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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 22 2012, 05:44 PM   #1
Ssosmcin
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First Season Theme Music Change

Does anyone remember exactly what episode in the first season had the Fred Steiner arrangement of the opening and closing credits? The original DVDs put the Alexander Courage "electric violin" version on the first 13 episodes, but those volumes were originally released in production order. I'm pretty sure the themes didn't switch back after The Menagerie for two episodes, but my memory is not what it used to be.

The Blu-Rays don't help at all since the "original mono broadcast track" puts the Steiner version on EVERY episode except Where No Man Has Gone Before (which has a damned splice in it). Not to mention the one or two episodes that mistakenly have the new "TOS-R" version on the mono track. I'd love a Trek video release that is 100% accurate to the original airings one day. Ha!
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Old August 22 2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

An excellent question, and one that is going to be difficult to prove an answer, but my recollection was either "Miri" or "Dagger of the Mind", which were, what, about 8 or 9th in airing order?
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Old August 22 2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

Not sure about the original network run, but in syndication beginning in the 70s, the 'electric violin' theme was used only in the first five episodes in air date order (Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Naked Time, The Mantrap, The Enemy Within and Charlie X). For some reason, the electric theme replaced the 'regular' theme in additional episodes in the DVD release you mentioned.
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Old August 22 2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

I rather liked the electric violin version. It gave an otherworldly feel without being so overt as a Theremin (the instrument made famous in "The Day the Earth Stood Still").

There's another device, one you might consider an indirect forerunner to the Moog synth', a keyboard instrument with a French name. (I can't for the life of me remember what it is at the moment.) It sounds vaguely like a Theremin, but with much richer tones. If you heard it, you'd know it instantly. It had already existed for 30 maybe 40 years by the 1980s, but it was used for the spookier scenes in "GhostBusters".

My point? Upon learning of that instrument, I thought it would have really made the Courage theme that much more distinctive. No, not as the sole instrument, but accompanying the more conventional brass, strings and percussion.

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Old August 22 2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

I'm hoping some of these questions will be answered with the 15 CD box set comes out (possibly to be touched on in the 100 pages of notes to be included). My guess is that the e.v. version was abandoned because it sounded a little too "spacey," something Roddenberry wanted to avoid ("no electronic beep-beep music"). The Steiner orchestration was warmer, more welcoming. With bongos. I like every version of the theme, but I too wish this one stuck around a little longer. As it is, it differentiates the earlier, more stolid Trek from the later Gene Coon more relaxed Trek.
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Old August 22 2012, 08:22 PM   #6
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

Redfern wrote: View Post
I rather liked the electric violin version. It gave an otherworldly feel without being so overt as a Theremin (the instrument made famous in "The Day the Earth Stood Still").

There's another device, one you might consider an indirect forerunner to the Moog synth', a keyboard instrument with a French name. (I can't for the life of me remember what it is at the moment.) It sounds vaguely like a Theremin, but with much richer tones. If you heard it, you'd know it instantly. It had already existed for 30 maybe 40 years by the 1980s, but it was used for the spookier scenes in "GhostBusters".

My point? Upon learning of that instrument, I thought it would have really made the Courage theme that much more distinctive. No, not as the sole instrument, but accompanying the more conventional brass, strings and percussion.

Sincerely,

Bill
More like 50 or 60 years....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ondes_Martenot
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Old August 22 2012, 08:30 PM   #7
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

Thanks, GSchnitzer! You beat me to the punch as I ran some Google searches. Yes, the Ondes Martenot, that is the instrument. One YouTube video had an elderly gentleman well versed with the musical instrument demonstrating its features. And the number of people who can play it well are dwindling, sadly. At the conclusion, he played the Courage theme while another musician provided some brass via a French horn. If blended with a full orchestra...mercy, that would have been something!

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Old August 22 2012, 09:32 PM   #8
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
I'm hoping some of these questions will be answered with the 15 CD box set comes out (possibly to be touched on in the 100 pages of notes to be included).
So far we haven't found any documentation about the change. The coolest thing I found on this was learning that the electric violin version was recorded in sequence at The Man Trap sessions. They recorded the takes for the teaser act and then did both the main and end title before resuming with the score for the episode.
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Old August 22 2012, 09:39 PM   #9
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

That is cool, and thanks for letting me about what you (unfortunately) haven't found. Maybe something will turn up.

