"I was born and raised in the tradition, I think, of the greatest era of popular music."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Tony Mottola (1918-2004) talks about his roots as a member of The George Hall Orchestra. He describes his beginnings at CBS radio, which led to his Tony Mottola Trio (Mottola on guitar, Bill Clifton on piano, and Sid Weiss on bass) appearing on the very first "live" musical television show on CBS— Face the Music, later titled Make Mine Music (1948-49). He details his long association with The Perry Como Show (1950-63), originally The Chesterfield Supper Clu b (1948-50). He describes his groundbreaking work on the "live" anthology series Danger (1950-55) for which he composed and played electric guitar. The opening chord for the series would become known as the "Danger chord" or the "Tony Mottola chord." Mottola talks of the record album that was released in 1951 with selections of his work from Danger, which is believed to be the first television soundtrack album. He speaks about other series he composed for, including Crime Photographer (1951-52) and The Kraft Television Theater. Finally, Mottola discusses his work as a member of the staff orchestra on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (from 1962-72) and talks of his last professional credit as composer, the feature film Running on Empty (1988), directed by former Danger director Sidney Lumet. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on October 24, 2000 in Denville, NJ.