Wilbur Hatch

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Wilbur Hatch
Wilbur Hatch and Desi Arnaz. Marco Rizo sits at the piano
BornMay 24, 1902
DiedDecember 22, 1969(1969-12-22) (aged 67)
OccupationMusical conductor
Known forConducting orchestra on I Love Lucy

Wilbur Hatch (May 24, 1902 – December 22, 1969), was an American music composer who worked primarily in radio and television. He was born in Mokena, Illinois and died in Studio City, California.[1]


Hatch began working in radio in 1922 as a pianist on KYW (Chicago). In 1930 he became director of music on KNX in Los Angeles, California, and on CBS,[1] where he created music for such radio shows as Hawk Durango,[2]:147 The General Electric Theater,[2]:128 Frontier Gentleman,[2]:126 December Bride,[2] Young Love,[3] Your Home Front Reporter,[4] The Screen Guild Theater,[5] The Whistler, Suspense, Meet Corliss Archer, My Favorite Husband, Broadway Is My Beat, and Our Miss Brooks.

Hatch also worked as a conductor and music director for CBS. During the late 1930s and early 1940s he was conductor on The Campbell Soup Radio Show. He was the musical director and composed the theme for CBS Radio's The Whistler (1942–55). Additionally, he was the musical director for CBS Radio's Broadway Is My Beat (1949–54), Mayor of the Town[6] and Luke Slaughter of Tombstone (1958).


His most lasting on-screen television credit was for composing some of the music and conducting the Desi Arnaz Orchestra on I Love Lucy. (In Season #1 Episode #30 "Vitameatavegamin" as Ricky is about to sing, he calls offstage "Mr. Hatch, if you please.") He was the sole composer for three episodes of I Love Lucy (1951–56), four episodes of The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour (1959–60), all 156 episodes of The Lucy Show (1962–68) and all of the Here's Lucy (1968–69) episodes up to the time of his death. He also conceived and conducted the music for the TV versions of Our Miss Brooks and December Bride, as well as its spin-off, Pete and Gladys. He also composed music for The Mothers-in-Law. Until the time of his death Hatch was resident musical director of Desilu Studios, and his work included music director on Star Trek, The Untouchables, and other Desilu productions. In 1970, after Hatch had died, Marl Young (1917–2009) became the resident music composer for Lucille Ball Productions, Inc. (including the Here's Lucy series until it finished in 1974). He composed and conducted the music for season 3 episode 11 of The Twilight Zone – "Still Valley". As the title credits appear a couple of short musical phrases are reminiscent of the Star Trek theme music.

Other professional activities[edit]

Hatch was a member of the executive board of the Composers Guild of America.[7]


Hatch attended the University of Chicago[8] to study engineering, but music fully occupied his life. One of the highlights of his college education was that he wrote the music for the annual Blackfriar's show, the University's dramatic organization. In 1922, Hatch graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in chemical engineering[4] and with High Honors and a Phi Beta Kappa Key.

Hatch was married to Margaret Mathews of Grinell, Iowa. They had three children together: Robert Allen (born in 1932), Nancy Margaret (born in 1934) and Margaret Ann (born in 1944). He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery, Altadena, Los Angeles County, California.


  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. 122.
  2. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 97.
  3. ^ Bundy, June (July 23, 1949). "Radio and Television Program Reviews: Young Love". Billboard. p. 14. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b ""Engineer" Is Music Director". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. Iowa, Mason City. July 31, 1943. p. 11. Retrieved May 17, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  5. ^ "Wilbur Hatch to Lead Electric Or". Harrisburg Telegraph. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. July 28, 1945. p. 15. Retrieved May 16, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1944). The 1944 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 775.
  7. ^ "Composers' Guild Elects Directors". Billboard. December 18, 1954. p. 18. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  8. ^ Tildesley, Alice L. (November 5, 1939). "Tuning Your Mood to Music". The Nebraska State Journal. Nebraska, Lincoln. p. 42. Retrieved May 17, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access

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