Johnny BradfordPerry Como ~ Mr. Saturday Night!

If You Were My Girl

Following is an autobiography
by John Bradford:

John Bradford was a junior writer at Warner Brothers Studios when he first met Tony Romano in 1941. An aspiring lyric writer, he and Tony wrote a few songs together before Bradford was inducted into the army in 1942. Assigned to the Signal Corps Photo Center in Long Island, he soon became bored with writing training films about mobile laundries, cleaning latrines and garbage cans. With some background in cinematography, he volunteered for duty as a combat cameraman, and, one year after Romano and "Hope's Gypsies" toured the Aleutians, John took part in the recapture of Attu and Kiska from the Japanese. He was awarded the Bronze Arrowhead for landing on Kiska ahead of the first assault wave (quite by accident). After World War II, Bradford was "discovered" as a singer when he demonstrated a song he had written for the publisher who had also discovered Dick Haymes. This led to several jobs "dubbing" the voices of tone deaf actors for films, then to a contract with RCA Victor Records.

In early 1948, John was hired by NBC to host and write a television show entitled "The Television Journal" in Washington DC, and within three months, he was performing on radio and television sixty hours a week.

When Tony Romano returned from performing with the Hope Troupe at the Berlin Airlift, he visited Bradford and appeared on one of John's radio broadcasts. Their extemporaneous banter and harmonious singing were so well received that the network asked the duo to team up on a five-day-a-week nightly show. Romano agreed, moved to Washington and, in 1949, he and Bradford transferred the show to Manhattan. Here, they appeared on the Paul Whiteman Goodyear Hour, writing and performing original songs. The "Bradford and Romano Show" became a two-a-day-series, playing to a regional network that covered the eastern seaboard and most of the midwest. The many Bradford and Romano recordings on Victor Records include such hits as "Chattanooogie Shoeshine Boy" and "Rag Mop."

Their extemporized comedy on radio, where they portrayed two stage-struck guys trying to make it on Broadway, is said by some to have inspired Neil Simon to write "The Odd Couple," although that bit of apocrypha could not be verified at this writing.

In their long-lasting, but often interrupted partnership, John and Tony have written some 50 songs, including "If You Were My Girl," which was recorded by Perry Como. They have written the scores for two motion pictures: "Robbers' Roost" and "Purple Heart Diary."

In 1956, John became the head writer on "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show," for which he wrote 105 shows. Then came variety show credits, including "The Frank Sinatra Show," "The Judy Garland Show," "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour." His "sitcom" credits include "Barney Miller," "The Adams Family" and "The Real McCoys."

He was a speech writer for John Kennedy in 1960, wrote a Las Vegas nightclub act for Ronald Reagan in 1954 and, in collaboration with Tony Romano, "special material" for Bob Hope.

In recent years he has written two books: "The Hustler's Edge" and, in collaboration, "The American Heretic's Dictionary."

Bradford's many writing awards include the Emmy award for "Shirley MacLaine: If They Could See Me Now," two Christopher Awards for "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show," and the Film Advisory Board Award.

Composer Index
A Perry Como Discography 
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Monday, January 18, 2021