Johnnie Davis

John Gustave Davis[1] (April 11, 1910 – October 28, 1983) was an American actor, singer and trumpeter.

Johnnie Davis
Johnnie Davis in Cowboy From Brooklyn trailer cropped.jpg
from the trailer for the film Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938).
John Gustave Davis

April 11, 1910
Brazil, Indiana, USA
DiedOctober 28, 1983(1983-10-28) (aged 73)
Pecos, Texas, USA
Spouse(s)Martha Lee Garver (1934 - ?)

Born in Brazil, Indiana, into a family of musicians, Davis developed an interest in music during his childhood. He learned to play the trumpet and by the age of 13 was performing with his grandfather's band. After graduating from high school he worked as a musician for several orchestras, including theater orchestras in nearby Terre Haute, Indiana such as Paul Johnson's orchestra and the Leo Baxter Orchestra. Art Davis, his younger brother, also worked for Leo Baxter.[2]

Davis's work with bands led him to discover and develop his ability as a scat singer.[1] By 1933 was living in New York City. He formed his own trio and recorded several songs with them. From the mid-1930s he worked with Fred Waring as a musician and vocalist, and his success during this time led him to Hollywood.

He appeared in his first feature-length film, Varsity Show, in 1937, and the same year appeared in the film Hollywood Hotel, where he introduced the Johnny Mercer song "Hooray for Hollywood".[1] His lively rendition became popular and became closely associated with the film industry. He appeared in fifteen films including Campus Cinderella (1938), Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938), Brother Rat (1938), Mr. Chump (1938), A Child Is Born (1939) and Sarong Girl (1943).

Davis's work on radio included being a vocalist on Nitwit Court.[3]

Davis continued to work in the music industry throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and spent several years in Detroit, Michigan where he was a popular television performer.

Davis married Martha Lee Garver[4] on April 2, 1934.[5] He eventually settled in Texas, and died in Pecos from a heart attack during a hunting trip.


  1. ^ a b c Hischak, Thomas S. The Oxford Companion to the American Musical. Oxford University Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-19-533533-0. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  2. ^ "Johnnie "Scat" Davis - "Hooray for Hollywood"". John-Gates. Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  4. ^ "Hoosier signs contract with Warner Brothers". The Edinburg Daily Courier. Indiana, Edinburg. May 26, 1937. p. 3. Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via
  5. ^ "Tuning In". The Los Angeles Times. April 4, 1934. p. 16. Retrieved September 29, 2020 – via

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