Fred Steiner

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Fred Steiner (1923-2011) talks about breaking into the business as an arranger / orchestrator in network radio in the 1940s and details some of the first radio scores he wrote for legendary producer-director Norman Corwin.  He discusses his work as composer for the radio series This Is Your F.B.I., his move to Los Angeles, and his compositions for the anthology series Playhouse 90.  Steiner speaks on composing the jazzy theme for Perry Mason and describes several of the episode scores he wrote for landmark series The Twilight Zone and Star Trek.  Steiner reminisces about CBS West Coast music director Lud Gluskin, and explains his own studies in musicology -- including receiving a Ph.D. from USC.  B-roll consists of several photos from Steiner's career conducting for radio's This Is Your F.B.I. and a shot of the scoring stage at 20th Century Fox.  Karen Herman conducted the interview in Sante Fe, New Mexico on June 25, 2003.

"(Outstanding scores have) music that you can listen to over and over again and say, 'gee, I think that was a good job…' I was listening to the re-runs of 'Gunsmoke' and some of the old scores I haven't heard for 50 years.  And I'm kind of impressed by that - that was music that sounded different from most of the stuff that you were hearing on TV in those days for western films.  If I like listening to it again, then maybe it had something."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Fred Steiner on scoring various made-for-television movies
Fred Steiner on then-current projects
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his experience of World War II, composing music for propaganda; on learning to score by watching his father score cartoons
On his early jobs in radio working for Van Cleave, who became a mentor; on composition teacher Norman Lockwood, who was a mentor to him
On the challenges on composing for radio; on some of the radio shows he scored, including "Columbia Presents Corwin" with Norman Corwin; on his earliest experiences with television

Chapter 2

On composing for the radio show "Cathy and Elliott Lewis On Stage"; on composing and arraigning for early television, and how it was different from doing the same for radio; on the craft and composing and arranging for television, and tailoring the music to fit the star
On how he got work in the early days of television; on the process of composing for a pilot; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On how he started composing for feature films, and on favorites of his that he's worked on; on what makes for an outstanding score; on composing for My Favorite Husband

Chapter 3

On the sound stages he's recorded on; on the logistics of a recording session for a television score; on following union regulations for musicians in recording sessions
On composing for Playhouse 90; on playing the music live for Playhouse 90 instead of recording it in advance; on collaborating with Playhouse 90 producer Martin Manulis and director John Frankenheimer
On composing for the Playhouse 90 episodes "The Comedian" and "A Sound of Different Drummers"; on the process of composing a score of a Playhouse 90 episode; on what he learned composing for Playhouse 90

Chapter 4

On Lud Gluskin; on getting around the Petrillo ban on live music
On composing for Gunsmoke; on composing for Navy Log; on composing the theme song for Perry Mason

Chapter 5

On moving to Mexico to reconnect with his family; on music he did while living in Mexico; on composing for Gerald McBoing Boing
On composing for The Bullwinkle Show for Jay Ward; on composing for various animated series
On composing for Tiny Toons in the style of the old Warner Brothers cartoons; on composing for The Twilight Zone

Chapter 6

On composing for The Twilight Zone and on working for Rod Serling and producer Buck Houghton; on composing for specific episodes of The Twilight Zone
On composing for Star Trek; on composing for the Star Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver"; on composing for the Star Trek episodes "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and "Charlie X"; on composing for the Star Trek episode "Mudd's Women"
On composing for the Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"; on composing for the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror"; on composing for the Star Trek episode "Mirror Mirror"

Chapter 7

On scoring specific episodes of Star Trek; on scoring the theme of Beany and Cecil; on scoring several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show
On scoring various made-for-television movies; on scoring several episodes of Bonanza; on scoring O'Hara, U.S. Treasury
On scoring several episodes of Hec Ramsey; on scoring several episodes of Hawaii Five-O; on his studies in musicology

Chapter 8

On writing his dissertation on Alfred Newman, and his study of musicology; on his favorite film scores; on how the business has changed regarding scoring
On scoring episodes of Dynasty; on working on the feature film "The Color Purple" with Quincy Jones; on working on Death of a Salesman
On working on the updated Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories; on composing for Star Trek: The Next Generation; on some of his favorite feature film scores

Chapter 9

On then-current projects; on the importance of television scores; on advice to an aspiring television composer
On b-roll pictures from his career- conducting for the radio show "This Is Your FBI"; conducting for radio; conducing London Philharmonic; conducting score for "King Kong"; conducing London Philharmonic; conducting score for "King Kong"; screening a take; conducting using a widescreen; Lud Gluskin; at home with his wife; sheet music by Alfred Newman;
Shows

Amazing Stories

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on working on the updated Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories

Andy Griffith Show, The

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show

Beany and Cecil

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on scoring the theme of Beany and Cecil

Bonanza

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of Bonanza

Bullwinkle Show, The

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for The Bullwinkle Show for Jay Ward

Death of a Salesman

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on working on Death of a Salesman

Dynasty

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on scoring episodes of Dynasty

Gerald McBoing Boing

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Gerald McBoing Boing

Gunsmoke

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Gunsmoke
Fred Steiner on recurring themes he wrote for Gunsmoke

Hawaii Five-O

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of Hawaii Five-O

Hec Ramsey

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of Hec Ramsey

My Favorite Husband

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for My Favorite Husband

Navy Log

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Navy Log

Perry Mason

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing the theme song for Perry Mason

