Monday, January 16, 2012

2 Audio programs featuring Conrad Veidt

1. A doc on Connie put together about April 3, 1993, when the ashes of Connie and his wife Lily were laid to rest in Golders Green

2. Connie has a few lines in the radio play, Return to Berchtesgaden. He speaks at about the 3 minute mark.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Composers Richard and Roger Sherman

From Wikipedia
The Sherman Brothers are an American songwriting duo that specialize in musical films, made up of Robert B. Sherman (born December 19, 1925) and Richard M. Sherman (born June 12, 1928).

The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history. Film scores of the Sherman Brothers include Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats.

Life and work
Sons of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Robert and Richard Sherman began writing songs together in 1951 on a challenge from their father, Tin Pan Alley songwriter Al Sherman. The brothers wrote together and with different songwriting partners throughout the rest of the decade.

In 1958, Robert founded the music publishing company Music World Corporation, which later enjoyed a landmark relationship with Disney's BMI-affiliated publishing arm, Wonderland Music Company. That same year, the Sherman Brothers had their first top-ten hit with "Tall Paul," sung by Mouseketeer Judy Harriet on the Surf Records label and then covered by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The success of this song yielded the attention of Walt Disney, who eventually hired the Sherman Brothers as Staff Songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. The first song they wrote on personal assignment by Walt Disney was "Strummin' Song" in 1961. It was used in the Annette Funicello made-for-television movie called The Horsemasters.

While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriters in the history of film. They also wrote what is perhaps their best-known song, "it's a small world (after all)" for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Since then, some have claimed that this has become the most translated and performed song on Earth, although this is largely due to the fact that it is played continuously at Disney's theme park "it's a small world" attractions of the same name.

In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, which includes the songs "Feed The Birds," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and the Oscar-winning "Chim Chim Cher-ee." Since Mary Poppins' premiere, the Shermans have subsequently earned nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations, and 23 gold- and platinum-certified albums.

Robert and Richard Sherman worked directly for Walt Disney, completing the scores for the live-action musical films The Happiest Millionaire and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band until Disney's death in 1966. Since leaving the company, the brothers have worked freelance as songwriters on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme-park exhibits, and stage musicals.

Their first non-Disney assignment came with Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968, which garnered the brothers their third Academy Award Nomination.

In 1970, the Shermans returned to Disney for a brief stint where they completed work on The Aristocats and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The latter film garnered the brothers their fourth and fifth Oscar Nominations, respectively. 1972 saw the release of Snoopy Come Home, for which the brothers received a Grammy nomination.

In 1973, the Sherman Brothers also made history by becoming the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for Tom Sawyer, for which they also authored the screenplay.

In 1976, The Slipper and the Rose was picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year. The performance was attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A modern musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, Slipper, also featured songs, score, and screenplay by the Sherman Brothers. Two further Academy Award nominations were garnered by the brothers for the film. That same year the Sherman Brothers received their star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" directly across from Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Outside the motion-picture realm, their Tony Award-nominated smash hit Over Here! (1974) was the biggest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year. The Sherman Brothers have also written numerous top selling songs including "You're Sixteen," which reached Billboard's Hot 100 top 10 twice: first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then at #1 with Ringo Starr more than thirteen years later. Other top-ten hits include "Pineapple Princess," "Let's Get Together," and more.

In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for the Disney film The Tigger Movie. This film marked the brothers' first major motion picture for the Disney company in over 28 years.

In 2002, Chitty hit the London stage, receiving rave reviews. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently the most successful stage show ever produced at the London Palladium, boasting the longest run in that century-old theater's history. On April 28, 2005, a second Chitty company premiered on Broadway (New York City) at the Foxwoods Theatre. The Sherman Brothers wrote an additional six songs specifically for the new stage productions. A successful third company of Chitty is currently touring throughout the United Kingdom.

In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time in a British nationwide poll reported by the BBC. Most notably, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) topped the list at #1.

In recent years, with Robert's move to London, England, United Kingdom, the brothers have written many new songs for the stage musical presentations of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins, produced collaboratively by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh.

