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.
When I was producing the first Man From U.N.C.L.E. album, I was unaware that its fourth-season composer had passed away. I really loved Dick Shores’ music, not only for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but also for The Wild Wild West, It Takes a Thief, Hawaii Five-0 and other series of the 1960s and ’70s. I met him in 1991 and had a fun time at his house. I was astonished that there were no obituaries and his death had seemingly gone unnoticed. I decided at that point to write a long chronicle of his life and career, which begins here, continues here and concludes here. His daughter and her family were wonderfully cooperative and supplied some of the photos that accompany these pieces. I took the color shot that tops the final piece.