Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
January 12, 1966.
This highly anticipated date was the talk of my neighborhood.
We could not wait.
There was an excitement level that drove me and my grade school classmates crazy.
And so the Fischer living room was packed with family and friends of my older brother, Greg.
The hero in our comic books was about to come to life on TV.
It was electric.
The splashy colors, the costuming, the unusual camera angles, the dramatic narrator, the gadgets and gimmicks, the Batmobile, the Bat Cave, the Bat Signal.
We were in awe.
Save my dad.
Not sure if it was during the program or later, but my recollection is he did remark it was all kinda silly.
This was incredibly cool.
And now came the bottom of the hour. In this case, the very first episode was about to run out, and Robin was in trouble, big trouble.
Suddenly, the program was over, with no resolution to Robin’s fate.
Viewers were told to tune in tomorrow for ANOTHER Batman episode.
I attended a Catholic grade school at the time that required attendance at daily Mass for students. On our walk back to the school building we couldn’t contain ourselves with talk about that super show the night before.
Not only that. How, how, how in the world could Robin possibly escape?
The following morning’s procession back to school brought more jaw-dropping conversation, fueled by the promo at the end of the program about next week’s villian.
Are you kidding me?
This week, music of the superheroes.
We begin by paying tribute to Adam West with this video clip from 1966 that I absolutely love.
The dancers from the variety TV show Hullabaloo perform to an extended original soundtrack version of Neal Hefti’s theme from the Batman TV series.
Batman in the 1960’s paved the way for the explosion of comic book movies and accompanying blockbuster soundtracks we enjoy today.
The 60’s pop music that was so fun and cool is now overwhelmingly majestic and heart pounding in our superhero flicks.
Wonder Woman has been a dominant force at the box office as of late. She actually debuted a few years ago in a film that she did not grab first billing.
The composer is Hans Zimmer who has written about 200 pieces for the cinema including The Dark Knight, Gladiator, The Lion King, Inception, Man of Steel, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, when the audience gets its first look at Wonder Woman in her familiar battle armor, Zimmer along with Junkie XL created this powerful track. World-class cellist Tina Guo is on the electric cello, a nice addition to the symphonic orchestra.
Next, an Academy Award winner.
Hiro Hamada discovers an inflatable health care robot Baymax that was by his brother, Tedashi. After a terrible accident, Hiro and Baymax team up with four other nerds and save San Fransokyo from an evil super villain trying to take over with Hiro’s invention.
In “First Flight” classically-trained Henry Jackman captures the perfect sound for the exciting first time Hiro gets to fly around San Fransoyko on Baymax’s back.
Now we change flight patterns, slowing down the pace as we head back to the 1970’s.
Some critics believe “Superman” was the pioneer of the modern superhero movie.
Promotional materials proclaimed “You’ll believe a man can fly.” Though primitive today, the special effects in 1978 were definitely believable.
Christopher Reeve is the Man of Steel. Margot Kidder is Lois Lane. John Williams composed the score.
In 1995 Reeve became paralyzed from the neck down following a horse-riding accident. He founded the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation in 1998 to promote research on spinal cord injuries. He died of cardiac arrest in 2004.
In 1996, as Kidder was preparing to write her autobiography, she began to become more and more paranoid, and sank into bipolar disorder. She panicked, fantasized that her first husband was going to kill her, left her home and faked her death, and physically changed. Kidder managed to fight back and started a mental wellness campaign. Since then she has sustained her career with appearance in film, television, and theater.
That’s it for this week.
Have a super weekend.
We close with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and Alan Silvestri’s composition that, not surprisingly, if you close your eyes, will make you feel you’re at an Independence Day concert.