Jay Livingston

Songwriter / Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In their nearly hour-and-a-half Archive interview, Ray Evans (1915-2007) and Jay Livingston (1915-2001) discuss the genesis of their 60-year musical partnership. They recall their arrival in Hollywood to write songs for movies and talk of signing a contract at Paramount Pictures. They outline 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 describe the theme songs they wrote for television shows Bonanza, Mister Ed and The Doris Day Show. Evans and Livingston also mention their collaboration with composer Henry Mancini and speak about the entertainers they have written for throughout the years, including Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney and Debbie Reynolds. Jon Burlingame conducted the interview on February 8, 2000 in Bel Air, CA.

"He said, 'we want a song called "Bonanza."' It had to be short and it had to sound like strong men were riding into somewhere and maybe have a western flavor, and it couldn't be too long, sixteen bars. And that's it. 'Go and see what you can do.'"

Highlights
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
00:50
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show
00:46
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how they work together and how song "To Each His Own" jumpstarted their career
00:53
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Silver Bells"
01:28
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
02:35
Full Interview

Chapter 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 World War II affected them; on meeting the vaudeville team Olsen and Johnson and moving to Hollywood in 1944
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"

Chapter 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
On their hit songs "Que Sera, Sera" and "Tammy"
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

Chapter 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"
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
Shows

Bonanza

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
05:33

Doris Day Show, The

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
01:45

General Electric Theater, The

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing a song for "No Man Can Tame Me" on General Electric Theater
02:11

Mister Ed

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
05:07

Peter Gunn

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their collaborations with Henry Mancini for Peter Gunn
01:32

Satins and Spurs

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on music for Satins and Spurs - one of television's first 90-minute spectaculars
08:52

To Rome With Love

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the title song of To Rome With Love
01:56
Topics

Pop Culture

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
05:33
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
02:35
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show
00:46
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
01:46
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
05:07

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
05:33
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
02:35
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
05:07
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
01:46
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show
00:46

War

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how World War II affected them
00:36

World War II

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how World War II affected them
00:36
Professions

Composer

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how they work together and how song "To Each His Own" jumpstarted their career
00:53
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their music partnership
01:02

Lyricist

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how they work together and how song "To Each His Own" jumpstarted their career
00:53
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their music partnership
01:02
Genres

Comedy Series

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme song for Mister Ed
05:07

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on music for Satins and Spurs - one of television's first 90-minute spectaculars
08:52
People

George Abbott

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Ray Evans on how he and George Abbott came from the same town in New York
00:15

Rosemary Clooney

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their close relationship with Rosemary Clooney
01:39

Nat King Cole

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on almost losing the song "Mona Lisa"
02:19
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on Nat King Cole's association with Nelson Riddle, who arranged "Mona Lisa"
00:40

Bing Crosby

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Silver Bells"
01:16

Doris Day

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
02:35
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on "Que Sera, Sera" becoming the theme to The Doris Day Show
01:45

David Dortort

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
02:05

Don Fedderson

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the title song of To Rome With Love
00:03

Lorne Greene

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing the theme to Bonanza
02:05

Alfred Hitchcock

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing a song for "Vertigo"
00:50
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Que Sera, Sera"
02:35

Bob Hope

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their association with Bob Hope
05:12
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on material for Bob Hope
02:29
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their close relationship with Bob Hope
01:39

Betty Hutton

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on writing a song to be sung by Betty Hutton for the film "The Stork Club"
01:43
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on music for Satins and Spurs - one of television's first 90-minute spectaculars
08:52

Alan Ladd

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit, Oscar-winning song "Mona Lisa"
01:35

Max Liebman

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on music for Satins and Spurs - one of television's first 90-minute spectaculars
08:52

Henry Mancini

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their collaborations with Henry Mancini
01:32
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on composer Henry Mancini
01:17

Debbie Reynolds

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Tammy"
02:59

Nelson Riddle

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on music for Satins and Spurs - one of television's first 90-minute spectaculars
08:52
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on Nat King Cole's association with Nelson Riddle, who arranged "Mona Lisa"
00:40

Frank De Vol

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Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the title song of To Rome With Love
01:56

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