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The True Inside Story of Mab Zab Ltd.

Mab Zab Founders Mick and Bryant
Mab Zab founders  Mick Butter and Bryant Zowie.
Everything they did was at the behest of The Big Banana.

Mab Zab Ltd. Was founded in 1973 by Mick Butter (aka Jim Butterfield) and Bryant Zowie (aka Bryan Gallagher).  Mick and Bryant were mere teenagers at the time, but their vision was for a music and entertainment empire that would revolutionize the world.  That lofty goal has been attained.  The birth of Mab Zab commemorates the founding of a musical band (called “Mab Zab”) by the two young men.  Mick played guitar and Bryant played bass.  They realized that would need a drummer, so they invited the only drummer they knew, Junior Hayes, to join the band.  Junior accepted, but never showed up for a rehearsal, and has never attended a Mab Zab function.  Thus, Junior is considered a founding member of the musical band Mab Zab, but not the world-famous entertainment conglomerate, Mab Zab Ltd.

The boys realized early on that the first thing that an entertainment behemoth such as Mab Zab should do is throw big parties, and bestow awards upon its members.  Thus was the birth of the annual Mab Zab Extravaganza and Awards Ceremony.

The Big Banana

The Big Banana is the omnipotent leader of Mab Zab Ltd.  Though he has never been photographed, or seen in public, he guides the central Mab Zab leadership by directing all policy and corporate culture at Mab Zab Ltd.

The Big Banana has homes in Cleveland, Florida, Acapulco, Singapore and the French Riviera.  At the “ripe” old age of 48 (that’s 63.5 in people years) The BB is careful to stay out of the cold, while constantly avoiding too much sun exposure (bad for the peel).  Although he never appears in public, both Bryant Zowie and Mick Butter meet with him regularly.  He annually reviews the nominees and winners for the Zabby Awards with them.  It is believed that he has a special sensitivity to light because he has never been seen sans sunglasses.  Below is an artist’s rendition of the Big Banana.

The Big Banana
ARTIST CONCEPTION of the rarely seen Big Banana...

Extravaganzas

Every February since 1976 Mab Zab Ltd. Has held an Extravaganza and Awards ceremony, commemorating the 1973 founding.  The early Extravaganzas used the moniker “centennial” because the whole country was Bicentennial-crazy in 1976.  Thus, the early 'ganzas were titled Tricentennial, Quadcentennial, etc. The event is usually held on the Saturday of Presidents’ Day weekend with a few notable exceptions as listed:

  • On February 13th, if it is a Friday

  • If it is a leap year, and February 29th is a Friday or Saturday, then the Extravaganza is on the 29th

  • On any other Friday or Saturday in February if The Big Banana feels like it and announces it at least 30 days in advance

The attendance at Extravaganzas has varied wildly over the years, with some drawing as few as 15 guests, while others (usually on landmark anniversaries such as 10 or 25 years) drawing over 100 attendees. Venues for the events have varied, usually based on the current home location of Banana Records President Jim Butterfield.  Early Extravaganzas were always held at the childhood home of Butterfield…..The Butter Mansion.  Most 'ganzas have been held in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area.  Other sites have included: Cocoa Beach, FL and Hackettstown, NJ.

mabzab invitations
Official Mab Zab Extravaganza invites.

The festivities always include some musical entertainment, mostly by Banana Records artists.  Some non-Banana musical acts have also performed at Extravaganzas including The Pop Tarts, The Tree Toads, and Jimmy Armstrong (The Pony Boys).

Zabby Awards

Each year awards are presented in various categories (many musical) as voted-on by the members of Mab Zab in good-standing.  These categories were first selected by Mab Zab charter member Terry Gallagher in 1976.  These categories have evolved slightly over the years, but most of Terry’s original categories remain.  The Zabby Award for “Most Extravagant Lifestyle” is highly coveted and has been won numerous times by some long-time Mab Zabbers.  The standard award MEL is supplemented by a special “Marble Banana” that the winner may keep and display until the next Extravaganza.

The awards themselves vary from year-to-year.  Historically they have been designed by Bryant Zowie and his beautiful wife, Leen.  Below are samples of the awards over the years.

Mabbies
A collection of the highly prized Mab Zab awards from over the years.

Winners in each category are determined by popular vote of Mab Zab members in good-standing.  In the early days, ballots were distributed to all members and votes were tabulated by Mick and Bryant.  In recent years, some day-of-extravaganza voting was conducted, and in some cases nobody was quite sure how the winners were determined.  The important thing is that The Big Banana himself audits all Zabby voting and he deems the results “Well and Good” before a single Zabby is awarded.

Mab Zab Newsletter

While most of the Mab Zab charter members were away at college (~1975-1979) Jim Butterfield published a monthly newsletter titled “The Mab Zab Newsletter” that was sent to all Mab Zabbers in good standing.  The newsletter was distributed regularly until the early 1980s and over 50 editions were published.  Back in the day it was considered a very high honor to have your picture on the cover.

The Mab Zab Newsletter - you weren't anyone until you were IN IT.
newsltters

All Contents © Mab Zab Ltd., 2021. Content may be reproduced or shared with permission only.