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This was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, who wrote many songs for movies when they were under contract with Paramount Pictures. Doris Day sang it in Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much
. In the film, she was putting her young son to bed. Livingston told Paul Zollo in 1987: "We got a call from Alfred Hitchcock. And he told us that he had Doris Day in his picture, whom he didn't want. But MCA, the agancy, was so powerful that they said if he wanted Jimmy Stewart he would also have to take Doris Day and Livingston and Evans. It was the only time an agent got us a job that I can remember. Hitchcock said that since Doris Day was a singer, they needed a song for her. He said, 'I can tell you what it should be about. She sings it to a boy. It should have a foreign title because Jimmy Stewart is a roving ambassador and he goes all over the world." (this appears in Zollo's book Songwriters On Songwriting
The phrase "Que Sera, Sera" came from a movie called The Barefoot Contessa, where the character Rossano Brazzi's family motto was "Che Sera, Sera." The motto in the film was Italian, but Evans and Livingston switched the "Che" to "Que" because more people spoke Spanish in the US.
This became Doris Day's biggest hit and her signature song, but she didn't want to record it because she thought of it as a children's song. Livingston explained in Zollo's interview: "She didn't want to record it but the studio pressured her. She did it in one take and said, 'That's the last you're going to hear of this song.'"
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston also wrote the theme song to the TV show Mr. Ed
, which was about a talking horse (Livingston sang on that one). Some of their other compositions include "Mona Lisa
" and the Christmas classic "Silver Bells."
This song won the 1956 Oscar for Best Song. In addition, Doris Day's character sang it to herself in a scene from the 1960 film Please Don't Eat the Daisies, and the song later became the theme song for her sitcom The Doris Day Show, which ran from 1968-73. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA)
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