News spread quickly. At each town where Bob and Louie performed, thousands came to watch and cheer.
The first few shows were a lot alike. Louie would come out with Bob on his back. Louie would dance and sing a bit, and then he’d do a little trick. Sometimes he’d juggle. Sometimes he’d pull a coin out of a child’s ear. Sometimes he’d make birdcalls. And all the while Bob just held on.
But soon Bob wanted more. “Let me do something, Louie,” said Bob.
Louie was quiet for a moment, then he said, “Okay, Bob. I’m going to make you a star.”
And from then on Bob did more than just sit and hold on.
At first he just smiled and waved his arms while Louie carried him around the square.
The next show he knelt on Louie’s back as Louie walked around the square.
And then he grew brave. He stood up on Louie’s back. He wobbled a bit, but Louie walked very carefully.
The crowd went wild. It was one thing for a boy to ride a horse. But for a boy to stand on a horse! He might as well have grown wings and flown around the square.
Bob jumped off Louie and took a bow. Then another. Everyone clapped and cheered. “Thank you, thank you,” said Bob to his fans. “Thank you very much. You are oh, too kind. Thank you, thank you. I thank my family, I think you, my adoring public, I thank the academy, I thank all the little people who made this possible, I thank…”
Louie dragged him off. “That’s enough thanking, Bob. I think I’ve created a monster.”
And this was just the beginning. In the next show Bob and Louie sang a duet:
“Oh, we’re a boy and pony,
Our names are Bob and Louie.
We don’t know anybody
As fine as we are, do we.”
And the show after that they sang the song while Bob danced on Louie’s back.
The whole planet was suffering from BOB AND LOUIE MANIA! There were Bob and Louie stuffed animals. There were Bob and Louie cereals. There were even fake Bob and Louie shows, where boys calling themselves Bob tried to ride talking ponies. But the boys kept falling off. And the ponies couldn’t dance and were awful singers.
There were Bob and Louie fan clubs. And all the nations had got together and declared a planet-wide “Bob and Louie Year!”
Bob suggested that they have their own television show. But Irving R. Irving had just said, “TV? What’s that?”
Bob was stunned. No TV? For a moment he once again missed his TV and his sofa.
But only for a moment, because he and Louie were treated like kings in every city they visited. And Bob liked that.
But not everyone was happy.