For their contributions to the motion picture industry, the Sherman brothers have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Blvd. and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 9, 2005. On November 16, 2006, Mary Poppins premiered at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway.

On November 17, 2008 the Sherman Brothers received the National Medal of Arts which is the highest honor conferred upon artists or patrons of the arts by the United States Government. The award was presented by United States President George W. Bush in an East Room ceremony at The White House.

On May 22, 2009, The Boys: the Sherman Brothers’ Story, a critically acclaimed documentary film about the pair, was theatrically released. The film was directed and produced by their sons, Gregory V. Sherman and Jeff Sherman, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Ben Stiller acted as executive producer for the film. The movie’s tag line is “Brothers. Partners. Strangers,” as the film deals with professional growth of the Academy Award-winning composing team who are best known for their up-beat Disney music, and their later estrangement.

It contains interviews with family members and several individuals in the film industry, including actors such as Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke (who worked with the Sherman Brothers on Mary Poppins), producers (Roy E. Disney), fellow film composers (John Williams and Stephen Schwartz), and film critics (Leonard Maltin). The film premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival in April 2009. The DVD, which contains a full hour of bonus material, was released on November 30, 2010.

In October 2009, Disney released a 59 track, two CD compendium of their work for the studio spanning forty-two years. The CD is titled The Sherman Brothers Songbook.

On March 11, 2010, the Sherman Brothers were presented with a Window on Mainstreet Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in honor of their contribution to Disney theme parks. On May 17, 2010, the Sherman Brothers received the "Career Achievement Award" at The Theatre Museum's 2010 Awards Gala in New York City.

Recent achievements
The Sherman Brothers receive the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed upon artists from the United States Government. Left to right: Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and U.S. President George W. Bush at The White House, November 17, 2008.

* In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the award winning score to The Tigger Movie which achieved number-one status in both theatrical box office and video sales.

* The Sherman Brothers' classic motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was adapted into a London West End Musical in 2002 and premiered at the London Palladium on April 16, 2002, featuring many new songs and a reworked score by both Sherman Brothers. It was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Musical. The Sherman Brothers each received the Musical Theatre Award from the Variety Club of Great Britain that year as well for Chitty, which finished a record breaking three-and-a-half-year run at the Palladium, becoming the longest running show in the theater's century long history. In 2004, the premiere of Mary Poppins arrived on the stage. In 2005, Poppins was nominated for nine Olivier Awards. In 2005, Chitty went to Broadway and was nominated for nine Tonys and also began its nationwide (UK) tour.

* On June 9, 2005, both Shermans were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Bill Withers, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes, and David Porter.

* On November 16, 2006, the Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins made its Broadway premiere at the New Amsterdam Theater featuring the Sherman Brothers’ classic songs.

* In 2007, during the 40th-anniversary DVD re-release of The Jungle Book London press junket, the Sherman Brothers were witnessed by press working on a new song for Inkas in the same Brown's Hotel room where The Jungle Book was originally penned by British writer Rudyard Kipling over a hundred years earlier.

* In February 2008, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang began a second UK tour. In 2008 and 2009, Poppins premiered in numerous cities throughout the world including Stockholm, Copenhagen, Budapest, Toronto, Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, and Helsinki. Full UK and US tours of Poppins also commenced in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively.

* On May 21, 2011, the Sherman Brothers were each awarded honorary doctorate degrees in Fine Arts from their alma mater, Bard College. This was Robert's second honorary doctorate. His first was granted by Lincoln College on May 12, 1990.

Collaboration from afarSince 2002, Robert Sherman has lived in London, England. He moved from Beverly Hills, while Richard Sherman remained in California. Surprisingly, however, the separation did not impede the brothers' collaborative process; they have credited this to the technological advents of fax machines, e-mail and low-cost international telephone service. Also, both brothers travel between Los Angeles, New York, and London frequently, which also facilitates their work. Since Robert's move, the brothers have continued to collaborate on various musical plays as well as a feature-length animated film musical that incorporates an original story, song score and screenplay.

