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by A. John Graves

 

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John the Bard

Graves has had a distinguished career as a professional musician, television and movie executive, producer, and college professor. Throughout his various life pursuits, Graves’ love of and devotion to music has remained constant. Graves is a consummate performer, composer, dramatist, producer, teacher, artistic consultant and tireless supporter of all things artistic. Born in Porterville, California in 1928, he was a child prodigy, composing songs and performing on piano for school and vaudeville type shows by the age of eight.

Even during the thick of his television and movie production days, he performed several nights a week at private parties for the likes of Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Danny Thomas, John Wayne and other stars. He has accompanied George Burns, June Christy, Rosemary Clooney, Rudy Vallee, Redd Foxx, Arthur Duncan, Jimmy Durante and other musical celebrities. He also performed on television for the Betty White show and was musical director for the Gloria Hart Show.
More about John.
 His Music, Film and Television.

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His Music

John started playing professionally in 1942 at the age of 14. He toured the west and mid-west with two different combos, providing dance music and three floor shows a night. Played piano bars in Los Angeles for four years. He was pianist on The Betty White Show, a daytime variety show, and pianist-performer-arranger for The Gloria Hart Show with Art Kassel and His Castles in the Air on KLAC-TV, Los Angeles. Furthermore, he played private parties for and accompanied singers and performers, including:
George Burns, Judy Garland, Jimmy Durante, Groucho Marx, Redd Foxx, Danny Thomas, Rudy Vallee, John Wayne, Rosemary Clooney, Jack La Lanne, June Christy, ABC, NBC and MGM.

Also, during his thirty five year career as a TV and film executive and producer, worked with outstanding composers, conductors and arrangers such as Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith, Gil Melee, John Scott Trotter, and Nelson Riddle. (And even the Monkees!)

Film and Television

While working with NBC, Graves supervised such shows as Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside, The Man from Uncle, Then Came Bronson, The Debbie Reynolds Show, The Monkees, and a series shot in London with Lord Lew Grade called The Strange Report. At MGM -TV, he was the executive in charge of the award-winning Medical Center, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, GE Monogram Documentaries, and several syndicated talk shows. He produced Assignment Vienna, with Robert Conrad, an eight-hour miniseries filmed on location in Vienna, Austria for MGM-TV and the ABC Television Network.

Graves was executive producer for Peter Weir's critically acclaimed Picnic at Hanging Rock, a successful feature film. He was also responsible for the Australian feature Storm Boy, the re-editing of Sunday Too Far Away, and a BBC TV feature movie, The Sound of Love.

Later, Graves taught broadcasting and film at University of Central Missouri, retiring after ten years as Professor Emeritus of Mass Communication.

Of Philososophy, Drama and News

Of the myriad of famous people Graves has met and/or worked with, he recalls associations with three that particularly stand out in his memory: a morning with Lord Bertrand Russell at his home in Wales, an afternoon tea with Katharine Hepburn at her home in Beverly Hills, and the delight of having Eric Sevareid as a house guest for three days in Warrensburg, Missouri.

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