Alexander Courage

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Alexander "Sandy" Courage (1919-2008) describes his work as a conductor, arranger, and composer in network radio on "The Screen Guild Theater," "The Adventures of Sam Spade," and "Hedda Hopper's This Is Hollywood." He describes his entrance into feature filmmaking as an arranger at MGM, detailing his screen highlights on "Showboat," "The Band Wagon," and "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers." He talks about his entrance into composing for television at Revue Productions. He details his work on the MGM series National Velvet and talks about several pilots he scored for the studio. Courage talks of his move to 20th Century Fox, working on the feature films "The Pleasure Seekers" and "Doctor Doolittle" and on the television series Daniel Boone, for which he composed dozens of episodes. He describes in detail his work writing the fanfare, theme and music for the two pilots of Star Trek, as well as his work on several later episodes. Courage speaks of his extensive composition work on over one hundred episodes of The Waltons, discusses writing the theme for Judd For The Defense, and composing for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and several Academy Award telecasts. He discusses his later work for television on the miniseries QBVII and the television special Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas, the latter of which earned him an Emmy Award. Jon Burlingame conducted the interview in Malibu, CA on February 8, 2000.

"'Star Trek' had to open with some kind of something or other. Little did I know when I wrote that first A-flat for the flute, that it was going to go down in history somehow. It's a very strange feeling."

Highlights
Alexander Courage on creating the main title sound effects for the Enterprise on Star Trek
01:00
Alexander Courage on creating the fanfare for the main title on Star Trek
01:33
Alexander Courage on writing the theme for Judd for the Defense
01:31
Alexander Courage on winning an Emmy for arranging music for Julie Andrews ... the Sound of Christmas
01:11
Alexander Courage on Jerry Goldsmith bringing him on to orchestrate the miniseries QBVII 
04:17
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his nickname "Sandy"; on his early interest in music and playing the coronet and French horn; on attending the Eastman School of Music
On starting to conduct; on moving to California; on becoming a bandleader in the Army during World War II and attending the Army Music School; on starting to arrange music
On his start in radio and meeting Herbie Spencer and Lud Gluskin

Chapter 2

On his start in CBS radio; on the differences between composing, arranging, and orchestrating music, and doing them all simultaneously for different jobs
On working on three weekly radio shows; on how he got his start at MGM and working on classic musicals, including "The Bandwagon" and "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers"; on composing for the radio show Broadway is My Beat
On his feature film scores for B-movies (including "The Left-Handed Gun"); on
On his first job in television and the Petrillo ban; on starting to write music for shows at Revue Television; on working for MGM television; on his interest in sports cars
On the process of orchestrating for television; on how orchestrating for television is different from scoring for film

Chapter 3

On his early memories of television and the Hollywood Blacklist; on his arrangements for several Academy Awards broadcasts; on his start at Desilu
On his work for 20th Century Fox; on scoring for on Arrest and Trial, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Daniel Boone, and Peyton Place
On how he was asked to write the theme music for Star Trek; on how he composed the theme

Chapter 4

On the inspiration for the Star Trek theme and playing it for Gene Roddenberry; on creating sound effects for the main title; on scoring two episodes of Star Trek during its first season and deciding to work on the film "Dr. Doolittle" rather than stay with Star Trek; on his fanfare still persisting in Star Trek movies and Star Trek: The Next Generation
On writing the theme for Judd for the Defense; on his Oscar nomination for "Doctor Doolittle"; on orchestrations for "Hello, Dolly!" and quitting the production, but ultimately returning to do the score

Chapter 5

On scoring The Waltons; on scoring the pilot for Boone, created by Earl Hamner, Jr., and scoring several of The Waltons TV movies
On Jerry Goldsmith bringing him on to orchestrate the miniseries QBVII; on working on Lorimar Productions Falcon Crest and Eight Is Enough; on not enjoying working for primetime soap operas
On winning an Emmy for Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas; on his then-current work in orchestration; on writing arrangements for The Boston Pops
On career highlights; on how he'd like to be remembered; on advice to aspiring film and TV composers
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Alexander Courage on his arrangement work for several Academy Awards broadcasts
02:32

Apple's Way

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Alexander Courage on scoring episodes of Apple's Way
00:28

