JAYE P. MORGAN
talks about her career
by Scott Wolf
the second season of "The Muppet Show" came out on DVD, I thought it would
be fun to interview somebody who appeared on the show so I checked out
the list of guests and saw that Jaye P. Morgan was one of them during
I first knew of Jaye when she was a panelist on "The Gong Show,"
which remains my favorite television show of all time, but before "The Gong Show" she had a very successful career as a singer.
Jaye is just a delightful person and I'm so grateful that she was
willing to sit down with me and that I may share our conversations with
Wolf: Your given name was not Jaye P. Morgan?
Jaye P. Morgan: It was Mary Margaret Morgan.
SW: How did you come up with Jaye P.?
JP: Well, I was elected class Treasurer when I was in high school, and
because of J.P. Morgan, people kept calling me J.P.
I started singing when I was three with my family, and when I went out
on my own I worked with Frank Devol and his orchestra and he said,
“We’ve got to change your name,” because there was another singer named
Marion Morgan who had done some things and people knew her and my name
was too close to it. So he said, “Well, think of another name,” and we
came up with Jaye P. Morgan.
Was that the orchestra you did “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” and
“Just a Gigolo” with?
SW: What was your big break?
JP: That was it. “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” I did a whole
session with him and then we sold it to Derby Records.
SW: And you were a regular on the “Robert Q. Lewis Show?”
JP: Yes, I think it was two years. And I got a hit record, “That’s All I
Want From You” and I went out on my own. That was a hard schedule, too,
because we did five live shows a week plus a Saturday morning radio
show. By the time Sunday came my eyes were crossed. It was just
SW: When did you start doing concerts?
JP: I started doing concerts after I got my first hit record. I’d go out
and do concerts and did that up until I moved back to California. I was
in New York at that time. I lived in New York from about ’54 or ’55 to
’62, so I was there awhile.
SW: Why did you move to California?
JP: Because my manager wanted me to move out here and everything was
happening out here... television, and all the shows you could do guest
shots on. I even did a pilot with Judy Canova. Things were happening out
here so I moved back. I was originally raised out here. I was born in
Colorado and came out here when I was three. So from three to about 19
or 21 I lived here. So I considered myself a native.
I stayed out here until I went to New York with my manager and his name
was Bullets Durgom.
SW: That’s a great name.
JP: Isn’t it? He got the name when he was a young kid working on Wall
Street and he was completely bald and he was so fast, he was small, they
called him “Bullets” so it stuck.
He talked Frank Sinatra into going out on his own and everything. He
really was an influential manager. He passed away, I guess about twenty
five years ago.
SW: Did you do only one episode of the “Odd Couple?”
JP: Yes. I did one show.
SW: That episode, “The Songwriter,” is so popular.
JP: I loved that show. That’s the way you did it then. You went on and
did a guest shot and then go on to another show. But, I loved that show
and I loved doing that “Happy and Peppy and Bursting with Love” song.
It’s such a silly song.
SW: It was written just for the show, right?
JP: Oh, yes.
SW: I thought so, unless it was like a Spike Jones song or something.
JP: No, it could be, though, but it was written for the show.
SW: And you said people still ask about it?
JP: People ask me about it all the time. I can’t even remember all of
it. I just know “Happy and Peppy and Bursting with Love” and then the
bridge goes something like, “I was so happy” and “rolling like a pup.”
It was just insane, the lyrics.
SW: But they weren’t supposed to be good.
JP: Oh no.
SW: That was the whole thing that “Felix” wasn’t really a songwriter.
JP: No. And Felix hated the way I sang the song because I sang it as a
ballad, “Happy and Peppy.” It was so silly.
How did you get started with “The Gong Show?” Were you brought on as a
JP: They brought me on as a one-time thing. I understood the show and I
understood what they were doing so Chuck asked me to be a regular so I
SW: I don’t think everybody who was on understood the show.
JP: I know, they were serious about it.
SW: There are shows today that are similar but they’re all serious.
JP: “American Idol” is just another takeoff on “The Gong Show.”
SW: I’ve heard a rumor that you were fired from the show.
JP: Yes. I kept taking my blouse off on the show.
SW: Is that what did it?
Yes, but this was when the show was winding down anyway and I didn’t
I did it on purpose.
SW: Did you enjoy doing the show?
JP: I loved doing it. It was fun. It was silly and zany… and we had fun
on it, too.
Read our conversation about Jaye's
appearance on The Muppet Show.
For CD’s and other information, visit Jaye P. Morgan’s website at
More from Jaye P.:
Her appearance on
"The Muppet Show"
See other interviews