Bobby Troup or Julie London?

Who Did the Most for Whom?


HOLLYWOOD --- (NEA) --- “Bobby Troup,” people claiming to be in the musical know like to say. “re-styled Julie London’s voice and made her one of America’s most popular warblers. Her singing style even resembles Bobby’s.”

But Bobby, who should know, has a different slant.

“Julie did a hell of a lot for me,” Bobby told me.

The fellow who beats the publicity drums for “Stars of Jazz” (ABC-TV Fridays) wanted Bobby Troup to talk about jazz.

But I wanted Bobby to talk about Julie London.

It was real convenient because Bobby wanted to talk about Julie London. It’s a good bet, in fact, that Julie may become Mrs. Troup if Bobby has his way. And he has charming ways, as any gal will tell you.

So handsome, crew cut, 39-year-old Bobby, composer, singer, pianist and host-narrator of the “Stars of Jazz” series (they’re calling him a West Coast Leonard Bernstein) talked about Julie London.

I THINK THE “Stars of Jazz” publicity fellow enjoyed it, too. After all, he probably reasoned, everybody knows how the show crashed the ABC network after a two-year run as one of Los Angeles’ best local shows.

And everybody should know about Bobby, his trio, his songs like “Route 66” and “Daddy.” He wrote “Daddy” as a University of Pennsylvania senior (Phi Beta Kappa, too) and it became No. 1 on the Hit Parade in 1941 just as Bobby left for five years in the Marine Corps.

After the war he returned to Hollywood “to find out if ‘Daddy’ was just a fluke or whether I had talent.”

“Julie London did a hell of a lot for me,” he repeated.

But he says he didn’t re-style her voice.

IT WAS JUST that they met and were good for each other “because,” he confided, “”we were two people who lacked confidence. I like to think I gave her a lot of moral support but believe me I never made any conscientious effort to sit down with her and say, “Now you phrase this like this.”

The stage for two people “who lacked confidence” was set when Bobby Troup and his Trio were playing in a Sunset Strip bistro and Julie, just divorced from Jack Webb, became one of his fans from afar.

As Bobby goes on: “I heard her sing one night and told her how good she was. She was the most attractive girl I’d ever met. Most girl singers look like --- well, they look like Sophie Tucker.

“But Julie had no confidence and I did everything I could to get her to sing. Every once in a while she would. But she’s the type who hides in the ladies’ room if she knows there’s a chance of her being asked to entertain. Maybe that’s why I’m crazy about her. I have and aversion to girls who are always on.”

BOBBY SAYS Julie brought him out of his shell along the way.

“I had been frightened ever since I left the service. I was playing piano and singing in Los Angeles saloons after “Route 66” became a hit but I don’t think I could play the piano and I don’t think I could sing. Either.

“One night I was even ashamed. My mother came to hear me in a stinking dive and I think she was a little shocked. She said, Bobby, what are you doing here? You’re a Phi Beta Kappa!”

Bobby says he was still worried about where he was going until he met Julie and they sort of blossomed, musically, together. As support for Julie, Bobby says he busted the old confidence barrier for himself and in recent months, in addition to TV’s “Stars of Jazz,” he has acted in films and written the words and music for the title tunes of eight motion pictures.

“Yes sir,” he again said, “Julie London did a hell of a lot for me.”

The Spencer Sunday Times

Spencer, Iowa

Sunday – June 15, 1958

By Erskine Johnson

NEA Staff Correspondent