Goodnight Kiss and Scene Stealer Music - Honoring Bobby Troup

Bobby Troup: Songwriter and Actor

"Route 66" Songwriter was an unsung hero.
(followed by Julie London's obit of 10/19/00 from the New York Times.)

In Tribute: Please send me anything with which you might want to honor Bobby,
and I will post it below in the order received.

March 1, 1999
Today's writing is about the BOBBY TROUP Memorial held yesterday at the Moonlight Tango Cafe in Encino. It was wonderful, memorable, funny and sad. I learned so much more about Bobby that I have to share some of it here with you. I think when we lose a friend, whether it was a personal friend or a person who's work became our friend (like a favorite song does), it gives us pause, not only because of our sudden realization that our friend won't be there at our whim, but makes us also wonder how our own lives have been lived. There is usually much more to a great writer than just their writing. It takes a certain amount of "lifeforce" and "soul" to generate great work artistically, and normally it doesn't start or stop with the art.

Bobby's last birthday at the SGA
Bobby's Birthday at the SGA in February 1999
(with Phyllis Osmand and Jack Segal)

Bobby was not only a world-class writer (Route 66, Girl Talk, Lemon Twist, The Three Bears, etc.) but an amazing man. He was salty, funny, caring, a great father, a talented actor (MASH, Emergency, etc.) and a bad boy in early years. Stories ranged from missed gigs, to first day meetings on the set of Emergency. Most touching were the stories of Bobby and Julie (London, his beautiful wife.) Many said "BobbyandJulie" as if they were one word, and that was the feeling of their life together.

The most impactive speeches were given by the Montford Point Marine representatives who came to honor Bobby's service in the Marines. It seems that Captain Troup was the first white officer to be given command of an all black unit in Jackson, North Carolina. When Bobby came in, the men were living in tents, with filthy latrine conditions, and nothing anywhere to relieve the stress of their condition. (This was in the days where a black in Jackson had to cross the street or literally stand in the gutter while a white walked by.) Captain Troup took a "haul ass" attitude, and with the help of the men, created Quonset huts, new latrines, a nightclub, a basketball court and team, a boxing ring, a jazz band, an orchestra, and get this... he somehow manuvered a friend to come and install a miniature golf course. Soon, the other (white) units (who had given an intolerable time to the unit before Bobby's arrival) suddenly wanted to come and hang out in their area.

Those who spoke said that Bobby didn't recognize color... only soul.

our label's own noble effort, Rhythm Of Honor

I can't tell you the number of local artists who paid tribute... I'll try to mention a few. Page Cavanaugh was WONDERFUL with his trio (including Al Viola, my apologies to the great bass player for missing his name), Jack Sheldon was irreverantly funny (just as Bobby would have been), the legendary Rosemary Clooney flew in from Colorado to honor him with a version of "My Buddy". Actors Kent McCord and Kevin Tighe gave stirring recollections of his "Emergency" days, songwriting greats Ray Evans and Jack Segal recalled Bobby's love of songwriting and songs.

I guess my concluding thought here is, appreciate those who touch your lives while you still might... we are all fragile and limited, and yet our powers reach so far in our art, let us combine our appreciation and love and ability to learn from and share with each other. We are all grinning up at you, Bobby.
(C)1999 Janet Fisher

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Here are a few more recollections from friends and fans. They will be updated as they are received.

William Crowe: Special thanks for relaying the sad news of Bobby Troup's passing Sunday, February 9, 1999. I found the details in the NYTimes online. Was glad to hearof the tribute in Encino and of the notable attendees. Bobby was quite a good jazz pianist at one time in the fifties including some stints on early TV. But he was perhaps best known for his songwriting successes which were quickly picked up by singers and bands of the day. I have a list of six (and readers, please feel free to correct my data) as follows:
Daddy 1941
Snootie Little Cutie 1942
Baby, Baby, All the Time 1946
Meaning of the Blues (with Bobby Worth) 1957
Free and Easy (with Henry Mancini) unknown date
Girl Talk (with Neal Hefti) 1964

Most of his songs had enough of a jazz feel to them to be played often by jazz DJs around the country, thus widening their appeal. I well remember the Tommy Dorsey version of Snootie Little Cutie, a big hit in 1942.


