Today is the birthday of of the great American songwriter Charles Tobias (1898-1970). Raised in Worcester Massachusetts along with his brothers Harry and Henry (who also became Tin Pan Alley songwriters), Charles got his start in vaudeville, first merely as a singer, but soon he began generating his own material and selling it to others, billing himself as “The Boy Writes the Songs You Sing”. With his brothers and other collaborators he wrote hundreds of popular tunes, including “Rose O’Day”, “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer”, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me” and, the one with the longest reach “Merrily We Roll Along”, which became the theme song for Warner Brothers “Merry Melodies” cartoons. Singers were having hits with Tobias’s tune as late as the early 1960s.
Now here’s something cool — all three Tobias brothers on the game show I’ve Got a Secret :
To find out more 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. And 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