08 November 2009

Our Huckleberry Friend

Our Huckleberry Friend: The Life, Times and Lyrics of Johnny Mercer by Bob Bach, Ginger Mercer, Johnny Mercer

From the jacket of the U.S. hardcover edition:

"Moon River," "Blues In The Night," "Laura," "That Old Black Magic" and "Satin Doll" are only a handful from the enormous catalogue of hit songs written by Johnny Mercer. His wit and talent with words made him the peer of Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Ira Gershwin and Oscar Hammerstein II, giants in the pantheon of songwriters. Many have compared him with his idol, W.S. Gilbert.

Our Huckleberry Friend is a collection of Mercer's lyrics and memorabilia. It covers Mercer's life from his Savannah, Georgia, childhood through his Hollywood days and the remarkable productive period of the thirties, forties and fifties.

We see the birth of the lively Capitol Records label, and Mercer's association with Nat "King" Cole, Peggy Lee, Betty Hutton, and many others. Mercer went on to win four Academy Awards and to experience the shattering disappointment of several Broadway shows that failed.

It is all here, the successes and the failures, written by Mercer's widow and his close friend Bob Bach. The handsome volume is illustrated with more than a hundred photographs, many from Mrs. Mercer's private albums.

Bob Bach's name became nationally known among television audiences as the producer of the long-running and very successful panel show "What's My Line." He produced other game shows and musical specials featuring such greats as Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and Mel Torme. Before entering the video field he wrote for Down Beat, Metronome and Billboard magazines.

Ginger Mercer, who was a dancer on the Broadway stage before marrying Johnny Mercer in 1931, is currently [1982] carrying on the traditions of her late husband. She is a member of the council of The American Guild of Authors and Composers and recently formed the Johnny Mercer Foundation for Children.

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