|Born||July 28, 1914|
Antioch, California, U.S.
|Died||March 28, 1984 (aged 69)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Conductor, composer, and arranger|
Carmen Dragon (July 28, 1914 – March 28, 1984) was an American conductor, composer, and arranger who in addition to live performances and recording, worked in radio, film, and television.
Dragon was born in Antioch, California, the son of Rose and Frank Dragon, who were Italian immigrants. He attended Antioch High School and, while a student there, composed a song for the school. Forward, Antioch! was performed between acts of a school play on February 28, 1930. (A newspaper article erroneously identified the composer as "a high school girl, Carmen Dragon".)
He was very active in pop music conducting and composed scores for several films, including At Gunpoint (1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night into Morning (1951), and Kiss Tomorrow Good-bye (1950).
He made a popular orchestral arrangement of "America the Beautiful" and also re-arranged it for symphonic band. In his obituary published March 29, 1984, the New York Times noted: "In 1964 he won an Emmy for producing the Glendale Symphony Orchestra Christmas Special on NBC." In 1958, Dragon appeared as the conductor-father of Sophia Loren’s character in “Houseboat” with Cary Grant. He also played himself in the 1979 film The In-Laws as the conductor of the fictitious Paramus Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dragon conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and they performed on The Standard School Broadcast, broadcast on NBC radio in the western U.S. for elementary schools from 1928 through the 1970s. The show was sponsored by the Standard Oil Company of California (now the Chevron Corporation), but other than the name there were no commercials. The program featured a high quality introduction to classical music for young people growing up in the 1940s and early 1950s.
In the summer of 1947, Dragon and Frances Langford had a program on NBC. Langford sang, accompanied by Dragon and his 25-piece orchestra. The show began June 5 and ran for 13 weeks as a summer replacement for George Burns and Gracie Allen's program.
Dragon's concert band arrangement of America the Beautiful is played by bands across the country in concerts of patriotic music.
By May 1935, Dragon had his own orchestra. A Santa Cruz, California, newspaper reported about the San Jose State freshman dance, "The dancers will travel over the world with the orchestra of Carmen Dragon furnishing the appropriate music of each locality." A couple of months later, a Fresno, California, newspaper contained an advertisement promoting "Carmen Dragon, Ace Stanford Band, The Sensation of the Coast".
Dragon has a star in the Radio section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Located at 6104 Hollywood Boulevard, it was dedicated September 7, 1989. An elementary school is named after the composer in Antioch, California.
- Son, Daryl Dragon (August 27, 1942 - January 2, 2019) of the 1970s pop music duo Captain & Tennille
- Daughter, Carmen E. Dragon (January 17, 1948 - July 11, 2010), classical harpist
- Son, Dennis Dragon (1947-2017), drummer for the surf band Surf Punks; also appeared in some live concerts with the Byrds shortly before they disbanded in 1973, also produced much of Captain & Tennille's music.
- Daughter, Kathryn Dragon Henn (November 8, 1951 - April, 2012), was the manager of her father's Orchestral Pops Rental Library
- Son, Douglas - a musician and singer
- DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 81.
- "America, the Beautiful: The Story Behind the Band Classic". July 2, 2018.
- "Antioch Students Give Play Tonight". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. February 28, 1930. p. 52.
- "Composer-conductor Carmen Dragon dies". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- "The Standard Hour". www.coutant.org.
- "Langford-Dragon In Burns-Allen Spot". Connecticut, Naugatuck. Naugatuck Daily Times. May 24, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved March 31, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Glenys Bodkin Is Named Chairman of S. J. Dance Committee". California, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Evening News. May 10, 1935. p. 3. Retrieved March 31, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "(Sweet's Rainbow advertisement)". California, Fresno. The Fresno Bee The Republican. July 26, 1935. p. 17. Retrieved March 31, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Carmen Dragon". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- "The Santa Fe Magazine". Santa Fe Magazine. July 28, 1957 – via Google Books.
- Obituary, nytimes.com, March 29, 1984.
- "About Dennis Dragon". dennisdragon.com. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "Dennis Dragon". allmusic.com. AllMedia Network. Retrieved 13 April 2016.