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The Johnny and Ginger Mercer Papers contain manuscripts, photographs, sheet music, recordings, printed materials, and memorabilia documenting the early careers (1920s through about 1931) of both Johnny and Ginger Mercer; their courtship and marriage (1930 and 1931); and Johnny Mercer's career as a songwriter, performer, and businessman as it continued after their marriage; Johnny Mercer's work as a lyricist.
The collection consists of three compact discs made from audiotapes and a phonograph record. The recordings (circa 1967) feature Johnny Mercer vocals, accompanied by a piano or small combo, for 19 songs he composed for the unproduced musical "Mike," a musical comedy for the stage based on Mickey Spillane's hard-boiled detective Mike Hammer.
The Johnny Mercer "Three Arabian Knights" collection contains materials related to the never produced 1960s musical, "Three Arabian Knights." It includes draft lyrics, screenplay, script, telegrams, reel-to-reel tapes of the songs and CDs. Materials date from around 1960 to 1969.
Sadie Vimmerstedt, who was a resident of Youngstown, Ohio, wrote a letter to Johnny Mercer in February of 1957 suggesting that Mercer write a song entitled "When Somebody Breaks Your Heart." Mercer wrote the song, ultimately sharing authorship with her on a 50/50 basis. Mrs. Vimmerstedt's collection includes Mercer's first letter to her, a few Christmas cards from Mercer, and photographs taken at the 1963 Grammy Awards banquet.
Steve Allen (1921-2000) was a well-known author, pianist, comedian, composer, and actor. He was an admirer of Johnny Mercer's lyrics. After Mercer's death, his widow Ginger Mercer and Bill Harbach encouraged Allen to write a song to a title Mercer had created, "Your Wife Is the Love of My Life." This collection consists of a lead sheet and typed lyrics for Allen's "Your Wife Is the Love of My Life."