Jerry Fielding Rare TV Themes
I loooooooove Jerry Fielding. I was first exposed to him via his two Star Trek scores, “The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Spectre of the Gun.”
In the early 1990s I became friends with Nick Redman, a huge Peckinpah/Fielding fanatic, who gave me the Fielding CDs he produced at Bay Cities Records—and I gradually discovered Jerry’s entire oeuvre.
I could write extensively why I like Fielding...but not this morning.
Here’s a great interview with Fielding (who died in 1980) and his music editor, Dan Carlin, Sr., by Jonathan Rosenbaum that I don’t think I’ve seen before.
And here are five super-obscure Fielding TV themes (and three pretty famous ones):
The Governor and J.J. (1969–70) has some of the Washington, D.C. pomp of Advise and Consent, along with the breezy McMillan and Wife feel:
He & She (1967) starred Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin:
Bridget Loves Bernie (1972–73) starred David Birney and Meredith Baxter (who later became Meredith Baxter-Birney, thanks to this show)—about a Jew who marries an Irish Catholic. (That was controversial in 1972.)
The Good Guys (1968–70) was a post-Gilligan’s Island Bob Denver sitcom. Fielding wrote the title song with Jay Livingston.
Getting away from comedies, Fielding scored the TV movie pilot to a short-lived 1975 Matt Helm series starring Tony Franciosa. Fielding fans will notice the reuse of his jazzy Hunters Are for Killing theme (a CBS TV movie we released on CD) that later became his title music to the 1978 Big Sleep remake.
When Matt Helm went to series, it sported a new theme by Morton Stevens. That’s pretty cool too, so what the heck—here is the Morton Stevens Matt Helm theme:
And here is Fielding’s ’70s Universal classic, McMillan and Wife:
Ah, the seventies. I guess you had to be there?
I guess the knock on Fielding is that his themes were always so busy and intricate, they kind of buried the tune—if they even had one. But his arrangements were genius. It was all about a tone—this was mainstream pop television (as was almost all television), but there was always a little twinkle to it, a sense of an individual:
His style was so distinctive, you always knew when it was him. Or at least, I did—and do! Love you, Jerry!