Herschel Burke Gilbert

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, Hershel Burke Gilbert (1918-2003) talks about his early interest in music and his studies in college (including eventually studying conducting and composing at Julliard), and his part in a local dance band. He talks about becoming an arranger for Harry James during the big band era of the 1940s, which led to his move to Los Angeles and Columbia Pictures. He talks about working with composer Heinz Roemheld on films including "The Fuller Brush Man" and Dimitri Tiomkin on films including "Duel in the Sun." He also talks about other features he scored, including Otto Preminger's "Carmen Jones." Gilbert talks about his association with the American Society of Music Arrangers and describes American Federation of Music president James C. Petrillo, the legendary union head. Gilbert then talks about the Mutell (music for television) music service, which supplied music for low-budget television series such as The Adventures of Superman and dozens of others throughout the 1950s. He speaks in great detail about working with the creative team of Jules Levy, Arthur Gardner, and Arnold Laven (of Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions) on the series The Rifleman, for which he wrote the theme and incidental music. He talks about becoming the executive music director at Dick Powell's Four Star Productions and the outsourcing of the music recording internationally. He talks about working on series including The Detectives, starring Robert Taylor, The Westerner, and Burke's Law. Finally he talks about his work as the Executive Music Supervisor at CBS in the 1960s, including his contributions to such series as Rawhide. Jon Burlingame conducted the interview on April 30, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I wrote to each picture, I think, differently. I like wanting to have enhanced the story -- so you can't have a style. The story dictates it."

Highlights
Herschel Burke Gilbert on becoming the music director for Four Star Productions, and on his duties in that job
04:22
Herschel Burke Gilbert on his music being used for The Adventures of Superman, and other shows that used the MUTEL library
05:56
Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for The Westerner, directed by Sam Peckinpah
01:40
Herschel Burke Gilbert on going to work at CBS as Executive Music Director, and on serving as music director for Gilligan's Island
05:21
Herschel Burke Gilbert on the process of composing for Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on the process of composing for The Rifleman
03:00
Herschel Burke Gilbert on his proudest career achievements
01:48
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on attending Juilliard, and on getting married; on studying at Tanglewood, and on his activities after college
On writing background music for feature films, and on his activities during World War II; on composing and arranging scores for feature films; on composing and arranging scores for Columbia Pictures

Chapter 2

On composing for Four Star Productions, and on using music cue sheets for royalties; on working with Nelson Riddle; on composing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre and The Rifleman
On composing for The Loretta Young Show, and on doing the music for various Four Star Productions; on when he first saw television, and on early variety shows
On leaving Four Star and on writing music for Burke's Law for producer Aaron Spelling; on going to work at CBS as Executive Music Director, and on serving as music director for Gilligan's Island

Chapter 3

On composing for features produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on them going into television with The Rifleman; on the process of composing for Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on the process of composing for The Rifleman; on becoming the music director for Four Star Productions, and on his duties in that job
On supervising the music for Black Saddles, The Detectives, and The Westerner; on supervising the music for Dick Powell's Zane Gray Theatre, and for various other Four Star shows; on supervising the music for Burke's Law, produced by Aaron Spelling

Chapter 4

On scoring features for producer David Chudnow, and on representing composers and arrangers for his union; on David Chudnow's MUTEL library; on the differences between composing for film and composing for television
On his music being used for The Adventures of Superman, and other shows that used the MUTEL library; on his Academy Award nominations, including for "Carmen Jones"; on going to work for Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions

Chapter 5

On supervising music for The Wild Wild West and Rawhide; on leaving CBS, and on the amount of music he composed while working in television; on supervising music for Honey West, and on his retirement
On making records; on the Hollywood Blacklist; on the many awards he's received
On his proudest career achievements; on his style, and on his preservation efforts
Shows

Adventures of Superman

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on his music being used for The Adventures of Superman, and other shows that used the MUTEL library
05:56

Black Saddle

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Black Saddles
02:33

Burke's Law

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Burke's Law, produced by Aaron Spelling
04:09

Detectives, The

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for The Detectives
02:29

Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre
01:11
Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Dick Powell's Zane Gray Theatre, and for various other Four Star shows
04:17

Gilligan's Island

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on going to work at CBS as Executive Music Director, and on serving as music director for Gilligan's Island
05:21

Honey West

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising music for Honey West, and on his retirement
01:36

Loretta Young Show, The

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for The Loretta Young Show, and on doing the music for various Four Star Productions
03:30

Rawhide

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising music for The Wild Wild West and Rawhide
06:52

Rifleman, The

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for The Rifleman
04:11
Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for features produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on them going into television with The Rifleman
06:44

Westerner, The

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for The Westerner, directed by Sam Peckinpah
01:40

Wild Wild West, The

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising music for The Wild Wild West and Rawhide
06:52
Topics

Hollywood Blacklist

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:57

Industry Crossroads

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:57

Television Industry

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on the Hollywood Blacklist
01:57
Professions

Composer

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for features produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on them going into television with The Rifleman
06:44

Music Director

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on the differences between composing for film and composing for television
02:37
Herschel Burke Gilbert on his style, and on his preservation efforts
04:28

Music Professionals

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for features produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on them going into television with The Rifleman
06:44
Herschel Burke Gilbert on the differences between composing for film and composing for television
02:37
Herschel Burke Gilbert on his style, and on his preservation efforts
04:28
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on his music being used for The Adventures of Superman, and other shows that used the MUTEL library
05:56

Classic Anthology Series

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre
01:11
Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for The Loretta Young Show, and on doing the music for various Four Star Productions
03:30

Comedy Series

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on going to work at CBS as Executive Music Director, and on serving as music director for Gilligan's Island
05:21

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for The Detectives
02:29

Legal Dramas

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Burke's Law, produced by Aaron Spelling
04:09

Western Series

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for The Rifleman
04:11
Herschel Burke Gilbert on composing for features produced by Levy-Gardner-Laven, and on them going into television with The Rifleman
06:44
Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Black Saddles
02:33
Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for The Westerner, directed by Sam Peckinpah
01:40
Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Dick Powell's Zane Gray Theatre, and for various other Four Star shows
04:17
Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising music for The Wild Wild West and Rawhide
06:52
People

Sam Peckinpah

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for The Westerner, directed by Sam Peckinpah
01:38

Nelson Riddle

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on working with Nelson Riddle
01:01

Aaron Spelling

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Herschel Burke Gilbert on supervising the music for Burke's Law, produced by Aaron Spelling
03:04

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