Biographical Sketch of Ralph Blane
Ralph Blane was born Ralph Uriah Hunsecker on July 26, 1914 in Broken Arrow, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. He was the first child of native Broken Arrow businessman Tracy Mark Hunsecker and his wife, Florence Hazel Hunsecker(nee Wilborn). The Hunseckers second son, Tracy Mark Hunsecker, Jr. was born August 15, 1921.
Ralph attended prep school at Broken Arrow Public Schools until he reached high school age. At that time he transferred to Central High School in Tulsa to study music.
As a teenager in the late 1920's, he worked during summer vacations as a clerk in his father's dry good store, in Bixby Oklahoma. After high school, he attended Northwestern University and studied music in New York City with Estell Liebling.
Early in his career, Hunsecker legally changed his name to Ralph Blane Hunsecker. His stage name, Ralph Blane, appears in the credits of his work.
While studying music in New York, Blane met and teamed up with Harry Warren who was also a student of Estell Liebling. Together they wrote many songs including Buckle Down Winsocki. Later, Blane formed a partnership with Hugh Martin, a native of Birmingham, Alabama. Together they signed a contract with MGM Studios. There they wrote and arranged the scores for many musical films of the 1940's & 1950's.
On October 5, 1947, he married Emajo Stage at the home of his brother, Tracy Mark Hunsecker, Jr. Supposedly, the wedding was to take place at the home of his father, Tracy, Sr. However, the marriage license was filed in Tulsa County and his father's home was in Wagoner County, just across the road from the home of Tracy, Jr. After the ceremony, the wedding party went back across the road to the home of Tracy, Sr. for a reception. Soon afterward, Ralph and Emajo drove to 123 N Elm Drive, Beverly Hills, CA where they lived for a number of years. They had one son, George Hunsecker.
Emajo (a.k.a. Emma Jo) was the daughter of George W. And Loni Stage of Tulsa OK. She was born May 2, 1917 in Charleston West Virginia and died November 13, 1992 in Broken Arrow.
Ralph Blane was the recipient of numerous awards including the Richard Rodgers Award, an annual program of the *ASCAP Foundation that is funded by the Richard and Dorothy Rodgers Foundation and ASCAP. The ASCAP/Richard Rodgers Award was conceived by the late Dorothy Rodgers as a way to recognize veteran composers and lyricists of the American musical theater.
He was twice nominated for an Academy Award. He was nominated in 1944, along with his partner, Hugh Martin, for The Trolley Song from the movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. In 1983, he and his partner, Hugh Martin, were inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City.
Near the end of his career, in 1989, Blane & Martin wrote the stage adaptation of "Meet Me in St. Louis," adding thirteen new songs. Ralph Blane Hunsecker died November 13, 1995.
Ralph's father, Tracy Mark Hunsecker, Sr., born August 7, 1894 in Broken Arrow, was owner of three drygood stores, in Broken Arrow, Bixby and Coweta. He died there in October 1974. Florence Wilborn Hunsecker was born June 30, 1895 in Kentucky and moved with her parents to Broken Arrow as a chld. She died in September 1987 in Broken Arrow.
The Hunsecker store manager in Bixby was Gid Mitchell, who was previously employed at the Broken Arrow store. Mitchell married Earnestine Randolph, of Bixby, sister-in-law of Tracy Hunsecker, Jr. Tracy, Jr. married Doris Josephine Randolph. Tracy, Jr. died March 17, 1954 in Broken Arrow.
RALPH BLANE MUSIC
An Occasional Man
Hold Me Close to You
- Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Tuscumbia, AL
- American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers
- Ancestry.com, Obituaries 1990 - 1999
- Big Band Database, www.bigband.com
- Hunsecker, Loulie Jane, Bixby Historical Society, Bixby OK
- Mayberry, Sally Mitchell, Bixby Historical Society, Bixby OK
- San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco CA
- Tulsa World Archives, Tulsa World Publishing, Tulsa OK.