By Brooke Steinberg
For better or worse, there’s always something new to discover on TikTok. Now, thanks to one viral video, people are just realizing that the world’s most famous door knock has a name.
TikTok content creator @calumdilieto was watching Netflix when he found out that the well-known knock — the one with five taps, a pause and then a final two knocks — actually has an “official” moniker.
Calum, who has a 21,000 followers and 448,700 likes, posted a video to his followers to share his revelation.
“So, can we talk about the fact that I was today years old when I found out that this knock . . . has a name? What?” he says in his video, which has 227,500 views and 15,400 likes as of Monday morning.
“I was watching Netflix with the subtitles on, which is a new thing for me. Lots of people do that. Why? Why do you do that?” Calum continued. “Anyway, I’ve started to do it, and someone knocked like that. They knocked like that, and it came up in the subtitles, the name of that knock.”
He shared that since seeing the name on the subtitles, he has since researched it and discovered that the knock does indeed have a name.
“Apparently, the name of said knock is ‘the shave and a haircut,’” he revealed.
He sings while knocking the beat on his table: “It’s shave and a haircut, two bits.”
“Two bits back in the day was American for 25 cents, and then in the UK, it was ‘shave and a haircut, five bob,’ which was, I don’t know, shillings, something in shillings,” Calum explained.
“Anyway, this has f – – king blown my mind. Is this just me? This has blown my actual mind,” he said.
He continued: “Annoyingly though, the origin isn’t quite clear. Like, I’ve been looking, and I can’t seem to find out how it’s originated. Some are saying Morse code, some are saying, like, it was used in a song in, like, the 1890s. I need to know. I need to know the history.”
“Now that I know some of it, now that I know it has a name, I want to know where that name came from, OK? Where has it come from?”
Calum sings along while knocking: “Where did you come from? Tell me.”
Turns out, Calum wasn’t the only one to have his mind blown.
“I didn’t know either,” one person said.
“Wow I didn’t know that,” another commented.
“Mind blown,” someone wrote.
“I knew about the knock but didn’t know it had a name. Wow I’ve learnt something new I did not know this. Thank you,” a user added.
“What?? I was expecting ‘rat-a-tat-tat.’ I’m 50 and still learning!!” another said.
“I never knew other people know this knock,” someone revealed, thinking the knock was their family’s secret.
A few even admitted they just found out from subtitles as well.
“Were you watching the walking dead? Cause that’s there I just learned it.”
“Bit eerie that this just came up became I also just learnt this yesterday from the subtitles of fear of the walking dead.”
Others were shocked people didn’t already know the name of the common knock sequence.
“Yep knew that,” someone wrote.
“Thought everyone knew that,” another added.
“Is shave and a haircut seriously not a well known thing? I sing it every time I knock, but that’s more down to ADHD,” one person said.
“I’m 54 and my grandfather taught me that when I was five years old,” someone chimed in.
Some shared what they believe is the origin of the knock.
“It originated with barber shop quartets and groups, part of letting them perform they’d advertise services in between songs, there’s a tune as well,” one person said.
“If you watch the Roger Rabbit movie [‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’] it’s in that with the character doing it saying shave and a haircut while knocking,” another commented.
The first documented appearance of the tune was reportedly an 1899 Charles Hale song, “At a Darktown Cakewalk” — but it wasn’t until a 1939 recording (performed by Milton Berle) “Shave and a Haircut – Shampoo,” which used the notes near the end, that the iconic riff had lyrics.