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 Posted:   Aug 22, 2017 - 10:00 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

The longest-running non-animated and non soap opera series, with twenty seasons and something like 635 episodes, it featured some of the most famous film and television composers from generations.

I've probably seen 50 or so episodes completely, maybe 100 if I include partial watches.

With La La Land Records recent release of "Wild Wild West" TV scoring, I thought it might be nice to familiarize myself with the show's scoring more.

Please note I will only be watching episodes that had a credited original score and -- aside from one episode -- I have never really cared for Klatzkin's work, so I'll be skipping episodes he scored.


Season 5

The first episode of the series to feature an original score is "Brother Whelp". The score is the only effort on the series by Paul Dunlap.

Dunlap dances around the theme music some. Over all it's a brass and woodwinds effort with some darker stingers here and there.

The score in the episode felt kind of old fashioned even by 1960. Having said that, on its own it's not a bad listen, but I wouldn't rank it as one of the series' best or even second best. There are some damn fine scores to review later.

I ripped score selections for those curious to hear it, many years ago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UILyBWo6B6I



"Odd Man Out"
By: Rene Garriguenc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDLMu1mCU0Q

Highlights:
  • About 0:12 in as Doc is walking about and some staccato brass plays a rhythm and woodwinds play over it. It kind of loses focus and woodwinds take the lead as it switches from scene-to-scene.
  • 6:28 in: a bouncy piece with guitar and a bassoon, joined with some other instruments. It slows down and some light menacing music enters; has a forced outro since it leads to a commercial break. It's the next cue in the episode.
  • 21:46 in: A short piece on Spanish guitar to close out the episode.

    Overall nothing wrong with the episode score. This was back when episodes were half an hour with commercials.

    An okay episode.



    "Box O' Rocks"
    By: Fred Steiner
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuvWAwc84kA

    Highlights:
  • 22:00 in: the cue to close out the episode. Brass and timpani.

    What's striking is how clich├ęd and old-fashioned the score is by 1960. Certainly not the Steiner I know from other works. It was even distracting at times.

    It's a short score, maybe six or seven minutes.

    An okay episode, but it's got a good ending. A man bullied around and shot twice gets ultimate revenge.



    The next set of reviews will bring Jerry Goldsmith. I don't know how often I'll be able to do these. I suspect mainly on the weekend.

  •  
     
     Posted:   Aug 22, 2017 - 2:58 PM   
     By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

    There was of course Morton Stevens' arrangement of "Gunsmoke"'s main title that was first heard in the 13th season, and if La La Land ever does a C.D. set of "Gunsmoke" scores, I hope they include that because I consider that the best arrangement of the main title, which was heard in the sequence following the teaser, and featured the stars of the series, and James Arness (Matt Dillon) appeared last.

     
     
     Posted:   Aug 23, 2017 - 7:29 AM   
     By:   joan hue   (Member)

    I am excited to read these reviews. Justin, I look forward to more reviews from you when you have time. These make me think that I will have to watch some of these episodes that are certainly from my "long ago" past. Thanks for your work.

     
     
     Posted:   Aug 23, 2017 - 8:11 AM   
     By:   sdtom   (Member)

    Absolutely fantastic Justin!!! I look forward to more. It deserves CDS my friend as well as another favorite of mine Perry Mason.

     
     Posted:   Aug 23, 2017 - 9:35 AM   
     By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

    Don't forget Rex Corey, who originally composed the GUNSMOKE theme and series cues for radio.

     
     Posted:   Aug 23, 2017 - 9:39 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "Groat's Grudge"
    By: Rene Garriguenc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVM-1XvUr1c

    Highlights:
  • About 0:22 in: the opening cue, kind of stately soft brass huffs and a solo trumpet playing over it.
  • About 2:30 in: harder brass this time, and some woodwinds and French horn for a bolder sound on the theme; it peeters out into some soft woodwinds. It's the next cue.
  • 9:40 in: a return of the theme with the brass huffs.
  • About 13:30 in: the most upbeat broom sweeping music ever.