Major scores
* The Parent Trap, 1961
* Adventures in Color
* A Symposium on Popular Songs, 1962
* In Search of the Castaways, 1962
* Summer Magic, 1963
* The Sword in the Stone, 1963
* Big Red, 1963
* Mary Poppins, 1964
* "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", 1964
* The Happiest Millionaire, 1967
* The Jungle Book, 1967
* The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 1968
* Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968
* The Aristocats, 1970
* Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971
* Snoopy, Come Home, 1972 (also performed songs "Me and You" and "Getting It Together" for the soundtrack)
* Charlotte's Web, 1973
* Tom Sawyer, 1973
* Huckleberry Finn, 1974
* The Slipper and the Rose, 1976
* The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, 1977
* The Magic of Lassie, 1978
* Magic Journeys, 1982
* Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, 1983
* Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, 1992
* The Mighty Kong, 1998
* Seasons of Giving, 1999
* The Tigger Movie, 2000

Motion picture screenplays
* A Symposium on Popular Songs, 1962 (uncredited)
* Mary Poppins, 1964 (*treatment only, uncredited)
* The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1973
* The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1974
* The Slipper and the Rose, 1976
* The Magic of Lassie, 1978
* Ferdinand the Bull, 1986 (*TV screenplay)
* Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (one of the songwriters)
* Inkas the Ramferinkas, 2013 (announced)

Soundtrack: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Another soundtrack from Kritzerland. This one is also sold out there, but I expect you can get it from Ebay if nowhere else.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starred Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes. (Julie Andrews was asked but didn't want to do the part). It wasn't a success when it first came out.

If I remember correctly I saw it and liked the songs and the last half of the movie - where it goes into the realms of fantasy with kidnapped children and Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious trying to save them - but the beginning part which is just investor Caractacus trying to sell his inventions to an uninterested businessman weren't my cup of tea.

But that triumphant travelling song - who couldn't love it or want to drive to it?

It's a two-disc set. The first disc has the music from the movie, and a few extra songs, the second disc has the music as sung by its composer, Richard Sherman. (Brothers Robert and Richard Sherman are responsible for music and lyrics.)

Another soundtrack that isn't science fiction per se, I admit - but c'mon, a flying car? Back in the 1960s it was science fiction! But I have to admit I just love the music, especially the theme song, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I love driving my car and singing that song!

Here's the list of songs on the first disc. I've bolded theones I listen to - the rest I just skip over!
• Main Title
• You Two
• Toot Sweets
• Hushabye Mountain
• Me Ol’ Bamboo
• Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Truly Scrumptious
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (reprise)
Lovely, Lonely Man
Hushabye Mountain (reprise)
The Roses Of Success

Chu-Chi Face
Doll On A Music Box & Truly Scrumptious
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Finale
Exit Music
Bonus Tracks (Hushabye Mountain is done again and I love this version)
Main Title (Film Version with sound effects)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Finale (Film Mix)
Exit Music (Film Mix)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Composer Les Baxter

From Wikipedia
Les Baxter (March 14, 1922 – January 15, 1996) was an American musician and composer.

Baxter studied piano at the Detroit Conservatory before moving to Los Angeles for further studies at Pepperdine College. Abandoning a concert career as a pianist, he turned to popular music as a singer. At the age of 23 he joined Mel Tormé's Mel-Tones, singing on Artie Shaw records such as "What Is This Thing Called Love?".

Baxter then turned to arranging and conducting for Capitol Records in 1950, and conducted the orchestra of two early Nat King Cole hits, "Mona Lisa" and "Too Young", but both were actually orchestrated by Nelson Riddle. (In later releases of the recordings the credit was corrected to Riddle.). This was not an uncommon practice those days: Baxter himself had arranged Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" in 1947 for a recording conducted by Frank De Vol. In 1953 he scored his first movie, the sailing travelogue Tanga Tika. With his own orchestra, he released a number of hits including "Ruby" (1953), "Unchained Melody" (1955) and "The Poor People Of Paris" (1956). He also achieved success with concept albums of his own orchestral suites: Le Sacre Du Sauvage, Festival Of The Gnomes, Ports Of Pleasure, and Brazil Now, the first three for Capitol and the fourth on Gene Norman's Crescendo label. The list of musicians on these recordings includes Plas Johnson and Clare Fischer. Baxter also wrote the "Whistle" theme from the TV show Lassie.

