Monday, July 19, 2010

WILBUR HATCH: Lesser TV themes from Mr. "I Love Lucy"

"I Love Lucy" with its snazzy brass and throbbing percussion is one of the world's most famous TV themes.
The guy who made it famous? Hardly anyone could tell you the egg's name, which is Wilbur Hatch (May 24, 1902 - December 22, 1969).
And almost nobody could name another TV theme he wrote.
Well, one of them was "Pete and Gladys," full of comic harpy-plucks and violin't swooshes. The show was somewhat of a copy of "I Love Lucy," except the redhead was the charming and cute Cara Williams, and her husband was played by legendary nasal straight-man Harry Morgan. The show was spun from "December Bride" (music also by Hatch, natch).
Some years later, producers were still trying to create manic old-school sitcoms, and once again, imitation seemed to be the sincerest form of getting a show on the air. As in, why not go back to "I Love Lucy" and have TWO married couples getting into mischief? Only this time, have BOTH women be hilarious comedy veterans?
And so "The Mothers-in-Law" brashly hit TV screens, with short, dumpy, agitated Kaye Ballard and tall, droll and sarcastic Eve Arden as the stars. Arden's previous sitcom was "Our Miss Brooks" (music by Hatch). Their straight-man husbands didn't have all that much to do except simmer and boil. Hatch's wo-manic theme song, bringing back Ricky Ricardo's bongo drums but adding electric guitar, stresses just how zany Kaye and Eve were going to be as they tried, paraphrasing a John Lennon song title, to Bring On The Lucy.
Your download…peppy orchestra leader Wilbur Hatch leading the band; the two original theme songs combined to form a neat minute of nostalgia.



Andy 7 said...

I recognize his name as the guy who wrote the music to the radio show "Casey Crime Photographer" as announced by Tony Marvin. Great blog!

Ill Folks said...

Thanks...didn't know about that one. Wilbur's also credited with the theme for radio's "Luke Slaughter of Tombstone," (which I can't say I've heard), "The Whistler," Lucy's "My Favorite Husband."

Fans who want to check out "Casey Crime Photographer" and other old radio shows can visit:

Anonymous said...

While Wilbur Hatch was responsible for conducing the "I Love Lucy" orchestra, and wrote some of the music used on the show, he did NOT write the them music. That credit goes to composer Eliot Daniel. However, Wilbur Hatch did go on to compose the theme songs to Lucille Ball's next two sitcoms, "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy."