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Robert Degen
Birth: Nov. 23, 1905
Lackawanna County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Nov. 23, 2009
Fayette County
Kentucky, USA

Musician, Folk Figure. He is credited with co-writing the novelty dance number "The Hokey Pokey". Raised in northern Pennsylvania, he was a jazz guitarist and banjo player who earned a living performing in the local clubs and restaurants of the Scranton area. (In the 1920s, he was a part of the Scranton Sirens, which featured the Dorsey brothers). During World War II, Degen and Joe Brier co-wrote "The Hokey Pokey" while performing at a Delaware Water Gap summer resort, and copyrighted it in 1944. In the early 1950s, Larry LaPrise had a hit with a similar gimmick tune of the same name; contending that the piece had been stolen, Degen filed suit for copyright infringement in 1956, and an out-of-court settlement brought him royalty checks for the rest of his life. At his death, he and LaPrise effectively shared credit for "The Hokey Pokey", though some scholars contend that the song is actually "hocus pocus", an 18th Century Puritan mockery of Roman Catholic liturgy. Degen left the music business in the late 1940s and worked as a furniture salesman prior to his 1970 retirement. He lived his final years in Lexington, Kentucky. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Dec 03, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 45063383
Robert Degen
Added by: Bob Hufford
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