Within eight episodes of its 16-episode run, "Jericho", the 1966 series about a trio of Allied military specialists battling Nazis behind enemy lines, established an impressive roster of composers: Jerry Goldsmith ("The Man from U.N.C.L.E."), Lalo Schifrin ("Mission: Impossible"), Morton Stevens ("Hawaii Five-O"), Gerald Fried ("Star Trek"), and the lesser-known Richard Shores ("Richard Diamond, Private Detective"), mostly names now familiar to devotees of classic television music. Ten episodes featured original scores, each of them represented by suites on this album...
Goldsmith provided the series' theme, a brassy military march written in waltz time. Its exciting sound carries over into the composer's ominous 11-minute score for the episode 'A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Pow!' Goldsmith's style here is unmistakable, and while there are no strings ("as usual for his episodic television scores," read the liner notes) there are plenty of references and antecedents to several of his other scores bearing a martial flair. "Macarthur", for instance.
Schifrin's music for the pilot, 'Upbeat and Underground', is almost as long and almost as good. It features the series' largest instrumental ensemble (48 pieces), and Schifrin does a solid job exploring the sonorities of the orchestra for this World War II intrigue, though by this point the snare drum becomes mildly annoying. Later on the disc is his alternate series theme, a frivolous march at odds with his material and the series' overall sound.
Stevens' progressive jazz-influenced takes on the series storyline in 'Dutch and Go' and 'Have Traitor, Will Travel' go further against the initial grain, though they give the snare drum a different spin; plus, the latter score features top-notch writing for woodwinds and brass. That said, it does not take much intelligence to figure out where this is headed...
Shores' five selections never boast more than a ten-piece orchestra, and the effects are merely serviceable whether Shores goes for a flash of suspense or a dash of action. Jazz appears to be his main strength, which means it is time to give up on seeking consistency in tone here.
With 'Eric the Redhead', strangely deposited among the various Shores suites, Fried supplies one of the soundtrack's highlights: a thematic, percussive, and dramatically straightforward score with nine instruments and lots of skill, contrasting pastoral winds with military blaring & banging. It is simple, and affective.
Jericho" provides a hodgepodge of artists and ideas that are not all compatible, but are consistently interesting. The episodic nature of the suites would be disastrous were they intended to work as pieces cut from the same cloth; instead, the soundtrack is a rare chronicle of disparate approaches by a talented few. Hearing Jerry Goldsmith's music in particular is a listener's reward.
The Ghostbreaker [26:50]
John (here, 'Johnny') Williams' score for the pilot to the supernatural/detective program "The Ghostbreaker" provides a more substantial listen to a great composer's early career, and functions as a standalone soundtrack worthwhile to more than just diehard aficionados. The pilot never turned into a series, but Williams established a strong musical foundation for the show's potential and, arguably, advanced promise of his own. Recorded in January 1965, the score predates the composer's better known contributions to "Lost in Space" and "Land of the Giants", but fits in the canon alongside them, especially considering the main theme, a gem with its punchy intro, syncopated rhythms, and horn-led melody. The underscore itself is rather like those he would later provide for producer Irwin Allen; it is less tuneful, only a few satisfyingly Romantic gestures appear, but the composer's innovation shines through. Among the musical devices are suspenseful horns that sound like the grandparents of Williams' "Black Sunday", a steady ticking that he would revisit decades later for the Time-Turner sequence in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", and a curious assortment of source music, ranging from a '60s easy listening party favor to a charming setting of 'Greensleeves' for string orchestra & solo soprano to a Williams-performed organ rendition of Beethoven's 'Marcia funebre sulla morte d'un Eroe'. The complete score is surprisingly fluid given the sporadic nature of the medium and the lack of intricacies prevalent in Williams' later works. It caps the disc with a flourish.
Pairing the soundtracks to the obscure "Jericho" and practically unheard-of "The Ghostbreaker" for one of Film Score Monthly's newest entries in its Silver Age Classics series is a gamble that, for the most part, pays off as a listen. The period sound is crisp, the production design continues FSM's high standards, and the liner notes by Jon Burlingame and Jeff Eldridge are deeply informative... Both soundtracks on the disc are good but not exceptional, so there is a temptation to think of exceptional scores that still await [decent] CD releases, including a few from Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams, and to wonder why this album came out before them. But that the music is uncelebrated does not mean it should be unwanted.
Film Score Monthly News Release:
The Ghostbreaker: 3.5
Interested in Jerry Goldsmith, Lalo Schifrin and John Williams television music that is not only obscure, but borders on being unheard?
From the Warner Bros. archives of vintage M-G-M television material and Norman Felton's Arena Productions comes this doubleheader of rare projects: Jericho (1966), a short-lived CBS action-adventure series scored by much of the staff from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (also an M-G-M/Arena show); and The Ghostbreaker (1965), a busted pilot that aired once on NBC and disappeared into the studio vaults.
Jericho was a WWII adventure series following three Allied specialists on secret missions throughout Europe. The theme and second episode were scored by Jerry Goldsmith in his military-suspense mode, replacing a theme by Lalo Schifrin who had scored the pilot. Goldsmith's theme and complete episode score are included on this CD, as are Schifrin's unused theme and a suite from his pilot score, significantly foreshadowing his music to Mission: Impossible.
The remainder of Jericho was scored by Morton Stevens, Gerald Fried and Richard Shores, and suites from all of their episodes are included. The music recalls the style of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but perhaps more grim.
The Ghostbreaker was a one-hour pilot starring Kerwin Mathews as a parapsychologist investigator; although foreshadowing such television series as Kolchak: The Night Staker and The X-Files, it did not proceed to a series.
The theme and pilot score to The Ghostbreaker were by none other than John (then "Johnny") Williams, who wrote a dynamite theme that compares favorably to his TV work for Irwin Allen, and a creepy score including harpsichord and solo soprano. The totality of Williams's score is included here -- a forgotten jewel by one of the world's most famous composers.
The entire CD has been mastered from the original 1/4" monaural tapes. Liner notes are by television authority Jon Burlingame and Williams expert Jeff Eldridge.
- Main Title 1:04
- A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Pow! (Goldsmith) 10:52
- Upbeat and Underground (Lalo Schifrin) 8:47
- Dutch and Go (Morton Stevens) 4:38
- Have Traitor, Will Travel (Stevens) 2:29
- The Big Brass Contraband (Richard Shores) 3:41
- Wall to Wall Kaput (Shores) 2:07
- Eric the Redhead (Gerald Fried) 5:33
- One for the Mountain (Shores) 3:16
- Two for the Road (Shores) 4:49
- Four O'Clock Bomb to London (Shores) 4:29
- Alternate Main Title (Schifrin) 0:45
Total Time: 52:56
"Ghosts in Glass Houses"
- Main Title 1:01
- Teaser 3:39
- Act I: The Spooked Skyscraper Strikes Again 2:08
- Men of Unitran 1:44
- Act II: Accent the Supernatural 3:00
- Greensleeves 1:24
- Act III: Don't Trip Over Diablo 3:57
- Organ Piece 2:31
- Act IV: To Outspook a Spook 6:25
- End Credits 0:49
Total Time: 26:50