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 Posted:   Jan 11, 2008 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   Sehnsuchtshafen   (Member)

Thanks, David for the fascinating details. I could take more of them...

Wasn't the sharing credit thing something like a tradition - or bad habit - at Universal studios when Joseph Gershenson took over the music department, a tradition founded by Charles Previn?

MMM, which composers got fired in the late fifties and why?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2008 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

Hans Salter and others got plenty of credits in the 1940s. Every contract composer got fired around '58, and many of the free-lancers never or seldom worked on films again. While there were exceptions, most of Universal's "B" pictures began to be scored entirely from pre-existing (tracked) music.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2008 - 11:56 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Bravo, David, and thanks from this corner, too!

A few tidbits, starting with the item mentioned just above. The impression I got from Hans Salter was that if two composers collaborated they would share credit but three or more would mean that the musical director got credit. I assume that's why Charles Previn got credit for being musical director on THE WOLF MAN but no credit went to his fellow-composers on that particular score, Skinner and Salter.

Might that Gershenson oral history be in the Academy library? Warren Sherk's oral history bio of Hans is one of many such volumes on their shelves.

My own CINEFANTASTIQUE Magazine interview, "The Ghost of Hans J. Salter," will be reprinted in the next MacFarland book of interviews by Tom Weaver, (title still to be determined). In it, you can read Hans's memories of Gershenson AND Previn. (And, as a matter of fact, his memories of serving in what might be called a "supplementary" capacity on THE WAR LORD).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2008 - 12:03 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

By the 1950s, the "rule" was if a composer wrote 80% of the music he'd get credit, but things just didn't always happen this way. And there were many instances where only two composers wrote a score and neither got credit. Stein's and Gertz's {mostly Stein's} score for the classic Audie Murphy western NO NAME ON THE BULLET is just one example.

I thought the Gershenson oral history was at the AFI. Is there a list on the internet somewhere of what oral histories are where, at least pertaining to the AFI and/or the Academy? I don't recall ever listening to oral histories at the Academy, but I did at the AFI.

Great news about your monumental Salter interview. That one deserves to stay in print!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2008 - 3:53 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

I don't know if AFI or the Academy has put their listings online, but they both certainly oughta. If you've read other oral histrories at AFI, then you probably read Gershenson's there, too. I just happen to have been familiar with the Academy's stash, that's all. Though it does seem somehow as if Hans and Gershenson should be in the same collection, doesn't it?

smile

Thanks for the kind words,

P.

 
 Posted:   Jul 4, 2010 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   Sehnsuchtshafen   (Member)

Did Joe really conduct anything from Spartacus? He receives credit for "Additional Conduting". Rich?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 4, 2010 - 12:19 PM   
 By:   mrscott   (Member)

Joseph Gershenson was the brother of Josephine Gershendaughter.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 4, 2010 - 1:39 PM   
 By:   Ed Nassour   (Member)

Did Joe really conduct anything from Spartacus? He receives credit for "Additional Conduting". Rich?

Yes, Gershenson did conduct some of "Spartacus." The reason was twofold. For some cues North wanted to be in the mix booth during a rehearsal. So Gershenson would conduct for him. And the other reason was North's chronic bad back. Having one myself I can readily understand the agony of a compresses disc and how it limit's one's mobility. I suspect Gershenson conducted portions of the score heard in the film.

I feel Gershenson was an accomplished conductor. But then most studios had good conductors. Morris Stoloff at Columbia was quite good. Ray Heindorf at Warner Brothers was immensely talented with the baton. John Green at Metro was almost up there with Alfred Newman when it came to conducting. After he took over as head of the music dept. he went about improving the studio's contract orchestra by firing marginal players and replacing them with best he could find. Green was also responsible for the vast improvements made to the MGM scoring stage. Too bad Green didn't compose more film scores. He was also a terrific film composer.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2016 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   creedle   (Member)

Recent interview on Joseph Gershenson with his daughter Dr. Lillian Gershenson Carson on WFMU:

http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/70061

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2016 - 5:55 PM   
 By:   waxmanman35   (Member)

After Gershenson left Universal he operated a music library with one of the Lubin's (not sure whether Harry or Arthur). Surprisingly the library consisted of Universal's tracks from the 'fifties, and somehow circumvented AFM reuse issues. I'd heard original tracks from "Creature From the Black Lagoon," "Black Shield of Falworth," and other U music scores tracked in early 'sixties independent productions and even cartoons. I learned about the library from Sam Sherman, who used the service for films he worked on. He said he would call Gershenson, tell him the type of film, and Gershenson would send him a bunch of tracks to audition. Some years later out of curiosity I called Gershenson to inquire about the fate of those library tracks. I obviously caught him at a bad time and he only said that "Lubin had it all."