Baxter did not restrict his activities to recording. As he once told Soundtrack! magazine, "I never turn anything down".

In the 1960s, he formed the Balladeers, a conservative folk group in suits that at one time featured a young David Crosby. He worked in radio as musical director of The Halls of Ivy (starring Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume) and the Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello shows.

Like his counterparts Henry Mancini and Lalo Schifrin, Baxter later worked for the film industry in the 60's and 70's. He worked on movie soundtracks for B-movie studio American International Pictures where he composed and conducted scores for Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror stories and teenage musicals, including The Pit and the Pendulum, The Comedy of Terrors, Muscle Beach Party, The Dunwich Horror, and Frogs. Howard W. Koch recalled that Baxter composed, orchestrated and recorded the entire score of The Yellow Tomahawk (1954) in a total of three hours for $5,000.

When soundtrack work fell off in the 1980s, he scored music for theme parks such as SeaWorld. In the 1990's, Baxter was widely celebrated, alongside Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, as one of the progenitors of what had become known as the "exotica" movement.

In his 1996 appreciation for Wired magazine, writer David Toop remembered Baxter thus: "Baxter offered package tours in sound, selling tickets to sedentary tourists who wanted to stroll around some taboo emotions before lunch, view a pagan ceremony, go wild in the sun or conjure a demon, all without leaving home hi-fi comforts in the white suburbs."

Les Baxter has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6314 Hollywood Blvd.

Album, Soundtrack & Compilation

* (1947) Music Out of the Moon (composed by Harry Revel)
* (1948) Perfume Set To Music (composed by Harry Revel)
* (1949) Music for Peace of Mind
* (1950) Yma Sumac: Voice Of The Xtabay
* (1951) Arthur Murray Favorites: Tangos
* (1951) Ritual of the Savage (Le sacre du sauvage)
* (1953) Festival of the Gnomes (composed by Prince di Candriano)
* (1954) Thinking of You
* (1954) The Passions: Featuring Bas Sheva
* (1955) Arthur Murray Favorites: Modern Waltzes
* (1955) Kaleidoscope
* (1956) Tamboo!
* (1956) Les Baxter's La Femme
* (1956) Caribbean Moonlight
* (1957) Skins! Bongo Party with Les Baxter
* (1957) Round the World with Les Baxter
* (1957) Midnight on the Cliffs
* (1957) Ports of Pleasure
* (1958) Space Escapade
* (1958) Selections from Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific
* (1958) Confetti
* (1958) Love is a Fabulous Thing
* (1959) African Jazz
* (1959) Les Baxter's Jungle Jazz
* (1959) Les Baxter's Wild Guitars
* (1959) Barbarian (Goliath and the Barbarians) [OST]
* (1960) The Sacred Idol [OST]
* (1960) House Of Usher / The Fall Of The House Of Usher [OST]
* (1960) Les Baxter's Teen Drums
* (1960) Baxter's Best
* (1960) Young Pops
* (1961) Broadway '61
* (1961) Alakazam the Great [OST]
* (1961) Jewels of the Sea
* (1961) Master of the World [OST]
* (1961) Wild Hi-Fi Drums / Wild Stereo Drums
* (1962) Sensational!
* (1962) Exotica Suite
* (1962) Voices in Rhythm
* (1962) The Primitive and the Passionate
* (1962) The Fabulous Sounds of Les Baxter: Strings, Guitars, Voices!
* (1963) Les Baxter's Balladeers
* (1963) The Academy Award Winners
* (1963) The Soul of the Drums
* (1966) Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966) [OST]
* (1966) The Forum: The River is Wide
* (1966) Brazil Now
* (1967) Love is Blue
* (1967) African Blue
* (1968) Moog Rock
* (1968) Hell's Belles [OST]
* (1969) All the Loving Couples [OST]
* (1969) Bora Bora [OST]
* (1969) Bugaloo in Brazil
* (1970) Que Mango!
* (1970) Million Seller Hits
* (1970) Cry of the Banshee [OST]
* (1971) Music of the Devil God Cult: Strange Sounds from Dunwich - The Dunwich Horror [OST]
* (1973) Black Sabbath (1963) [OST]
* (1975) Movie Themes
* (1975) Hit Songs from Spain
* (1978) Born Again
* (1995) The Lost Episode of Les Baxter (1961) [Original Television Soundtrack]
* (1996) By Popular Request
* (1996) The Exotic Moods Of Les Baxter


