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Film Music Review (Volumes 1-7)





  Special Merit 

LOST IN SPACE - 40th Anniversary Edition

Music composed by Alexander Courage, Robert Drasnin, Leigh Harline, Gerald Fried, Cyril Mockridge, Lionel Newman, Pete Rugolo, Hans J. Salter, Herman Stein, Fred Steiner, Leith Stevens, and John Williams.

Original Soundtrack ffrom the Irwin Allen Television Series. Executive Album Producer: Kevin Burns. Executive Producers for La-La Land Records: MV Gerhard and Matt Verboys. Album Produced by Mark Banning and Ford A. Thaxton. Associate Album Producer: James Nelson. CD Art Direction: Mark Banning. Digitally Edited and Mastered by James Nelson.

Disc One (78:55)

LOST IN SPACE - Season One Main Title (John Williams) - track 1 (0:53)
THE RELUCTANT STOWAWAY (John Williams) - tracks 2-7
ISLAND IN THE SKY (John Williams) - tracks 8-15
THE HUNGRY SEA (John Williams) - tracks 16-19
MY FRIEND MR. NOBODY (John Williams) - tracks 20-21
LOST IN SPACE - Season One End Title (John Williams) - track 22 (0:50)

Disc Two (76:41)

"CBS Presents This Program in Color" - track 1(0:08)
LOST IN SPACE - Season Three Main Title (John Williams) - track 2 (1:02)
THE DERELICT (Herman Stein/ Hans J. Salter) - track 3 (2:00)
THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH (Herman Stein) - track 4 (1:49)
WELCOME STRANGER+ (Herman Stein and Frank Comstock) - track 5 (17:33)
LOST IN SPACE - Season Three Bumper* (John Williams) - track 6 (0:05)
BLAST OFF INTO SPACE+ (Leith Stevens) - track 7 (15:58)
CURSE OF COUSIN SMITH+ (Robert Drasnin) - tracks 8-9
GIRL FROM THE GREEN DIMENSION+ (Alexander Courage) - track 10 (4:26)
CAVE OF THE WIZARDS+ (Alexander Courage) - track 11 (5:16)
COLLISON OF PLANETS+ (Gerald Fried) - track 12 (3:27)
THE PROMISED PLANET (Pete Rugolo) - tracks 13(3:50)
"Senior" from THE SKY PILOT+ (Leigh Harline) - track 14
"Introduction" from GHOST IN SPACE+ ( Leigh Harline) - track 14
"The Search" from THE SKY PIRATE+ (Leigh Harline) - track 14
"A Nice Little Bank"/"Investigation"from THE SKY PIRATE+(Cyril Mockridge) - track 15 (2:52)
"Terror Stinger"/"Another World"/"Ominous Sign"/"Awful Monster"+ (Fred Steiner) - track 16 (8:02)
FORBIDDEN WORLD (Robert Drasnin) - track 17 (0:39)
LOST IN SPACE - Season Two Main Title (Warren Barker - unused) - track 18 (0:58)
LOST IN SPACE - Season Three End Title (John Williams) - track 19 (1:09)

+ = previously unreleased matieral

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1042 (2 CDs, Limited Edition - 5,000 units)

Rating: ****

In his perceptive and interesting CD notes, Randall D. Larson tells the background and highlights from this popular television series from the 1960s. He nicely summarized the series this way: "LOST IN SPACE was a futuristic take on the classic adventure, Swiss Family Robinson, and told of the adventures of a group of space pioneers marooned and struggling to survive amid hostile environments, bizarre alien life forms, an untrustworthy foreign agent and a rotund, overly protective talking robot.".

Then he goes on to write mostly about the music provided to the series by John (then Johnny) Williams. That includes the various Main Titles and End Titles that Williams did which are included on this double CD. The entire first CD is devoted to John Williams, with music from four episodes. While listening to them I could catch some ideas that would later appear in his milestone STAR WARS film score in 1977. But much of the Williams music for LOST IN SPACE seems designed to be filler for scenes from the series. That's not a criticism because it fulfills its function beautifully.

The second disc has music from no less than twelve composers. Of the thirteen episodes featured, I thought the one titled WELCOME STRANGER (17:33) was the most fully developed and has more variety to it, with a lovely theme heard on the strings and fine use of the small orchestra. The music was composed by two film score pros: Herman Stein (who wrote the unforgettable monster theme from CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) and Hans J. Salter (who worked on the 1940s Universal monster films).

The other lengthy score on the second CD is by Leith Stevens for BLAST OFF INTO SPACE (15:58). This episode features more jazz-based harmonies and doublings of woodwinds and horns and trumpet fanfares too. It's also a very satisfying listening experience. The other scores are also enjoyable but much shorter. Of special note are the two episodes scored by Alexander Courage (GIRL OF THE GREEN DIMENSION, CAVE OF THE WIZARDS) and the three cues by Leigh Harline on track 14 (3:58). You might even be reminded a bit of his Disney music for animated classics like PINOCCHIO.

On both CDs there is a great deal of consistency to the music which keeps the listener involved. This was probably intentional to keep a certain lightness for the series. It's still quite an achievement to have so much enjoyable music with so many composers working on it.

For fans of this popular television series this 40th anniversary edition is a most welcome release. Not only can you hear early John Williams music from his television days, but the other scores are also worthwhile as well.

This is a excellent production all around -- including liner notes, art design and recording quality. Kudos to all involved on this excellent release.

A special treat is included on the CD case -- small black & white photos showing all twelve composers who worked on LOST IN SPACE. Dig John Williams with that dark goatee! .

I highly recommend this La-La Land release to those who want to hear what high quality music was being written for television in the 1960s.

--Roger Hall, 10 January 2006/ revised 30 January


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