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.
Danny Elfman was lead singer and songwriter of the band Oingo Boingo from 1974 to 1995, and got his start in scoring on the 1980 movie Forbidden Zone, which was directed by his older brother Richard. He has an impressive resume for music in TV and film, and has won numerous awards, including two Emmy awards and a third nomination.
He was nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 1990 for “The Simpsons Main Theme,” theme from The Simpsons.
He won the Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 2005 for the theme to Desperate Housewives.
He’s also scored all but three of Tim Burton’s movies, all but one of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies, and all of the Fifty Shades movies. His nephew is Bodhi Elfman, who’s married to Jenna.
Danny Elfman, your Two for Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
Lyricist Norman Gimbel and composer Charles Fox have worked together on a number of projects. Together, they wrote “Killing Me Softly With His Song” for Roberta Flack, “I Got A Name” for Jim Croce (featured in the 1973 movie The Last American Hero), and a bunch of TV themes, including…
“Making Our Dreams Come True,” the theme for Laverne & Shirley, sung by Cyndi Grecco, which reached #13 on the AC chart and #25 on the Hot 100.
The theme from Wonder Woman, called The New Adventures of Wonder Woman in Seasons 2 and 3 with a slightly different theme.
And “Different Worlds,” theme song from Angie, sung by Maureen McGovern.
They also wrote the theme for the TV adaptation of The Paper Chase, which garnered them an Emmy nomination, Happy Days, and The Bugaloos.
Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, your Two For Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
Hoyt Curtin was a composer and the primary music director for Hanna-Barbera Studios from 1957-1965 and 1972 until his retirement in 1986. He wrote much of the stock music heard during the cartoons, as well as several theme songs during that time, among them….
“Meet The Flintstones” from The Flintstones.
The theme song from Top Cat.
And the theme song from Jonny Quest.
And you can add theme songs for Josie and The Pussycats, The Jetsons, Super Friends, The Smurfs and The New Scooby-Doo Movies. A couple of his tunes were part of the soundtrack for Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, though he didn’t like to remember them. He scored a number of movies, including 1979’s C. H. O. M. P. S.. He died in 2000 at the age of 78.
Hoyt Curtin, your Two For Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
An encore performance from May 2014, before most of you were reading.
Boris Claudio “Lalo” Schifrin is a pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. He’s written the score for close to 200 movies (most notably the Dirty Harry films) and the theme music for a dozen TV shows, including The Man From U. N. C. L. E., Starsky & Hutch, The Big Valley, and T. H. E. Cat. He has received four Grammy Awards (out of twenty-one nominations), one Cable ACE Award, six Academy Award nominations, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mary says that a great TV show needs a great theme, and Lalo has written a few. Today, I want to feature two of my favorite TV themes, both written by Lalo, both great tunes in their own right. The first is the “Theme from Mission: Impossible,” which ran from 1966 to 1973 and starred Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Greg Morris, and Barbara Bain.
The second tune is the “Theme from Mannix,” which ran from 1967 to 1975 and starred Mike Connors and the beautiful Gail Fisher.
Lalo’s website is here.
Lalo Schifrin, your Two for Tuesday, September 17, 2019.