Livingston & Evans: The Last Of The Great Songwriters From The Golden-Age Of Hollywood
1952 began with Livingston & Evans working with many of their Paramount colleagues and friends once again. First up was another Bob Hope film which was a sequel to THE PALEFACE, called THE SON OF PALEFACE. Once again Jane Russell was the female lead. Paramount decided this time to have a real cowboy in the sequel and brought in Roy Rogers. Jay & Ray wrote three very catchy songs for the film. One of which, “California Rose”, was performed by Roy Rogers. The other two songs, “What A Dirty Shame”, and “Wing Ding Tonight” were so good the director decided to have them choreographed and added to the script.
Next came Betty Hutton, whom Jay & Ray had to thank for the opportunity to join the staff at Paramount because she requested the boys to write three songs for her film SOMEBODY LOVES ME. Jay & Ray wrote “Love Him”, “Honey, Oh My Honey”, and “Thanks To You”.
Later in 1952 came a film starring Jose Ferrer called ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Not only did L&E write a song for this film, “Love Laughs At Kings”, but they began a lifelong friendship with Jose that would later manifest itself in the collaboration on the Broadway Show, OH, CAPTAIN!
One of the most demanding film assignments Jay & Ray had while at Paramount came with a film titled AARON SLICK FROM PUNKIN CRICK. This film starred Dinah Shore, Robert Merrill, and Alan Young. Dinah had already had great commercial success with the Livingston & Evans song “Buttons and Bows” a couple of years earlier. This time out Livingston & Evans were assigned to write 14 new songs for this assignment. Besides the number of songs needed, the fact the songs would need to be written mostly in a countrified, downhome way, L&E, being from the East, had their work cut out for them. Luckily Jay’s wife came from Oklahoma and her parents and family had great country sayings and ways of expressing their views occasionally as euphemisms. Out of this assignment came the following countrified songs from two Easterners: “Chores”, “My Beloved”, The Spider and The Fly”, “Saturday Night In Punkin Crick”, “General Store”, “Marshmallow Moon”, “Soda Shop”, “ Will You Be At Home In Heaven?”, “Step Right Up”, “Why Should I Believe In Love”, “Still Water”, “Purt Nigh But Not Plumb”, “Life Is A Beautiful Thing”, “I’d Like To Baby You”.
Next, Paramount assigned Livingston & Evans to 20th Century Fox to write two songs (“All My Love, All My Life” and “You and Me Together”) for the James Cagney, Dan Dailey film WHAT PRICE GLORY.
1953 brought Livingston & Evans back to Paramount with an Alan Ladd, Deborah Kerr film assignment called THUNDER IN THE EAST. Jay & Ray wrote a song called “The Ruby and The Pearl”. Jay & Ray told the story of after performing their new song “The Ruby and The Pearl” for the director, a man in the corner wearing a turban and a silk robe walked over and said, “In our culture someone would not say “The Ruby and The Pearl”, they would say “The Ruby and The Cockatoo”. When Jay asked “Who is this guy?” The director said “He is the consultant the front office hired to make sure we are true to the Eastern culture.” Jay then remarked that not only does Pearl roll off the tongue better than Cockatoo, but, to his understanding, pearls are part of the Eastern culture. The director agreed and the consultant walked off of the stage never to be heard from again.
A Tony Curtis film titled HOUDINI was next up for Livingston & Evans. They wrote a beautiful song titled “The Golden Years” for this assignment.
Next came another Bob Hope film, OFF LIMITS, co-starring Marilyn Maxwell and Mickey Rooney. The songs L&E wrote are “Right Or Wrong”, “All About Love”, “The Military Policeman”, and “Off Limits”.
Next, the title song for a Fernando Lamas, Arlene Dahl film titled SANGAREE. Also another Bob Hope film co-starring Tony Martin, Arlene Dahl, and Rosemary Clooney called HERE COME THE GIRLS followed. L&E songs included “When You Love Someone”,“Ali Baba”, “Girls!”, “It’s Torment”, “Never So Beautiful”, “Heavenly Days”, “Ya Got Class”, and “See The Circus”.
Finally in 1953, L&E wrote “Haven’t Got A Worry”, “Lovely Weather For Ducks”, “I Do!, I Do!, I Do!”, “My Kind O’Day”, and “My Heart Is Home” for the film THE STARS ARE SINGING starring Rosemary Clooney, Anna Maria Alberghetti, and Lauritz Melchior.
These two years 1952 and ’53 did not see any Academy Award nominations, however Jay & Ray developed wonderful relationships with many of the film stars they worked with such as Rosemary Clooney, Mickey Rooney, Tony Martin, Jose Ferrer, Dinah Shore, and Alan Young. These two years were also important for continuing their relationships with Bob Hope and Betty Hutton. All of these relationships begun at Paramount in the 40’s and 50’s continued for the rest of their lives. Not only had Livingston & Evans written an Academy Award winning song for Bob Hope’s film THE PALEFACE in 1948 they continued to write songs for his films, TV shows, and special appearances until Jay Livingston’s death in 2001. Jay was 86 years old when he passed. Bob Hope died two years later at age 100. Ray Evans passed away in 2007 at the age of 92.
Jay & Ray were friends with and admired Rosemary Clooney. They adored her wonderful vocal qualities. We are including three Livingston & Evans songs that Rosie recorded for your review. These songs are published by Jay Livingston Music.
Keep It Simple (Rosemary Clooney)
Calcutta (Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby)
You’re So Right For Me (Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer)
Stay tuned to find out how Jay Livingston & Ray Evans made their way to Hollywood to become “The Last Of The Great Songwriters From The Golden-Age of Hollywood.”