Ray Evans

Songwriter / Composer

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents



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 BonanzaMister Edand 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.

All views expressed by interviewees are theirs alone and not necessarily those of the Television Academy.

"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.'"

People Talking About ...
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how popular their songs are
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on their hit song "Silver Bells"
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on how they met
Ray Evans on his Studebaker for writing the theme song for Mister Ed
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston on the importance of a theme song to a show

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