OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

General goings on in the 1966 Batman World

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John Mack
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OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by John Mack » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:53 am

Hi everyone! I realize many of you don't care about the music in the series beyond the "DAH DAH DAH BATMAN!" Theme, but I wanted to to start this thread and add to it every now and then about the Batman music that really has been my passion with the series. Let me tell you all, it's the music that is the drive behind the BAT! Please post any and all posts about the LPs, or anything Batmusic related here. I hope I haven't over-stepped any board rules here. I have always thought a MUSIC section was needed in addition to the "Bat crafts" and "Bat Merchandise" sections.

A LITTLE OF MY BACKROUND:

As a young boy of 5 to 7 years. I sat in front of the TV during the third season recording the Billy May music on my cassette tape recorder, the microphone place just so in front of the TV's lone speaker to record the music from the show.

As I grew older, my quest for PURE Batmusic started. That is, Batman music without the sound effects or dialog over the music. The Batman soundtrack LP from 1966 only has a few songs unaffected by either dialog or sound effects.

There's a version of the opening of the pilot episode that has no Dozier voice over, and while that is NOT what will appear in the November 11th DVD release, was most welcome to my endeavours as a Batmusic fan.

I am a BATMUSIC FAN. This means, I am set alone from all other fans from the series. There are those of you who are more interested in the props, Batmobile, sets, and costumes. You all have your place to go and talk to one another. I am a Batmusic fan and have no place to go to talk exclusively about the music. So...

The music has always been THE thing that has drawn me to the show. I know that many of you aren't that involved with the music, so I don't expect a huge number of replies to this thread. Call it selfish if you must, but I wanted a place to go to discuss the music in the different scenes without having to search through threads for it. I will be posting here much of the time. Feel free to add positive or negative comments within the board's rules. I look forward to at least bringing you my thoughts and feelings towards the series through the musical aspects of the show.

My first question is why did Nelson Riddle get selected for the music for the series, when Neal Hefti did the theme song? The answer that comes to mind is that Hefti was busy with other projects. But his release of his Batman Theme LP would suggest otherwise. His tracks on the the "studio" LP seemed like they were all poised to become the cues to the show. Indeed, if you listen to the Penguin and Mr. Freeze tracks, there's no reason why Hefti's music could not have been used. His Penguin Theme song, was just as catchy as Riddle's in my opinion and his Mr. Freeze track was actually much more completed than Riddle's cue. I wonder if Hefti had recorded these tracks hoping to become the series composer and then, for some reason, Riddle was called in to complete the series. Scott had lunch with Neal, but it was neither the time nor the place to ask such questions. Now he is gone and I suspect we'll never have the answer. I'm betting Neal was originally slotted to do the music and something went "sideways."


I'll see where this thread goes and then add my thoughts along the way, I have a feeling it will be just like talking to myself with my posts being the only ones in the thread, but I had to start this. Like I said, I don't expect many replies here, but this is the place to go if you have any questions about the music. Lee, I'll need your help here if you're around. I know you're busy and that is a GOOD thing, so don't get freaked. Just add your knowledge if you have time.

John
Music. BAT! Music.

robinboyblunderer
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by robinboyblunderer » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:17 pm

Interesting. I never knew there were unused alternate tracks. From what I have heard, I think Riddle's themes are pretty effective. Probably from watching the episodes so many times I can easily recall each of the major criminal's themes, from Catwoman's minor-key (?) music to King Tut's egyptian motif.

I think it's too bad that Bookworm's theme as reused for Lord Ffogg and other miscellaneous villains. Heck, maybe that theme was first written for Zelda, I don't recall, but I prefer each villain to have their own music.

While Batgirl had her theme (and boy, is the main bat-fight theme really appreciated when heard in the King Tut/batcave fight), I don't think Robin did. Not that he was solo that often but I don't recall any distinctive music for his character, aside from the music used for both him and Batman together.

Joker, Penguin, Catwoman and Riddler all had music that really fit them, that worked for the characters.

I also appreciated the slightly altered, medieval fight theme music that was used with Archer. I think it was Archer.

I think this is an interesting topic, and perhaps more people will chime in with their opinions of the music. I think it was so well done that no one notices it; the audience hears the music, it has the desired effect but because it works so well, it doesn't become the focus of conversation.

I don't think you're being "selfish", at least not with the negative connotation of that word, this forum is a valid place to have a Bat-music discussion.

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svl
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by svl » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:53 pm

Perhaps Riddle was a "studio contract player", and was under thumb (and most likely underpaid) for whatever work they needed done. Or perhaps he just came in and underbid Hefti, very commonplace practice then and now.

I've never delved into the shows music (a little bizarre, as I've been a professional musician most of my life), now I'm amped up to go hear what Hefti did...

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BatMite
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by BatMite » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:24 pm

I've never noticed music specific to the villains but I'll be listening closer now for sure.

