Elmer Bernstein was known mostly for his film scores (including The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Animal House, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which he won an Academy Award), but he wrote music for TV shows, including The Big Valley, The Rookies, and Ellery Queen.
He wrote the theme song for the TV series Johnny Staccato, which starred John Cassavetes, about a musician who’s also a private detective. The following clip presents both the intro and outro music, as well as a scene where Johnny plays with some of jazz’s better players, including Red Norvo on vibes, Pete Candoli on trumpet, Barney Kessel on guitar, Red Mitchell on bass, Sheeley Manne on drums, and when Johnny gets a call, he’s spelled at the piano by John Williams.
He also wrote the theme song for Riverboat, which starred Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds.
Elmer influenced a number of great film and TV composers, among them John Barry (the James Bond theme), Lalo Schifrin (Mission:Impossible, Mannix), John Williams (Lost In Space, Land Of The Giants), Danny Elfman, and Randy Newman (“It’s A Jungle Out There” from Monk).
Elmer Bernstein, your Two for Tuesday, October 15, 2019.