Today is the birthday of Buddy Pepper (Jack R. Starkey, 1922-1993). At age 13, the Kentucky native won Major Bowes Amateur Hour, which led to a tour of what was left of vaudeville by the mid ’30s, as well as presentation houses. In the late 30s and early 40s he appeared in numerous small film roles. After serving in World World 2, he worked as a songwriter, conductor and arranger for motion pictures. His most famous song (co-written with Inez James) is “Vaya Con Dios”. He also wrote songs for the films When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Pillow Talk, and Top Man, among others.
And now, from the pen of Pepper, the theme to Pillow Talk. I’m sorry. It’s really a terrible song.
To find out about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc