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The Space Children/The Colossus of New York (1958)
Music by Nathan Van Cleave
The Space Children/The Colossus of New York The Space Children/The Colossus of New York
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 1500
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: September 2011
Catalog #: Vol. 14, No. 15
# of Discs: 1

The two films on this FSM “double feature” arrived near the end of the first Golden Age of cinematic science fiction, launched in 1951 with The Thing From Another World and The Day the Earth Stood Still. By the time William Alland produced The Space Children and The Colossus of New York in 1958, box office was down and budgets where correspondingly smaller.

Creativity and imagination are priceless, however, and composer Van Cleave scored both of these films with the same affinity for the genre he had shown in The Conquest of Space (1955) and would demonstrate again in Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and Project X (1968).
 
What The Space Children lacked in production values it compensated for with a thought-provoking storyline about children saving the world from the brink of nuclear annihilation at the behest of a benign alien being. Van Cleave’s eerie but economical score (for an ensemble of 15 instruments, including electric violin and 3 organs—including a Novachord) evokes the alien’s other-worldly presence throughout the film.
 
Loosely based on the legend of the Golem, The Colossus of New York starred Ross Martin as a brilliant scientist whose brain is encased in a Frankenstein-like mechanical body after his death, with tragic results for himself and his family. Van Cleave (who received invaluable assistance on the score from the late Fred Steiner) complimented the film’s black-and-white photography with—almost literally—a “black-and-white” score for three keyboard players. Avoiding the emotional expressiveness of strings and other instruments for the more limited colors of piano (augmented by organ and celesta) led Van Cleave to create one of the most strikingly original science fiction scores ever written.
 
The relative obscurity of both films has kept these two fascinating scores largely under wraps—until now. With this release, fans can appreciate—for the first time—Van Cleave’s scores for The Space Children and The Colossus of New York in their entirety. FSM has remastered the music for both movies from surviving 35mm three-track stereo music masters, supplemented by cues from the films’ monaural music stems (with a light stereo ambience added to enhance listenability). The 20-page booklet includes an informative essay by Jeff Bond and numerous film stills in stunning black-and-white.
Nathan Van Cleave Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Nathan Van Cleave (1910-1970) began his career in New York City as a jazz trumpeter and big band arranger. He joined the staff of CBS radio in 1935, and came to Hollywood a decade later to begin working as an arranger and orchestrator for Paramount. There he began scoring features (initially uncredited) and eventually expanded into television work. In addition to work on Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and I Spy, he scored twelve episodes of The Twilight Zone—more than any other single composer. IMDB

Comments (65):Log in or register to post your own comments
http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/16319/THE-SPACE-CHILDREN-THE-COLOSSUS-OF-NEW-YORK/

Oh. My. God.

Excellent. Ordered immediately.

Any box sets in the remaining titles Lukas?

.

wuh, huh? First "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" and now these. Incredible. Just plain incredible! You guys can sure keep a secret.

These are the little gems that have been a hallmark of Lukas's tenure as label exec. I'm sure they don't always sell all that well and are overlooked by many, but I'm so glad to have the opportunity to get these obscure little scores and expand beyond my usual film music horizons a bit on occasion.

I'm well acquainted with The Space Children and it's likely a must have for die hard 50s sci-fi fans (Charles Thaxton to name just one!) who love the electronic sounds and ambience of that period. I've seen The Colossus of New York some time ago and don't remember the score off hand, but the samples are fascinating with the ensemble used. I'd be happy with just the Space Children, but the addition of Colossus is a nice value add that makes this an easy decision to get!

Excellent. Ordered immediately.

Any box sets in the remaining titles Lukas?[/endquote]

No more box sets. They drove me to drink. lk

Back, a bazillion years ago, when Varese released the Twilight Zone (TV) scores on LP, I remember COLOSSUS being mentioned in the liner notes, and its unusual instrumentation.

I was very interested in it and shrugged my shoulders about ever hearing it, or even seeing the film.

And here it's happening!

I'd be happy with just the Space Children, but the addition of Colossus is a nice value add that makes this an easy decision to get![/endquote]

The Space Children score is a real find---the movie's very obscure, but the score is like a summary of '50s sci-fi sounds, wrapped up with a big Novachord bow. And Colossus is a chilling little number, stark in its use of pianos (you can get goosebumps watching it again, on the newly-issued DVD).

SPACE CHILDREN needs a proper DVD release as well.

(CD ordered, BTW) :)

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
Space Children
The Colossus of New York

Leader (Conductor):
Irvin Talbot

Violin:
Elliot Fisher

Bass:
Anton Torello

French Horn:
Willard Culley, Charles Peel, Jr., Gale H. Robinson

Trumpet:
Sidney Lazar

Trombone:
George Arus, Joe Colvin, Vernon Friley

Tuba:
Ray Siegel

Piano:
John Crown, Natalie Limonick, Harry Sukman

Organ:
Jack Cookerly, Chauncey Haines, Wesley Tourtellotte

Drums:
Roland Hallberg, Bernie Mattinson

Orchestra Manager:
Phillip Kahgan

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