Some of the most contested lines in the popular canon can be found in the theme song of the cartoon series Top Cat – do an online search if you don’t believe me. And this was obvious even to me as kid watching the show back in the day.
Hoyt Curtin was the show’s musical director so I assume he wrote the music and perhaps the words too, though I haven’t found absolute confirmation that he was the lyricist.
Thanks to online scholarship we now know that the opening verse runs
The most effectual!
Close friends get to call him "T.C.,"
Providing it's with dignity!
That last line caused all the trouble. I mean how exactly do you call somebody TC with (or without) dignity? I suppose ‘respect’ would be the modern translation. Not that it mattered at the time since I had no idea those were the lines.
My best guess (and remember I was young) was that the last two lines ran
Close friends get to call him "T.C."
Stroll right in, get whipped into tea.
Although even at the time it didn’t seem that Top Cat was much of a tea drinker. And there was another version I sometimes sang to myself sand that ran
Stroll right in, there’s dripping for tea.
I knew that couldn’t possibly be right, but we were in the north, and dripping was ubiquitous, though I don’t think we ever actually had it for tea. It was more of a supper thing.
And having been in the North in recent days, we went into the Sheffield Moor Market and bought some pork dripping attributed to Waterall Brothers of Percy Street, Sheffield.
It contains pork fat AND lard, as well as salt glucose and Colour E150 - that'll be in the jelly). It’s pretty good, although as is always the way, it isn’t quite the dripping of Proustian memory.
The picture above is from Top Cat The Movie (which apparently everybody hates). I can't really see what they're eating or about to eat, but it probably isn't dripping.