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2016 - 10:13 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

Gershenson was producing partner with Milton Schwarzwald at Nu-Art productions. They made quite a few one-reel musicals (Gershenson also acted as Musical Director and would later succeed Schwarzwald upon his death as M.D. at Universal-International) for RKO. They also produced some two-reelers for Universal (including the incredible RHAPSODY IN ZOO). I have prints of many of these shorts and provided digital versions for Gershenson's granddaughter recently.

Here's a link to my youtube one of the Nu-Art shorts:

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2016 - 3:29 PM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

Gershenson remained at Universal until '69, when he was replaced by their television music director Stanley Wilson, who would die shortly thereafter. Gershenson actually started his career for the B.F. Keith Radio (precursor to R.K.O. Radio) performing violin in their pit orchestra before he ever came to Universal.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 24, 2016 - 7:39 AM   
 By:   jkannry   (Member)

Why were studios shutting down music depts in late 50s?

 
 Posted:   Dec 24, 2016 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   SBD   (Member)

Why were studios shutting down music depts in late 50s?

Short answer: collapse of the studio system, I would think.
Long answer: ...beats me.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2017 - 5:10 PM   
 By:   TheIrishman   (Member)

By the 1950s, the "rule" was if a composer wrote 80% of the music he'd get credit, but things just didn't always happen this way. And there were many instances where only two composers wrote a score and neither got credit.

I understand those films where the (single) composer gets credit, and those with multiple composers and/or re-used music, where Gershenson gets credit. But what does it mean, when one single composer gets credit AND Gershenson as music director?

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2017 - 7:02 AM   
 By:   waxmanman35   (Member)

By the 1950s, the "rule" was if a composer wrote 80% of the music he'd get credit, but things just didn't always happen this way. And there were many instances where only two composers wrote a score and neither got credit.

I understand those films where the (single) composer gets credit, and those with multiple composers and/or re-used music, where Gershenson gets credit. But what does it mean, when one single composer gets credit AND Gershenson as music director?


There's nothing unusual about that. In the 'forties Charles Previn, the head of Universal's music department, usually received credit as music director on the films where he supervised the music. The composer would also be credited. For those 'B films that consisted almost entirely of library music only the music director would be credited, usually Previn but often Salter.

I'd be curious to know if Previn and Gershenson received credit contractually.

 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2017 - 8:02 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

Reading through this discussion, I was intrigued by Preston's mention of his interview with Hans Salter being reprinted in a Tom Weaver collection.

After some internet sleuthing I found out all about Mr. Weaver's collections of interviews with the stars and makers of all the glorious old, terrible old horror and sci fi movies. Only knew about the Black Lagoon trilogy book thanks to co-author MMM talking it up around these parts.

Anyhow, I discovered that Preston's interview is in the collection with the best title - I Talked with a Zombie. And it's not only available in paperback but also as a kindle ebook, my desired format. As is MMM's Creature Chronicles. Excellent!

for anyone interested, here's the publication page: http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-9571-9

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 12, 2017 - 12:58 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Thanks, Sean! Re-reading this thread just now, I saw that it could be updated with the book title, so thanks for saving me the trouble. (I, too, love Tom's ZOMBIE title.)

And thank you, Creedle, for finding and linking that interview with Mr. G's daughter. Can't wait to listen to it.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 13, 2017 - 2:30 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

Why were studios shutting down music depts in late 50s?

Short answer: collapse of the studio system, I would think.
Long answer: ...beats me.




My theory is that when the musicians strike hit the Hollywood film business in the 1957-58 period, the studios realized that they could record their scores in England, Germany, Italy, or Mexico just as well (at least to their ears) as the scores were done in Hollywood---and at much cheaper prices.

Why keep a contracted orchestra on staff at the studio where once you recorded scores for your 50 releases a year and now were recording for only 15-25 films?

Once the move was made---particularly with work going to England---the die was cast and it has truly never been the same since.

 
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