Frank Crumit, one of the leading American vaudeville singers of the 1930s, was a big fan of Irish songwriter Percy French.
Crumit particularly liked French’s comic masterpiece, Abdul Abulbul Amir, featuring the dual between Abdul and Ivan Skavinski Skavar, and made it one of the highlights of his performances.
Wives of Abdul and Ivan continue feud
Crumit believed there was so much potential in the characters and storyline created by French that he wrote three sequels.
These were The Return of Abdul Abulbul Amir, The Grandson of Abdul Abulbul Amir, and Minnie Skavinsky Skavar.
In Minnie Skavinski Skavar, the wives of the two combatants meet by chance in Bombay. They strike up a friendship but soon, just like their husbands, they too fall out. This time the battle takes place over the card table during a game of bridge.
Minnie Skavinsky Skavar Lyrics and Chords
[C]I [G]was standing one day in a [C]shop in Bom[G7]bay,
I [F]could hardly believe mine own [C]ear,
When a [G]lady in black said, “[C]Charge the whole [F]rack
To [C]Mrs [G]Abulbul A[C]mir.”
As I opened my eyes with a gasp of surprise,
My nerves got another slight jar.
When the clerk said she, “Does thou knowest me?”
I am Mrs Stravinsky Skivar.”
Then said Mrs Skivar, “Well at last here we are,”
And her voice sounded dangerously queer.
“For most of my life I have hated the wife
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.”
Then Mrs Abdul said, “Nay, do not hate me that way.”
On her cheek was the trace of a tear.
“When Abdul broke ground, it was them that I found
His insurance had lapsed for a year.
“Thou thinkest I’m rich, but I’m sunk in the ditch,”
Said Mabel (the fairest by far),
“When Abdul gave up the ghost I was left at the post
With the payments still due on my car.”
Well it seemeth to me, we are in the same boat,
We’ve been left high and dry on the bar,
So why should we quarrel? The fault was not ours,”
Quoth Minnie Skavinsky Skivar.
“Well, thou hast taken the wording from my very mouth,
We must be good friends always my dear.
And you must come to my house for contract some night,”
Replied Mabel Abulbul Amir.
“Oh, dost thou play contract?” queried Minnie with joy,
Then the gods have sent you from afar.
Let’s make a date now, for I love it, and how!”
Said Minnie Skavinsky Skivar.
That night round the table four people sat down
To play contract (and fate stepped in here),
For when they cut for partners, ‘twas Minnie Skivar
Played with Mable Abulbul Amir.
As the evening progressed, (all playing their best)
Came a hand that was way below par.
Fourth hand, like a chump, said “I bid two no-trump.”
It was Minnie Skavinsky Skivar.
When the hand was played out, they went 600 down.
Then I heard someone say with a sneer,
“Huh! with a trick and a half – and you bid? What a laugh!”
It was Mabel Abulbul Amir.
“Now listen my dear, let me tell you right here –
My bridge is known near and far.
All you do is say ‘Pass – oh alack and alas.’
Why I once played bridge with the Tsar.”
With faces so dour, they fought for an hour,
As the others stood watching the fray.
And though murder was done – it was only with words,
So everything came out okay.
And now every night, they renew the old fight,
As two kibitzers watch from afar.
And the spirit of Abdul Abulbul looks down,
Joined by Ivan Skavinsky Skivar.[/chordsandlyrics]