Saturday 20 September 2014

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: TV Series Theme Music

The musical theme for this television series was written by Jerry Goldsmith, however over the four seasons of the show, several composers provided music and arranged the Goldsmith theme several times. The version above from season two was done by Lalo Schifrin, famous for composing the theme from Mission:Impossible. According to my research, this version was apparently not liked by Jerry Goldsmith but, oddly enough, season two was the most watched season and the most famous. For me, it remains the distinctive theme of the entire series.


Uploaded on Apr 14, 2009 by lp45cdwoman
This is the end title sequence from the first episode of UNCLE's second season, ALEXANDER THE GREATER AFFAIR (September 17 and 24, 1965), featuring Lalo Schifrin's new arrangement of Jerry Goldsmith's original theme.

Wikipedia: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is an American television series that was broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968. It follows the exploits of two secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a fictitious secret international espionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. Originally co-creator Sam Rolfe wanted to leave the meaning of U.N.C.L.E. ambiguous so it could be viewed as either referring to "Uncle Sam" or the United Nations. Concerns by the MGM Legal department about possible New York law violations for using the abbreviation "U.N." for commercial purposes resulted in the producers clarifying that U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Each episode of the television show had an "acknowledgement" credit to the U.N.C.L.E. on the end titles.

Theme music
The theme music, written by Jerry Goldsmith, changed slightly each season. Goldsmith provided only three original scores and was succeeded by Morton Stevens, who composed four scores for the series. After Stevens, Walter Scharf did six scores, and Lalo Schifrin did two. Gerald Fried was composer from season two through the beginning of season four. The final composers were Robert Drasnin (who also scored episodes of Mission: Impossible, as did Schifrin, Scharf, and Fried), Nelson Riddle, and Richard Shores. The music reflected the show's changing seasons—Goldsmith, Stevens, and Scharf composed dramatic scores in the first season using brass, unusual time signatures and martial rhythms, Gerald Fried and Robert Drasnin opted for a lighter approach in the second, employing harpsichords and bongos and by the third season, the music, like the show, had become more camp, exemplified by an R&B organ and saxophone version of the theme. The fourth season's attempt at seriousness was duly echoed by Richard Shores' somber scores.

Uploaded on Apr 14, 2009 by lp45cdwoman
YouTube The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Season One Closing Titles

Uploaded on Apr 14, 2009 by lp45cdwoman
YouTube The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Season Three Closing Titles

Uploaded on Apr 14, 2009 by lp45cdwoman
YouTube The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Season Four Closing Titles

Wikipedia: U.N.C.L.E.
U.N.C.L.E. is an acronym for the fictional United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, a secret international intelligence agency featured in the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. Both were 1960s TV series produced in the United States.

Wikipedia: Jerry Goldsmith
Jerrald King "Jerry" Goldsmith (1929–2004) was an American composer and conductor most known for his work in film and television scoring.

He composed scores for such noteworthy films as The Sand Pebbles, Logan's Run, Planet of the Apes, Patton, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion, The Omen, The Boys from Brazil, Night Crossing, Alien, Poltergeist, The Secret of NIMH, Gremlins, Hoosiers, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Rudy, Air Force One, L.A. Confidential, Mulan, The Mummy, three Rambo films, and five Star Trek films. He was nominated for six Grammy Awards, nine Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and eighteen Academy Awards. In 1976, he was awarded an Oscar for The Omen.

He collaborated with some of film history's most prolific directors, including Robert Wise (The Sand Pebbles, Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Howard Hawks (Rio Lobo), Otto Preminger (In Harm's Way), Joe Dante (the Gremlins films, The 'Burbs, Small Soldiers), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), Ridley Scott (Alien, Legend), Steven Spielberg (Twilight Zone: The Movie), and Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Hollow Man). However, his most notable collaboration was arguably that of with Franklin J. Schaffner, for whom Goldsmith scored such films as Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, and The Boys from Brazil.

As a young teenager (a tween?), I owned books based on the TV show including the following novel. Not only did I watch the series, I read about it like a true FANatic.

For Christmas one year, I got a Man from U.N.C.L.E. gun, a plastic replica of an automatic with the various detachable parts to turn it into a rifle: stock, silencer, telescopic sight, and bipod. Funny now, but it was pretty serious stuff at the time. I so wanted to be a cool spy. James Bond indeed.


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