Davis, Stan 1906-2002 (Stanley Davis)
Davis, Stan 1906-2002 (Stanley Davis)
Born July 1, 1906, in New York, NY; died August 7, 2002; married Phyllis Anderson (divorced); married March 6, 1968; wife's name Joan; children: Carol, Richard, Diane. Education: Studied at Hunter College.
Composer, cinematographer, and photographer. Worked in radio in the 1930s and 1940s; photography assistant to Ivan Dmitri; Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), Viva America, music director; National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC), Exploring, music director, 1960s; performer with the CBS Symphony and NBC Studio Orchestra; writer for the television program Daniel Boone; contributor of music to the CBS children's program Captain Kangaroo. Military service: Served during World War II.
Long Time No Spree, Advocate House (Sarasota, FL), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Reader's Digest and the Wall Street Journal. Composer of music and lyrics for hundreds of songs and jingles.
Stan Davis's wife, Joan, supplied CA with a profile of her husband that was compiled by J.B. Miller. In discussing the three waves of Davis's life, Miller states: "The first wave was music. He worked in radio in the 1930s and 1940s, writing songs for crooners and the themes for radio soap operas, often playing them live on the air. He found time to study painting with Arthur Schwieder in New York City and was also an assistant to the photographer Ivan Dmitri, who initiated "Photography in the Fine Arts" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"After working as a cryptographer during World War II, Davis got a job at CBS and worked with the legendary Edward R. Murrow. He served as music director on Viva America and played instrumental solos with the CBS Symphony Orchestra and the NBC Studio Orchestra. He wrote songs for Rosemary Clooney and was music director on Exploring for NBC-TV in the mid-60s. He also told the story of how he spent a day directing a broadcast in Princeton with a figure not often associated with radio, Albert Einstein.
"He remembered a tough schedule in the late 1950s, working on the NBC Radio show, Monitor: ‘I wrote four songs a week on four different headline news subjects,’ he recalled. ‘I'd write them on Thursday, sing and record them that night, and have the tapes in Friday morning.’ Baby boomers will remember his song, ‘Daniel Boone,’ which Walt Disney introduced on television, as well as his music on the popular Captain Kangaroo on CBS.
"It was on Captain Kangaroo, in fact, that Davis embarked on the second wave of his career. In the late 1960s, he began writing continuity music and producing song films for the show, traveling around the world, shooting his own reels in sixteen millimeter. ‘They were mainly informative films designed to get the kids interested in whatever the topic of the day was.’ He went to a good part of the world doing this, citing trips to Sri Lanka, Yugoslavia, Morocco, Samoa, and Tonga, among others.
"During a trip to China before the United States established relations with that country, Davis was forbidden to bring his movie camera so he took along a Nikon instead. Thus began the third wave of his career: photography.
"The result of his award-winning work, ‘Tidal Etchings,’ printed and framed in private collections and public museums, could be mistaken for any number of images. They could be the moonscapes of a foreign planet, or satellite photographs of our own scarred earth, marking the ebb and tide of millennia. They could be exquisite watercolors or primordial forests, or even the blown-up map of a surreal computer chip.
"Some people, seeing his work at Savannah's Telfair Museum of Art or the Park Avenue Atrium in New York, are often puzzled by some of these abstract images. Davis is not always forthcoming about the process. Does he mind if people try to guess what they are? ‘It's natural,’ he said. ‘People are very curious; they want to know what they're looking at.’
"Though he slowed at the end of his life by the decades of travel and work, Davis was excited to be a pioneer in what could be described as abstract naturalist photography. He delighted in showing his latest work, as well as traveling around the world, still a young man ‘searching for that perfect wave.’"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
BookPleasures.com,http://www.bookpleasures.com/ (January 29, 2008), Norm Goldman, interview with author's widow.
Long Time No Spree Web site,http://www.nospree.com (January 29, 2008), author biography.
[Biography provided by wife, Joan Davis; sidelights essay contributed by J.B. Miller at wife's request.]