Earle Hagen

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his five-hour Archive interview, Earle Hagen (1919-2008) describes the pleasure of working with producers Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas. He discusses creating the themes, as well as writing the music for: The Danny Thomas Show, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy and Mod Squad, to name a few. He also speaks of his work on the series Where's Raymond? with Ray Bolger.  The interview was conducted by Jon Burlingame in Palm Springs, CA on November 17, 1997.

"...And I said, What do you think about this for the Andy Griffith show? He listened to it and he said, 'I'll tell you what, I'll shoot Andy and Ronnie walking along the lake with a couple of fishing poles over their shoulder.'  Great. That was the way it was done. I had never whistled before in my life. And never since."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Earle Hagen on the origin of The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show
Earl Hagen on creating the theme song for The Mod Squad
Earle Hagen on the difference between composing for film and television
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early professional band experience
On being in Benny Goodman's band, and later Tommy Dorsey; on the kinds of venues he played early in his career
On playing at the dog track in Culver City and recording at Decca; on writing arrangements

Chapter 2

On being on the road as a musician early in his career; on writing the song "Harlem Nocturne"; on becoming a staff musician at CBS
On joining the radio production unit of the Air Force during World War II; on deciding to stop playing trombone, and become a "full time" songwriter; on meeting his wife Elouise "Lou" Sidwell
On studying to be an arranger and composer; on his post-World War II activities, and on writing an arrangement of "The Trolly Song" for the "Philco Radio Show"; on finding success as an arranger/conductor

Chapter 3

On the difference between a composer and an arranger; on going to work for 20th Century Fox studios as a arranger in 1946; on working for 20th Century Fox music director Alfred Newman
On teaming up with Herbert W. Spencer, and working on various musicals; on leaving 20th Century Fox studios
On switching from working in feature films to working in television in the early '50s; on the Spencer-Hagen Orchestra, and on how he and Herbert W. Spencer split work assignments

Chapter 4

On the evolution of the media on which he'd record; on composing and conducting music for The Danny Thomas Show ; on his professional relationship with Danny Thomas when he was composer/conductor for The Danny Thomas Show
On using "Danny Boy," or "Londonderry Air" as the theme song to The Danny Thomas Show; on Sheldon Leonard's philosophy of using original music for his shows like The Danny Thomas Show; on filming The Danny Thomas Show in front of a live studio audience
on composing and conducting for The Ray Bolger Show; on working with Roy Bolger on The Ray Bolger Show; on the production of The Ray Bolger Show, and on the workload

Chapter 5

On the difference between composing for film and television; on the origin of The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show; on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
On composing music for Don Knotts' character on The Andy Griffith Show; on collaborating with Andy Griffith and director Bob Sweeney on scoring The Andy Griffith Show;
On the lyrics to The Andy Griffith Show theme song; on working with producer Aaron Ruben on The Andy Griffith Show; on the process of scoring an episode of The Andy Griffith Show

Chapter 6

On the terms "click track" and "free timing"; on timing out his workload for The Andy Griffith Show, and dealing with musicians union rules; on being attuned to how things would sound though a small television speaker, and on post production of the music
On the creation by Carl Reiner of The Dick Van Dyke Show, produced by Sheldon Leonard; on composing the theme for The Dick Van Dyke Show, and on scoring the episodes; on comparing scoring The Dick Van Dyke Show to The Andy Griffith Show
On working with Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show; on the pilot of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.; on beginning his work for I Spy

Chapter 7

On the amount of different material needed for I Spy; on writing the theme for I Spy; on NBC initially not approving Bill Cosby to co-star in I Spy because it feared repercussions from Southern affiliates
On orchestrating the music for I Spy and bringing in another composer to help with the workload on that show; on composing exotic music for I Spy depending on the location of the episode
On traveling with the company of I Spy; on favorite episodes of I Spy

Chapter 8

On never using music of the time for I Spy; on releasing albums of his music from I Spy; on being a "packager" and on the business end of composing music for television
On working on That Girl; on using library music for Guestward Ho!; on creating the theme song for The Mod Squad
On pressure to score The Mod Squad with a more rock and roll sound; on using different types of beats for different scenes on The Mod Squad and on the band he used for the show

Chapter 9

On using the theme he wrote for the town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show as the theme for the spinoff Mayberry RFD ; on composing the theme for The Guns of Will Sonnett ; on becoming a teacher of music
On creating the music library for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman sight-unseen; on his work on The Dukes of Hazzard; on his work on Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer
On his decision to retire from music; on the role of music in television, and on how things have changed in the industry since he started