Arrest and Trial

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Alexander Courage on working on Arrest and Trial
01:15

Boone

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Alexander Courage on scoring the pilot for Boone, created by Earl Hamner, Jr.
01:45

Daniel Boone

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Alexander Courage on scoring episodes of Daniel Boone
01:07

I Love Lucy

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Alexander Courage on Bill Hatch composing for the radio program My Favorite Husband, the radio precursor to I Love Lucy, and Bill becoming head of the music department at Desilu
02:46

Judd for the Defense

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Alexander Courage on writing the theme for Judd for the Defense
01:31

Julie Andrews ... the Sound of Christmas

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Alexander Courage on winning an Emmy for arranging music for Julie Andrews ... the Sound of Christmas
01:11

Land of the Giants

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Alexander Courage on working for Irwin Allen on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
00:12

Lost in Space

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Alexander Courage on scoring many episodes of Lost in Space and wishing he had stayed at Star Trek
01:08

Peyton Place

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Alexander Courage on scoring episodes of Peyton Place
00:47

Police Story

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Alexander Courage on scoring Gene Roddenberry's Police Story 
00:30

QB VII

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Alexander Courage on Jerry Goldsmith bringing him on to orchestrate the miniseries QBVII 
04:17

Star Trek

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Alexander Courage on how he was asked to write the theme music for Star Trek
02:58
Alexander Courage on how he composed the theme music for Star Trek
01:08
Alexander Courage on creating the sound effects for the alien planet on Star Trek
01:08
Alexander Courage on creating the main title sound effects for the Enterprise on Star Trek
01:00
Alexander Courage on creating the fanfare for the main title on Star Trek
01:33
Alexander Courage on music for the second Star Trek pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" 
01:54
Alexander Courage on music for the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage" and his initial thoughts on the show
02:30
Alexander Courage on the recording session for the music for the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage" and the show's main titles
03:46
Alexander Courage on the inspiration for the Star Trek theme and playing it for Gene Roddenberry
01:44
Alexander Courage on scoring two episodes of Star Trek during its first season and deciding to work on the film "Dr. Doolittle" rather than stay with Star Trek
03:34
Alexander Courage on the deterioration of his relationship with Gene Roddenberry over royalities
02:15
Alexander Courage on scoring additional episodes of Star Trek during the show's third season
01:14
Alexander Courage on not being asked to score the Star Trek movie
01:25
Alexander Courage on scoring many episodes of Lost in Space and wishing he had stayed at Star Trek
01:08
Alexander Courage on the highlight of his career - Star Trek (and his experience at a convention)
01:18

Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Alexander Courage on his fanfare opening every episode of Star Trek:The Next Generation
00:18

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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Alexander Courage on working for Irwin Allen on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
03:25

Waltons, The

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Alexander Courage on scoring episodes of The Waltons and putting puns into the titles of music cues
03:50
Alexander Courage on taking over the music for The Waltons in the third season, and the style of music he wrote for the program over the course of eight years
02:32
Alexander Courage on working with The Waltons creator Earl Hamner, Jr.
00:29
Alexander Courage on working on the TV movies of The Waltons
01:55
Topics

Advice

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Alexander Courage on advice to aspiring film and TV composers
00:57

Historic Events and Social Change

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Alexander Courage on becoming a bandleader in the Army during World War II and attending the Army Music School
04:44
Alexander Courage on starting to arrange music while he was in the Army
02:34

Hollywood Blacklist

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Alexander Courage on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist
02:54

Industry Crossroads

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Alexander Courage on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist
02:54

Pop Culture

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Alexander Courage on writing the theme music for Star Trek
04:06
Alexander Courage on creating the sound effect for the Enterprise on Star Trek
01:00
Alexander Courage on writing the theme for Judd for the Defense
01:31

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Alexander Courage on writing the theme music for Star Trek
04:06
Alexander Courage on creating the sound effect for the Enterprise on Star Trek
01:00
Alexander Courage on writing the theme for Judd for the Defense
01:31

Television Industry

View Topic
Alexander Courage on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist
02:54
Alexander Courage on advice to aspiring film and TV composers
00:57

War

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Alexander Courage on becoming a bandleader in the Army during World War II and attending the Army Music School
04:44
Alexander Courage on starting to arrange music while he was in the Army
02:34

