Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: My sister from Colorado visited recently, and I found myself referring to her as my “sisty ugler.”

This all goes back to a comedy recording that was quite popular in the late '50s or early '60s.

The narrator, an Alan Sherman type, does a hilarious version of the Cinderella story, using spoonerisms — transpositions of sounds in spoken language.

Can you identify this comedian and tell me about the record? Maybe even quote some lines from the story?
—James Braun, Tacoma, Wash.

DEAR JAMES: As you no doubt suspected, the title of this novelty narrative is “Cinderella,” a Top 20 hit in the spring of 1962.

This wacky variation — recorded in front of a live audience — is by Jack Ross (Dot 16333), a bandleader and comedian.

Providing the skit text you requested will serve another purpose, giving those who are unfamiliar with spoonerisms an idea of what we're talking about.

Here is a sample sequence from “Cinderella” (with normal English translation added):

Cinderella lived in a big hark douse (dark house) with her mean old mepstother (stepmother) and her two sisty uglers (ugly sisters).

And they made Cinderella do all the wirty dirk (dirty work) while they sat around cheating offlets (eating chocolates) and magen readizines (reading magazines).

One day when Cinderella was in the kitchen, flopping the more (mopping the floor), the two sisty uglers came in and said “guess what”?

“The prancesome hince (handsome prince) is throwing a fancy bress dall (dress ball) and we're invited. It's too bad that you can't go.”

So Cinderella went back to the kitchen with ears in her ties (tears in her eyes).

And she was just about to chickasee a fricken (fricassee a chicken).

When suddenly there was a linding blash of flight (blinding flash of light).

Standing beside her was a feautiful berry (beautiful fairy).

And the feautiful berry said “I'm your berry fodgutter (fairy godmother).”

Then Cinderella said “well, may I go to the ball?”

The fairy said “okay, but you must be mohm by hidnight (home by midnight).”

So she waved her magic wand and Cinderella was transformed into a bavishing reauty (ravishing beauty).

She had a long white gap and soun (cap and gown).

And a necklace of poopies and rurals (rubies and pearls).

And on her feet were two tiny sass glippers (glass slippers).

When Cinderella cast to the camble (came to the castle), the first two people she ran into were her two sisty uglers.

But she was so beautiful they didn't even cinderize recognella (recognize Cinderella).

Then they introduced her to the prancsome hince who said “you're so beautiful, you remind me of Beeping Slooty (Sleeping Beauty).”

Of course flipper sit (slipper fit) and they lived happily ever after.

DEAR JERRY: As a follow-up to your recent discussion of Johnny Horton's “Battle of New Orleans,” my sister in New Orleans sent me a fairly new version of that song that is making the rounds down there.

This “Battle of New Orleans (Katrina)” is actually quite funny, and is more about the bizarre events in the aftermath than the hurricane itself.

The artist is shown only as Bono, and I'm wondering if it is the same Bono who sings with U2?

Besides the name, another connection is that U2 once had a hit song a about a big storm.
—Kevin Sampson, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR KEVIN: James (above) is not the only one this week whose question is inspired by a sister:

Yes, U2 did popularize “Electrical Storm” in 2002, but it obviously has nothing to do with Katrina in 2005.

Also, U2's lead singer, Paul “Bono” Hewson, is definitely not on the 2005 “Battle of New Orleans.”

In fact, none of the vocalists on this track are identified by name.

Rather than Bono, the credit is BONO, an acronym for — you guessed it — Battle of New Orleans.

Katrina's devastation is well-known, but if your sister and others in that area can find something to chuckle about, then good for them.

IZ ZAT SO? The hit single of “Cinderella” inspired a Jack Ross album of the same title (Dot 3429).

Though his LP did not chart, the years 1960, '61, and '62 were extremely benevolent to comedy albums.

For a three-year span of 156 weeks, here are 10 of the top-selling comedians and the total number of weeks they held a chart position. Their number of different albums charted during those years is shown in parenthesis.

No. 1 on our list may surprise you:

Rusty Warren: 329 (5).
Bob Newhart: 234 (4).
Dave Gardner: 168 (4).
Woody Woodbury: 158 (3).
Shelley Berman: 144 (3).
Moms Mabley: 129 (5).
Jonathan Winters: 121 (4).
Bill Dana (a.k.a. Jose Jimenez): 122 (5).
Mike Nichols & Elaine May: 61 (2).

Rusty Warren didn't start out as the “Knockers Up” comedienne, though her bawdy sense of humor earned her that nickname, and also brought Rusty great fame.

As a child she studied serious voice and piano, but spent summer vacations playing piano at clubs.

According to Rusty:

“I was too young to drink, but I could sing, play, joke, flirt, and talk a blue streak. Thus a nightclub act began to hatch in my fertile — some would say filthy — mind.

“Nowadays, I'm still on stage, though now it's in cyberspace reconnecting with old fans and their children — those once told: “Don't touch that record, it's mommy and daddy's!”

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page