Today is the birthday of Morton Gould (1913-1996). Gould was not so much a star of vaudeville as a star of the classical world who got his start in vaudeville. A child prodigy, he was seriously trained in piano from a young age and worked as a silent film accompanist and accompanist for vaudeville acts. This led to the mother of all of these sorts of engagements, a job as staff pianist at Radio City Music Hall. By the mid 1930s he was conducting orchestras on radio. He wrote the music for the Broadway shows Billion Dollar Baby (1946) and Arms and the Girl (1950), as well as ballet scores, and scored numerous film and television shows, most notably the mini-series Holocaust (1978). His compositions range from orchestral music to popular songs (on which he often collaborated with Comden and Green). For decades he conducted and recorded with most major American orchestras, including his own. Here they are playing Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, 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 don’t miss 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