In 1951, Saroyan had an unexpected windfall from the hit song Come On-a My House recorded by Rosemary Clooney, for which he shared co-writer credit with his cousin, Ross Bagdasarian, the son of his mother Takoohi’s sister, Verkine. Rostom Sipan "Ross" Bagdasarian (January 27, 1919 – January 16, 1972) was an American pianist, singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer of Armenian descent. He was better known by the stage name David Seville. Bagdasarian was the creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
In fact, Come On-a My House had been all but entirely composed by Bagdasarian, Saroyan’s junior by eleven years, when he was nineteen years old. Saroyan had only added a phrase or two later to the finished song. Indeed, in the beginning, Bill himself gave Ross complete credit for composing the song. Before Bill’s second marriage to Carol, while the writer was staying in Los Angeles, he took Ross and Ross’s wife, Armen, to a party at the Chaplins, and during the course of the evening, Charlie Chaplin asked the young songwriter what he did. Ross replied that he and Bill had written a song together, and when Chaplin asked if he could hear it, Ross proceeded to sing ‘Come On-a My House” for him. Chaplin thought the song was wonderful, and Bill told him that it was entirely Ross’s composition.
On the other hand, Saroyan did very little, if anything, to help his cousin break into the music business. He told Ross that it was a next-to-impossible undertaking and that it would be a waste of time for Saroyan to try to use his contacts to help him, which Ross had asked him to do. Ross had made a demonstration record of the song, and on his own, he managed to get a copy of it to them would be a waste of time for Saroyan to try to use his contacts to help him, which Ross had asked him to. Ross had made a demonstration record of the song, and on his own, he managed to get a copy of it to the singer Kay Armen, who then gave it to the arranger Mitch Miller - who, in turn, passed it along to Rosemary Clooney. She listened to Ross's version over and over again, and recording of the song Clooney released duplicates the composer's phrasing word for word. This recording went on to make the charts even before Ross was aware that it had been cut.
At this point, Saroyan seems to have changed his mind, and he began to claim co-writing credit and royalties with his cousin for “Come On-a My House.” There were even magazine and newspaper articles that referred to Saroyan as the song’s sole composer. One evening, Chaplin reminded Bill of what he had said the night Ross had first sung the song for him. But Ross, for his part, genuinely wanted Bill to have co-writer credit for the song, as well as a full half of the royalties, in gratitude for the writer’s encouragement in his early days. (Ross had appeared as the newsboy and later the pinball-machine addict in the original production of The Time of Yor Life.) Significantly, however, Saroyan's name does not appear on any contract for the song.
The authors themselves made a record of Come On-a My House under their own names as a duet (Saroyan speaking the narrative, Bagdasarian delivering the lyrics in dialect) for Coral Records. You can listen to their version here.