Bat Masterson Theme Song

Below is an excerpt of an email I recently received - it's similar to others I've received over the last few years:

"This song has been forever etched in my mind and upon many, many fans. It deserves to be properly documented for the future as well. Whoever sings this has such a wonderful voice and carries the sustaining notes so well. It would be great to relieve the many trivia buffs who are losing sleep over this as well.  ... Thank you so much for any help you can be on this most pressing of trivial matters! But this is hard to think of as just trivia, it is valuable Western History." *
Note that there is more detail from the correspondent's research below.

If you know who sang the Bat Masterson theme song, please send me an email or add to the ongoing discussion or FAQ on IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase). 

For your pleasure, here is an excellent MIDI format file of the theme song, created by Ron Tilden If you save it to your computer, you can play and sing along to the midi using the free Vanbasco karaoke player.

And here is a low-resolution .wav format clip of some of the theme song as sung by the mystery artist.

Bat Masterson Theme Song Lyrics
Words and music by Bart Corwin & Havens Wray

Back when the West was very young
There lived a man named Masterson
He wore a cane and derby hat
They called him Bat, Bat Masterson.

A man of steel the stories say
But women's eyes all glanced his way
A gambler's game he always won
They called him Bat, Bat Masterson.

The trail that he blazed is still there
No one has come since to replace his name
And those with too ready a trigger forgot to figger
On his fighting cane.

So in the legends of the West
One name stands out from all the rest
The man who had the fastest gun
They called him Bat, Bat Masterson.

* "As I hear the Bat Theme song now almost every day I can't help but wonder who sings the song. I have searched the web for many hours and read my eyes blind trying to find any mention of this. There is much about the writer, musicians, and recordings, but nobody seems to know who the singer is. Myself and a few others have had discussion on this topic on the website. (TV and Movie Info site). A number of names are mentioned:  William Lee, Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas), Pernel Roberts, Howard Keel, William Conrad, and Gene himself.

We have been comparing the Actual theme from VCR to some of the movies Howard Keel has made and it sounds real close. But still, this cannot definatively answer the question. One person makes a strong case for William Lee."


"I really, really appreciate your efforts and posting my letter. I must tell you that I have searched as many sources as I can find, BMI as well as other such licensing agencies, Hollywood sites, TV trivia, On and on. MGM does not give an email address, NBC did not respond. I got a brief reply from a site concerning David Rose, who may be Havens Wray. BMI has the listing as we know it, no singer.

Upon investigating William Lee, I learned a great deal about how TV and movie themes and voice overs were done. Lee and Thurl Ravenscroft had been in a 4 man singing group called "The Mellomen". They had a long and varied career. They worked for Jack Benney and Walt Disney. Thurl was Tony The Tiger's voice and Lee did many themes and voice overs. In the Howard Keel movie, "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" Lee sings for one of the brothers, Adam Pontipee. It is hard to say that voice sounds like the BAT theme, but the more we listen to Howard Keel sing, then switch back to the BAT VHS tape, the more we think it must be Keel who sings BAT. But this is not proof.

Unfortunately, many of the studio musicians of the day were never credited. They drove across the San Fernando Valley, doing quick jobs and moving on to the next without a mention or concern, just happy to get the work. Almost anyone who possibly had to do with this era has now passed on.

I do not know how to go about contacting any Hollywood oldtimers that may still be around, but maybe there is somebody from the BAT credits that could be asked. It would be so interesting to know what Gene Barry thinks about all of this. I can imagine he may not know, but he may have an opinion!"

/s/ Frank Charles