Tune of the Day: Charge
The origins of this simple yet remarkable tune that everyone associates with baseball (but also football, hockey and basketball) games are somewhat disputed. Apparently, it was composed by Thomas Walker, an American producer of live entertainment events who is best remembered for having been director of entertainment at Disneyland during its first twelve years of operation. (Reportedly, Disney used to tease Walker, “Everything you do is fireworks, balloons, pigeons and flags.”)
A decorated veteran of World War II, Walker returned to the University of South California as a junior in 1946 and found the football team in need of a lift. As a drum major, he wrote the famous six-note fanfare for the trumpet section, and he introduced it at a band practice. Walker once declared, “I played a few notes on the trumpet — Da-da-da-DAH-da-DAH — and the band yelled, ‛Trojan warriors, charge!’ It seemed kind of effective, so we decided to try it that Saturday.” Then, somewhere between band practice and the game, someone decided to drop the “Trojan warriors” and simply yell “Charge!”
There are a number of people, musicians included, who cling to the belief that Walker borrowed the trumpet fanfare. They mistakenly insist that his Charge is merely an adaptation of the cavalry bugle call Charge. But as anyone who has ever watched a Hollywood cavalry regiment storm across a studio lot knows, the Army's Charge is nothing like the sporting version.