World War II

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Alexander Courage on becoming a bandleader in the Army during World War II and attending the Army Music School
04:44
Alexander Courage on starting to arrange music while he was in the Army
02:34
Professions

Composer

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Alexander Courage on the differences between composing, arranging, and orchestrating music
02:21
Alexander Courage on the process of orchestrating for television 
02:02
Alexander Courage on how orchestrating for television is different from scoring for film
01:20
Alexander Courage on the cavalier attitude toward scoring for television in the 1960s
00:42
Alexander Courage on advice to aspiring film and TV composers
00:57

Music Professionals

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Alexander Courage on the differences between composing, arranging, and orchestrating music
02:21
Alexander Courage on the process of orchestrating for television 
02:02
Alexander Courage on how orchestrating for television is different from scoring for film
01:20
Alexander Courage on the cavalier attitude toward scoring for television in the 1960s
00:42
Alexander Courage on fun times he had writing music - for "The Sun Also Rises" and writing for Fred Astaire in "Funny Face"
01:23
Alexander Courage on advice to aspiring film and TV composers
00:57
Genres

Drama Series

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Alexander Courage on scoring episodes of The Waltons
10:31

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Alexander Courage on writing the theme music for Star Trek
04:06
Alexander Courage on working for Irwin Allen on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
03:25
Alexander Courage on the Star Trek Theme
23:19

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Alexander Courage on Jerry Goldsmith bringing him on to orchestrate the miniseries QBVII 
04:17
People

Irwin Allen

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Alexander Courage on working for Irwin Allen and Hugo Friedhofer on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
00:55

Desi Arnaz

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Alexander Courage on Bill Hatch composing for the radio program My Favorite Husband, the radio precursor to I Love Lucy, and Bill becoming head of the music department at Desilu
00:57

Lucille Ball

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Alexander Courage on Bill Hatch composing for the radio program My Favorite Husband, the radio precursor to I Love Lucy, and Bill becoming head of the music department at Desilu
02:07

Lud Gluskin

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Alexander Courage on meeting Lud Gluskin, head of national CBS music, and getting his start in radio
01:01
Alexander Courage on getting his start in CBS radio
06:32
Alexander Courage on Bill Hatch composing for the radio program My Favorite Husband, the radio precursor to I Love Lucy, and Bill becoming head of the music department at Desilu
02:46

Jerry Goldsmith

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Alexander Courage on meeting Jerry Goldsmith
00:40
Alexander Courage on not being asked to score the Star Trek movie
01:25
Alexander Courage on Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Waltons
02:26
Alexander Courage on Jerry Goldsmith bringing him on to orchestrate the miniseries QBVII 
04:17
Alexander Courage on orchestrating Jerry Goldsmith's features 
01:00

Earl Hamner, Jr.

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Alexander Courage on working with The Waltons creator Earl Hamner, Jr.
02:14

Robert Justman

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Alexander Courage on working with associate producer Bob Justman on Star Trek
00:11

Marilyn Monroe

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Alexander Courage on his encounter with Marilyn Monroe
01:42

Arthur Morton

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Alexander Courage on orchestrating Jerry Goldsmith's features 
01:00

Lionel Newman

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Alexander Courage on he and Lionel Newman getting an Oscar nomination for the score for "The Pleasure Seekers"
00:31

James C. Petrillo

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Alexander Courage on the Petrillo ban
01:01

Gene Roddenberry

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Alexander Courage on how he was asked to write the theme music for Star Trek
02:58
Alexander Courage on the inspiration for the Star Trek theme and playing it for Gene Roddenberry
01:44
Alexander Courage on Gene Roddenberry's changes to the Star Trek main title
01:49
Alexander Courage on music for the second Star Trek pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" 
01:54
Alexander Courage on the deterioration of his relationship with Gene Roddenberry over royalities
03:40

Herbert W. Spencer

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Alexander Courage on meeting Herbie Spencer, chief arranger at Fox, and getting his start in radio
02:35

John Williams

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Alexander Courage on getting John Williams his first orchestration job
00:48
Alexander Courage on orchestrating for John Williams
00:35

Stanley Wilson

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Alexander Courage on working with Stanley Wilson at Revue Television
00:31

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