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Q: Classic TV theme music ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Classic TV theme music
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Music
Asked by: forrest_creature-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 03 Feb 2003 21:53 PST
Expires: 05 Mar 2003 21:53 PST
Question ID: 157070
I'd like to know the title and artist for the theme music used for the
Gertrude and Heathcliff sketches on the Red Skelton show.  It was a
bouncy vocal jazz piece. I have been unable to find any references to
it so far.
Subject: Re: Classic TV theme music
Answered By: rico-ga on 10 Feb 2003 10:53 PST
Hi again forrest_creature,

I appreciate your invitation to post my research as an answer. For
what it's worth, I have heard the piece you're referring to, and I
agree that I've heard similar jazzy wordless vocals over the years
that sound either much like the piece, or could, in fact, be a version
of the original.  Given how prolific Rose was in composing for
television, it's quite possible that he recycled the G&H theme more
than once if he indeed was the composer.

Let's look at the candidates in order:

David Rose: On Yahoo I found an excerpt from Hal Erickson's "All Movie
Guide" which notes of Rose, "...He worked extensively as an orchestra
leader on radio, and in this capacity began a long and lucrative
association with Red Skelton, with whom Rose stayed until Skelton's
final TV program in 1971. Skelton's theme song, "Holiday For Strings,"
was written by Rose, as were the leitmotifs of Skelton's many
characters (Rose's clip-clop theme for Freddy the Freeloader was
titled 'Lovable Clown')".

This was only one of two specific citations I could find on the Web as
to the composer(s) of the Skelton show cues/character theme music (see
below on Jack Lloyd et al;. A detailed biography of Rose can be found

Note there the references to Rose's "jazzy melodies", and this
notation, "...Particularly notable were the cues he composed for the
Skelton show over the years, which underscored characters 'Clem
Kadiddlehopper',[and] 'The Lovable Clown."

Jack Lloyd: As noted in the "Classic Themes" site, another possible
candidate is Jack Lloyd, who with Rose is credited with the Skelton
Show theme, "Holiday For Strings", which was an instrumental hit for
Rose and his orchestra in the `40s. As noted in the site, Lloyd has a
number of Red Skelton Show cues in his ASCAP listings...

With that clue I decided to take a look at the ASCAP Repertoire
database, and see who else claimed Red Skelton Show music among
his/her credits. A search returned 53 results. As well as Rose and
Lloyd, there are several other people with Skelton Show cues listings.
You can replicate my search at ASCAP if you like by going to...

and entering Red Skelton in the field. You'll note a certain Richard
"Red Skelton" also appears in the listings who, of course, is *the*
Red Skelton, and who has 55 ASCAP compositions listed.

Several sites make mention of Skelton's composing skills.  As noted in
a 1997 obituary, "Skelton was [a] man of [many]interests and talents.
He was a 33rd degree Mason, an inductee of the Television Academy Hall
of Fame, starred in 48 motion pictures, was a music composer
(including 64 symphonies and over 6000 songs) with pieces performed by
the London Philharmonic, pianist Van Cliburn, and Arthur Fiedler. He
was a supporter of charities, especially for children. He wrote poetry
and was an avid gardener specializing in bonsai trees. A variety of
rose was named in his honor, as well as a bridge over the Wabash River
near Vincennes. For all that, he is probably best remembered for the
genuine warmth he conveyed: 'I do not hate my enemies,' he said,
'after all, I made them'. He closed each show with a heartfelt: 'Good
night, and may God bless.'"

Actually citations of the number of Skelton's musical compositions
vary.  I saw claims of everything from 5,000 to 8,000 pieces, in any
case an impressive accomplishment.  MSN notes specifically that he
penned the theme music for a 1966 movie called "Made in Paris." More
information can be found at...

So, I hope you found this informative, even I couldn't track down the
actual G&H theme for you. Best of luck in eventually finding more
information on that piece of music.



Search strategy "Red Skelton Show"; + variations of compositions;
music; themes; etc.
Subject: Re: Classic TV theme music
From: rico-ga on 04 Feb 2003 07:27 PST
My research indicated that David Rose (Skelton's orchestra leader, and
probably best-remembered today for his brassy "The Stripper") is the
most likely candidate to have composed the piece. It was probably
untitled, and registered by Rose with ASCAP simply under the
portmanteau "Red Skelton Show Cues" title, as were most of the other
character leit-motifs used on the show, with the exception of the
Freddy the Freeloader "Loveable Clown" theme and the closing music.

Other possible, but less likely, candidates include a Jack Lloyd, who
also lists several Skelton Show cues among his credits, and Skelton
himself, who was an  accomplished composer. I haven't posted this as
an "answer" since its debatable that it answers your question. If you
do want me to share my full research that brought me to these
conclusions as an answer, let me know, and I'll be happy to do so.


Subject: Re: Classic TV theme music
From: forrest_creature-ga on 09 Feb 2003 19:32 PST
I've heard this used on other programs and once or twice on the radio
some years ago.  Each time it appeared to be the same recording
although I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been. The
unique thing about this theme is that, to the best of my memory, there
were no instruments, just voices and at that, no words.

If you don't have any other ideas, go ahead and make the research
available as an answer.  If it doesn't lead me to what I'm looking for
at least it will be informative.  I knew Skelton was a painter but did
not know he was also a composer.

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