Arthur Kay (musician)

Arthur Kay (16 January 1882 – 19 December 1969) was a German-American film composer and conductor, and cellist.

Arthur Kay
Born16 January 1882 (1882-01-16)
Berlin, Germany
Died19 December 1969 (1969-12-20) (aged 87)


Born in Grottkau (Silesia), Germany as Arthur Ferdinand Kautzenbach, Kay was raised in Reichenbach (Silesia). 1900-1907 he studied violoncello with Robert Hausmann at the Königliche akademische Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. In 1907 he immigrated to the United States to become cellist and assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Karl Muck.[1] He also conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra.

He became close friends with operetta composer Victor Herbert and conducted several of his shows, including Sweethearts (1913) and Eileen (1917).[1]

About 1917/1918, Sid Grauman hired Kay as a conductor at Grauman's Million Dollar Theatre. Kay's responsibilities included leading the large theater orchestra and compiling live musical arrangements to accompany the projected silent films.[2] For example, he compiled the music for Maurice Tourneur’s and Clarence Brown’s The Last of the Mohicans (1920) and Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus (1928).

With the advent of the sound era in film, Kay continued to work as a film studio conductor and a composer of film music. His efforts were included in such films as Chasing Through Europe (Fox Film Corporation, 1929), The Big Trail (Fox Film Corporation, 1930) and Daniel Boone (RKO Pictures, 1936).

In 1938, he became the first director of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, where he continued to serve in that capacity for nearly twenty years.[1]

The musician Arthur Kay (Kautzenbach) is not identical with the Arthur Kay who dabbled in providing voices for Terrytoons and was known for voicing Gandy Goose, Sourpuss,[3] and Papa Bear in The Three Bears, whose line "Somebody toucha my spaghet!" became an Internet Meme in early 2018.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "First Director of Civic Light Opera Dies," Los Angeles Times, 23 December 1969.
  2. ^ "Drama," Los Angeles Times, 5 January 1919.
  3. ^ "Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Gandy Goose".
  4. ^ "Somebody Toucha My Spaghet".

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