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 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 5:44 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

In my ongoing quest for all things ancient Williams (I aim to put all of this together into a coherent piece eventually), I'm trying to find out what Williams' first ever score in the industry was. We all know he did that one-off travelogue film YOU ARE WELCOME (1954) when he was in the air force, but I'm interested in the first ever assignment he got in LA when he moved from session pianist/orchestrator/coffeemaker to an actual ORIGINAL SCORE in the late 50's.

Here's what we can deduce from the information so far:

The first episode he did for M SQUAD aired on October 24, 1958, two months before the first episode he did for WAGON TRAIN.

We know his name is associated with a show that premiered earlier than that -- GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER (1953-1962) -- but we don't know which episodes. In all likelihood, it was something in the last few seasons. There are also titles like PLAYHOUSE 90 (1956-1960), TALES OF WELLS FARGO (1957-1962) and the film MY GUN IS QUICK (1957), but his association with these is unsubstantiated.

Now I always assumed DADDY-O premiered in 1959 or 1960, but imdb says it premiered in March-1958, which makes THAT the first ever thing he did in the film and tv industry. That seems awfully early, though. I assumed he did TV shows for a couple of years before he got his first feature film assignment.

So what are we to make of all of this? Fellow Williams archeologists, speak up!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 6:30 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

well, I don't think the association with My Gun is Quick is unsubstantiated:

http://repertoire.bmi.com/title.asp?blnWriter=True&blnPublisher=True&blnArtist=True&keyID=0&ShowNbr=257400000&ShowSeqNbr=2&querytype=WorkID

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

well, I don't think the association with My Gun is Quick is unsubstantiated:

http://repertoire.bmi.com/title.asp?blnWriter=True&blnPublisher=True&blnArtist=True&keyID=0&ShowNbr=257400000&ShowSeqNbr=2&querytype=WorkID


I have the film, and there is no credit to Williams anywhere. Furthermore, there is nothing in the score that reminds me of him either. So if there's some "hidden" music by him there, I would be very surprised.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 7:23 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

well, if according to Jameson281 (who hasn't replied yet where did he find that information) in the thread below,
he wrote one cue, logically he wouldn't be credited..

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=81725&forumID=1&archive=0

(we had talked about it again in jwfan)

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 7:51 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

That whole thing is so fussy, I refuse to admit it in the JW history, i.e. he COULD have written one single cue, uncredited, in an obscure film. No, including such things will only lead to frustration.

No, for me the "battle" is between DADDY-O and M SQUAD. Unless something else, more concrete pops up. The challenge is finding a source for DADDY-O's premiere date (I don't buy March-58).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

That whole thing is so fussy, I refuse to admit it in the JW history, i.e. he COULD have written one single cue, uncredited, in an obscure film. No, including such things will only lead to frustration.

No, for me the "battle" is between DADDY-O and M SQUAD. Unless something else, more concrete pops up. The challenge is finding a source for DADDY-O's premiere date (I don't buy March-58).


as I've said in jwfan, the premiere date has nothing to do with what he wrote first, or what was his first assignment.

for example:
let's say that I have written a score (A) in 2007 and it was released theatrically in 2009.
But also, I wrote another one (B) in 2008 and it was released in 2008.
Then, by checking ONLY the premiere dates, one might think that B was my first score, while in fact it isn't so.
"A" was my first score, and also my first assignment.

That's why you can't really be sure..

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I used to watch M Squad. And Racket Squad. And Code 3. And Peter Gunn with whatshisname at the piano...uh...uh...cool

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 11:33 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

That whole thing is so fussy, I refuse to admit it in the JW history, i.e. he COULD have written one single cue, uncredited, in an obscure film. No, including such things will only lead to frustration.

No, for me the "battle" is between DADDY-O and M SQUAD. Unless something else, more concrete pops up. The challenge is finding a source for DADDY-O's premiere date (I don't buy March-58).


as I've said in jwfan, the premiere date has nothing to do with what he wrote first, or what was his first assignment.

for example:
let's say that I have written a score (A) in 2007 and it was released theatrically in 2009.
But also, I wrote another one (B) in 2008 and it was released in 2008.
Then, by checking ONLY the premiere dates, one might think that B was my first score, while in fact it isn't so.
"A" was my first score, and also my first assignment.

That's why you can't really be sure..



"KonstantinosZ" is correct regarding relying upon premiere dates. The American Film Institute Catalog can pin down the "release date" of DADDY-O to no better than "March 1959." The records of the U.S. Copyright Office show that DADDY-O was originally registered for copyright on December 18, 1958 (No. PA0000295531). So, the score was most likely written and recorded prior to that date.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

"KonstantinosZ" is correct regarding relying upon premiere dates. The American Film Institute Catalog can pin down the "release date" of DADDY-O to no better than "March 1959." The records of the U.S. Copyright Office show that DADDY-O was originally registered for copyright on December 18, 1958 (No. PA0000295531). So, the score was most likely written and recorded prior to that date.

Thanks. That means, at the very least, that the March-58 (that's fiftyEIGHT, not fiftynine) premiere date on imdb and wikipedia is way too early. It can't have had its premiere before it was patented!

It doesn't get us any closer to an answer to the original query, unfortunately, but it shows that DADDY-O was either the first or second original score Williams ever wrote in the industry. It's not often that you hear about a composer who does a feature film score BEFORE they start on various TV shows and stuff. It's usually the other way around.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 12:31 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

as I've said in jwfan, the premiere date has nothing to do with what he wrote first, or what was his first assignment.

for example:
let's say that I have written a score (A) in 2007 and it was released theatrically in 2009.
But also, I wrote another one (B) in 2008 and it was released in 2008.
Then, by checking ONLY the premiere dates, one might think that B was my first score, while in fact it isn't so.
"A" was my first score, and also my first assignment.

