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Thursday, May 14, 2009


Dr. Kildare
Music by Jerry Goldsmith, Harry Sukman et al
Film Score Monthly Vol. 12 No.6 (US)
Disc 1 - 30 tracks 78:38 mins Disc 2 - 16 tracks 78:44 mins
Disc 3 - 25 tracks 78:14 mins

Another one to file under "dream come true" is FSM's release of music from the granddaddy of all TV medical dramas Dr. Kildare, which debuted in September 1961, starred Richard Chamberlain as the dashing young intern, Jim Kildare, and the ever-dependable Raymond Massey as the hospital's senior physician, Leonard Gillespie. The series became so successful that it continued right through until 1966 and made Chamberlain hugely popular with ladies, young and old. Another popular feature of the show was its title theme, written by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith, the first and most commercially successful of his three iconic TV themes (the others being The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Waltons, of course), made so by Pete Rugolo and Hal Winn converting the theme into a song "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight," sung by Chamberlain himself, who was keen to embark on a parallel recording career.
Goldsmith was brought on to the show by producer Norman Felton, who had worked with the composer on Studio One, and would subsequently request his services on the said The Man From U.NC.L.E., Jericho, Hawkins and the TV movie Babe. For Kildare, Goldsmith of course scored the pilot and a further four shows, before handing over the reins to Harry Sukman, who went on to score most of the shows in this and the seasons that followed. Though he did score features, notably winning an Academy Award for his adaptation of the music of Franz List in Song Without End, and receiving two further nominations for Fanny and The Singing Nun, Sukman is most remembered as a capable scorer of TV shows and movies, including The Eleventh Hour, Bonanza, The High Chaparral, Gentle Ben, and Stephen King's Salem's Lot, the latter earning him an Emmy nomination, and remaining another "Holy Grail" for screen music collectors.
Other composers, skilled in scoring for the small screen, who worked on Kildare, include Richard Markowitz (The Wild Wild West), Morton Stevens (Hawaii Five-0) and Lalo Schifrin (Mission:Impossible). The last two shows ever of Kildare, which were to serve as a pilot for a proposed spin-off, received scores by no lesser man than John Green, once head of music at M-G-M.
In addition to all these fine composers, when searching for the early Goldsmith scores, the producers of this album came across the unknown score for the earlier, unsold Kildare pilot, which was to star Joe Cronin and Lew Ayres, with music from another Hollywood musical giant, Bronislau Kaper. What's more, this music, unlike the rest of the mono recordings, could be presented in stereo, and makes up the last four tracks on this splendid 3-CD collection.
Disc one is devoted solely to the work of Jerry Goldsmith and features his music for all of his five shows, commencing of course with his theme, presented initially as "First Season End Title."
The theme, in its most straight-forward form, appears a further five times in different arrangements used in subsequent seasons, plus the Chamberlain vocal, previously mentioned on Disc Three. For those of you not familiar with it, the theme commences with a brass fanfare, which Goldsmith actually borrowed from a score written for a CBS show years earlier, but it is the perfect introduction for the splendid (and original) theme that follows.
The pilot score that follows is represented by six tracks and Goldsmith based much of it on his main theme, which appears in all manner of variations throughout, both lighter and more dramatic. As album Executive Producer, Lukas Kendall, points out, there were big problems in presenting the music for this episode, with the original master lost but, though the sound quality is not as good as for the rest of the Goldsmith scores, it is nevertheless more than acceptable and of course an essential inclusion.
The next episode, "The Lonely Ones" is again represented by six tracks, and once more he utilises his theme in the score, but also notable are his use of "electric violin (echo)" representing drug use, and also some circusy music in "The Neighbors."
"Immunity" is marginally my favourite among the Goldsmith scores, largely because of the splendid dark, and, at times, quite eerie march he composed for the echoes of the main character Wolski's wartime past, though there is also an affecting tragi-nostalgic theme.
"Shining Image" is an acclaimed episode, which won Emmy nominations for director Buzz Kulik and guest star Suzanne Pleshette, for which Goldsmith utilised a four-note flute passage to represent her fatal illness, and also composed a good deal of lovely, romantic music, as well as more dramatic fare.
Finally, for "A Million Dollar Property" Goldsmith utilises a largely jazzy approach to much of the score, including his main theme, though there is also an elegant piano and strings theme for the Anne Francis character, and yet more delightful romance.
