Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Composers and Lyricists
About This Interview
Ray Evans (1915-2007) and his partner Jay Livingston (1915-2001) were interviewed for nearly an hour-and-a-half in Los Angeles, CA. They discussed the genesis of their 60-year partnership, and how they arrived in Hollywood to write songs for movies. The duo recalled signing a contract at Paramount Pictures, and outlined the origins of their Oscar nominated and winning tunes, including "Buttons and Bows," "Mona Lisa," "Que Sera, Sera" and "Tammy." They share the story behind the now classic Christmas song, "Silver Bells," for the Bob Hope film "The Lemon Drop Kid", and detail the theme songs they wrote for television shows Bonanza, Mister Ed, and The Doris Day Show. Evans and Livingston also mentioned their collaboration with composer Henry Mancini, and spoke about the entertainers they have written for throughout the years, including Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney and Debbie Reynolds.The interview was conducted by Jon Burlingame on February 8, 2000.
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- Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for
Clip begins at: 02:56, Duration: 00m 50s
- Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show
Clip begins at: 13:23, Duration: 00m 46s
- Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how they work together and how song "To Each His Own" jumpstarted their career
Clip begins at: 19:49, Duration: 00m 53s
- Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Silver Bells"
Clip begins at: 24:51, Duration: 01m 28s
- Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
Clip begins at: 13:59, Duration: 02m 35s
- Part 1
- On their early years and influences; on how the two of them met; on their band traveling to Europe; on deciding to stay in New York and write songs; on how WWII affected them; on meeting the vaudeville team Olsen and Johnson and moving to Hollywood in 1944
Clip begins at: 0:52
- On writing a song for a Poverty Row movie; on writing for Johnny Mercer and gaining exposure; on signing with Paramount; on "To Each His Own"; on writing a song for Vertigo; on winning their first Oscar; on their hit song "Silver Bells"; on their hit, Oscar-winning song "Mona Lisa"
Clip begins at: 14:49
- Part 2
- On the song "Mona Lisa" contd.; on the 1939 World's Fair; on their television work in New York - music for Satins and Spurs, one of television's first 90 minute spectaculars
Clip begins at: 0:38
- On their hit songs "Que Sera, Sera" and "Tammy"
Clip begins at: 13:33
- On writing the theme to Bonanza; on writing a song for "No Man Can Tame Me" on General Electric Theater; on their collaborations with Henry Mancini for Peter Gunn
Clip begins at: 19:33
- Part 3
- On the trend of composers writing songs; on writing the theme song for Mister Ed; on coming up with a theme song for Bob Hope, "I'm Available"
Clip begins at: 0:35
- On the importance of a theme song to a show; on how popular their songs are; on their friendships with people with whom they've worked
Clip begins at: 13:09