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Hey Mabel, Take Me Out To The Ball Game

I confess that I’m not much of a baseball fan. When I was a kid I rooted for the Baltimore Orioles and Brooks Robinson was my favorite player. But since heading west, as a young man, I’ve paid little attention to Major League Baseball. I used to attend Giants’ games at Candlestick with friends, though primarily for the tailgating (and in fact occasionally never even went inside to see the game). But since I have so many friends back in Dutch Wonderland — a.k.a. Eastern Pennsylvania — that I’m now in touch with more regularly, thanks to social media, I find myself cheering for the Phillies. But that’s neither here nor there.

Yesterday, you may recall, I listed my top 10 favorite beer slogans, including Carling Black Label’s “Hey, Mabel” campaign. Last night, while visiting a music website I frequent, I chanced upon an interesting tidbit regarding both “Hey, Mabel” and baseball. Here’s what the website had to say about it in a post that included old records sung by both Dizzy Dean and Don Drysdale:

One connection between the days of old [baseball] and today is the persistence of beer advertising. When I was a young fella, too young to drink the stuff, baseball broadcasts in our local market and some others were sponsored by Carling Black Label Beer. Throughout the 50s and into the 60s, Carling used the slogan “Hey Mabel! Black Label” and an associated jingle to sell the goods. “Hey Mabel!” was sung to the “salt peanuts” figure — apt for a beer, I’d say.

This campaign was concocted by Carling’s ad agency, Lang Fisher & Stashower. Sometime in the early 50s, the agency prepared a 78 of the music, containing two instrumental versions of the Hey Mabel theme and the Carling Black Label jingle. One was a dance band version, which combined the Carling material with Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the other a Dixieland arrangement as played by a number of well-known LA musicians. There are no vocals on the record, so my guess is it was sent to the radio stations carrying the baseball games for use as filler before breaks, as was the practice on radio stations at the time.

Here’s the 78-rpm record (remember those?).

And you can hear the medley below. It’s not exactly a cutting edge big band arrangement, even for the mid-1950s, but there are some interesting elements and I like the “Hey Mabel” bridges between the different treatments of Take Me Out To The Ball Game. Enjoy.

And Go Phillies!

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