Mouse Clubhouse exclusive interview
from 2007
JAYE P. MORGAN
talks about her career

by Scott Wolf

Jaye P. Morgan - the "Gong Show"

When 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 that season.

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 you.

Scott 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.

SW: Was that the orchestra you did “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” and “Just a Gigolo” with?

JP: Yes.

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 terrible.

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.

SW: How did you get started with “The Gong Show?” Were you brought on as a one-time panelist?

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 was.

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?

JP: Yes, but this was when the show was winding down anyway and I didn’t care...
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 http://www.jayepmorgan.com.

More from Jaye P.:
Her appearance on "The Muppet Show"

See other interviews





 
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