20 February 2010

Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

Do you recall the blogpost about the great, rusty-voiced Vietnam vet with the used furniture shop in Cohoes? Many readers have mentioned that it was one of their favorite posts. Well, good news folks, he's still there!

And just this weekend, he told me a story...

Every night when Jimmy Durante signed off from The Jimmy Durante Show, the last thing he said was, "Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are." Who was Mrs. Calabash? Nobody ever really knew the answer.

According to the story, back in the days before Jimmy Durante became Jimmy Durante, he had some work playing ragtime piano. Every day when he went to his job, there was a beautiful and well-respected woman, and every day, he fell more and more in love with her. One day, in spite of the big nose for which he became known, he got up the confidence and asked this woman to marry him. She turned him down.

History holds that somewhere along the way, Jimmy Durante scored his big break, got radio and television airtime, and even his own prime time show. He never forgot about that beautiful lady, though, even though he didn't see or hear of her for many years.

That lady--Mrs. Calabash, she did watch his show. Every night, after mixing with folks like Frank Sinatra and Eddie Jackson, when Jimmy'd say, "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are," she knew he was talking to her.

Well, Jimmy married--first Jeanne Olsen, then Margie Little. Many years later, he saw Mrs. Calabash again. As the time had slipped away, so too had her good looks. Life had not been kind to her. 

And so, though he continued on his own path, Jimmy Durante supported Mrs. Calabash, for the rest of her life. 


Whether completely true or not, it makes for a great story!


Laura B said...

Aw that's adorable! I have definitely heard that line before but never knew the story of where it came from. Haley, I learn something new from you everyday. xoxo!!

August Massey said...

I heard a different Story.....The Mrs. Calabash sign-off referred to Jimmy Durante's 1st wife, Jeanne Olson. Calabash was a city, their inside joke. ChaCha!

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