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 Posted:   Dec 5, 2018 - 8:32 PM   
 By:   Joseph Marcello   (Member)

Greetings Film Score Friends - known and unknown,

Spoiler alert: do you recognize the elder chap in the accompanying photo? He's (to quote a lovely line from Son of Frankenstein) '. . .a very old and dear friend' of ours. . .even those of us who have never had the delight of meeting him.

This, then, is an out-of-the-blue word from a film-music buff who happens also to be a lifelong musician & music lover - a composer, but not for film, save a sole documentary on the Biltmore Estates, but rather many concert works, chamber, choral, orchestral - as well as stage musicals for regional venues, as well as a music journalist and co-author of the MagicImage Filmbook, 'The Wolf Man,' as well as, on the non-musical side, an author of books on health & well-being.

While I am utterly new to the site, I recognize names of several friends and colleagues - most notably my boyhood. . .indeed, "life-hood," bestest of best friends, Preston Neal Jones - long known to me as 'PJ', with whom I first trod the Dark Fantastic in New Canaan as schoolobys in 1958, where I nudged him from his passion for Mad Magazine into a love of the Universal horror canon, eventually producing full-length typed screenplays of both the monster series, as well as original sequels to them. . .We should have had an agent. . .(My guilty memory reminds me that, before I even knew who this freckle-faced, auburn-haired cherub might be, I, out of sheer wish to belong, agreed to an unkind plot on the part of 3 fellow classmates to distract & sabotage Preston while at recess, snatching his Mad paperback book and handing it off to a chain of runners to outdistance him. I was the final runner - and quite proud of my blinding speed, but I found myself so unexpectedly touched by the mad desperation of this slightly pudgy fellow, who, to my surprise, kept well apace of me a yard or so behind, that I was moved to cease the infliction of further suffering and turn to hand him his beloved book. . .Preston, my laddy, forgive me my mindless participation in that needless childhood folly. . .)

And that initial connection and fast friendship was to be sequeled with decades of pilgrimages focused around long Thanksgiving weekends, when the city mouse would slip out of Grand Central, northbound, with peak eagerness, to buddy up with the country mouse for3 hallowed days in a self-sustaining annex out of adult sight-lines, as there were dreams to dream, movies to ogle, scripts to write, graves to be dug, moonlit walks to be taken, and fall leaf piles to bury ourselves in.

And, ultimately and most notably, to share my long friendship - via correspondence and phone - with Hans J. Salter (kick-started by an 8 page typed letter detailing all his glories, score by score, which he described as 'the most exhaustive letter he had ever received,) with Preston, sending him, on his way to Hollywood, equipped with the contact information that eventually led to his epochal interviews with Hans, resulting in the epic Cinefantastique interview/article which answered years of unresolved questions with soul-fulfilling first-hand narrative straight from Hans' Viennese-accented lips, soul-food for those marked by the sign of the Pentagram and all its haunting Muses.

However, this fulfillment, over the course of the past half century, has been counterbalanced by my quiet, ongoing chagrin at having half-written and never sent a similar ode to Frank Skinner about his respective glories, still in my possession, and a thorn in my spiritual side of never having completed my chance to touch base with this quiet treasure of a man and composer, only to be heard of second hand - and far too briefly and tantalizingly - from Hans. However, an old-fashioned and hopelessly devotional soul such as I could never leave such untied ends loose, and through the years I pursued Frank vicariously, through dialogues with his niece, Susan Boblitt, daughter of Frank's most beloved older brother.

If I do nothing else in this venue, I vow to accord Frank Skinner the honor and acclaim - and, to some extent, reclamation - that he so fervently deserves, because, although his Muses were to cool notably after the Halcyon glory of the Magical Decade, 1939 -'49 (as, for that matter, arguably did those of Hans, Franz, Heinz, Miklos and many another inspired music-man) there was true and genuine depth and brilliance in the creations of that time which not infrequently far outstripped their filmic narratives.

My years of friendship with the family have yielded resources and information which every Skinner lover might well cherish, and which I will endeavor to share as soon as I reasonably can. The purpose of this 'note in a bottle' teaser is simply to let fellow travelers know that at least one journeyman is in possession of a copy of the 'Secrets of Life & Death' by the elusive icon of Frank Skinner, and that he will do his best to share at least excerpts as and when he can in the hopefully near future.

To those similarly smitten by the mystery and magic of Frank Skinner, I offer the patient, faithful philosophy of our old chum Preston, who, like the proverbial tortoise to my improvident hare, would always intone, 'All things come to those who wait. . .' even if, after the better part of a lifetime, it seems too late to hope further. . .

Cheers,
JM

 
 Posted:   Dec 5, 2018 - 9:31 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

The only "Skinner" I know is from THE X-FILES.
Oh well, welcome to the FSM Board aka "the usual gang of idiots"!
Brm

 
 Posted:   Dec 5, 2018 - 10:43 PM   
 By:   Zoragoth   (Member)

I look forward to hearing more! Skinner and Salter are fabulous composers. Since Halloween I've been reveling all over again in the spectacular Stromberg/Morgan re-recordings of their wonderful Universal scores.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 5, 2018 - 10:56 PM   
 By:   Jim Cleveland   (Member)

Your profile says you've been a member since 2009!?!?!
Ummmm.... why did you wait so long to post?
BTW and FYI.... I noticed you stated you are the recipient of the "Delius" award..... Delius taught at the university that I live a five-minute walk from!

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2018 - 7:27 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Welcome! What an epic first post! I’m curious to read your partial Skinner letter if you feel like sharing it — I too am a fan of his music. Would particularly love his score for Hitchcock’s Saboteur to come out some day.

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2018 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Joe - howdy.

