Music: It Comes Easy

Song for song, few of Tin Pan Alley's tunesmiths can match the havoc wrought by a gum-chewing Oklahoman named Jack Owens. He has an assist on a public nuisance of 1941 called The Hut-Sut Song, wrote Hi, Neighbor, a song which has become the nightly entering wedge of Pal Joey-type masters of ceremony the U.S. over. He composed for Red Skelton something called I Dood It, and in his own tenor voice has crooned the merits of orange drinks and frankfurters for singing commercials.

Now 35, Owens has spent half his life as a...

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