Hailing from Centralia, Washington, Mahlon Merrick graduated from Washington State University in 1923 with bachelors’ degrees in both education and music. After a brief teaching experience in schools in the Redmond, Washington, Merrick devoted himself to a career in music.
Beginning as a saxophonist at the Old Italian Gardens in Spokane’s Davenport Hotel, Merrick’s career led him to Hollywood where he was associated with a number of popular television series including The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and The Bob Cummings Show. For thirty years he remained the musical director for comedian Jack Benny. A versatile composer, a number of his works appear under the pseudonym, "Gene LaGrande."
In 1965, Mr. Merrick retired to Palm Springs, California. In September of the following year, however, he made a guest appearance at Washington State University for the first performance of the Cougar Fight Song which he had composed for his alma mater. On August 7, 1969, at the age of 69 years, Mr. Merrick succumbed to cancer.
The Mahlon Merrick collection of musical compositions includes marches, television background music and themes, listening music, an opera, and a symphony. The Gillette Look Sharp March and the Washington State University Cougar Marching Song are among Mr. Merrick’s best known compositions.
Restrictions on Access :
This collection is open for research use.Preferred Citation :
[Item Description]. Cage 361, Mahlon Merrick Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.
Series 1, Compositions and Arrangements, consists of sheet music, orchestrations, and original manuscripts. Although most of these compositions are unrelated, two comprehensive works are included: the opera, Sun Stone and the symphony Song of Youth.
Series 2, Miscellaneous Papers, consists of Mr. Merrick’s arrangements of the background music for the National Football League television programs, mementos of his career, and compositions by his arranger, Carl Brandt.
The compositions are arranged in alphabetical order in each series; however, the indicated oversize material has been placed at the end of the collection in alphabetical sequence.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.