Today as millions of us login to play bingo online, the idea of a bingo call is becoming less relevant. You don’t really need to listen to the number calls as the software does the dabbing of the numbers that match on your ticket for you. Click here to play online bingo and you’ll see that all you need to do is decide which game to play and how many tickets to buy.
But throughout the history of the game of bingo, the calls have always been a big part of the tradition and below, we’ve listed some of them that may not make much sense until you know their origins – just for fun.
Kelly’s eye, number 1
Although lots of people assume this is in reference to Ned Kelly, the Aussie outlaw with only one eye, in fact Kelly had two perfectly good eyes. There was a comic book character called Kelly’s Eye. The character Tim wears a stone called the Eye of Everlasting Life on a pendant. The Eye was given to him in return for saving a man’s life. Tim is invulnerable when he wears the magic Kelly’s Eye.
Doctor’s orders, number 9
The call for number 9 is said to be linked to the Second World War. British soldiers were issued a pill by doctors on a regular basis – to keep them, well, regular. Number Nine was a particularly effective laxative. Its memory may have been the reason that it made it into the bingo halls in the years following the war.
Tom Mix, number 6
Simple rhyming slang, but who was Tom Mix? He was a movie actor who was a big name in the silent movie years, and was the first cowboy movie star. Mix was born in Pennsylvania in 1880 and was always around horses from a young age as his dad was a stable master. Between 1909 and 1935, Mix starred in nearly 300 films, almost all of them silent.
Burlington Bertie, number 30
This is another rhyming slang call – but where does it come from? Burlington Bertie was the title of a music hall song that was first written in 1900 and then parodied in 1915 as ‘Burlington Bertie from Bow. It included the lyric, “I’m Burlington Bertie, I rise at ten thirty, and saunter along like a toff…” It’s about Prince Bertie – later Edward VII – who was always more interested in partying and gambling than carrying out regal duties in his youth.
With the transition to more and more of us playing bingo online, it’s probable that bingo calls such as these will gradually fade away, but that doesn’t mean the game’s any less enjoyable now you can play it wherever you are, whenever you want to at sites like 32red.