One of the many nice things about bingo calls is that they immortalise people, stories, songs and slang which leads to younger generations learning more about their heritage. The vast majority of younger people who play online bingo these days will not have heard of either Earl Grant or Harry Tate but when they get really into playing either free bingo or online bingo to win money some of the bingo calls encourage a natural curiosity. In fact as the world gets more lingo and abbreviation orientated with text messages, chat rooms and so on these bingo calls are enjoying a revival.
So who were Earl Grant and Harry Tate? Earl Grant was an easy-listening pianist, organist and singer, popular in the late fifties and sixties. He also starred in a number of films. His music felt into the genre of light pop or jazz-schmaltz. The reason he pops up in the bingo calls is because of one of his famous songs the ‘House of Bamboo’ which is a call for the number 54. The House of Bamboo from his song was a house with bamboo door, roof, walls and even a bamboo floor which had the street number 54. It was a place where you could get your kicks as they used to say in those days!
Harry Tate whose real name was, wait for it...Ronald Macdonald, ok it was Ronald Macdonald Hutchinson, who spent his first part of his working life employed by Henry Tate & Sons, Sugar Refiners before he took to the stage. Taking his stage name from his previous employers, Harry Tate became a famous comedian and music hall performer. In online bingo you can hear his name today in reference to the number 8.
Even without hearing his name through the bingo games you may be familiar with one or two of his catch phrases. One of my favourites is his “....I don’t think!” which was and is still used in situations like “He’s a nice guy....I don’t think.” Another one of his catch phrases is “How’s your Father,” used by him to escape when he was unable to answer a question.
As Harry Tate did his tours of the music halls maybe sometimes he would stay at a bed and breakfast which brings us onto the next call for the number 26. In those days there was a common price to stay at a bed and breakfast in Great Britain, which when you see 26 a younger person may think that was 26 pounds but actually it refers to old money. The call itself is Half a Crown which was two shillings and sixpence in old money, which people called ‘two and six’, hence the number 26.
If you got a decent breakfast at a bed and breakfast it could have included some of the Heinz Varieties, with Heinz being a popular brand of baked beans. Although these days there are probably more, the traditional number for the amount of Heinz Varieties was 57, so this is what it is in online bingo games.
If you got a great breakfast to start off your day you could feel like you’re in Seventh Heaven which sets us up for Heaven’s Gate, which combines the number 7 and the number 8 to make it 78. Heaven refers and rhymes with 7 and Gate rhymes with 8.
The following calls are all pretty easy to remember such as Half a Century, which is 50 and Hawaii Five 0 which is another call for 50. Then based on online bingo numbers there are another two calls which are alternatives for the number 45 (half of 90). These are Halfway House and Halfway There. So apart from these easy ones don’t forget about Earl Grant and his House of Bamboo, no. 54 and Harry Tate being number 8 when you next play bingo online.