The quintessential novelty number was written by the unlikely pair of Ross Bagdasarian (creator of the Chipmunks) and playwright William Saroyan (they were cousins). To keep themselves awake while driving across New Mexico in 1949 they made up this little ditty. Saroyan put it into the off-Broadway production of his play Son and it was recorded by Kay Armen. Mitch Miller, always attracted to gimmicky songs, persuaded Rosemary Clooney to sing it against her better judgment. It became her first big hit.