Born January 28, 1900, in Farmington, Iowa, the family of Mahlon Merrick moved to Centralia, Washington, which he considered his hometown. In 1923, Mahlon graduated from Washington State College (now Washington State University). After three years of teaching school music in Redmond, Washington, he put aside teaching and began work as a professional saxophonist. By the end of the decade, he was in Los Angeles, working as a radio orchestra musician.
In 1937, he joined the staff of the Jack Benny Program. He went on at the same time Phil Harris was hired to be the "bandleader." To be honest, Phil Harris was a musician... a decent drummer and a wonderful singer. But he was hired by the show to be the comic relief. When the show was aired, the live studio audience would see Phil lead the band while Mahlon sat in the sax section. Jack Benny always admitted himself that he never actually hired Phil to be the bandleader. Mahlon Merrick was hired for that job.
In the 1940s, Mahlon wrote his two most important compositions: The Gillette Look Sharp March and the Washington State College (University) Marching Song.
After the Jack Benny Program went off the air, Mahlon began to throw himself in to television. He created a fake name for himself, Gene LeGrande. This name would be seen on many TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s. The truth is that person was, in fact, Mahlon Merrick. He was also creating some music for Hanna-Barbera cartoons. H-B's main composer/conductor/arranger was Hoyt Curtin (1922-2000). He also did many other cartoons.
Merrick worked continually until his death . He died sometime in August 1969 at his home in Palm Springs.