Carmen Dragon

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Carmen Dragon
Carmen Dragon 1953.JPG
Dragon in 1953.
Born (1914-07-28)July 28, 1914
Antioch, California, U.S.
Died March 28, 1984(1984-03-28) (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.

Early years[edit]

Dragon was born in Antioch, California.[1] 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.")[2]

Film[edit]

He was very active in pops music conducting and composed scores for several films, including At Gunpoint (1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night into Tomorrow (1951), and Kiss Tomorrow Good-bye (1950).

With Morris Stoloff, he shared the 1944 Oscar for the popular Gene Kelly/Rita Hayworth musical Cover Girl, which featured songs by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin.[3]

He made a popular orchestral arrangement of "America the Beautiful" and also re-arranged it for symphonic band. According to his website, he was awarded an Emmy in 1964.[citation needed]

Radio[edit]

Dragon conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and they performed on The Standard School Broadcast, broadcast on NBC in the western U.S. for elementary schools from 1928 through the 1970s.[4] 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.[5]

Dragon also hosted a regular classical music radio show broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network well into the 1980s.[citation needed]

Personal appearances[edit]

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."[6] A couple of months later, a Fresno, California, newspaper contained an advertisement promoting "Carmen Dragon, Ace Stanford Band, The Sensation of the Coast."[7]

Recording[edit]

Dragon made a series of popular light classical albums for Capitol Records during the 1950s with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Some of these recordings have been reissued by EMI on CD. Dragon appeared as himself briefly at the end of the 1979 film The In-Laws, conducting the fictitious Paramus Philharmonic.

Recognition[edit]

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.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Dragon had a wife, Eloise, "who sang on his Maxwell House series and Starlight Concert."[1]

Death[edit]

Carmen Dragon died of cancer, aged 69, in a Santa Monica, California hospital, on March 28, 1984.[9]

Children[edit]

  • Son, Daryl Dragon of the 1970s pop music duo Captain & Tennille
  • Daughter, Carmen E. Dragon (January 17, 1948 - July 11, 2010), classical harpist
  • Son, Dennis Dragon, drummer for the surf band Surf Punks; also produced much of Captain & Tennille's music.[10][11]
  • Daughter, Kathryn Dragon Henn (died April, 2012), was the manager of her father's Orchestral Pops Rental Library
  • Son, Douglas - a musician and singer

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ "Antioch Students Give Play Tonight". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. February 28, 1930. p. 52. 
  3. ^ "Composer-conductor Carmen Dragon dies". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ The Standard School Broadcast website
  5. ^ "Langford-Dragon In Burns-Allen Spot". Connecticut, Naugatuck. Naugatuck Daily Times. May 24, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved March 31, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ "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.  open access publication - free to read
  7. ^ "(Sweet's Rainbow advertisement)". California, Fresno. The Fresno Bee The Republican. July 26, 1935. p. 17. Retrieved March 31, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  8. ^ "Carmen Dragon". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Obituary, nytimes.com, March 29, 1984.
  10. ^ "About Dennis Dragon". dennisdragon.com. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Dennis Dragon". allmusic.com. AllMedia Network. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 

External links[edit]