Playhouse 90

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Playhouse 90
Fred Steiner on playing the music live for Playhouse 90 instead of recording it in advance
Fred Steiner on collaborating with Playhouse 90 producer Martin Manulis and director John Frankenheimer
Fred Steiner on composing for the Playhouse 90 episode "The Comedian"
Fred Steiner on composing for the Playhouse 90 episode "A Sound of Different Drummers"
Fred Steiner on the process of composing a score of a Playhouse 90 episode
Fred Steiner on what he learned composing for Playhouse 90

Playhouse 90: "The Comedian"

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for the Playhouse 90 episode "The Comedian"

Star Trek

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Star Trek and on working with Gene Roddenberry
Fred Steiner on composing for the Star Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver"
Fred Steiner on composing for the Star Trek episodes "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and "Charlie X"
Fred Steiner on composing for the Star Trek episode "Mudd's Women"
Fred Steiner on composing for the Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
Fred Steiner on composing for the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror"
Fred Steiner on composing for the Star Trek episode "Mirror Mirror"
Fred Steiner on scoring specific episodes of Star Trek

Star Trek: The Next Generation

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Star Trek: The Next Generation

Twilight Zone, The

View Show Page
Fred Steiner on composing for The Twilight Zone
Fred Steiner on composing for The Twilight Zone and on working for Rod Serling and producer Buck Houghton
Fred Steiner on composing for specific episode of The Twilight Zone
Fred Steiner on working on the updated Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Fred Steiner on composition teacher Norman Lockwood, who was a mentor to him
Fred Steiner on his early jobs in radio working for Van Cleave, who became a mentor

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Fred Steiner on his experience of World War II, composing music for propaganda

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Fred Steiner on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Fred Steiner on the Hollywood Blacklist

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Fred Steiner on composition teacher Norman Lockwood, who was a mentor to him
Fred Steiner on his early jobs in radio working for Van Cleave, who became a mentor

Pop Culture

View Topic
Fred Steiner on composing the theme song for Perry Mason
Fred Steiner on composing for The Bullwinkle Show for Jay Ward

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Fred Steiner on composing the theme song for Perry Mason
Fred Steiner on composing for The Bullwinkle Show for Jay Ward

Television Industry

View Topic
Fred Steiner on the Hollywood Blacklist
Fred Steiner on how the business has changed regarding scoring

War

View Topic
Fred Steiner on his experience of World War II, composing music for propaganda

World War II

View Topic
Fred Steiner on his experience of World War II, composing music for propaganda
Professions

Composer

View Profession
Fred Steiner on learning to score by watching his father score cartoons
Fred Steiner on the craft and composing and arranging for television, and tailoring the music to fit the star
Fred Steiner on the process of composing for a pilot
Fred Steiner on what makes for an outstanding score
Fred Steiner on on the sound stages he's recorded on
Fred Steiner on the logistics of a recording session for a television score
Fred Steiner on following union regulations for musicians in recording sessions
Fred Steiner on his studies in musicology
Fred Steiner on writing his dissertation on Alfred Newman, and his study of musicology
Fred Steiner on advice to an aspiring television composer

Music Professionals

View Profession
Fred Steiner on learning to score by watching his father score cartoons
Fred Steiner on the craft and composing and arranging for television, and tailoring the music to fit the star
Fred Steiner on the process of composing for a pilot
Fred Steiner on what makes for an outstanding score
Fred Steiner on on the sound stages he's recorded on
Fred Steiner on the logistics of a recording session for a television score
Fred Steiner on following union regulations for musicians in recording sessions
Fred Steiner on his studies in musicology
Fred Steiner on writing his dissertation on Alfred Newman, and his study of musicology
Fred Steiner on advice to an aspiring television composer
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Fred Steiner on composing for Navy Log

Animation

View Genre
Fred Steiner on composing for various animated series

Children's Programming

View Genre
Fred Steiner on scoring the theme of Beany and Cecil

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Fred Steiner on composing for Playhouse 90
Fred Steiner on composing for The Twilight Zone
Fred Steiner on working on the updated Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories

Comedy Series

View Genre
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of Hawaii Five-O

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Fred Steiner on scoring episodes of Dynasty

Legal Dramas

View Genre
Fred Steiner on composing the theme song for Perry Mason

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Fred Steiner on composing for Star Trek
Fred Steiner on scoring specific episodes of Star Trek
Fred Steiner on composing for Star Trek: The Next Generation

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Fred Steiner on working on Death of a Salesman

Western Series

View Genre
Fred Steiner on composing for Gunsmoke
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of Bonanza
Fred Steiner on scoring several episodes of Hec Ramsey
Fred Steiner on scoring O'Hara, U.S. Treasury
People

John Frankenheimer

View Interview Page
Fred Steiner on collaborating with Playhouse 90 producer Martin Manulis and director John Frankenheimer

Buck Houghton

View Person Page
Fred Steiner on composing for The Twilight Zone and on working for Rod Serling and producer Buck Houghton

Quincy Jones

View Interview Page
Fred Steiner on working on the feature film "The Color Purple" with Quincy Jones

Martin Manulis

View Interview Page
Fred Steiner on collaborating with Playhouse 90 producer Martin Manulis and director John Frankenheimer

Gene Roddenberry

View Person Page
Fred Steiner on composing for Star Trek and on working with Gene Roddenberry

Rod Serling

View Person Page
Fred Steiner on composing for The Twilight Zone and on working for Rod Serling and producer Buck Houghton

Jay Ward

View Person Page
Fred Steiner on composing for The Bullwinkle Show for Jay Ward

All Interviews

Q
S