The musical, Thursdays Till Nine, was written by Norman Franklin and Henry Foner for the Department Store Employees Union, CIO and was presented at the High School of Fashion Industries Theater in New York City during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend in 1947.  Among those who attended the dress rehearsal performance was songwriter Irving Berlin.  The title of the show is derived from the fact that during this post-World War II period, department stores were open late only one evening a week, so it was not uncommon to see emblazoned on a store sign, “Thursdays Till Nine.” Today, it seems that the stores are never closed. 

For more on Thursday's Till Nine see our labor arts exhibit.

The Elevator Song
(I'm the Skipper of a Shoe Box on a String)

From Thursdays till Nine (1947)

By Norman Franklin and Henry Foner

Going up –
Going down –
Taking the same old load over the same old road,
Between the ground and the sky and the ground.
I’m a real high-flying eagle they forgot to give a wing –
I’m the skipper of a shoe box on a strike. 

Rising now –
Falling then –
Making the same old cruise up to the land of shoes,
Down to pots, up to shoes once again.
I’m a  pebble that got caught in old King David’s mighty sling –
I’m the skipper of a shoe box on a string. 


It wouldn’t be so bad if sometimes the floors got changed around –
If what one day you had to go up to, the next day you had to come down.
But the second floor follows the first floor,
And the fourth always follows the third.
And you know if on one floor you call out the flowers,
On the next you must give them the bird. 

Some day, I’ll skip a floor, and I’ll be canned.
Already I can hear their reprimand:
“We never expected our chariot
To be run by a Judas Iscariot.
Take your hand for those motors –
You know where your coat is –
Never darken our Otis again!” 

Going up. –
Going down –
Kiddies don’t seem to mind
Leaving their food behind
On my vertical merry-go-round. 
I go up and down like Wall Street –
On a ticker tape I swing –
In my floating two-by-two box –
My going-up-tje-flue box –
I’m the skipper of a shoe box on a string.