|TREVOR THE MULE - THE EARLY DAYS
Trevor, like a lot of screen icons came from a humble background. He was born into a circus, and having show business in his blood Trevor was a natural in the spotlight. The year is uncertain as mules don’t have birth certificates.
His mother and father, Mary and Malcolm mule, were popular entertainers in their own right, and it didn’t take long for Trevor to feel comfortable in front of an audience.
As Trevor was introduced into the act his popularity also grew, and it became increasingly obvious this little mule had both charisma and talent. Trevor however, wasn’t satisfied and soon began to get itchy hooves. He developed a “One Mule Show” and decided to take it on tour around the country.
Unfortunately the tour flopped, as ironically only one mule turned up. With a heavy heart and an empty nosebag Trevor reluctantly returned to the circus where he was welcomed back with open hooves and a full nosebag. A new part of the act entitled “Return of the Prodigal Mule” went down a storm, but Trevor again started to feel restless.
Trevor decided, after much soul searching, to “follow his dream”. That unfortunately led to a dead end somewhere near Harwich. It dawned on him that some one had spiked his nosebag with cheese which led to him following his nightmare instead.
Soon afterwards he set sail for America, paying his way by entertaining the passengers and crew. The captain was a stocky man with a magnificent moustache and a booming voice. Trevor having rather large ears knew where he was at any given time. He liked Trevor and they would play quoits on deck when most of the passengers were asleep. Having a mule on board was a novelty for the crew, but some of the passengers thought it was customary and complained to the management, when on subsequent cruises, there was no performing mule on board. The Captain offered him a residency but Trevor’s goal was clear….. he was on his way to Hollywood!
Trevor arrived in New York with only a small bag of carrots, an agent’s telephone number and his treasured photo of Jeff Chandler as Cochise.
Life wasn’t quite as easy as he first thought. There wasn’t a lot of work for mules in Broadway and with nowhere to stay Trevor soon joined the ranks of the down and outs. He hadn’t had a decent carrot in ages and with no one to brush his coat Trevor became as dishevelled as his companions. Luckily Trevor didn’t drink alcohol. There’s nothing worse than a drunken mule at an audition.
He fell in with a donkey called Herman whose career had been on the rocks since the introduction of sound in film. Herman’s bray just wasn’t what producers needed and from a once glittering career with all the carrots he could eat and numerous jennies to keep him company, Herman was now a sorry sight.
Herman introduced Trevor to his best friend, an Egyptian grocer called Josef who had inexplicably lost his sense of smell in a skiing accident. He certainly didn’t mind having a couple of smelly animals hanging around the back of his shop. Josef was a kindly man with a passion for doing Phil Silvers impressions. Both Trevor and Herman thought it was the worse “Bilko” they had seen, but brayed their approval anyway. He also sang Dean Martin songs whilst juggling melons, and little did Trevor know that this would prove invaluable in the years to come.
At the next audition, Trevor met Norman, a colt with unnaturally white teeth and a golden mane. He was, as they say in the East End, “right up himself”. Norman regaled the other hopefuls with tales of his exploits in show business, his mane swirling in the light, hooves, perfectly manicured, clattering on the floor as he showed off his acting talent.
Norman seemed friendly enough but he directed Trevor to the wrong door and by the time he found the right door, the audition was over. Norman got the job and a disconsolate Trevor returned to Josef and Herman where he was consoled with a bag of parsnips. Trevor had a feeling that he would cross paths with Norman again.
Herman, chewing on a box of dates, oddly enough out of date, cheered Trevor up with his tales of life in the silent movies. Herman had done all his own stunts and showed Trevor some tatty photographs of his more daring feats.
The photographs had a similar theme, Herman running away from a burning building, running away from a burning wagon, running away from a burning barn and his most daring, running away from a burning ice cream van. When Trevor wasn’t going to auditions they would idle the hours away dreaming of a better life and inventing more and more dangerous stunts.
Some regular customers at the shop were a group of Greek acrobats called “The Floundering Yuros”. Their speciality was building a large pyramid that inevitably collapsed in a heap. Their perseverance was to be admired as they tried various scenarios to make it work. Apparently it never did. Trevor was fascinated by their act and they took some time to teach him the basics, although the somersault proved to be a little difficult.
Things got better the following week when Trevor secured a role of “third mule from the left” in the hit musical “Mules and Dolls”.
Trevor couldn’t wait to tell Herman the good news but he was nowhere to be found. After days of searching, Josef received a phone call they were both dreading.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION
Trevor knowing something was amiss scuffed his hooves in the yard as Josef spoke on the phone. After what seemed an age Josef finally put the phone down, walked over to Trevor and stroked his ears.
Herman was at the vets with two broken legs, a fat lip and a bruised ego. Apparently he had tried out a new stunt, where he was running away from a cart loaded with melons. It appeared that the melons were too quick for him and a particularly vicious cantaloupe caused some concussion.
The biggest damage though was to Josef's wallet. The vet bill was enormous and Trevor promised he would pay back every cent. Trevor's dilemma was whether to stay put and take an age to pay his debt to Josef or make a move to bigger and better things.
Being third mule or even second mule in a chorus line didn't pay much, so when an opportunity to move west came, Trevor took it with both hooves.
Josef's cousin, Jaafar , who knew Trevor well, was due to be travelling to Texas in the next few days and was happy to have some company. After saying their good byes to Herman and Josef, Trevor and Jaafar made their way out of the city and headed west, then south.
After an uneventful journey the unlikely duo finally left the city. Trevor was in the back of the pickup and enjoying the fresh air. Unfortunately the wind was causing Trevor to get chapped lips but luckily he had packed some lip balm.
"I love the smell of lip balm in the morning" Jafaar had told him.
The open road beckoned but a rogue goat suddenly ran across the road causing Jafaar to swerve violently. Before they knew what was happening the pick up was skidding through a fun fair scattering people before coming to an abrupt halt in a fortune teller's tent. She was expecting them. To be continued....