Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Season 3 Theme Music Revision (1962)

Those who lamented (or continue to lament, to this day) the switch from Bernard Herrmann’s moody theme music to the frenetic, bouncy (and, admittedly, much more famous) offering by Marius Constant starting with The Twilight Zone’s second season should get a kick out of this.

When Herrmann was called in to score season three’s “Little Girl Lost" (which we'll be spotlighting on Friday), he went the extra mile and re-recorded the Constant theme (both opening and closing pieces) with decidedly different instrumentation; hell, “decidedly different” is putting it mildly. Check it out:

Pretty wacky, eh? Brittle, electronic... it almost sounds like an Esquivel recording. I like to think that this was Herrmann’s way of thumbing his nose at Constant for supplanting him as the show’s theme music provider (Herrmann was certainly known for not always playing nice). Cayuga apparently liked his rendition enough to switch over to it for most of the remaining season three episodes.

Herrmann's take on Constant's end title music, meanwhile, survived for a mere five weeks before Constant's recording was reinstated. Here it is:

Interestingly, a number of season five episodes contain a variation on Herrmann's version of the Constant end title theme, but it sounds like different recording. I have no idea where it came from... but hey, we'll deal with it when we get to season five (Autumn 2013!).


Joel Benedict Henderson said...

On the version used on all Bert Grannet produced Season 5 episodes... I think it actually is the same recording briefly used on the Season 3 credits but they're playing the Milieu #2 part all the way through and omitting Etrange #3. You gotta remember Season 3 doesn't play the complete ending theme at any point during the course of the season with some rather abrupt edits so its possible that Herrmann did his rerecording based off the original edit.

Craig Beam said...

The two sound different to me. Yeah, they're similar (and probably use the same or similar instrumentation), but there's just something... different about the season 5 music.

Joel Benedict Henderson said...

Its a shame official TZ Soundtrack releases seem to have dried up, I'd love to have a complete clean version of both Herrmann arangements because none exist.

Joel Benedict Henderson said...

Just for the hell of it, I did a quick and dirty edit in Audactity of the Season 5 ending restoring Etrange #3 to the start.


Its interesting to say the least.

Craig Beam said...

Interesting? Joel, that's AWESOME. I'm assuming you looped the rolling drum (sticks against a wood block?) at the join point...?


Joel Benedict Henderson said...

I did. It should be right at the point where in the season 3 edit it kicks into the bongos give or a take a less than tenth of a second. I'm actually surprised how well it turned out.

For sake of reference Etrange #3 is off of Little Girl Lost and Milieu #2 was recorded off of The Old Man in the Cave.