Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

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I used to be reminded lately of a tv present from the Fifties by the title of “The Early Present.” It aired round 4 p.m. each day in the course of the week in Washington. It featured very distinctive theme music at first and finish. My subsequent oldest brother would sit and simply take heed to the music then go about his different enterprise. He was really hypnotized by it. It was a really catchy tune. I’d like to know the title.

— Greg Denevan, Berwyn, Md.

The instrumental was known as “The Syncopated Clock” and it was written in 1945 in Arlington, Va., by a composer (and one-time Military intelligence officer) named Leroy Anderson. However earlier than we get to that, let’s discover tv within the Fifties.

Tv then was a medium hungry for content material. TV stations wanted flickering photographs they might broadcast into viewers’ houses. Loads of this content material was piled up in a magical place known as Hollywood: outdated motion pictures.

However executives at main studios weren’t certain they needed their outdated movies proven on tv. They felt TV was a competitor, siphoning viewers from film theaters. And so, many TV stations needed to pad their schedules with international movies, movies from smaller U.S. studios or movies produced by the U.S. authorities.

Ultimately, an association was struck between the Hollywood studios and the TV networks enabling broadcasters to purchase and transmit movies made earlier than 1948. The cinematic floodgates had been opened.

CBS took the lead. In 1951, its flagship station, WCBS in New York Metropolis, debuted a nightly movie providing, exhibiting an outdated film each night time at 11:10 p.m. Richard Ok. Doan was this system supervisor on the time and he claimed to have named this system — “The Late Present” — and to have picked its theme music: “The Syncopated Clock” by Anderson.

Anderson was a pops powerhouse. Not pop, as in pop music, however pops, as within the mild orchestral music popularized (popsularized?) by Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops. The truth is, Fiedler was amongst those that inspired Anderson to dedicate his life to music.

Anderson was born in 1908 to Swedish immigrants who had been each very musical. He grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and studied music at Harvard. The musical preparations he wrote there introduced him to Fiedler’s consideration. Quickly, Anderson was arranging music for the Boston Pops.

Anderson was drafted in April 1942. When the Military discovered Anderson had studied Swedish, Danish, German, Icelandic and Norwegian at Harvard, it assigned him to the Counter Intelligence Corps and despatched him to Iceland, the place he served as a translator and interpreter.

In 1943, Anderson was despatched to Officer Candidate Faculty after which posted to the Pentagon as chief of the Scandinavian Division of Army Intelligence. He moved his younger household to Arlington. When Fiedler discovered Anderson was again Stateside, he invited him to be the visitor conductor on the Boston Pops Harvard Evening live performance.

It was whereas Anderson was residing in Arlington {that a} title had lodged itself in his thoughts. Many composers had included the regular, rhythmic ticking of a clock into their works. However, Anderson later wrote, “Nobody had described a ‘syncopated’ clock and this appeared to current the chance to jot down one thing totally different.”

The consequence was “The Syncopated Clock,” a captivating piece punctuated by a wooden block. On Might 28, 1945, Anderson, wearing his Military uniform, performed its premiere at Boston’s Symphony Corridor.

Anderson recorded “The Syncopated Clock” along with his personal orchestra in 1950. The report got here to the eye of WCBS programmers, who made it the theme tune of “The Late Present.” It additionally graced different CBS film applications: “The Late, Late Present” and “The Early Present,” the latter of which was broadcast weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on Washington’s Channel 9. (Previous Westerns had been widespread.)

Wrote Anderson: “From the very first present, CBS was flooded with phone inquiries for the title of the theme and each CBS and I discovered ourselves with successful on our fingers: theirs the present, mine the theme music.”

Anderson was on a roll. In 1952, his “Blue Tango” bought 2 million copies. His “Sleigh Experience” (with lyrics by Mitchell Parish) is a seasonal staple. Reply Man’s favourite Anderson composition have to be “The Typewriter,” which makes use of an precise guide typewriter to percussive impact.

TV stations continued to mine the mom lode of outdated motion pictures. When Baltimore’s WBFF Channel 45 launched within the early Seventies, its name letters stood for “Baltimore’s Most interesting Options,” stated native TV historian Tom Buckley. However over time, the networks developed their very own made-for-TV motion pictures. CBS has a “Late Present” and a “Late Late Present,” however they’re speak exhibits, not movie applications.

Leroy Anderson died in 1975. Although he’d had loads of hits, he insisted he by no means got down to write one.

“All a composer can do is to jot down what he feels and do it as greatest he can,” Anderson as soon as stated. “Whether or not it’s common is as much as the general public.”

By Admin

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