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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3846 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2019 :  21:35:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello, out there, Fellow Westerners. Long time, no comment. I hope everyone's fettle is fine.

Here's a question for you: Of all four of the show's seasons, which version of its main title/end credits theme song is your favourite? And why?

Discuss.

niecie
SS novice field agent

1464 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2019 :  14:22:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know when we were kids watching the show in syndication in the late 60s-early 70s, my brother and I always preferred the opening credits when Jim socked the woman. (Blood-thirsty little whippersnappers that we were.)

Niecie

* * *

Ever since I was a little girl
I have always wished
that Artemus Gordon was
my very own Uncle Artie...
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3846 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2019 :  00:18:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I always preferred that version, too. In fact it was the original for the pilot, as you can see from the special feature in the DVD collection. The tip of his hat, followed by her swoon, may have been the first, most obvious case of network censorship.

But . . . that's not what I was getting at. All four seasons had different arrangements and orchestrations of the main and end titles. Can you hear the differences in the music? If you can, which do you like best?
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niecie
SS novice field agent

1464 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2019 :  13:59:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually, no, I've never noticed a difference in the music. (But I use a little clip of the theme music for my phone's ringtone. I couldn't tell you which episode I took it from.)

Niecie

* * *

Ever since I was a little girl
I have always wished
that Artemus Gordon was
my very own Uncle Artie...
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SordoTheBandit
SS novice field agent

523 Posts

Posted - 11/16/2019 :  14:38:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The third season. The arrangement sounded smoother.

I have each season arrangement memorized. I can name the season for each of the slightly different openings. However, I found that each season's ending was a little more difficult to remember than the opening. At least that's the way it was for me.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3846 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2020 :  00:08:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sordo: However, I found that each season's ending was a little more difficult to remember than the opening. At least that's the way it was for me.

Two months later:

Two decisions that Markowitz or somebody else made were carried through every season's different arrangements:

1. The music for both the main (opening) title and the end titles changed keys three times.

2. The key in which the opening title ended was the key on which the end title began.

Now, wasn't that worth waiting two months for?
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SordoTheBandit
SS novice field agent

523 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2020 :  10:28:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting, I never noticed that. I'll look for it next time I watch a few episodes of the show. I wonder what the reason was.

I'm almost through the first season, then I'll start the second season. I watch one episode every weekend. What a treat.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3846 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2020 :  16:07:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been noodling on the piano—which is all I can do, since I can't play one—and think I have unlocked a heretofore unnoticed musical progression in the series' main title.

Its first 11 bars (from fade-in to the pause between the animated action between the third and fourth panels) are in the key of B-flat major. The next 4 bars (roughly, from the bottom-right panel's light-up and the cutie's strike with her parasol to her defeat) are in D major. The last 13 bars (the cowboy's lope into the infinity of the middle panel until the fade-out) are in F major.

I think that's right.

Now, fast-forward to the end-titles. The same three keys are used, but in shuffled order:

The first 8 bars repeat the themes in the last key of the main title: F major. This is the easiest to hear, because the orchestrations and arrangements are practically identical.
The middle 9 bars (usually the point at which the actors' credits end and the title card for creator Michael Garrison fades in) repeat the theme in B-flat major. There's a 1-bar modulation into the next key for
The final 11 bars (approximately the point were the cinematographer's credit card appears to the final fade-out). The theme is repeated in the middle key of the main title: D major.

The reason the second and third restated keys are harder to catch, audibly, is because of differences in the arrangements and the orchestrations.

I think that's correct. If there's a better musician out there—surely there must be—who can confirm it or correct my research, please do so.

Now we can all sleep more peacefully at night. I will, at least.
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SordoTheBandit
SS novice field agent

523 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2020 :  13:43:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just finished watching all of the first season episodes. I was very disciplined, I would only watch one episode per week, that way I could stretch it out.

Since this is a thread about music, I just want to mention how beautiful the music was from the first season. It was truly magical.

The musicians efforts were extraordinary. Something to be exalted and not forgotten.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3846 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2020 :  00:31:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i agree. The first season was a cornucopia of music. Not fewer than twelve episodes—almost half of the entire season—were wholly or partially scored with fresh music. No other season received such special treatment.

Richard Markowitz, who composed the signature theme, was responsible for an astonishing half-dozen of those episodes. Robert Drasnin, a wonderful composer of tremendous versatility, gave us another three. The first season also gave us a stunning score by Richard Shores, who set the musical pace for Seasons 3 and 4.

Speaking of things truly magical: the entire first season of the series qualifies, IMHO. I fear it gets short shrift because it wasn't in color, but there's something about the lighting and rain effects of the b/w season that really makes the show stand out. When we visited "The Night" of something, it truly was at night. I've always thought the daguerrotype freeze-frame bumpers were the classiest of all. The crowning glory came with the last six of seven episodes produced by Gene L. Coon. His script rewrites injected more humor and byplay between the leads, and it was then that RC and RM really began to click.
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SordoTheBandit
SS novice field agent

523 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2020 :  20:40:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, Robert Drasnin, what a talent.

In the second season, 'TNOT Man Eating House' was one of his finest moments. What a beautiful treasure. That haunting flute!
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beerbad
SS novice field agent

757 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2020 :  10:59:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The first season is my favorite season. They packed so much entertainment into it. I think it has more science fiction and "strange" elements than a lot of the other seasons. There are western episodes, but that never hurt my feelings. I love westerns just as much as science fiction.

The music was superb. Today's TV shows barely even have a theme song, let alone the amount of music used for these shows.

"I abhor spirits, they make a man less than human" - Dr. Loveless, The Night That Terror Stalked the Town
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SordoTheBandit
SS novice field agent

523 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2020 :  16:27:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good points, beerbad. I love the first season too, it's special. There's something about B&W movies and TV.

And yes, today's television cannot match the music quality of the 50's and 60's and even 70's.

Lost In Space is another example of incredible music.
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