I don't know how this got created as an empty nodeshell, and I suppose you have to be around my age to recognise them (at least, if you're English), but Moran and Mack were "The Two Black Crows" and I used to listen endlessly to 78 rpm records of them making exceptionally bad jokes when I was a child. These records were cut for Columbia between around 1927 and 1930, two years before I was born.

Sample dialogue (I am afraid that listening to the records never made it plain which of the two was Moran and which was Mack, though one of them was quite the most languid speaker I have ever heard):-

M: I had a dog once which didn't eat meat.

M: I never heard of a dog that didn't eat any meat!

M: Oh, yes, you did. I just told you about one.

M: Well, why didn't he eat meat?

M: We never gave him any. ( Pause ). He had an accident one day. He was crossing the railroad tracks, and a train came along, and he didn't get by. Well, not all by.

M: Why, what happened to the poor little dog?

M: The train cut off his tail.

M: That's terrible for a dog! It must have spoiled his carriage!

M: I don't know about that, but it ruined his waggin'.


You get the idea. I thought they were the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I must have been around seven at the time.

This was also when I realised that Americans were different.

For a start, they apparently called railways 'railroads', a notion confirmed when I watched Dumbo. and had to get to grips with the notion of a 'polka-dot railroad tie'.

This movie, now that I come to think of it, also introduced me to the still more exotic notion of black Americans. Four of these, you may recall --- and, still more exotically and confusingly, they were indeed crows --- temporarily adopted Dumbo and taught him to fly to the accompaniment of music which, even at that age, I found a great deal more interesting than 'fur Elise.' or Prelude in C Minor

(It turns out of course that this was something of a bum steer so far as Moran and Mack are concerned, since --- as I now discover through some pretty extensive Googling --- they were not actually black but, rather, pink Americans performing in 'blackface'. I don't think I would have been able to grasp this concept at the time.)

Mack was killed when his car overturned in 1931; Moran tried to keep the double act going with a variety of other partners, but was pretty thoroughly eclipsed by one of the most popular radio shows of all time, Amos 'n Andy

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