The trip to November will be very - freaking - long. Thanks for all your work!
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Old August 23 2012, 02:19 AM   #10
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

By the way, how do we "know" that Fred Steiner was the first re-orchestrater.

In the Jeff Bond book, I think, Sol Kaplan takes credit for a re-orechestration. I sort of assumed that was for the second season, the version with the downbeat. But since Sol was also around early in the first season could it not have been he who did that one?

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Old August 23 2012, 03:23 AM   #11
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

On the CD The Best of Star Trek Vol. 2, Fred Steiner is credited as arranger. I'm assuming that info is correct. :-)
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Old August 24 2012, 03:20 PM   #12
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

Going to the clamshells now. I love the words "stolid" v. "relaxed" up above. Early S1 was tense-er, wasn't it. Though they had more pauses and quiet moments then too. Ok, going to listen.

In 1966/7, would the theme have been changed in production order or airdate order? I don't know how credits are attached to the main work, in tv production.

Edit: Boy, Man Trap sure starts subdued: TZesque music with electric violin. Kirk's voice-over is quiet too. Love it. What a great show.

Theme: electric violin with trombone blat on downbeat (my kids and I love that, esp. W two of us as trombonists). But there's a created-by credit for GR and no "starring" word on Shatner' credit.

WNMHGB: same theme, NO voice-over, no created-by, Shatner is "starring" now.

Edit: rarely do I look at airdate order. Man, was this a creepy show its first couple months! Salt Vampire, Ruk underground, the creepy kids trope, the bifurcated Kirk, inner demons,Mitchell being corrupted.... No planet-of-the-week feel, for sure.
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Old August 24 2012, 04:13 PM   #13
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

It should have been changed by airdate. You know, "get the new theme on by the first episode in November" sort of thing. From what I've been told by those who remember, The Corbomite Maneuver never had the electric violin theme. It was 10th aired, even though it was the 1st regular episode filmed. According to a person who has video cassettes of the early 80's syndication run, only the first 8 episodes had the spacy theme.

Yeah, the series was very serious, grim and with a good amount of scares. I could see kids hiding behind the courch during a few early shows. This was Trek in its base form with "proto Spock" coldness (and pixie smiles), Kirk's self doubts and stuffiness, and lots of time for the supporting players. I actually found Spock to be more interesting in these early episodes. He was cold, repeatedly stated he was deoted to unemotional logic, but still gave out little smiles and amused head tilts. He was truly alien and not a punchline.
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Old August 24 2012, 05:16 PM   #14
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

Spock is visibly perturbed in Kirk's quarters in Enemy Within, reporting McCoy's report of brandy-swilling id-kirk.

On topic: hey, the Cage theme arrangement is much fuller, with vocals, and bongos. So the more subdued, electric violin, aired version was a conscious choice by somebody to rein things in for the series. At first, anyway.

Mem-Alpha says the electric fiddle version was for only the first five eps on NBC. On the clamshell DVDs (my "precious") the new arrangement starts on prod. 14. My guess why they changed it then for the dvd set? Half-way through the season. I don't actually care. That second S1 arrangement, btw, has the downbeat near the end, but much less blatty.

Sure glad they went back to THE theme after the ominous second pilot theme.

Immersing myself this morning in season 1 - part of the creepy vibe is due to ACourage writing a number of the scores before the falling out. He did creepy/ethereal well.

Somebody save me some time: once the vocals are added for S2, do they change the recording in S3?
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Old August 28 2012, 03:00 AM   #15
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Re: First Season Theme Music Change

They rerecorded the theme every season. I'm pretty sure it's on record that the voice was dropped by the 3rd season and is simulated. Thing is, as much as I generally defer to the Justman and Solow book, their recollections don't always match what's on screen. They state the singer, Loulie Jean Norman was retained in the first season for Alexander Courage's theme and dropped in later season (to save money or something). Yet the singer isn't used until the second season. Even her Wiki entry says she was used for several early episodes.

So...
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