    A good episode about a man consumed with anger and revenge after the war.

    Dilion: "There's no arguing with him, he's lived with his hate for so long it's burned away his reason."



    "Big Tom"
    By: Leith Stevens
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnBFoTM7ntY

    Highlights:
  • None. It's a bland score that's a little too repetitious, which isn't good considering it's annoying to begin with.

    It's also a very subpar episode. But then again, most episodes of TV series about a boxer, no matter the dramatic intention, are normally bad. Probably the only good one I've seen is from "Seven Days".

    Skip it.



    "Hinka Do"
    By: Fred Steiner
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLDZaHmCMEU

    Highlights:
  • Nothing. An unremarkable score.


    "Doc Judge"
    By: Jerry Goldsmith
    Suite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCEtmvmkxVQ (nearly the complete episode score)

    Immediately, Goldsmith's effort is more bold and bigger sounding than previous episode scores.
    Familiar brass ideas, snare, timpani -- more effort in the writing overall.

    You can hear distant resemblances to "Capricorn One" in a couple cues

  •  
     Posted:   Aug 23, 2017 - 11:18 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "Unwanted Deputy"
    By: Fred Steiner

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    Mediocre episode.



    "Where'd They Go"
    By: Leith Stevens
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZgD-yR2rCo

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    A humorous episode.



    "Colleen So Green"
    By: Fred Steiner
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr5a9kw_O-c

    Highlights:
  • 11:43 in: Some brass with woodwinds and a little pluck for a short transition cue.
  • 24:52 in: the closing cue; just too much going on to type all out, just go listen to it.

    Kitty: "Men are sure all alike."
    Matt: "Well, that, ah, that something you just found out recently?"
    Kitty: "No, but I've been reminded of it the last three days"

    That's the same house from "Where'd They Go", just re-dressed a little.




    The next set of reviews tomorrow will finished off season five.

  •  
     
     Posted:   Aug 23, 2017 - 1:24 PM   
     By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

    Don't forget Rex Corey, who originally composed the GUNSMOKE theme and series cues for radio.

    That's Rex "Khoury".

     
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 9:10 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "Speak Me Fair"
    By: Rene Garriguenc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VypW9b7ByYE

    Highlights:
  • 1:11 in: a very nice piece with a French horn over strings, giving me a kind of John Barry "Dances With Wolves" vibe.
  • 4:42 in: a light bouncy piece with woodwinds and some staccato brass
  • 8:58 in: some hard staccato brass with more brass playing over. The cue keeps going with some lulls as the scenes change. Mostly dialogue free. Also, 11:00 in(the cue is still going): a Leonard Rosenman tone pyramid. ;-)
  • About 23:30 in: some exciting brassy action music.
  • 24:55 in: And a good closing cue.

    So far, really, I'd say this is the first score deserving of a full release. Though I wouldn't be opposed to any of Rene's scoring, so far, getting full releases.

    This is a good episode. History is replete with racism, from Indians back in the wild west days, to blacks for over a hundred years, to Jews for hundreds of years. This episode is a good example, all the way to the end.

    Man: "Marshal, I've been looking all over Dodge for you."
    Dilion: "You have, huh?"
    Man: "Yeah."
    Dilion: "Ah huh. Well, that's where I've been -- all over Dodge."



    "Bobsy Twins"
    By: Fred Steiner
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dar1Sky_HM

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    An okay episode with some good acting by a couple of character actors.



    "Old Flame"
    By: Nathan Scott
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe9Fqf9-FVg


    This is one of only two episodes Scott scored.

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    A mediocre episode. But in the long line of tradition of a lead with an ex who turns out to be evil or have evil intentions -- still going decades later.




    This closes out season five.

    The next set of reviews will have Goldsmith again.