On Disc Two, we have some cues written by Goldsmith for tracking on to later episodes, before Sukman takes over on "Hit and Run" (actually his second score for the show) and this, and subsequent episodes, are each represented by a lengthy suite. "Hit and Run" opens with a lovely, warm theme, which goes through subsequent variations throughout the score, which includes some pretty dramatic moments, before coming to a satisfying solo-violin lead conclusion.
"Johnny Temple" includes a similar approach to that Goldsmith employed for "The Lonely Ones," with some effectively off-the-wall electric violin.
"My Brother, The Doctor" has a purposely Hebraic feel to it, with some expressive violin playing; whilst there's some lovely romantic scoring, with a jazzy feel for "The Administrator."
"Oh My Daughter" opens with yet another lovely Sukman melody, but the composer also utilises Novachord to eerie effect for sequences involving hypnosis.
Next, a departure from all the Sukman work, with Richard Markowitz's music for "The Search" providing much tension and pathos.
It's back to Sukman for "The Horn of Plenty" and much sentiment in his lovely scoring, including some fine solo violin once more.
Jazz is the staple of Sukman's score for "The Soul Killer," with trumpet and melancholy sax to the fore; allied to some dramatic action writing.
"Good Luck Charm" is a return to the lovely sentimental scoring with which Sukman excels, with yet more expressive violin work; followed by another jazz-tinged score for "The Dark Side of the Mirror," though this too is largely on the sentimental side.
Sukman brings a charming Irish lilt to his score for "The Gift of the Koodjanuk," together with a touch accordion-lead Old Italy.
The final score on the disc features Sukman's Jewish-flavoured music for "What's God to Julius? which, though the source is acetate, is so moving that it just had to be included here.
Disc Three opens with the Chamberlain vocal performance of the Dr. Kildare theme, and the "Third Season End Title" treatment of same, before presenting music from Sukman's episodes "The Exploiters" and "Tyger, Tyger;" the former featuring dramatic opening passages, based on the Kildare theme, as well as utilising Bach's "Come, Sweet Death" funeral music; the latter mixing a contemporary "surfer beat," which takes on new dramatic heights in the Yvette Mimieux seizure scenes, with more conventional scoring.
Morton Stevens' scores for both "Night of the Beast" and "Maybe Love Will Save My Apartment House" are represented by two cues a piece. Both scores are very reminiscent of both the dramatic and lighter work he would go on to write for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the former incorporating a fine jazzy source cue; the latter including a breezy jazz variation on the Kildare theme, and a theme featured in the the U.N.C.L.E. big screen adaptation "The Spy With My Face."
It's briefly back to Sukman for "What's Different About Today?" for which he wrote the title song, sung in the film by Kim Darby, but sadly only featured here in instrumental form, along with some early dramatics.
For the episode "Rome Will Never Leave You," that great songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David came up with a new song for Chamberlain to sing in the episode (but again not heard here), with Morton Stevens utilising the former's melody throughout the remainder of the score, which naturally features much Italian colour.
With the fifth season changing the format from an hourly show to two half-hour episodes a week, many of these were tracked by M-G-M music chief Robert Armbruster, but 16 did receive original scoring, including the six-part story "The Bell in the Schoolhouse Tolls For Thee," for which he turned to the up-and-coming Lalo Schifrin, who provided the dramatic scoring, represented by track 17, plus some characteristically jazzy source cues.
The aforementioned final two episodes, scored by John Green, are represented by two tracks, and features a lush new string theme, presumably intended as the ongoing theme for the planned spin-off series; with the Kaper pilot score occupying the last four selections, and featuring the composer's own lush, Old Hollywood-styled main theme for the proposed show that didn't happen, and the excellent variations thereon.
Accompanying the 3 discs is the usual high-quality booklet from FSM, with Jon Burlingame's invaluable notes on the show and its music, including cue-by-cue guide, brief bios on all the composers represented, plus a piece on the soundtrack album that was planned but never materialised, and of course stills from the show.
I am quite sure this will be a must-have for all you Goldsmith fans, but I urge you to pay serious attention to the other music on offer, as there is some really fine work here, and I can particularly recommend the ever-reliable Sukman's music; the U.N.C.L.E-like Stevens cues; as well as the brief examples of the work of Johnny Green, a man who really ought to have done more dramatic scoring in his career; and of course the traditional Hollywood-styled music of Bronislau Kaper.
Go to for samples and to order your copy of this limited edition of 3,000 copies.


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