* (1952) Blue Tango
* (1953) I Love Paris
* (1953) April In Portugal
* (1955) Unchained Melody
* (1955) Medic
* (1955) Wake The Town And Tell The People
* (1956) Foreign Intrigue
* (1956) The Poor People Of Paris
* (1959) Dance, Everyone Dance
* (1960) Pepe

Soundtrack: The Raven

I collect soundtracks - of movies that I've seen and liked, or at the very least of movies that I'd've liked to have seen. This separates me from the majority of soundtrack collectors, I think. They seem to collect music just because they like a certain composer -- they have no interest in seeing the film from which the movie came!

My collection is not large, indeed it's extremely small.

One reason it's small is because most of my soundtracks were vinyl records that I purchased in the 70s and 80s, and in the process of many moves these were lost. I used to have the original Star Wars soundtracks, for example, and Star Trek, etc. etc. etc.

I've only recently started adding to that lost collection, and re-acquiring that old collection via CD - purchasing them from Ebay and Amazon's used music service. (I do feel guilty about that. If I were the producer of a new CD or record, and found that my sales were being cut into by Amazon offering used CDs on the same page, I'd be pretty torqued. But as a collector of many, many things, whose discretionary funds do not really include funds for music CDs, I have to go with used copies.)

Anyway, today I received The Raven/An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe - both composed by Les Baxter, from Kritzerland. They are a small label who have done about 100 soundtracks... the vast majority of their stuff is not science fiction related and is of no interest to me.

I shall start this series of articles on soundtracks with the three from Kritzerland that I have, then list the 3 sf-related ones that they've done that I don't want, but offer up as knowledge to other potential SF soundtrack collector) before moving on to my other soundtracks.

Well, The Raven isn't science fiction , but rather fantasy, but it, and An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe, did star Vincent Price, and I'm a fan of Price's. Indeed, I'd like to assemble soundtracks from all his movies - but he made so many and I doubt if more than a handful are available... well, that would make it easy to assemble a collection, anyway!

According to the Kritzerland folks, they could find only one of the two original reels that the music for this movie was on, which is why they fleshed out the CD with music from An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe.

On its own, I don't know that I'd care for this music, but because I've seen both movies (and indeed, have them on DVD), when I hear a certain track I can call to mind the action in the movie that goes with it, and it's that conjunction of memory and music that makes this fun to listen to.

(Vincent Price plays Erasmus Craven, a sorcerer who lives in a castle with his daughter. He is meek and mild - drinks milk and spends his time studying and mourning his dead wife, Lenore. He is visited by a raven who can talk - Peter Lorre. Craven learns that sorcerer Dr. Bedlo (Lorre) was turned into a raven by his arch nemesis - Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff). Bedlo also tells him that he saw his wife, Lenore, in Scarabus' castle! So he and Bedlo, and his daughter and Bedlo's son (played by a young Jack Nicholson) set off for the castle to defeat Scarabus. But all is not as it appears.)

This CD is sold out at Kritzerland (they only made 1000 copies) but is available at other soundtrack websites as

The liner notes, as usual for a Kritzerland release, are disappointing for those who want to be educated about the music, and don't need to be told anything about the film! (The more so since the guy who does these things is very knowledgeable about music. But he prefers to hoard that knowledge, I guess.) For those who are "casual" fans of the movie, the liner notes are of interest to expand their knowledge of it.