  •  
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 10:10 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    SEASON 6

    Immediately you notice there's new opening music for the credits. It's more dramatic.
    There also an entirely new end credits music piece.
    As usual on the series, nobody is credited for the opening and closing music, even arrangers when it uses the theme.



    "Friend's Pay-Off"
    By: Lyn Murray
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NIIXkA5sHw

    This is the first of four episodes Murray did for the series.

    Highlights:
  • About 12:40 in: A building cue with bassoons and a little brass as Matt goes to head off the bad guy. Kind of reminded me of Herrmann (a name you'll be seeing in a review soon).

    I'm surprised he got more work. This initial effort of very out of date. It's 1961 and it sounds like it's the early 1950's, for some generic western serial. A good deal of the scenes he scored quite frankly didn't need scoring.

    An okay episode.

    This is the only time I've seen Doc with a gun and use it.




    "The Blacksmith"
    By: Jerry Goldsmith
    Suite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_i1CdDcwP4

    This is the full score minus the saloon source music (which may or may not be by Goldsmith).

    Highlights:
  • I don't think anything from it is particularly memorable or interesting. Though his usual extra effort in the wiring clearly shows.




    "Don Matteo"
    By: Wilbur Hatch
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm4OaEf0kaQ

    This is Hatch's first of six efforts for the show.

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    An okay episode. Also continuing the other decades long tradition of an old friend coming back who turns out to be evil or have evil intentions.



    That's it for today.

  •  
     
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 12:45 PM   
     By:   waxmanman35   (Member)

    Franz Waxman scored the 1966 two-part episode "The Raid." It might have been one of the last programs he scored. I haven't seen the episode in a while, so my memory is that there was a recurrent theme when the raiders ride reminiscent of the type of similar music he wrote for "Red Mountain" and "The Furies."
    John Parker composed a very nice score for a 1970 two-part episode "Snow Train."

     
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 12:50 PM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    Waxman did another episode for it, too. But of course that'll be covered much later as I'm going straight down the seasons.

    I'll be skipping those awful TV movies, however.

     
     
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 3:22 PM   
     By:   PFK   (Member)


    Justin, I'm enjoying your Gunsmoke series, please continue with it. If possible put the YouTube reference too, like you've been doing.

     
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 3:41 PM   
     By:   mgh   (Member)

    John Parker composed a very nice score for a 1970 two-part episode "Snow Train."

    Great job, Justin. Snow Train is an excellent score; always hoped it would make it out there somehow.

     
     
     Posted:   Aug 24, 2017 - 7:36 PM   
     By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

    Ernest Gold and Elmer Bernstein scored some episodes whose titles escape my memory, as the one that was scored by Morton Stevens that featured Bette Davis who gets revenge on Matt by kidnapping Miss Kitty.

     
     Posted:   Aug 25, 2017 - 7:28 AM   
     By:   MRAUDIO   (Member)

    Ernest Gold and Elmer Bernstein scored some episodes whose titles escape my memory, as the one that was scored by Morton Stevens that featured Bette Davis who gets revenge on Matt by kidnapping Miss Kitty.

    Fantastic Morton Stevens scores:

    SEVEN HOURS TO DAWN (1965, emmy nominated)
    THE JAILER (1966, guest stars Bette Davis & Bruce Dern)
    MAJOR GLORY (1967, emmy nominated)
    NEW DOCTOR IN TOWN (1971, Mort's final score for series)

     
     Posted:   Aug 25, 2017 - 8:40 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    Gold and Bernstein each scored one episode only.


    I have some extra time today, so a few extras, though not much is going on to report:


    "Badge"
    By: Leith Stevens

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    Mediocre episode.



    "Distant Drummer"
    By: Rene Garriguenc


    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    Mediocre episode.



    "No Chip"
    By: Lucien Moraweck
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNaTGSwBup0

    The first of two episodes Lucien scored.

    Highlights:
  • About 2:40 in.

    An okay episode.



