"De Camptown ladies sing this song"
Mr. Halloway sings the opening lines to “The Camptown Races,” a comic song in broad African-American stereotyped dialect written by Stephen Foster in 1850. Its original title was “Gwine to Run All Night” and it is also known as “The Camptown Ladies.” A camptown, or tent city, was a temporary workmen’s camp near a construction site, often a railroad line. The song mixes the good humor of a work camp with horse racing to grand, fun-loving effect.
The cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn often hummed or sang this song in Warner Brothers “Merrie Melodies” cartoons, and it makes a hilarious appearance in the opening scenes of the 1974 Mel Brooks film “Blazing Saddles,” in which the racial roles are reversed: white cowboys sing the song in the traditional manner while the black hero played by Cleavon Little pronounces its title in proper English and pretends not to be familiar with it.