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I Spy (1965-1967)
Music by Earle Hagen
I Spy I Spy
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: July 2002
Catalog #: Vol. 5, No. 10
# of Discs: 1

I Spy (1965-1968) is an hour-long action-adventure series fondly remembered for its globetrotting action and hip character humor. The show was groundbreaking in more ways than one: produced by Sheldon Leonard, it was the first to pair a white and black actor in starring roles (Robert Culp and Bill Cosby), and was filmed on location all over the globe. Produced in the midst of the '60s "spy" craze, it shunned camp gadgetry in favor of gritty realism and snappy dialogue, and the repartee of the leads paved the way for the modern-day buddy action-comedy.

Unlike its contemporary series such as Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I Spy had an original score composed for every one of its 82 episodes: two-thirds by Leonard's friend and regular composer, Earle Hagen, and one-third by veteran feature composer Hugo Friedhofer. The style was "semi-jazz," blending local color with swinging big band action and an eclectic mix of suspense—amongst the finest television music ever composed. Although Hagen re-recorded two LPs of I Spy themes at the time of the series, the original television recordings have never been released. (For legal reasons, it is easier for us to release the original TV soundtracks than the LP recordings.)

For this premiere original soundtrack CD, FSM has selected five of the best episode scores: "So Long Patrick Henry" (set in Hong Kong and aired as the series premiere), "The Time of the Knife" (the first Japanese episode), "Turkish Delight" (Hagen's first Mexican score), "The Warlord" (one of the series' most unusual and darkly dramatic episodes, set in Burma), and "Mainly on the Plains" (a Spanish comedy-adventure, one of Hagen's personal favorites).

Through spectacular good fortune, the three first-season scores ("Patrick Henry," "Knife" and "Turkish Delight") are presented in dynamic stereo (along with the series' main and end titles), remixed from 1/2" three-track tape -- possibly the best-sounding '60s television music ever released. The two second-season scores ("Warlord" and "Plains") are presented from clean-sounding mono 1/4" tape.

The CD comes with an illustrated 24-page booklet with liner notes by Lukas Kendall and a foreword by Robert Culp, who in addition to starring wrote the teleplays for "So Long Patrick Henry" and "The Warlord." From big band action to exotic adventure and hip jazz attitude, I Spy is a high point of television music.

Earle Hagen Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Earle Hagen (1919-2008) parlayed a career in the big band era as a trombone player, composer and arranger (he penned the classic "Harlem Nocturne") into a staff arranging job at Twentieth Century-Fox under Alfred Newman; when television took off in the 1950s, he became one of the most accomplished and prolific composers in the history of the medium. He was producer Sheldon Leonard's composer of choice and his work for I Spy is a high water mark for television; he wrote the themes to The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Mod Squad among many others. As if that wasn't enough, he wrote books on composing and arranging, including a seminal textbook on the mechanics of scoring for picture. IMDB

Comments (9):Log in or register to post your own comments
Hagen begins commenting on scoring this series, in the latter part of this segment:


Thanks to David, I watched the whole series with Earle Hagen. The man has an amazing memory. You also get that he is very professional and very sure of his abilities and is not afraid to tell it like it is. I learned a great deal from Jon Burlingame's interview here and recommend it highly if you have the time to watch it all.

Now if we could only get a release of music from The Mod Squad that would be great. It would be a nice companion piece to I Spy.

Earle Hagen's book 'Memoirs of a Famous Composer Nobody Ever Heard Of' is well worth a read too.

I SPY is one of my favourite CDs from FSM. The music sounded great and - like the series itself - was full of invention and colour. As well as melody. The fusing of ethnic elements (eg the Chinese 'Sho') with jazz put the scores in a class all of their own.

It's a source of constant regret to me that FSM were not able to do further volumes. It would be nice if another label picked up the baton.

It's a source of constant regret to me that FSM were not able to do further volumes. It would be nice if another label picked up the baton.[/endquote]

...or at least reissues of the two (Warner Bros. and Capitol) LPs.

Don't care for the show, but the music is fantastic. FSM's excellent release was a tantalizing tip of the iceberg and a series of further I SPY releases would be welcome.

Hagen spends the whole of this portion talking about I, SPY.


This might well be my favourite of all my FSM CDs (I think I've posted in most I SPY-related threads over the years since this first came out...) :)

Anyone filling in gaps in their FSM collection could do worse than pick this one up. Sure, it's tv music but it's inventive tv music. And it sounds great.

Don't forget Volume 2 (the LPs) as well.

I always thought it was a shame that Lukas was never able to tackle a second volume of the original scores. It would be great if another label could perhaps take up the challenge one day....

I always thought it was a shame that Lukas was never able to tackle a second volume of the original scores. It would be great if another label could perhaps take up the challenge one day....[/endquote]

Just playing again the wonderful FSM Vol. 1 CD and I thought I would bump this. It would be really great if more original I SPY music would come out!

Just playing again the wonderful FSM Vol. 1 CD and I thought I would bump this. It would be really great if more original I SPY music would come out![/endquote]

I absolutely agree. One of my favourite FSM CDs.

I wish another label would take up the baton on this. I loved the way Hagen used the big band sound and then seamlessly integrated indigenous sounds into his music. His score for Home to Judgement was unusual enough to stand apart from much of the standard tv scoring of the time.

I liked the LPs too - but, on reflection now, they were clearly aimed at the record buying public and to me were slightly atypical of the series. More use of strings than was in the series perhaps, and an overabundance of bongos in the main titles. But still good for all that.

Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
I Spy - Mainly On The Plains
I Spy - So Long Patrick Henry
I Spy - The Time of the Knife
I Spy - Turkish Delight
I Spy -The Warlord

Leader (Conductor):
Earle H. Hagen

Israel Baker, Robert Barene, Harry Bluestone, Anatol Kaminsky, Erno Neufeld, Nathan Ross, Marshall Sosson, Joseph Stepansky

Allan Harshman, Paul Robyn

Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Frederick R. Seykora

Clifford Hils

Morris Crawford, Louise M. DiTullio (Dissman), Justin Gordon, Jules Jacob, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), John Lowe, Jack Marsh, Ted Nash, Gordon Pope, William A. Ulyate

French Horn:
John W. "Jack" Cave, James A. Decker, Arthur Maebe, Jr.

Frank Beach, W. Pete Candoli, Don Fagerquist, Robert Fowler, Jack Sheldon

Hoyt Bohannon, Clarence "Pete" Carpenter, Francis L. "Joe" Howard, Richard "Dick" Nash, Tommy Pederson, George M. Roberts, Kenneth Shroyer, Phillip A. Teele, Lloyd E. Ulyate

Eugene S. Di Novi, Caesar Giovannini, Pete Jolly (Ceragloli)

Laurindo Almeida, Barney Kessel, Allen Reuss

Norman Mahuka

Verlye Brilhart-Mills, Denzil (Gail) Laughton

Frank L. Carlson, Ralph Collier, Victor Feldman, Earl Hatch, Emil Radocchia (Richards), Harold L. "Hal" Rees, Alvin Stoller

Dick Johnston, Joe Owaki

Carl Edwin Brandt, Clarence "Pete" Carpenter, Clarence "Pete" Carpenter, Earle H. Hagen, MIlton "Shorty" Rogers, Nathan Van Cleave

Orchestra Manager:
Walter Popp

Harry Warren Baker, Harriet B. Crawford, J. Gus Donahue, Dale R. McMickle, G. Summerson, Leonard Edwin Wolstein

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