    "The Wake"
    By: Jerry Goldsmith
    Suite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIJKjVa5f0s

    Same as the last Goldsmith score, nothing particularly memorable or interesting.

    Again, the complete score minus saloon source music.




    Stay tuned next hour for more, bring in Bernard Herrmann and another Goldsmith.

  •  
     Posted:   Aug 25, 2017 - 9:42 AM   
     By:   Paul Ettinger   (Member)

    There's actually enough out there to cobble together your own ersatz GUNSMOKE CD.
    This is one I assembled. I think its mostly sourced from the Film Music Society's CBS WESTERNS CD, and the titles are from one of the TELEVISIONS GREATEST HITS CDS. (Vol.4 ?)

    Gunsmoke (49:05)

    1. Rex Kourey: Titles 1:38

    Bernard Herrmann: Harriet (11:00)
    2. Two Riders 1:02
    3. Gone at Last 1:03
    4. Harriet #1 1:23
    5. Harriet #2 0:46
    6. Not Talking 0:44
    7. You're Tired 0:27
    8. The Fare Game 0:26
    9. The Plan's Working 0:56
    10. I'll Be Their Hangman 0:40
    11. Afternoon Ride 0:50
    12. Something's Wrong 1:02
    13. Don't Shoot 0:36
    14. Finale 1:05

    Bernard Herrmann: The Tall Trapper (9:24)
    15. Opening/ Climb Down Tassie 0:54
    16. Just Keep Your Eyes Off Him 0:31
    17. Get Out the Bedrolls While I'm Gone 0:56
    18. Rowley Arrives at the Town 0:29
    19. Rowley and Doc Return to the Wagon 1:07
    20. Your Wife's Been Murdered 0:24
    21. The Marshall Rides to Rowley's Wagon 0:31
    22. Looking for the Body/ Pawnee Grave 0:38
    23. Arresting the Trapper 0:49
    24. Trapper In Jail 0:56
    25. You'll Get a Fair Trial/ Act Out 0:15
    26. Act In/ Chester Brings Dinner 0:10
    27. Jail Break 0:45
    28. Rowley Arrives at the Pawnee Grave 0:45
    29. You're Free to Go 0:49

    Jerome Moross: Stolen Horses (10:08)
    30. The Horse Theft/ Kitty/ Riding/ The Shack/
    In the Bushes/ The Captive/ Kurch/ Back at
    the Ranch/ Chief Quick Knife/ Farewell 10:08

    Franz Waxman: The Raid (15:57)
    31. The Holdup/ The Challenge/ Guns for Sale/
    The Pursuit/ All is Clear/ The Posse/ The Hideout/
    Matt and Festus/ More Dead Outlaws/ The Last Two/
    Between the Rocks/ Finale 15:57

     
     Posted:   Aug 25, 2017 - 10:15 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "Unloaded Gun"
    By: Lyn Murray
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTKe2Jny1Qc

    Highlights:
  • 4:10 in: starts with two woodwinds holding notes slowly, with more woodwinds and a little brass joining in to some uneasy tension. Around the end a cello bass joins in.
  • About 8:20 in: another similar cue.
  • About 13:20: some dark cello bass quickly descending, with similar sounds as in the above two cues.
  • 13 50 in: a bouncy cue with woodwinds and brass and some cello bass as Chester plays around, as Matt is out cold from being ill.
  • 17:18 in: a short but nice cue with descending strings as miss Kitty comes downstairs.

    This score is an immediate improvement over his first effort. I'd even be inclined to say the whole score should be released.

    An okay episode.




    "The Tall Trapper"
    By: Bernard Herrmann
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmf2DpojndA

    I made the decision to view the episode rather than find a suite on Youtube from the CD.

    The first of three episodes Herrmann scored, though the scoring was tracked into other episodes as well.
    This is one of three episode scores that did get released, on a Film Music Society CD. Of course with today's mastering capabilities, it should be brought out anew, unless FMS has held onto the rights.

