Singing Mice


Not known


BBC / NBC / CBC for BBC National Programme, 2 May 1937


The broadcast manifestation of one of those strange obsessions that grips the public mind from time to time. Early in 1937, it was reported that a man in Plymouth had found a "singing mouse" in his house. As these things are wont to do, one claim led to another and before long reports of unusually tuneful mice were coming in from across the country, and overseas too. And that in turn led to this international contest, with the UK represented by "original" singing mouse, Mickey from Cornwall, duetting with Chrissie from Wales; Canada fielding John, “the Toronto Tornado”; and the US providing two entries, Mikey and Minnie, both from Illinois.

The contest was not exactly an unqualified success. Minnie failed to sing at all. One account claims that the Toronto Tornado’s appearance was cut short by a cat’s miaow and a solemn announcement that John’s career had come to an end, though we suspect this is a rather fanciful elaboration. Nevertheless, John failed to make much impression either, and the honour of rodentkind was therefore left in the moderately capable claws of Mikey ("one sees in him the coming mouse Caruso", claimed The Times' somewhat tongue-in-cheek write-up) and the British pairing (who "piped away merrily in the most subtle harmonies"… supposedly!).

Unfortunately we have not been able to discover which musical murinae actually won the judges’ favour - and needless to say, such a contest was never tried again. But while it may not have had the longevity of the Eurovision Song Contest or Let the Peoples Sing, we can at least confidently say that the mice got there first!


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