Livingston and Evans and the Sound Track of the 50's and 60's

by Lynne Lepley
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As a small child, one of my earliest and fondest memories was finally being able to play the family record player and my sister's cherished '45's. Of course she had had all of Elvis' latest hits -- but my number-one favorite song in her collection was the Doris Day classic "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be)" I'm sure I must have worn the grooves off that record!

It wasn't until years later that I remember seeing the movie, Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, for which the song was written—and learned that the composers, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, won an Academy Award for the song.

Over the years, "Que Sera Sera" became a trademark for Doris Day. She sings lines from the song in her movie, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960), and again, with Arthur Godfrey in The Glass-Bottomed Boat (1966). It was no surprise that it became the theme song for her television show which made its debut in 1968.

What many people may not realize is that the song's composers, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans made other, equally-lasting contributions to the sound track of the 50's and 60's. After meeting in college, they worked together as freelancers in Hollywood.

Two other Oscars were earned during those years for "Mona Lisa", (from the movie, Captain Carey, USA, but immortalized by Nat "King" Cole) and "Buttons and Bows" (from Bob Hope's comedy, Paleface). The duo was nominated for a total of 7 Academy Awards.

Of all the award-winning songs Livingston and Evans gave the world in the 50's and 60's, it is most likely that their most well-known musical achievement was written for television -- to immortalize the story of the talking horse, Mr. Ed! The duo was also responsible for the "Bonanza" theme. (There were, indeed, words written to the theme which the Cartwrights sang on one of the episodes!)

With countless compositions for movies and television during the decades of the 50's and 60's to their credit—as well as the holiday classic "Silver Bells", we can give Livingston and Evans the credit they deserve for giving us some of our most enduring memories.

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