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The history behind the bingo calls that we love

When you think of bingo, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? For us, it’s the glorious sound of the bingo host shouting out a number, with the cheeky little rhyme thrown in that adds a cherry on top to a game that is already a barrel of fun – also try Shamans Dream Slot! Some classic examples are:

          “number 2, one little duck”

          “number 11, legs eleven”

          “ number 13, unlucky for some!”

          “number 57, Heinz varieties”

These witty and memorable calls serve no other purpose than to entertain, it brings a lot of life to the game. So where did these bingo calls come from, and do they serve a purpose? Read on to find out more!

Where and when did bingo calls originate?

The history of bingo goes way back to the 16th century in Italy, but bingo calls weren’t a thing back then! Calls were first heard in the 1940’s during World War Two! It was a tough time, so servicemen in the UK got creative and began playing a game called “Housey Housey”, a rudimentary version of bingo that aimed to keep people in high spirits. The calls were a bit more explicit back then, but these days the Bingo is a family friendly game – although we bet you know a bingo caller who has a fruity collection of cheeky calls! For this reason, bingo calls are very much a UK invention! The game really started to pick up in the 50s, and ever since it has had a huge impact on the game of bingo, with other countries even adopting calls for their own variants of bingo. The more the merrier!

Our Favorite Historic Bingo Calls

A lot of classic bingo calls don’t have much of a story – they’re just catchy and funny nicknames for numbers that someone wittily invented one day. However, some of our favorite bingo calls actually have a rather interesting history – we’re going to be taking a look at the following examples. See if you can work out their history before you read their meanings!

          “Doctor’s Orders”

          “In a State”

          “Here comes Herbie”

Number

Call

History

9

“Doctor’s Orders”

During World War II, the infamous pills that were given to sick soldiers by doctors were named “Number 9”.

28

“In a State!”

“He was in a right two and eight” is classic Cockney rhyming slang to mean someone is in a poor state.

53

“Here comes Herbie”

53 is a reference to the number of the classic VW Beetle car of the 60’s ‘Herbie’.

Bingo Calls: The Cherry on Top

As you can see, bingo calls vary from the silly, to the witty, to the historically interesting! We love that they were invented to provide entertainment and comfort to the hard-working army troops of Britain – what a brilliant idea! They’re certainly not a thing of the past though – the bingo calls that we love are here to stay. Who knows – perhaps you could try to spread a new bingo call of your own!

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