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Earl Hagen 1919 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, May 31, 2008 08:52am | Post a Comment

Earlier this week legendary, Emmy Award-winning television composer Earle Hagen died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., of natural causes at the age of 88. A prolific composer, he wrote many of the classic television themes that endlessly stick in our heads. Shows like Make Room for Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C, That Girl, The Mod Squad, and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, many of which featured his sense of humor and droll musical wit. Hagen also wrote the jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne” when he was only 20 years of age.

Born in Chicago on July 9, 1919, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. After graduating from Hollywood High School, he left home at age 16 to tour with many of the Big Band giants of the day -- Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Ben Pollack and Ray Noble. While on the road with Noble in 1939 he wrote the classic instrumental "Harlem Nocturne." Inspired by the work and sound of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, this sexy/sultry tune has since then been recorded hundreds of times by artists such as Charlie Barnet, Glenn Miller, Sam "The Man" Taylor, Stan Kenton, Earl Bostic (a major hit in 1956), Johnny Otis, The Viscounts (whose version is perhaps the raunchiest!), Edgar Winter, King Curtis and The Lounge Lizards. "Harlem Nocturne" was also used, years later as the theme to the television show Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

But Hagen’s greatest fame probably stems from The Andy Griffith Show and its whistling happy-go-lucky theme written in 1960. This folksy-down home melody perfectly captures the opening credits, scene and feel of Andy Griffith and a young Ron Howard in character as the Sheriff and son Opie, walking down a country path towards the old fishing hole, poles on shoulder, in what must be the-life-idyllic. The whistling was done by Earle Hagen himself.

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Bebe Barron 1925 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, April 29, 2008 12:37pm | Post a Comment

One of the pioneers of electronic music and co-composer of the first all electronic film score, Bebe Barron, died this past April 20th of natural cases at the age of 82. She along with her husband, Louis Barron, who passed away in 1989, composed the sound effects / soundtrack to the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet.

Charlotte May Wind (her husband nicknamed her Bebe) was born in Minneapolis in 1925. She earned a degree in music at the University of Minnesota then moved to New York, where she worked as a researcher for Time-Life. Soon after, she met and married Louis Barron in 1947. As a wedding gift the Barrons received a tape recorder and began delving into the world of musique concrete (music created by sounds other than musical instruments, often referred to as “real world” sounds). In 1948 Louis Barron was inspired by the book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, by MIT mathematician Norbert Wiener. After studying Wiener’s equations, Louis began building electronic circuits to generate sounds. That combined with recorded tape, created a unique and otherworldly aural experience. After moving to Greenwich Village, the Barrons built a recording studio and became entrenched in New York’s burgeoning avant-garde scene. In their studio they recorded the likes of Aldous Huxley, Anais Nin, Henry Miller and Tennessee Williams reading their work; they also recorded and worked with many like-thinking composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, and David Tudor. In addition, the Barrons scored their first soundtracks to several experimental short films by Ian Hugo, husband of Anais Nin.

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Whiskers on roses & raindrops on kittens: V. Rondo

Posted by Job O Brother, August 8, 2007 10:22am | Post a Comment

5.) The Haunted Mansion

Last I checked, Amoeba Music is not selling any of these, no matter how much I pester management that there is a ready market for it.

I don’t know what it says about me, but as a child growing up on the sunny island of Oahu, I dreamed incessantly of once again returning to the Haunted Mansion, located on the edge of New Orleans Square in the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland in Anaheim in California on the Mainland…

…Earth.


Something about the temperature, the hues of dark greens, blues and violet, set a-glow by thousands of volts of black light; a soundtrack of pipe organ and church bells… It made a young Job feel at home. I can’t account for it, but that’s how it felt and, infantile as it may seem (maybe even perverse) it still does.

Once inside, I would never want to leave. At age five, I stood at the base of the escalator that took people from the end of the ride to the outside world, and cried. I’m sure people who passed me assumed I was crying because the ride had scared me, when in actuality, I wanted to move in.

I was a deeply unpopular child.


