Paramount Pictures staff songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, who would pen the Doris Day hit “Que Será Será” and hummable theme songs for TV’s Bonanza and Mr. Ed, were ordered to write a theme song for Copper Canyon, the Ray Milland/Hedy Lamarr Western filmed in Sedona in 1949. The pair dusted off an old melody and refit with new lyrics a tune written for Bob Hope’s 1948 Western spoof The Paleface and shelved. The song they replaced it with, “Buttons and Bows,” won them an Oscar.
But by the time Copper Canyon’s February 1950 premiere was pushed back to November, Paramount Music Co. had already contracted for the song’s release, and five recordings of it were on the radio. Teresa Brewer’s version cracked the Top 40 in March. By November, Paramount dropped it from the film in favor of an orchestral theme by musical director Daniele Amfitheatrof.––Joe McNeill