I am delighted to announce my latest project as producer: the very first authorized soundtrack from the classic 1960s series The Wild Wild West. Many of you will remember the Robert Conrad-Ross Martin series, a kind of “James Bond in the Old West” adventure that aired Friday nights on CBS. Despite its popularity, no recording (even of its memorable theme by Richard Markowitz) was ever issued of this music. La-La Land Records, in the wake of our success with Mission: Impossible, authorized a two-year project involving a search for original musical elements, a massive restoration and eventual creation of a 4-CD box consisting of the excerpts from the 26 best scores over the series’ four seasons. The set even premieres the original recordings of an unused Dimitri Tiomkin theme for the series. Among the other composers represented: Robert Drasnin, Richard Shores, Dave Grusin, Harry Geller, Jack Pleis, Fred Steiner and Walter Scharf.
One of my proudest accomplishments this year: unraveling the previously untold backstory of the music for Jonny Quest, arguably the greatest animated adventure series in TV history. Originally produced for prime-time by Hanna-Barbera (the people behind The Flintstones, The Jetsons and many other popular ’60s cartoons) and designed by genius artist Doug Wildey, the series lasted only one season on ABC but reran seemingly forever, especially on Saturday mornings. Those of us who grew up in the ’60s never forgot it (I still have a Jonny Quest poster on my office wall). The thrilling music, by veteran H-B composer Hoyt Curtin and newcomer Ted Nichols, remains an indelible part of our collective childhoods. In addition to chronicling the saga for La-La Land’s 2-CD set — its first official release, in spectacular sound — I served as album consultant, having done the research (including tracking down cue titles, recording dates and musicians’ rosters) some years back.
Spy music from the ’60s has always been a big part of my life. I remember buying Lalo Schifrin’s two Mission: Impossible LPs (as well as his Mannix, There’s a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin’ On, and countless other movie and jazz albums) back in the day. So it was a special thrill that La-La Land Records asked me to produce a 6-CD box set of music from all seven seasons of the original Mission: Impossible television series (which aired on CBS from 1966 to 1973). All 62 episodes with original scores (many others were “tracked” with previously recorded music) are represented, including 12 with music composed by Schifrin himself. I also wrote all the notes, chronicling the entire history of Mission music with comments about all the selections (and plenty of new information including recording dates and legendary jazz soloists who played on them).
Winner of the International Film Music Critics Association award as “Best New Archival Release – Compilation” of 2015.
Excerpts from fan reviews: “One of the best TV-score box sets ever produced… the comprehensive liner notes, the presentation, just ace!” “Exceptional. My favorite release of 2015 by a long shot. Absolutely phenomenal, from the liner notes to the sound quality to the graphic design.” “A thousand cheers to everyone involved in the making of this set. Without doubt, one of the coolest releases of the year.” “One of those dream soundtrack releases… really, really thrilled with it.”
“Major props for this collection can be given to Jon Burlingame, television music journalism’s answer to Ethan Hunt, whose knowledge of the medium easily bests being able to hang from an airplane at takeoff. Given dozens of hours of already powerful Mission: Impossible scoring to pull from, Burlingame has done an exceptional job of cherry picking what are truly the best tracks.” — Daniel Schweiger, Film Music Magazine
“Album producer Jon Burlingame provides a thrilling mission with this deluxe edition, including his comprehensive liner notes…. The finished result certainly is a thing of beauty and all involved should be congratulated.” — Darren Allison, Cinema Retro