I remember the anticipation, as a young lad, that would come every Tuesday night while sitting around the Victrola with the whole family waiting for the unmistakable tones to make their weekly appearance in the living room. They would come – and not just my house – but every house of everyone that I knew – regardless of where they lived, what different world they were in or even how old they were would stop and start to smile. It was a they type of cultural phenomenon that dances itself into the limelight – just – long enough to ensure that it’s memory will always remain in the subconscious of the zeitgeist – even if only just as a whisper.
“Bum – Bum – Bum – Bum – It’s Mush & Mable!”
It was such a simple theme song – but exactly the kind that does two jobs very well. It let you know what you were about to hear – and – it stuck around in your head long after the show was finished.
The show itself followed a similar simple line. It was about two cats – a slightly pudgy, nervous boy named Mush (shortened for the Hollywood purposes of making his name more accessible from the original “Mushkie”) and a street wise starlet – who had literally been rescued after being washed-up and thrown aside in the cold streets of New York – named Mable. Every week would find the two stuck in some sort of escapade gone awry that they would have to figure out how to get untangled from – and much to the audience’s glee – they always did.
As many shows of the day did, the Mush & Mable show went through their run and then gracefully – much to the chagrin of the advertisers of the day – took what would be their final bow.
Every so often there would be rumors of reunion shows – or even a full fledged comeback of the team but due both to the decline in Mable’s health and Mush’s oppressive bouts with agoraphobia, the comeback was never realized.
Some younger acts in the business – particularly the team of Spot Elliot & Peanut Lou – definitely owe Mush & Mable a debt of gratitude and probably wouldn’t even exist if they hadn’t been their before to open the doors that had earlier been closed to cat acts in the entertainment world.
Through a random bit of luck, I was fortunate, in the last few years, to have been able to spend a lot of time with Mable. And although we rarely talked about her halcyon days behind the microphone, she always seemed to maintain a certain dignity that shone smidgen brighter than other cats. You could tell that she had really lived through some experiences.
Yesterday, Mable took her final bow – due to complications with her increasingly embattled conditions.
I don’t know where Mush is – or if this news will ever reach him – but in my head I can’t help but smile as I imagine his trademark response that he would shriek in a stammering voice every time one of their ill-advised capers blew up in their faces “B-b-but Mable . . . What’ll – what’ll – what’ll we d-do now?!”
Yeah – Mush – what will we do now?
Rest well – old girl – you have more than earned it.