Jack Sheldon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jack Sheldon
Bubba Kolb, Jack Sheldon, Ira sullivan.jpg
Bubba Kolb, Jack Sheldon (center), and Ira Sullivan, Village Jazz Lounge, Walt Disney World, c. 1980s
Background information
Born (1931-11-30) November 30, 1931 (age 86)
Jacksonville, Florida
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, comedian, actor
InstrumentsTrumpet, vocals
Associated actsMerv Griffin

Jack Sheldon (born November 30, 1931) is an American bebop and West Coast jazz trumpeter, singer, and actor. He is a trumpet player and was the music director on The Merv Griffin Show, as well as the voice heard on several episodes of the educational music television series Schoolhouse Rock!


Music and TV[edit]

Sheldon was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He originally became known through his participation in the West Coast jazz movement of the 1950s, performing and recording with such figures as Art Pepper, Gerry Mulligan, and Curtis Counce. Sheldon played the trumpet, sang, and performed on The Merv Griffin Show. He was Griffin's sidekick for many years.

His voice is perhaps best known from the Schoolhouse Rock! cartoons of the 1970s, such as "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill." He appeared in one episode of Johnny Bravo as the Sensitive Man. He sang a few songs in the episode similar to the Schoolhouse Rock! style. Sheldon returned to the Schoolhouse Rock! series for a 2002 episode titled "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College," explaining the electoral college process, and distributed on the series' DVD collection that same year. Sheldon sang and played trumpet for the new segment.

Sheldon voiced "Louie the Lightning Bug" in a series of animated musical public service announcements aimed at children during the 1980s, promoting safety with electricity.[1] In 2001, the "Louie the Lightning Bug" videos were updated with new voice-overs by Sheldon and new music tracks produced by Mark Harrelson, with updated musical arrangements by Ray Reach.

He sang the tune "King Putt" for The World According to Goofy Parade at Disneyland, which ran for five months in 1992. A trumpet solo of his is featured throughout the Francis Ford Coppola film, One from the Heart (1982). Tom Waits' 1977 album Foreign Affairs includes Sheldon playing trumpet on several cuts, including the solo at the end of "Burma Shave."

In the 1964–1965 season, Sheldon starred with Cara Williams and Frank Aletter on the CBS situation comedy, The Cara Williams Show in which Williams and Aletter played a married couple trying to keep their marriage a secret because their employer forbade husband and wife from working together. From 1966–1967, Sheldon starred in his own 16-episode CBS sitcom, Run, Buddy, Run, as Buddy Overstreet, a young accountant taking a steam bath who, overhearing a mobster's plot to kill a colleague, then goes on the run to keep from being killed. Bruce Gordon, formerly of The Untouchables played the mobster, "Mr. D". He made numerous appearances on the 1967–70 version of Dragnet. He also played John Davidson and Sally Field's brother on The Girl with Something Extra (1974). In 2004, he performed live at the end of ALF's Hit Talk Show.


Sheldon appeared in an Oscar-nominated documentary film Let's Get Lost about the life of fellow jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. He made an appearance in the 1994 film Radioland Murders as the ill-fated trumpet player Ruffles Reedy, who becomes a victim of the gruesome goings-on during a 1939 radio show.

Sheldon is the subject of a documentary, Trying to Get Good: the Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon (2008). Produced by Doug McIntyre and Penny Peyser, the film features interviews with Clint Eastwood, Billy Crystal, Merv Griffin, Chris Botti, Dave Frishberg, Johnny Mandel, Tierney Sutton, as well as never before seen concert footage of Sheldon playing, singing and joking. Trying to Get Good won Jury Prizes at the 2008 Kansas City Film Makers Jubilee and Newport Beach Film Festival, as well as Audience Prizes at Newport Beach and the Indianapolis International Film Festival.


Sheldon parodied his own performance in "I'm Just a Bill" in an episode of The Simpsons called "The Day the Violence Died," where he is an "amendment to be." He reprised his roles as the Bill and the Conductor from "Conjunction Junction" in two episodes of Family Guy.


As leader[edit]

  • 1954 The Quartet and the Quintet (Jazz West)
  • 1957 Jack Sheldon and His All Star Band (GNP Crescendo)
  • 1957 Jack's Groove (GNP)
  • 1961 A Jazz Profile of Ray Charles
  • 1962 Out! (Capitol)
  • 1962 Oooo, But it's Good (Capitol)
  • 1964 Jack Sheldon Presents the Entertainers (VSOP)
  • 1968 The Warm World of Jack Sheldon (Dot Records)
  • 1978 Benny Goodman Live at Carnegie Hall, Rocky Raccoon (Capitol)
  • 1979 Singular (Beez)
  • 1980 Angel Wings (Atlas)
  • 1980 Playin' It Straight (Real Time)
  • 1983 Stand by for Jack Sheldon (Concord Jazz)
  • 1984 Blues in the Night (Phontastic)
  • 1986 Playing for Change (Uptown)
  • 1987 Hollywood Heroes (Concord Jazz)
  • 1992 On My Own (Concord Jazz)
  • 1992 Jack Sheldon Sings (Butterfly)
  • 1995 Jack is Back! (Butterfly)
  • 1997 Live at Don Mupo's Gold Nugget (VSOP)
  • 2001 Jack Sheldon & His All-Stars (GNP Crescendo)
  • 2007 It's What I Do
  • 2010 Ho Ho Ho (MightyCore)

With others[edit]

With Tom Waits

  • Burma-Shave, on Foreign Affairs (Asylum, 1977) and Picking Up After You, Candy Apple Red, on One From the Heart (Columbia, 1982)

With Curtis Counce

With Jimmy Giuffre

With Stan Kenton

With Johnny Mandel

With Herbie Mann

With Shelly Manne

With the Monkees

With Anita O'Day

With Art Pepper

With André Previn

With Pete Rugolo

With Sonny Stitt



  1. ^ Jack Sheldon profile at Voice Chasers

External links[edit]