Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Theme from CHECKMATE (Johnny Williams)

John Williams has won 5 Academy Awards for his movie soundtracks. His film scores include "Jaws," "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial," Hitchcock's "Family Plot," "Towering Inferno," "Superman," "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan."
Back in the 60's when he was called "Johnny Williams," he was known for his TV themes. His trademark was throbbing brass, tense percussion and stop-start cadences, which worked especially well for sci-fi shows such as "Lost In Space," "Time Tunnel" and "Land of the Giants."
One of his first successes, in 1960, was the theme for "Checkmate," a crime melodrama starring the wooden Anthony George and his more colorful sidekicks cutie-pie Doug McClure and brainy Sebastian Cabot. This theme owes a bit to his friend Henry Mancini (they worked together on the arrangement for "Peter Gunn") with its prowling bass line.
This illfolks edition gives you the original thirty-second "Checkmate" theme as it was originally broadcast, followed by the obscure fleshed-out jazz version that appeared on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack album (he lost that year, to Henry Mancini). After only two seasons, it was checkmate for "Checkmate." But since in those days a TV series didn't re-run till the summer, those two seasons yielded an impressive total of 71 episodes.

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