That's why you can't really be sure..


That's true, which is why I wish there was a source for finding out when it was actually WRITTEN. Maybe the patent option that Bob mentions is a way to calculate something that is at the very least a little closer to reality.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

[Thanks. That means, at the very least, that the March-58 (that's fiftyEIGHT, not fiftynine) premiere date on imdb and wikipedia is way too early. It can't have had its premiere before it was [copyrighted]!


Actually, that's not true. Plenty of films are exhibited before they are copyrighted. Some are never copyrighted at all. All the copyright date shows is the latest possible date that the score could have been written.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 4:21 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I think that I reproduced this copyright record in another thread on DADDY-O. It's the copywrite record for a musical suite from the film:

Type of Work: Music
Registration Number / Date: RE0000334101 / 1987-03-30
Renewal registration for: EU0000583868 / 1959-07-01
Title: Thematic suite of Imperial Productions picture "Daddy-O." m John T. Williams.
Copyright Claimant: John T. Williams (A)
Variant title: Thematic suite of Imperial Productions picture "Daddy-O."
Other Title: Daddy-O
Names: Williams, John T.

This shows that John Willaims copyrighted the music suite originally on July 1, 1959. (Again, that's the latest date on which the music could have been created.) The copyright was renewed on March 30, 1987.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 4:44 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I see, thanks for the clarification.

I guess that means we're back to square one.

So how on earth is one going to find out exactly when the DADDY-O score was written (and if it preceded M SQUAD)?

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 31, 2013 - 9:55 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The only other thing that the AFI Catalog says about DADDY-O is that production on the film "began late Feb 1958." If that is correct, it seems totally implausible that the film was first exhibited in March 1958, as the IMDB suggests.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 1, 2013 - 1:42 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

The only other thing that the AFI Catalog says about DADDY-O is that production on the film "began late Feb 1958." If that is correct, it seems totally implausible that the film was first exhibited in March 1958, as the IMDB suggests.

Yeah, even for a cheap B movie, that's a bit on the short side - to put it mildly...

Speaking of premieres, one would also have to take into consideration that the score to the episode "The Trap" of M SQUAD that we're speaking of (Season 2, Episode 5) would have to be composed at least....I don't know....a month(?) before it aired on October 24th, 1958. It could also be that he composed the music to one of the later episodes FIRST, only that "The Trap" was the first to air.

So based on what we know now, I would guess that the music for both DADDY-O and M SQUAD was composed some time between April-1958 and September-1958. The mystery remains in which was first.

Why is all this important, you might ask?

Well, it's important (to me) because it's obviously a gamechanger in Williams' life. The first call you get to compose original music for a film or tv show in the industry, not just session work and orchestration.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2013 - 1:20 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Anyone have any more to add re: the possible recording dates for DADDY-O and "The Trap" from M SQUAD, respectively?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 17, 2013 - 7:43 PM   
 By:   TomD   (Member)

Anyone have any more to add re: the possible recording dates for DADDY-O and "The Trap" from M SQUAD, respectively?

I searched the Variety archive for 1958-1959 for the gossip on DADDY-O. No comments about scoring appeared, unfortunately.

- in production Feb-March 1958
- "done" by April 1958
- possible regional showings in August 1958
- distribution deal with American International Picture in December 1958
- "box office" grosses appear in April 1959.

I did not see any comments about scoring. I'd presume that Williams scored it in the Spring of 1958, unless the score was commissioned as an afterthought.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 1:06 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Anyone have any more to add re: the possible recording dates for DADDY-O and "The Trap" from M SQUAD, respectively?

I searched the Variety archive for 1958-1959 for the gossip on DADDY-O. No comments about scoring appeared, unfortunately.

- in production Feb-March 1958
- "done" by April 1958
- possible regional showings in August 1958
- distribution deal with American International Picture in December 1958
- "box office" grosses appear in April 1959.

I did not see any comments about scoring. I'd presume that Williams scored it in the Spring of 1958, unless the score was commissioned as an afterthought.


That's actually very useful. If it's true, it means that Williams must have composed the score in April-1958 at the latest. This makes DADDY-O the first ever thing that he did in the industry, since he cannot possibly have commenced work on M SQUAD in April when his first episode premiered in late October.

Thank you.

It's pretty impressive....Williams' first-ever scoring gig was a FEATURE FILM, not a TV series episode.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 2:23 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

It's pretty impressive....Williams' first-ever scoring gig was a FEATURE FILM, not a TV series episode.


That probably can't be said of many composers who began work in the television age--not of Goldsmith or Barry or Fielding, for example. But there are certainly others who started in features--Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, Frank DeVol, Marvin Hamlisch, Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin, and Neal Hefti among them.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2013 - 8:24 PM   
 By:   TomD   (Member)

I hate to add any confusion, but I found this in Variety's Archive:

Pianist John Williams cast in the role of a pianist in addition to scoring the music for tomorrow's telecast of "Right Hand Man" on CBS-TVs "Playhouse 90"
Published Date: March 19th, 1958

I suspect his role was just a piano player. Perhaps someone can stream the episode and give details and the on-screen credit info. IMDb apparently only gives series credits for the crew, not for their individual episodes.

I was searching the mid 50s for mentions of Johnny or John Williams. The above was the only useful scoring "hit" for the John Williams. Most of the "hits" were about actor John Williams, who was quite busy during that time period.

 
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