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Extra helpings on ‘The Help’

July 31, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

Last week, I talked about my love for Mable, "the help" we had in our house when I was growing up. When I told my Mom about the column, she admonished me about calling "Mable, Black Label," and how she always hated me saying it when I was a young child.

Then I got this email from my dear friend Raj who explained the words of Mable Black Label:

"Do you know why you called your housekeeper, 'Mable, The Black Label!'??? Because one of the most popular beers when you were growing up was Carling's Black Label Beer, brewed in Cleveland. The slogan on their countless local TV ads was, 'Hey Mabel, Black Label!' You must've heard the ads over and over again when your dad was watching Cleveland Indians baseball, but were too young to know why everyone was yelling Mabel's name.

I just peeled back another layer of your subconscious. Here's the (You Tube recording of an original TV commercial) evidence:


I always have tuned into commercial jingles and they have stuck in my mind for some reason. The same goes with TV theme songs. One that comes to mind is the one for "Chicken of the Sea;"

"Ask any mermaid you happen to see, What's the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea!"

As far as TV jingles, there's the one for "Green Acres:"

"Green acres is the place for me. Farm livin' is the life for me. Land spreadin' out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!"

Or the one for "Beverly Hillbillies:"

"Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed. A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed.

Then one day he was shootin' at some food, and up through the ground came a bubblin' crude.

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

Well the first thing you know ol' Jed's a millionaire. Kinfolk said 'Jed move away from there.'

Said 'Californy is the place you ought to be.' So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly.

Hills, that is. Swimmin' pools, movie stars."

I could go on and on.

I did, in fact, move to California and was actually cast in the role of Ellie Mae Clampett for a TV movie, based on the series, which never saw the light of day.

I do remember the casting director, Linda. She said she'd like to help me with my career as she really believed in me as an actress. Oh, well, another good intention gone by the wayside.

But back to "The Help."

Herman got online and Googled Mable's name in Cleveland and I was delighted to find that he was able to pull up her name and address and I wrote her a letter after more than 40 years,

I got a phone call a few days later from Mable's daughter Rosie, who said she was delighted to hear from me and gave me the sad news that her mom had died in 2006, but that she was so happy to hear of my fond memories of Mable. She also remembered her mom had fond memories of us too. She even remembered the "Black Label" ditty from her own school days;

"Your letter and the column really touched my heart. I also saw the show on '20-20'and enjoyed it. We never know what impression we make on others that are never forgotten.

In school, the kids would say 'Hay Mable, Black Lable,' and right away I knew who they were talking about.

Will share your article with my sisters and brother. Hope to hear from you again soon.


So, "The Help" has come full circle. I have a new friend in Rosie and a connection to my past memories and the wonderful people who have helped me along the way.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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