Ray Evans (Songwriter Hall of Fame, Academy Award Winning Songwriter)... I wanted to say that Bobby Troup, in addition to his music and songwriting talents, was a very intelligent man. He graduated from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with the Beta Gamma Sigma award, much like a Phi Beta Kappa, the highest honor awarded.

John Beland (Hit Songwriter, Flying Burrito Brothers, etc.) When I was a kid growing up in Hometown, Illinois (southwest side of Chicago), one of my first band's played "ROUTE 66." The song meant alot to me, as it always filled my head with images of going out west..to California. Fat chance..being stuck in Hometown! Still, I loved that song..all the versions. Well, as fate would have it, my father announced to all seven of us that we were moving to southern Cal. The year was 1966. Just like that..out of the blue. Before I knew it we were train bound for California..where a 30 year career in the music business awaited me. Everytime I hear that song it always reminds me of Hometown, Illinois..and how sometimes the wildest dreams do come true!" God bless Bobby Troup.

Roy Trumbull: I just came across your Bobby Troupe memorial page. I remember him from the 1950s in San Francisco. I was a teenager then and it wasn't too likely I'd get into a club to see him. But he showed up on a lot of local TV programs. In those pre-network days, there was quite a lot of local TV and a visiting artist made the rounds from show to show to let folks know he was in town.

I remember him with short hair wearing a stylish suit. At the time he was certainly the king of "button-down hip". Hitting the same shows were Mel Torme and Earl Grant, and Bobby held his own. I haven't seen anything about what he did after he stopped performing. I assume he took a supporting role in the music business.

Bren Farrell: I'm an English rock 'n' roll fan of a certain age who has recently been reminiscing with an old pal about the records we most loved in our youth. High up in my personal all time top ten of rock classics is 'The Girl Can't Help It' from the Jayne Mansfield/Tom Ewell film of the same name, and the credit 'Bobby Troup' on the label led me to access your site.

What an eye-opener it is!

I want you to know how moving I found it too to read that tribute to Bobby Troup from the Montford Point Marine representatives. 'Action,' as, F Scott Fitzgerald once said, 'is character.' Perhaps my own small tribute to Bobby Troup may be summarised thus: his music's so good, I'd always thought he was black.

Godfrey King: It was only recently I caught up with the internet info. on Julie and Bobby. I recall the announcement of Julie's passing last year and expressed my sorrow to my close friends. But it was recently I was explaining my musical likes and dislikes to a new friend. I said that Julie London was my favourite female singer and then recalled that she was no longer with us. My friend 'drooled' over her voice which she had never heard before.

Then recently Eartha Kitt rounded off a series of radio programmes with an appreciation of Julie. You know....this little period was as if I had a sudden realisation of a great personal loss. How I wish now I had stayed in touch over the years and, somehow, got through to Julie and Bobby what I felt about them both. Sure it was Julie first but,although knowing little about
Bobby, I knew he was thereabouts somewhere.

What did it for me was that 'Calendar Girl' LP. I've still got the one I was given one Christmas when it was first released in the UK. Unashamedly male, I was attracted by the cover......but it was the contents that, to me, were worth an emotional fortune. Beautifully sung, great arrangements and there to add two great songs that, perhaps, did not exist for those months was Bobby's contribution. One was:-

'FEBRUARY BRINGS THE RAIN'

breaks the Winter's icy chain, that's a song I heard so long ago"

I think he must have been recalling Sara Coleridge's (1802 - 1852) poem known as 'The Months'...the second line goes
"February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again". It is at least an adaption from it and, as her father ST Coleridge
is my favourite poet , the song becomes a shared memory beautifully sung by Julie.

Well, they are both gone and I can no longer ask either. And I was so sorry that Julie's health gave her such a sad end to her
life. The many recordings I have of her have filled my private hours with pleasure and tapped into my emotions so much that I felt she was 'in there' with me. Julie's voice was so unique and delivered with such exquisite timing and phrasing that there will never be another one like it.

I have much to do with Japan so was interested that Julie and Bobby recorded on Japanese TV in 1964 and that video copies
of the programme exist somewhere. So I have started searching for a copy.

Belated as they are, my sincere condolences to the family of Julie and Bobby. They both look really nice human beings.

Best Wishes.

