Manners was born in San Francisco but raised in Los Angeles, where he attended Fairfax High School and learned to play fiddle, banjo, and piano. He played in a traveling revue for a time before joining several Western swing groups. In the 1930s he came to lead a group called The Beverly Hill Billies, who were a popular radio attraction long before the TV show of the same name became a hit. Manners's show, featuring himself on accordion and organ, mixed comedy with Western Swing and was broadcast on Los Angeles's KMPC as well as in New York City.
He covered Mr. Ghost Goes to Town which was written in 1936 by Will Hudson, Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish. The Five Jones Boys also performed the song.
The ensemble played for several years together before breaking up, after which Manners put together the group Zeke & the City Fellers. This band played on New York radio and did a tour of Europe shortly before the outbreak of World War II. In the 1940s he hosted his own One Man Variety Show, a comedy/musical routine, and in the 1950s he hosted music programs on Los Angeles's KFWB and New York's WINS.