Chapter 10

On advice to an aspiring television composer; on technological advancements in music in television since he started his career; on career highlights, including winning the Emmy Award
On how he'd like to be remembered; on various people he worked with in his career
On b-roll footage- pictures from his career
Shows

Andy Griffith Show, The

View Show Page
Earle Hagen on the origin of The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on composing music for Don Knotts' character on The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on collaborating with Andy Griffith and director Bob Sweeney on scoring The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the lyrics to The Andy Griffith Show theme song, and on his The Andy Griffith Show album
Earle Hagen on working with producer Aaron Ruben on The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the process of scoring an episode of The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on timing out his workload for The Andy Griffith Show, and dealing with musicians union rules
Earle Hagen on comparing scoring The Dick Van Dyke Show to The Andy Griffith Show

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

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Earle Hagen on composing and conducting music for The Danny Thomas Show and on working with producer Sheldon Leonard
Earle Hagen on his professional relationship with Danny Thomas when he was composer/conductor for The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on using "Danny Boy," or "Londonderry Air" as the theme song to The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on Sheldon Leonard's philosophy of using original music for his shows like The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on filming The Danny Thomas Show in front of a live studio audience
Earle Hagen on the origin of The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

View Show Page
Earle Hagen on the creation by Carl Reiner of The Dick Van Dyke Show, produced by Sheldon Leonard
Earle Hagen on composing the theme for The Dick Van Dyke Show, and on scoring the episodes
Earle Hagen on comparing scoring The Dick Van Dyke Show to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on working with Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Dukes of Hazzard, The

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Earle Hagen on his work on The Dukes of Hazzard

Gomer Pyle - USMC

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Earle Hagen on the pilot of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., and on bringing in other people to help him

Guestward Ho!

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Earle Hagen on using library music for Guestward Ho!

Guns of Will Sonnett, The

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Earle Hagen on composing the theme for The Guns of Will Sonnett 

I Spy

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Earle Hagen on beginning his work for I Spy
Earle Hagen on the amount of different material needed for I Spy
Earle Hagen on writing the theme for I Spy
Earle Hagen on NBC initially not approving Bill Cosby to co-star in I Spy because it feared repercussions from Southern affiliates
Earle Hagen on orchestrating the music for I Spy and bringing in another composer to help with the workload on that show
Earle Hagen on composing exotic music for I Spy depending on the location of the episode
Earle Hagen on traveling with the company of I Spy
Earle Hagen on favorite episodes of I Spy
Earl Hagen on never using music of the time for I Spy
Earl Hagen on releasing albums of his music from I Spy

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Earle Hagen on creating the music library for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman sight-unseen

Mayberry R.F.D.

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Earle Hagen on using the theme he wrote for the town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show as the theme for the spinoff Mayberry RFD

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

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Earle Hagen on his work on Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

Mod Squad, The

View Show Page
Earl Hagen on creating the theme song for The Mod Squad
Earl Hagen on pressure to score The Mod Squad with a more rock and roll sound
Earl Hagen on using different types of beats for different scenes on The Mod Squad and on the band he used for the show

Ray Bolger Show, The

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Earle Hagen on composing and conducting for The Ray Bolger Show
Earle Hagen on working with Roy Bolger on The Ray Bolger Show
Earle Hagen on the production of The Ray Bolger Show and on his workload at that time

That Girl

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Earle Hagen on composing the theme song for That Girl
Topics

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Earle Hagen on NBC initially not approving Bill Cosby to co-star in I Spy because it feared repercussions from Southern affiliates

Emmy Awards

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Earle Hagen on career highlights, including winning an Emmy

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Earle Hagen on joining the radio production unit of the Air Force during World War II
Earle Hagen on NBC initially not approving Bill Cosby to co-star in I Spy because it feared repercussions from Southern affiliates

Pop Culture

View Topic
Earle Hagen on using "Danny Boy," or "Londonderry Air" as the theme song to The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the lyrics to The Andy Griffith Show theme song
Earle Hagen on writing the theme for I Spy

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Earle Hagen on using "Danny Boy," or "Londonderry Air" as the theme song to The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the lyrics to The Andy Griffith Show theme song
Earle Hagen on writing the theme for I Spy

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Earle Hagen on technological advancements in music in television since he started his career