OCTOBER 19, 2000 JULIE LONDON'S OBITUARY

from The New York Times (10/19/00)
Julie London, Sultry Singer and Actress of 50's, Dies at 74
By DOUGLAS MARTIN

Julie London, whose understated voice and striking honey-blond appearance made her one of the top female vocalists of the 1950's and 60's, died yesterday at a hospital in Southern California. She was 74.

Miss London, who lived in the San Fernando Valley, suffered a stroke five years ago and was in poor health, a spokesman for Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center told The Associated Press.

She was also an actress in scores of movies and television shows, including the popular role of Nurse Dixie McCall in "Emergency!" in the 1970's.

Miss London went from playing bit parts in the early 1940's to starring roles and pin-up status among World War II servicemen. Then, in 1947, she married the actor Jack Webb, later famous on "Dragnet," and stopped working to be a full-time wife and mother. After they divorced five years later, she became a serious singer under the tutelage of Bobby Troupe, a jazz musician and songwriter.

Her first 45 single, released in 1955, was "Cry Me a River," and it was included on her first album, "Julie Is Her Name." More than three million copies of the album and single were sold. She made more than 30 albums.

She was voted one of the top female vocalists of 1955, 1956 and 1957. On New Year's Eve 1959, she married Mr. Troupe, who died last year.

Adjectives such as sexy, intimate, breathy, husky and suggestive were applied to her singing. The singer herself told Life magazine in 1957: "It's only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice and it automatically sounds intimate."

Her sound and her looks were closely intertwined. Most of her albums were graced by sultry, yet sophisticated pictures of her.

Miss London was born as Julie Peck in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Sept. 26, 1926. Her parents, Jack and Josephine Peck formed a song and dance team in vaudeville and radio. In 1929, they moved to San Bernardino, where her parents had a radio show on which Julie sometimes appeared. In 1941, they moved to Los Angeles and she graduated from Hollywood Professional High School.

She then took a job as an elevator operator in a department store where she was discovered by talent agent Sue Carol, the wife of the actor Alan Ladd. She appeared in her first film, "Nabonga," in 1944, and began singing with the Matty Malnech Orchestra. She met Mr. Webb who was then in the Marine Corps. They married in 1947, and she gave up her budding movie career to become a full-time wife and mother.

They had two daughters, Stacy and Lisa. They divorced in 1953. After meeting Mr. Troupe she began singing again, recovering some of what she called sagging confidence.

Her movie career also revived. She starred as an alcoholic singer in the 1956 film "The Great Man." She then starred or co-starred in "Man of the West," "Voice in the Mirror," "The George Raft Story" and "The Third Voice." She composed the title song for "Voice in the Mirror."

In 1972, she began her role in "Emergency!" After the show ended in 1977, she did one last film before retiring from show business.

She is survived by a daughter from her marriage to Mr. Webb, Lisa Breen of Manhattan Beach, Calif. She also left three children from her 39-year marriage to Mr. Troupe: a daughter, Kelly Ronick of West Los Angeles, and twin sons, Jody, of Los Angeles, and Reese, of West Los Angeles.

From the New York Times, (C) 2000, all rights reserved worldwide, all credits and ownership, NY Times and author DOUGLAS MARTIN.

Sherri Laurier, "The QuillMistress":
Hi Janet... I just discovered your website accidentally... I, too, am still & evermore shall be an avid Julie London fan... Her voice was like no other...

My mother actually is the one who began collecting her albums many, many years ago... I inherited them, and have 18. I heard she has about 32 or 33, including a Christmas album... I Never even knew about the Christmas album!

Where else, do you think, would be a good place to search for Julie's music? Her voice takes me to places no other can, and I'm admittedly addicted to her.

I'm also familiar with Page Cavanaugh and Ray Evans... Actually, I'm very much into jazz, with emphasis on female vocalists. Some of my other favorites are Nancy Wilson, Eartha Kitt, Ernestine Anderson, Irma Thomas, Vanessa Rubin, Sarah & Ella, Cleo... The list goes on! But, there truly is, and never shall be, another Julie London... {I've written song lyrics, too, but have no idea of how to have the singers I love sing them! I know it's too late for Julie -- but I'd love to hear Nancy Wilson sing anything I wrote!}

Thank you for your website... I enjoyed reading about someone we all still love...

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