Albert Von Tilzer

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One of several brothers who all abandoned the surname Gumm in favor of the classier sounding Von Tilzer, Albert followed carefully -- and creatively -- in his older brother Harry's footsteps. After working…
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One of several brothers who all abandoned the surname Gumm in favor of the classier sounding Von Tilzer, Albert followed carefully -- and creatively -- in his older brother Harry's footsteps. After working in Chicago at a music publishing establishment which was a regional outlet for the firm of Shapiro, Bernstein and Von Tilzer, Albert made the inevitable move out east and in 1904 started up the York Music Company on West 28th Street in New York City. The song that put this company on the map was "Teasin'," the product of Albert's collaboration with Cecil Mack. He seems to have had no trouble whatsoever in turning out songs which were to become extremely popular. "Honey Boy" was composed in 1907, with a little help from a seasoned ham by the name of Jack Norworth, who was married to vocalist and composer Nora Bayes. In 1908, Von Tilzer and Norworth brought out "Smarty" and the famous "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." (Legend has it that at the time, Von Tilzer had no firsthand experience with baseball and didn't get around to actually witnessing a game until about 1928.) Other memorable songs emanating from this odd fellow were "Put Your Arms Around Me Honey" published in 1910; "Oh, How She Could Yacki Hacki Wicki Wacki Woo" which was made popular by both Eddie Cantor (in 1917) and by the vaudeville duo Van & Schenck. Albert Von Tilzer is also remembered for emitting "Oh, By Jingo!" a knuckleheaded novelty number that the record-buying public of 1919 seems to have found particularly irresistible. As if to inaugurate the new decade with another impossibly successful hit, Albert published "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" in 1920, and then the moderately successful "Dapper Dan" in 1921. (Perhaps the sole surviving remnant of this song's social relevance is a quip about pork chops from Al Lewis and Guy Wood's markedly ridiculous song of 1950, "Cincinnati Dancing Pig") After 1922, Albert Von Tilzer bailed out of the music publishing business, became a big name on the vaudeville circuit, retreated to Hollywood in 1930 for a career in film music, and perished in Los Angeles on the first of October, 1956.