    Highlights:
  • About 3:20: a mellow piece with cellos, with a brief brass ending. About 3:55 it picks back up.
  • About 5:40 in: some brass with trembling strings. Looks and sounds like the episode was edited.
  • 7:02 in: some lucked strings with brass playing over for a kind of uneasy mysterious sound. Probably more than the scene needed, but musically it's fine.
  • 10:15 in: some somber riding music.
  • 16:53 in: a couple of bassoons bounce around with strings a little brass joining in. It picks back up briefly after the commercial break.
    About 24: 18 in: some strings giving a sad sound for sad ending.

    A fine score deserving of a full release.

    An okay episode.

    The CD:
    http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/catalog/soundtrackdetail.php?movieid=69873




    "Love Thy Neighbor"
    By: Jerry Goldsmith
    Suite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNdDxZqyf8

    Complete episode score. An okay score, nothing to get excited over.



    "Bad Seed"
    By: Nathan Scott
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h44GItZvNhY

    Scott's final score for the series.

    Highlights:
  • Nothing.

    An okay episode.




    The final set of reviews for today will include another Goldsmith, more Herrmann and a one-time effort for the show.

  •  
     Posted:   Aug 25, 2017 - 11:41 AM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "Kitty Shot"
    By: Bernard Herrmann
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2uNW3cfQiM

    Highlights:
  • 4:58 in: quick woodwinds puffs with a contra bassoon as Matt rides around on the hunt for the men who shot Kitty. Some steady brass notes building with a tuba going back down as Matt gets in a shootout.
  • About 11:37: what sounds like bassoon and trumpet staccato clusters for a fight.
  • About 13:15 in: slow staccato woodwinds with brass holding long building notes over them.

    An okay episode.

    Over all some fine scoring, but I'm not sure about the whole thing. But it is Herrmann, and the tapes- - if they survive -- are undoubtedly old, so I guess preserving the whole thing is in order.

    The held notes remind me of that scene from "Batman: The Animated Series" where Bruce is trying to read a book in "Perchance to Dream". I'd like to think Walker took inspiration from Herrmann. Would dissonant be a right way to describe it?

    Dilion: "All right, mister. Maybe there's more than one way to get you..."




    "Harriet"
    By: Bernard Herrmann
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ba6aCwm9cE

    Highlights:
  • About 3:18 in: some quick string runs, quick pizzicato strings, harp plucks and woodwinds as the bad guys take off. Ends with some sad music.
  • 6:30 in: some warm strings with woodwinds as Doc is tending to Harriet.
  • 20:18: some soft brass with strings and a flute playing in unison for a nice scenery view.
  • About 23:30 in: some brief action with strings; the cue transitions into a more relaxed sound as the edit takes things back to Dodge.

    An okay episode. Unfortunately the actress is more eye candy than actress.

    I know it's supposed to be acting, but I swear that actress is giving the actor who plays Chester, the I like you eyes for real at the end of the episode.




    "Old Faces"
    By: Jerry Goldsmith
    Suite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPPT8rdaRYI

    Complete episode score, minus the saloon source music.

    There's nothing of note here.



    "Little Girl"
    By: William Lava
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sylxYlZU7dc

    This is the only episode Lava scored.

    Highlights:
  • About 4:46: some light bouncy brass with a woodwind playing over. Then it changes after an ascending harp run to some moderately paced brass bounces with the woodwind playing the little girl's theme. Some strings take over and it ends with a slower ascending harp run.
  • The next cue
  • About 24:23 in: some plucked strings with an oboe(?) playing. Some strings and brass build to the close of the episode.

    There are a number of pleasant bouncy cues as the first one I mentioned, but they're all varied enough and lovely enough I'd would be nice to have them all.

    Over all a fine effort, maybe a second tier effort. I'd love to hear the score as recorded and not edited to fit the episode.





    Jerome Moross and Leonard Rosenman tomorrow.

  •  
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