Before there was the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, there was a country music trio by the same name, led by composer/musician Zeke Manners, who also hosted popular radio programs in "Los Angeles" and New York during the '40s and '50s. Manners also penned more than 100 songs during his career, the best known compositions being "The Pennsylvania Polka" (a hit for the Andrews Sisters), "Take My Wife Please" (for comedian Henny Youngman), and "Los Angeles" (for legendary guitarist Les Paul). Manners also composed numerous songs with Buddy Ebsen, who starred as Jed Clampett in the television version of The Beverly Hillbillies. Born in San Francisco on October 10, 1911, Manners was raised in Los Angeles and attended Fairfax High School. By the time of his high school graduation, Manners was already proficient at several instruments, including the violin, piano, and banjo. He honed his musical skills by playing first in a traveling tent show, before eventually going through a succession of Western swing bands. It was as part of the Beverly Hillbillies trio that Manners first received acclaim (in which Manners played the accordion and organ), mixing comedy with Western swing, resulting in a radio show that first aired on KMPC in Los Angeles, and then at various New York stations during the '30s. When the band broke up after several years together, Manners formed Zeke & the City Fellers, playing New York radio stations and touring Europe before the start of World War II. Despite it all, Manners kept his radio career afloat throughout the years. During the '40s, he hosted the One Man Variety Show, on which he told stories, jokes, and sang songs, and in the '50s, was an early supporter of rock & roll, hosting a show on KFWB in Los Angeles and then on WINS in New York. During the later years of his life, Manners occasionally did standup comedy, and created a mail order music lesson business. He also had small roles in a few films by his nephew, actor Albert Brooks (Real Life and Lost in America) and also in the 1987 movie Barfly, the popular Faye Dunaway/Mickey Rourke cult classic based on the Charles Bukowski book of the same name. On October 14, 2000, Manners passed away in Los Angeles, CA, at the age of 89.
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