Dave Strohmaier, who has spent decades restoring all of the great Cinerama films of the 1950s and ’60s, asked me to participate in his documentary about their music. “The Best in the Biz: The Cinerama Travelogue Composers” examines the scoring process and the grand symphonic music written by such greats as Max Steiner (This Is Cinerama), Morton Gould (Cinerama Holiday), the team of David Raksin-Emil Newman-Sol Kaplan-Jerome Moross (Seven Wonders of the World), Dimitri Tiomkin (Search for Paradise) and Alex North (South Seas Adventure). It’s a whole hour, a rarity in DVD extras today, and I am proud to share screen time with my friends, composers William Stromberg and John Morgan, and filmmaker Harrison Engle, talking about these landmark scores.
Not so much a book as a journal: The July/October 2013 issue of The Cue Sheet, the quarterly publication of The Film Music Society. Utilizing nearly four dozen never-before-seen photographs, this 64-page booklet goes behind the scenes to tell the previously untold story of the greatest film-music concert in history, Sept. 25, 1963 at the Hollywood Bowl.
That night Elmer Bernstein, John Green, Bernard Herrmann, Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman, Alex North, David Raksin, Miklos Rozsa, Dimitri Tiomkin and Franz Waxman conducted their own scores — with Percy Faith conducting Max Steiner and Nelson Riddle conducting a medley of TV themes, plus guest artists Jack Benny, Mahalia Jackson and Andy Williams. It was the largest-scale public project ever attempted by the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America. (Amateur photographers Raksin, composer of Laura, and Alexander Courage, later the composer of Star Trek, documented the rehearsals.) In addition to the photographs, images of the posters, tickets, even parking passes and newspaper clippings of the reviews, accompany my 9,000-word chronicle of this once-in-a-lifetime event (and its April 1964 sequel, with fewer participants, that was taped for later TV showings).
Editor Marilee Bradford — who originally discovered Raksin’s previously unseen Polaroids — did a stunning job of preparing the photos and laying out the issue. Here’s an overview and a link showing how to order it.
This is one of many writing projects that I’ve done for The Film Music Society of which I’m very proud. (Another is my 52-page biography of Revue/Universal music director Stanley Wilson, published in 2001 and shown here in the hands of Quincy Jones, Wilson’s 1960s scoring protege.)