Nelson Riddle has been called one of the best arrangers in the history of popular music. He began arranging for Nat King Cole 1950 and he’s responsible for some of Nat’s biggest hits including “Mona Lisa” and “Too Young.” This clip comes from Nat King Cole’s variety show which ran from 1956-1957. Nelson Riddle was the show’s orchestra leader. The song is “Diga Diga Doo” which is from the 1928 music review “Blackbirds.”
Two completely unrelated thoughts:
First thought: I was shocked to learn that musical copyist still exists as a profession. I went looking for it fully expecting the find they’d been replaced by the printer and/or photo copier but apparently the task requires very specialized musical knowledge. So the tools have changed (computers nowadays instead of calligraphy pens) but the job is still intact.
Second thought: The first time I heard this song was in a 1977 made for TV movie called “Circle Of Children.” The movie was about a school for “emotionally disturbed” kids and it was pretty unremarkable. I hadn’t thought about in years; but hearing this song got me thinking about it and my thoughts led to a very interesting commute time conversation with myself about the changes in special education since that movie was made. When I say I had a conversation, I don’t mean I had one of those silent inner monologues with small secret smiles and far off wistful gazes. I mean I had a crazy, disjointed, tin foil hat wearing, bag lady style verbal soliloquy in my car, all alone. It’s days like this that make me thankful for the invention of blue tooth. That magical little ear piece that makes everyone think people are talking to themselves has really leveled the playing field for those of us who actually are talking to ourselves!
Jerry Goldsmith was an extremely prolific television and film score composer. He wrote some of our most iconic and recognizable theme songs like the theme for “The Twilight Zone,” and his themes for “Star Trek TNG,” and all the Star Trek movies. Even though he was most well known for his work on sci fi and action shows, he also composed music for other genres like, one of my favorites, the theme for 60s drama “Room 222.” Here’s his theme for “Our Man Flint.”
Watching Flint beat up on various people in this clip reminded me of the dedication to the book “Guards Guards” by Terry Pratchett.
“They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard or the patrol. Whatever the name their purpose in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No one ever asks them if they wanted to.
This book is dedicated to those fine men.”
Nelson Riddle was also a prolific composer, arranger. He wrote the arrangements for Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa.” Even though Jerry Goldsmith wrote the music for the movie “In Like Flint,” Nelson Riddle apparently did the arrangement for at least the theme song. The closing credits theme features very sweet love lyrics by Leslie Bricusse but here is the instrumental opening theme.
I found both “In Like Flint” and the 1967 “Casino Royale” streaming online so I might watch them both when I’m done watching my current list. They’ve got identical viewer ratings so it’ll be interesting to see which one I think is the better Bond parody. It’ll be especially interesting since I’ve only ever seen one Bond film and that was Octopussy. (Yes, I am ashamed of myself.) Most of my knowledge of the genre comes from spy parody. In fact I’m a fan of parody in general. We all know it’s funny when puppets and people mock movies, but it turns out it’s also funny when movies mock themselves! It’s one big Circle of Snark, like “The Lion King” only funnier.