Every once in a while, a copy of the Haunted Mansion soundtrack will pop up in my section of Amoeba. It was only sold at the Park, and even then in limited edition batches (though they re-release them). Most anything Disney on c.d. goes out of print and instantly becomes a collector’s item; there’s always a market for the stuff. There’s people out there right now, who have left their babies alone in cribs, as they hunt for anything with that recognizable Disney logo stamped on it.
(Confession time: When a c.d. simply will not sell in my section, I just hand-draw this emblem on it, then stand back and wait for the bidding war between customers who suddenly must own this “rare release by Disney of the ‘Inside Deep Throat’ soundtrack”.)*

(In which Job's boyfriend takes control of this blog.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 20, 2007 12:28pm | Post a Comment


Today's blog is written by guest blogger, Corey, otherwise known as C$.

Job is busy making me dinner right now, so the least I can do is blog for him. I have also had one of his vodka-pomegranate cocktails, so I may be more lucid than usual.

At any rate, what is so hard about blogging? I do it all the time for The Advocate. Of course, it is usually at a film festival or something, so I have something interesting to talk about. But in the absence of such obvious content, what does one say?

I will tell you this: Job spends far too much time on these blogs. Time, I might add, not spent with me. I don’t think he got the memo that these should be short and pithy. The reader doesn’t have that much of an attention span anyway, and no patience for rambling and self-indulgence. What is more self-indulgent than a blog about someone’s life, never met, and their friends and experiences, never met, nor experienced. Does anyone really want to read any of that? Does anyone really want to see pictures of me in a red, satin tuxedo jacket perched atop a rock in the middle of Joshua tree? (Besides myself and Job of course).

It is only right that I tell you a few things about Job that perhaps he would never tell you. Only I can’t think of anything he doesn’t cop to. I just waxed his back this afternoon, but that isn’t very salacious. Let’s think… He barks a UPS trucks whenever he sees them. Yes, he barks, like a dog. No matter who is in the car. He acts like a real baby at about 11:30 pm every night. I ask him if he is tired (knowing, of course, that he is) and he responds “no” with pouted lower lip, and eyes droopy and childlike. The voice also is dismissive, blurted and vaguely resembling a grunt. Then he makes me pull him off the couch and pretends to be too tired to get up of his own will. He then pretends to be too tired to undress himself, get under sheets, or get on his own side. There is even fake crying and the rubbing of eyes. It is of course incredibly cute to me, but to the outside witness it would appear vaguely retarded and co-dependent. 

(Dans quelle Job feint pour savoir le fran├žais.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 10, 2007 11:17am | Post a Comment
My cat is driving me crazy.

So anyway, about French pop music. A lot of you hipsters know and love Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg and, though technically not French - we’ll not poils fendus – Josephine Baker. But the newness of discovery is spoilt when you realize that all your hipster friends have the same “obscure” French records you do and are just as prepared to profess their love of them over Jack & Cokes at whatever red-wallpapered hole-in-the-wall bar y’all frequent.

You want an upper hand. You want to show your dear, dear friends you’re a little better than them. And you want to sleep with one of them, but they don’t know it and you can’t tell them because, for one, it would wreak havoc with a couple of your friendships, and two, in your heart of hearts you know that they would never really love you back. Not really.

My cat seems to think that everything in this house is a scratching post except his scratching post.

So anyway, about French pop music. I’m no expert, but I’ve been around, and can offer a few new voices to enjoy that, though well-known in France, aren’t quite as obvious a choice stateside.

A particularly glamorous option, and one that lends itself well to barroom conversation (i.e.: showing off) is that blonde bombshell, Suzy Solidor.

She opened a Parisian nightclub in the early 1930’s, Boite de Nuit, which became all the rage. She held the [questionably factual] title of “most painted woman in the world”, with portraits being realized by some dude named Picasso, and the most famous by Tamara de Lempicka...


See? You knew the painting, but you assumed the woman in it was just another cabaret-cruising, syphillus-spreading harlot that took a break from swilling back absinthe to get her portrait painted, when in reality she was a successful businesswoman and popular chanteuse.

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