Television Industry

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Earle Hagen on being a "packager" or on the business end of composing music for television

Underrepresented Voices

View Topic
Earle Hagen on NBC initially not approving Bill Cosby to co-star in I Spy because it feared repercussions from Southern affiliates

War

View Topic
Earle Hagen on joining the radio production unit of the Air Force during World War II

World War II

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Earle Hagen on joining the radio production unit of the Air Force during World War II
Professions

Composer

View Profession
Earle Hagen on the difference between composing for film and television
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on composing music for Don Knotts' character on The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the terms "click track" and "free timing"
Earle Hagen on being attuned to how things would sound though a small television speaker, and on post production of the music
Earle Hagen on being a "packager" or on the business end of composing music for television
Earl Hagen on using different types of beats for different scenes on The Mod Squad and on the band he used for the show
Earle Hagen on becoming a teacher of music
Earle Hagen on writing books on music composition
Earle Hagen on the role of music in television, and on how things have changed in the industry since he started
Earle Hagen on advice to an aspiring television composer

Music Professionals

View Profession
Earle Hagen on the difference between composing for film and television
Earle Hagen on writing the theme to The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on composing music for Don Knotts' character on The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on the terms "click track" and "free timing"
Earle Hagen on being attuned to how things would sound though a small television speaker, and on post production of the music
Earle Hagen on being a "packager" or on the business end of composing music for television
Earl Hagen on using different types of beats for different scenes on The Mod Squad and on the band he used for the show
Earle Hagen on becoming a teacher of music
Earle Hagen on writing books on music composition
Earle Hagen on the role of music in television, and on how things have changed in the industry since he started
Earle Hagen on advice to an aspiring television composer
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Earle Hagen on composing for I Spy
Earle Hagen on composing music for I Spy

Comedy Series

View Genre
Earle Hagen on scoring and conducting for The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on scoring The Andy Griffith Show
Earle Hagen on composing the theme song for That Girl
Earle Hagen on using library music for Guestward Ho!

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Earle Hagen on composing and conducting for The Ray Bolger Show

Western Series

View Genre
Earle Hagen on using library music for Guestward Ho!
People

Ray Bolger

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Earle Hagen on composing and conducting for The Ray Bolger Show
Earle Hagen on working with Roy Bolger on The Ray Bolger Show

Bill Cosby

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Earle Hagen on NBC initially not approving Bill Cosby to co-star in I Spy because it feared repercussions from Southern affiliates

Dick Van Dyke

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Earle Hagen on working with Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Duke Ellington

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Earle Hagen on Duke Ellington

Jerry Goldsmith

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Earle Hagen on Jerry Goldsmith

Benny Goodman

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Earle Hagen on being in Benny Goodman's band, and later Tommy Dorsey
Earle Hagen on Benny Goodman

Andy Griffith

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Earle Hagen on the origin of The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on collaborating with Andy Griffith and director Bob Sweeney on scoring The Andy Griffith Show

Quincy Jones

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Earle Hagen on Quincy Jones

Don Knotts

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Earle Hagen on composing music for Don Knotts' character on The Andy Griffith Show

Sheldon Leonard

View Interview Page
Earle Hagen on composing and conducting music for The Danny Thomas Show and on working with producer Sheldon Leonard
Earle Hagen on Sheldon Leonard's philosophy of using original music for his shows like The Danny Thomas Show
Earle Hagen on the creation by Carl Reiner of The Dick Van Dyke Show, produced by Sheldon Leonard
Earle Hagen on Sheldon Leonard

Henry Mancini

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Earle Hagen on Henry Mancini

Mike Post

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Earle Hagen on Mike Post

Carl Reiner

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Earle Hagen on the creation by Carl Reiner of The Dick Van Dyke Show, produced by Sheldon Leonard
Earle Hagen on working with Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Aaron Ruben

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Earle Hagen on working with producer Aaron Ruben on The Andy Griffith Show

Everett Sloane

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Earle Hagen on the lyrics to The Andy Griffith Show theme song by Everett Sloane

Bob Sweeney

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Earle Hagen on collaborating with Andy Griffith and director Bob Sweeney on scoring The Andy Griffith Show

Danny Thomas

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Earle Hagen on composing and conducting music for The Danny Thomas Show and on working with producer Sheldon Leonard
Earle Hagen on filming The Danny Thomas Show in front of a live studio audience
Earle Hagen on Danny Thomas

John Williams

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Earle Hagen on John Williams

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