Thursday, January 30, 2014


The Time and Space Visualiser has focused on one last character from "Casablanca" - Sam Rabbit.

You know Sam Rabbit.  He was the piano player at Rick's.  Bet you didn't know that his last name was "Rabbit".....

In the 1942 movie, Sam was played by Dooley Wilson, a black man.  In the 1955 TV series, Sam was played by Carlton Muse, another black man.  And in the 1983 TV series, Scatman Crothers tickled the ivories as Sam.  And as anybody who grew up watching 1970's TV and movies should know, Scatman was black.

But in the 1955 episode of 'Lux Video Theatre' which serves as the "true" televersion of "Casablanca", Sam Rabbit was played by the celebrated songwriter and actor Hoagy Carmichael.

A white guy.

So why did they change his color to black for the televersion of the movie's production?  (For the purpose of the Toobworld Dynamic, what happened in those alternate dimensions doesn't matter.)  But if the movie was based on "real" events in Earth Prime-Time, why was Sam shown to be black and not white?

Was the "real" Sam Rabbit a person who wanted his identity kept hidden from the general public?

And what kind of last name is "Rabbit"?  Sure, there's country singer Eddie Rabbit, but doesn't this sound like an O'Bvious alias?

Who was the Sam Rabbit in Toobworld, really?

Even in the TV Universe, the movie was made in 1942.  So the war was in full swing.  So maybe, just maybe, "Sam Rabbit" was a spy for the Allies in Casablanca.  Perhaps the incidental music which he played in Rick's Cafe Americain was actually coded reports he was delivering to his contacts in the audience.

That's my favorite theory as to why the movie studio was forced to portray Sam as a black man in the movie.  (Forced by the OSS, no doubt!)  They had to protect the real Sam.

But whatever reason, the real point of interest is the name.  If he wasn't really "Sam Rabbit", can we link him to other TV roles played by Hoagy Carmichael?  (With the exception of Jonesy in 'Laredo', and even then, Jonesy could be the grandfather of Sam!  Despite the predicament he was in the last time he was seen in Toobworld, he was still concerned about his derby.  Perhaps wearing one was a tradition handed down in that family.)

Looking through his IMDb credits, an O'Bvious connection pops up - as "Jazzman" on board a coast-to-coast flight in the 'Climax' episode "Sound Of The Moon".  "Jazzman" seems rather obvious as a nickname for a musician.  "Sam Rabbit" may have been using it to disassociate himself from his past.  And that's with the war being over for thirteen years!

There is precedent for thinking Sam was working with an animal code-name like "Rabbit".  There was a group of Allied operatives working on an international scale who used similar code names:

  • Thomas Devon - "The Elephant"
  • Stephen Halliday - "The Fox"
  • Alec Marlowe - "The Tiger"
  • Manouche Roget - "The Leopard"
Thirty years after the war, those four were reunited and used their former skills for new adventures in Europe.  

There may have been more such operatives still living at the time, but we never got to see them as part of "The Zoo Gang".  So it's possible that Sam was a member of their team by the code name of "The Rabbit".

And he used that code-name as part of his name - hiding in plan sight, apparently.

He probaby got the code name of "Rabbit" because he served as a receiver and transmitter of nformation... information... information in that den of scum and villainy known as Casablanca.  (He was like rabbit ears antennae, see?)  He had an ear to what was happening in all corners of the European and African war theatre, and he probably transmitted that info onwards through his music to other agents sitting in the audience at Cafe Americain.

Because, after all, "everybody comes to Rick's."

(Giving operatives code names of animals continued after World War II.  A good example would be the agent known as "Piglet".)

So as far as his real name?

For the Toobworld Dynamic, it's Samuel Jordan.  But it would take twenty years after the war to forge that connection.....

When the Zoo Gang reunited, "The Rabbit" was unable to join in.  I think the reason why occurred ten years before.  

Sam had gone back to his own name after the war and focused on his music.  (This could be because the government cashiered him out rather than he chose to leave on his own.)

For a while he made a name for himself as "Jazzman", but he fell back on a nickname he had when he first started out in the business: "Jango".

He fell in love with a rich socialite named Eva and married her, becoming her fourth husband.  Jango Jordan even composed a song for her, which became sort of his theme song when he played gigs at the Chez Charles.

But international playboy Snookie Martinelli stole Eva away from Jango and married her himself.  Yet they still kept Jango around their snooty social circle as their "pet monkey on a stick" as he described it.  "Play it, Jango!" became the insulting cry of the people he used to consider his friends... and his wife.

Despite his background as an unheralded war hero, Jamgo could not find the inner strength to avoid the onslaught of Destiny.  And it may be that it was acknowledgement of his service to the country that kept him from going to the gas chamber in California......


It is because of these five theoretical connections to create one character for Hoagy Carmichael in the Toobworld Dynamic that I saved this "Casablanca" post for last.  Since this is the fifteenth anniversary for the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame, we are going off the beaten track each month when choosing the new inductees for the Hall.  And I don't think they could get any more unconventional than Samuel "Jango" Jordan, aka "Jazzman", aka "Sam Rabbit".

A tip of the derby to this posthumous entry.......

Here's lookin' at you, Kid.....

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