The song Moon River was composed by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. It won Mancini a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1962. It also received an Academy Award for Best Original Song, having been performed by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Moon River became the theme song for Andy Williams, who first recorded it in 1961 and sang it at the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1962. Andy’s version was never released as a single, but it charted as an LP track that he recorded for Columbia on a hit album of 1962. By all standards, Moon River has become a classic that will remain in the songbook of entertainers forever and became the signature song for both Mancini and Williams. Fast forward to the early seventies. I was program director at WISM in Madison. A friend who was a rep for Columbia Records invited me to join him for dinner with both Henry Mancini and Andy Williams, following their concert at the Coliseum. We met at the Edgewater Hotel restaurant on the shores of Lake Mendota. Andy arrived first and, while we were chatting, Henry came in carrying a pizza. He explained, “I don’t like hotel food.” Apparently, he had not been at the Edgewater before. The food was great. Not sure how the pizza was, he didn’t share. Regardless, he sat down and did share in the conversation. Following a brief period of inconsequential chit-chat, one of them said, “I just can’t believe we did that.” The other replied something like, “Yeah, I know,” and they both started to chuckle, shaking their heads and smiling. The Columbia rep sat there looking puzzled. I asked them what that was all about. They looked at each other as if to say, “Should we tell them? Guess they didn’t notice.” Then it came out. The unimaginable. The unthinkable. At their concert that night, they had forgotten to perform Moon River. There were no reports of anyone asking for their money back or anything, probably because the concert, even without Moon River, was terrific. The review in the Madison newspapers the next day was great and, politely, made no mention of the omission.
This is a revised version of the original published 12/06/2015 as “And…Mancini Brought Pizza.”