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Actor-musician Jack Sheldon (1931-2019)


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Jack Sheldon, the jazz trumpeter who made the transition to acting in the 1960s, has died at the age of 88. He is said to have expired of natural causes on Friday, December 27, 2019 of natural.

The longtime bandleader of "The Merv Griffin Show" starred in the short-lived 1960s CBS sitcom "Run, Buddy, Run." He also did memorable voice work for the 1970s ABC children's series "Schoolhouse Rock!" 

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Sheldon showed versatility in his film work. He played his trumpet for the soundtrack of the 1965 Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor drama "The Sandpiper."  The selection: "The Shadow of Your Smile," which won the Academy Award as Best Original Song for its composers Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster.

In "Run, Buddy, Run," a spoof of "man on the lam" drama shows such as "The Fugitive," Sheldon starred as an average guy targeted by mobsters because of information he inadvertently overheard. The series, which was created by "Get Smart" executive producer Leonard Stern, ran from September 1966 to January 1967.

Sheldon's voice became familiar to generations of youngsters with his performances for the educational "Schoolhouse Rock!" segments "Conjunction Junction"...  

..and  "I'm Just a Bill." The Saturday morning program went on the air in January 1973 and ran for many years. 

 

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#RIP the fun-loving Jack Sheldon; my late @THR colleague and jazz aficionado Tony Gieske once described his "incomparable" trumpet sound as "rich and full as something I wish I could think of to compare it to — a bunch of dewy green grapes?"
 
2:08 PM · Dec 31, 2019· Twitter Web App
 
I'm hearing reports of the death of Jack Sheldon (b. 1931), a charismatic, smooth-toned trumpeter who helped shape the West Coast jazz sound—and the only jazz musician to have his own TV sitcom and comic book (Run, Buddy, Run). A sweet guy who was funny, friendly & very talented
 
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9:45 PM · Dec 30, 2019·Twitter Web App
 
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Just caught up with this.  Oddly, just a couple/few days ago I was trying to recall both the name of the man AND that TV show he did.  Liked the show, and Jack's musicianship was top shelf too.   Oh, and SAGEBRUSH....

Me and my "circle" preferred "Conjuction Junction" .  ;)    

RIP Jack.

Sepiatone

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On 12/31/2019 at 6:13 PM, sagebrush said:

I loved the school house rock series, and the "Bill" was my favorite.

~RIP, Mr. Sheldon.

I'll admit, I did not know who did the voice of the Conjunction Conductor or Bill.

With the Multiplication and Grammar songs, I assumed most of them were songwriter Bob Dorough either doing his Paul Simon voice ("Three is a magic number...") or his Leon Redbone voice ("Mean ol' Number Nine..."), so I figured he must have had his Growly-Jazz/Blues voice, too.

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On 1/2/2020 at 11:59 AM, slaytonf said:

Alas!  Would it be heresy to say he was a better trumpeter than Chet Baker?

Most jazz musicians wouldn't use terms like "better" when comparing musicians.    In fact,  based on jazz musicians forums I use,  most don't even like comparing musicians. 

I have seen Jack Sheldon a few times and he was a first rate musician.          Never saw Chet Baker live but have a few live recordings.      

Chet was clearly more famous and a lot of that had nothing to do with his ability as a musician.      (but being more famous doesn't make one "better").

 

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I like the duel between jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and bandleader Sheldon during a 1985 episode of "The Merv Griffin Show." They improvised to Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail."

 

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Have to say I best remember Sheldon back when he occasionally guested on Jack Webb's second Dragnet series in the late-'60s and often added a little comic relief to the proceedings.

And probably because I was a little too old for Schoolhouse Rock, and never watched Merv's show back in the day.

(...looks like I missed seeing a fine musician at his main craft here)

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10 hours ago, HelenBaby2 said:

I loved that guy. He was Merv’s foil after Arthur Treacher quit being on the show. The last time I saw him in anything was when he played the bandleader in the Bette Midler/James Caan movie For The Boys. 

He also played Ruffles Reedy, the inebriated trumpet player and first victim in "Radioland Murders" (1994). The comedy/mystery film was created and co-produced by George Lucas.

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21 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

 

but being more famous doesn't make one "better".

 

Sadly, I know too many people who'd disagree with that.  also, like.....

"Britney Spears is a better singer than Janis Joplin was because she's PRETTIER!"   :rolleyes:

But sure, a lot of musicians don't think in terms of "better" or "worse".  Just "different".  And can you tell me( because I could never honestly figure it out) why Miles Davis disliked Wynton Marsalis so much?  

Sepiatone

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36 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Sadly, I know too many people who'd disagree with that.  also, like.....

"Britney Spears is a better singer than Janis Joplin was because she's PRETTIER!"   :rolleyes:

But sure, a lot of musicians don't think in terms of "better" or "worse".  Just "different".  And can you tell me( because I could never honestly figure it out) why Miles Davis disliked Wynton Marsalis so much?  

Sepiatone

I believe the major source of disagreement between Davis and Marsalis relates to Marsalis following the school-of-Armstrong  (traditional) over that of school-of-Davis (cool,  modal).         We see something similar at this forum with acting;   traditional verses method.     

Of course Marsalis recognizes what Miles brought to the table  as it relates to pushing jazz music in another direction etc...    but Marsalis is so highly focused on Armstrong and that traditional style that I assume Miles felt he was being diminished.

 

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