Friday, July 21, 2017

Comedians' Theme Songs

In my recent post on Al Bowlly, I put up a Youtube video of Bowlly's recording, with Lew Stone's orchestra of  Love in Bloom. The tune is best remembered today as the theme song of comedian Jack Benny. It was only during these days of Youtube that I learned the song actually has lyrics.

Growing up during the early days of TV, I received a heavy dose of old radio comedians such as Benny, Bob Hope and Burns and Allen as they made the move over to television. Unlike comedians today, these comedians had "theme songs" which became identified with their persona. Benny had "Love in Bloom, Hope had Thanks for the Memory, while the theme song for Burns and Allen was The Love Nest, written by Louis Hirsch.

I learned yesterday - thanks to the Internet - that the Benny theme and the Hope theme song were both written by the same song writing team, Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin. Having died in 1924, Hirsch would not reap the financial benefits of having his music played on radio and TV every time Burns and Allen made an appearance. Likewise, Rainger died in 1942 - long before Hope's heyday on television.

Leo Robin, however, lived until 1984 - dying long before Bob Hope, but ten years after Benny. I'm hoping he was able to live comfortably on the residuals.

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