Here's my most recent post about our man Frank:

http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=132409&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2018 - 12:05 PM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

Skinner was a fine composer. Would love to see a release of The Appaloosa.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2018 - 12:20 PM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

The only "Skinner" I know is from THE X-FILES.
Oh well, welcome to the FSM Board aka "the usual gang of idiots"!
Brm


And the FRANK Skinner we Brits know has nothing to do with The X-Files or old Hollywood, but he is a fan of good stuff like we're all into on this very forum.

And that Hollywood stuff is great Ray. Love what you're doing generally actually. Preserving the real deal.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2018 - 12:45 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

I was trying to help the Skinner Estate many years ago regarding royalties, through Susan. I also knew Gladys Skinner, who was in charge of Frank's business and music matters before Susan took over. Do you still have contact with the family? I'm doing some work for the estates of other Universal composers, and Skinner's music is connected with some of that. I can be reached at gileadmusic@earthlink.net

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 6, 2018 - 2:31 PM   
 By:   roy phillippe   (Member)

Greetings Film Score Friends - known and unknown,

Spoiler alert: do you recognize the elder chap in the accompanying photo? He's (to quote a lovely line from Son of Frankenstein) '. . .a very old and dear friend' of ours. . .even those of us who have never had the delight of meeting him.

This, then, is an out-of-the-blue word from a film-music buff who happens also to be a lifelong musician & music lover - a composer, but not for film, save a sole documentary on the Biltmore Estates, but rather many concert works, chamber, choral, orchestral - as well as stage musicals for regional venues, as well as a music journalist and co-author of the MagicImage Filmbook, 'The Wolf Man,' as well as, on the non-musical side, an author of books on health & well-being.

While I am utterly new to the site, I recognize names of several friends and colleagues - most notably my boyhood. . .indeed, "life-hood," bestest of best friends, Preston Neal Jones - long known to me as 'PJ', with whom I first trod the Dark Fantastic in New Canaan as schoolobys in 1958, where I nudged him from his passion for Mad Magazine into a love of the Universal horror canon, eventually producing full-length typed screenplays of both the monster series, as well as original sequels to them. . .We should have had an agent. . .(My guilty memory reminds me that, before I even knew who this freckle-faced, auburn-haired cherub might be, I, out of sheer wish to belong, agreed to an unkind plot on the part of 3 fellow classmates to distract & sabotage Preston while at recess, snatching his Mad paperback book and handing it off to a chain of runners to outdistance him. I was the final runner - and quite proud of my blinding speed, but I found myself so unexpectedly touched by the mad desperation of this slightly pudgy fellow, who, to my surprise, kept well apace of me a yard or so behind, that I was moved to cease the infliction of further suffering and turn to hand him his beloved book. . .Preston, my laddy, forgive me my mindless participation in that needless childhood folly. . .)

And that initial connection and fast friendship was to be sequeled with decades of pilgrimages focused around long Thanksgiving weekends, when the city mouse would slip out of Grand Central, northbound, with peak eagerness, to buddy up with the country mouse for3 hallowed days in a self-sustaining annex out of adult sight-lines, as there were dreams to dream, movies to ogle, scripts to write, graves to be dug, moonlit walks to be taken, and fall leaf piles to bury ourselves in.

And, ultimately and most notably, to share my long friendship - via correspondence and phone - with Hans J. Salter (kick-started by an 8 page typed letter detailing all his glories, score by score, which he described as 'the most exhaustive letter he had ever received,) with Preston, sending him, on his way to Hollywood, equipped with the contact information that eventually led to his epochal interviews with Hans, resulting in the epic Cinefantastique interview/article which answered years of unresolved questions with soul-fulfilling first-hand narrative straight from Hans' Viennese-accented lips, soul-food for those marked by the sign of the Pentagram and all its haunting Muses.

However, this fulfillment, over the course of the past half century, has been counterbalanced by my quiet, ongoing chagrin at having half-written and never sent a similar ode to Frank Skinner about his respective glories, still in my possession, and a thorn in my spiritual side of never having completed my chance to touch base with this quiet treasure of a man and composer, only to be heard of second hand - and far too briefly and tantalizingly - from Hans. However, an old-fashioned and hopelessly devotional soul such as I could never leave such untied ends loose, and through the years I pursued Frank vicariously, through dialogues with his niece, Susan Boblitt, daughter of Frank's most beloved older brother.

If I do nothing else in this venue, I vow to accord Frank Skinner the honor and acclaim - and, to some extent, reclamation - that he so fervently deserves, because, although his Muses were to cool notably after the Halcyon glory of the Magical Decade, 1939 -'49 (as, for that matter, arguably did those of Hans, Franz, Heinz, Miklos and many another inspired music-man) there was true and genuine depth and brilliance in the creations of that time which not infrequently far outstripped their filmic narratives.

My years of friendship with the family have yielded resources and information which every Skinner lover might well cherish, and which I will endeavor to share as soon as I reasonably can. The purpose of this 'note in a bottle' teaser is simply to let fellow travelers know that at least one journeyman is in possession of a copy of the 'Secrets of Life & Death' by the elusive icon of Frank Skinner, and that he will do his best to share at least excerpts as and when he can in the hopefully near future.

To those similarly smitten by the mystery and magic of Frank Skinner, I offer the patient, faithful philosophy of our old chum Preston, who, like the proverbial tortoise to my improvident hare, would always intone, 'All things come to those who wait. . .' even if, after the better part of a lifetime, it seems too late to hope further. . .

Cheers,
JM


Mr. Skinner wrote the first text on the technique of writing, arranging and recording film music. His self published "Underscore" (1950) contains text and many musical examples from his scores from his years at Universal. It was later published by Criterion Music Corp.

 
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