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epaddon
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by epaddon » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:57 pm

In those days it was very common for music cues to be recycled to save money and minimize the costs of commissioning an original score for every episode. This is something BTW that can't be done any longer as the contracts with musicians unions now mandate an original score for every episode and no recycling of cues.

Some producers though like Quinn Martin, tried to save money on music by using library music for every episode as was the case on "The Fugitive". So while Dozier was noted for being a cost-cutter, on music he was better than some of his contemporaries.

I would love to have the original score music by Riddle and later May released on CD. I really have no interest in the novelty LPs released at the time since that isn't what we heard on the show.

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John Mack
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by John Mack » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:52 pm

BatMite wrote:I've never noticed music specific to the villains but I'll be listening closer now for sure.
Oh sure, a good example for you to listen to is the 66 movie theme. Whenever each villain appears, their theme song starts.

Just so you guys know, the Hefti LP I am talking about is the one shown here.

Also, lets not forget that Warren Barker did the Marsha episodes. I have always wondered why Riddle didn't do the music for those episodes.

Also2: Riddle was a bit lazy in his work. Bookworm's music was also reprised in the Black Widow episodes ;)
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John Mack
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by John Mack » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:57 pm

"I would love to have the original score music by Riddle and later May released on CD. I really have no interest in the novelty LPs released at the time since that isn't what we heard on the show."

Oh, I know how you feel, but the Marketts' Batman Theme LP is heads above any novelty record. And you're missing a good track on the Batboys LP called, "Cheatin' Charlie" that is really good as well. For those who don't know the Batboys LP, I put a photo here for you.

John
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John Mack
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by John Mack » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:00 pm

"I don't think Robin did. Not that he was solo that often but I don't recall any distinctive music for his character, aside from the music used for both him and Batman together."

No, but the Robin the Boy Wonder song on the Marketts' LP is sure good.
Music. BAT! Music.

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epaddon
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by epaddon » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:42 pm

Batguitarist wrote:
BatMite wrote:Also2: Riddle was a bit lazy in his work. Bookworm's music was also reprised in the Black Widow episodes ;)
That's not a case of Riddle being lazy, that's a case of the producer deciding to save money by using a library cue from before. RIddle gets a credit for the episode because he wrote the music originally but it was never the composer's call on whether or not an episode would have a predominantly original score or not.

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John Mack
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by John Mack » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:14 pm

Point taken. That really is horrible. To score music and then not have a say so with it. Any idea why Warren Barker of Bewitched fame did the Marsha episodes? Why hire another composer if Riddle was unavailable. Why not just recycle as you say?

John
Music. BAT! Music.

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svl
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by svl » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:25 pm

Most music is done as "work for hire", so the composer usually has no say. As epaddon noted, canned library cues are the norm.

Just listened to the Hefti record and totally understand why they went with Riddle. IMO the Hefti pieces are, to use the '66 vernacular, "squaresville, man". The Riddle compositions are much livelier and "hip". It was interesting to listen to once, though.

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John Mack
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by John Mack » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:44 pm

Understand. But the Freeze and Penguin tracks were interesting. Also the Batman Chase and Evil Plot to Blow Up Batman have their merits.

John
Music. BAT! Music.

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epaddon
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by epaddon » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:26 am

I'd note that one reason why Riddle left in S3 was because he was that year doing all the music, including a new theme for the second season of the Ron Ely "Tarzan" series. When I was watching some episodes of it recently, I could hear some cues that Riddle was recycling from his "Batman" work including the "Bat Climb" music (whenever they would be climbing on the sides of the building).

During his "Batman" work, Riddle took time to do one episode of "The Man From UNCLE" and the producer thought the work sounded so much like "Batman" that he never hired him for UNCLE again.

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Martin Zamorano
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by Martin Zamorano » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:51 am

Where is LEE!!!!
Adam West Squadron BATMANIA - www.batmania.com.ar

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High C
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Re: OFFICIAL BATMUSIC THREAD ADD TO IT WHEN YOU WILL

Post by High C » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:37 am

Batguitarist wrote:
As a young boy of 5 to 7 years. I sat in front of the TV during the third season recording the Billy May music on my cassette tape recorder, the microphone place just so in front of the TV's lone speaker to record the music from the show.
I certainly can relate to that. In the mid and late 1970s, I would put my cassette recorder next to the TV to record the weekly NFL highlights show. Most of the music was composed by a brilliant man named Sam Spence. Many years later, I bought a CD boxed set of NFL Films cues from Spence and others. Wish they'd put out another one.

As for Bat-music, I enjoyed most of the villains' themes, especially those for Catwoman and The Siren. Haven't watched season 1 in a while so am looking forward to revisiting those cues once the set comes out.
'I thought Siren was perfect for Joan.'--Stanley Ralph Ross, writer of 'The Wail of the Siren'

My hobbies include gazing at the Siren and doing her bidding, evil or otherwise.

'She had a devastating, hypnotic effect on all the men.'--A schoolmate describing Joan Collins at age 17

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