Pam’s Pictorama Post: I’ve seen this sheet music come and go and I finally grabbed it up. It occasionally turns up in my cat searches and I finally landed on this copy earlier this week. There’s another version with an equally good cover, but very different cover which I will still snatch up given the opportunity.
Pictured on the front between these two great black cats is, I assume, Emma Carus. Emma was a vaudeville performer who was the face and voice for putting this song over. According to the American Vaudeville Museum site (University of Arizona, here) although she was pleasing looking, she generally opened her act with the line, I’m not pretty but I’m good to my parents. However, her songs were incredibly popular and she sold reams of sheet music. She hit the big time as a performer in 1900 so when this sheet music (copyright 1922, but more about that in a moment) she was a well established star and money maker.
Emma gets the top credit, followed by Dan Blanco (of whom I find no real tracks) and then J. Walter Leopold. I am not sure I see real evidence of her actual song writing as I read her bio. J. Walter Leopold has numerous song credits, but was also a performer and he and Carus teamed up in 1918 and worked vaudeville until the end of that particular line. He drifts to radio and then manages some bands. She lived hard starting in her teems, has two failed marriages before she is 25, and dies in failing health at 48.
Sadly I cannot find a recording of her singing this song, nor can I find a recording of her singing at all.
While credit is given as above on the front of this sheet music, the internet reveals that the original song was song was British and was written and composed by TW Connor in 1899 for George Beauchamp – probably as a sequel to an earlier successful song Puss, Puss Puss (1897). A 1901 recording of the song can be found here with the slightly different name of Has Anybody Seen Our Cat, but virtually the same lyrics. There are recorded versions going back to 1897 under this name so I don’t know how to make that jibe with the claim of the 1899 authorship above – was it acquired and reacquired multiple times?
The copyright page tells us that Dan Blanco acquired the rights in 1916 and they were transferred to Emma Carus in 1922. So maybe Dan’s only claim to fame is acquiring these rights and selling them.
The song goes on to inspire a Tex Ritter tune, Has Anyone Seen My Kitty, (listen to it here) and eventually a recent children book, Anybody Seen Our Cat by Kenneth Griffin, illustrated by Brandon Weiner.
Below are the lyrics which bear their British roots and age, but produce a chuckle. Enjoy!
I'm upset now; let me tell you why, Our old tom cat has been and done a guy (run away) My old gal declares that it's a sign Somebody's number's up and two to one it's mine I've been wondering why I am to blame For sneaking the bacon and the brawn And the young man lodger's two-eyed steaks (bloater) When they're missing on a Sunday morn. Chorus: Has anybody seen our cat? Has anybody seen our cat? He's got a bit of black on the end of his tail And the skin's all off where he's been fighting Last Sunday morning we missed him from the mat Puss! Puss! Puss! Meat! Meat! Meat! Has anybody seen our cat? How we loved that cat nobody knows Put butter on his feet and pepper on his nose When he caught cold gave myself a job When the toothache troubled him so bad And I found little Tommy couldn't eat I tied up his face, put baccy in his ear And got another cat to chew his meat. Chorus: I never thought he'd leave his happy home Though after the gals he often used to roam I've sent tripe hounds out upon his track I'm doing everything to try and get him back Got two cods heads stuck up on a pole And nailed up a kipper on the door And written underneath it ‘Welcome home' And a promise not to kick him any more. Chorus: