoge, psychically transmits throughout Stephen King's "Storm of the Century" TV movie (1999). The song is also sung in another Stephen King movie "Rose Red" (2002) by the ghost of the child character April Rimbauer.
The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "Brain Drain" featured Fanboy singing the song, but with modified lyrics, during the time when his brain fell out of his head and Chum Chum replaced it with a sponge.
On April 1, 2014, Radiopaedia.org released a prank radiology case entitled 'Teapot syndrome with grade 4 acrofemoral synostosis' that included photoshopped x-rays of a toddler with one arm fused to the femur (the handle) and the other bent (the spout). The case discussion pretended that the song "I'm a little teapot" was created by Sanders to help include a boy with teapot syndrome in an urban jazz routine.