Earle Hagen

Earle Hagen

Earle Harry Hagen (July 9 1919May 26 2008) was an American composer who created music for movies and television. He is remembered for co-writing and whistling "The Fishin' Hole", the melody of the main theme to "The Andy Griffith Show", the instrumental classic "Harlem Nocturne" used as the theme to television's "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer", and co-wrote the theme song to Tim Conway's Western comedy "Rango".Weber, Bruce. - Television: [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/28/arts/television/28hagen.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22Earle%20Hagen%22&st=cse&oref=slogin "Earle Hagen, Who Composed Noted TV Tunes, Dies at 88"] . - "New York Times". - May 28, 2008. - Retrieved: May 28, 2008] Zoglin, Richard. - [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,960794,00.html "Back to the Time Warp"] . - "TIME". - March 3, 1986. - Retrieved: May 28, 2008]


Born in Chicago, Illinois, as a boy he moved with his family to Los Angeles, California, where he learned to play the trombone in junior high school, and graduated from Hollywood High School. He left home to join traveling big bands, at age 16, and played with Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble. While with Noble he wrote "Harlem Nocturne", on the road in 1939, as a tribute to Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges.Jablon, Robert. - [http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_9394015?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com "Earle Hagen, 'Andy Griffith' composer, dies at 88"] . - Associated Press. - (c/o "San Jose Mercury News"). - May 27, 2008. - Retrieved: May 28, 2008] The instrumental classic "Harlem Nocturne", was recorded by several artists, including Earl Bostic, The Viscounts, Sam Taylor, Herbie Fields, Randy Brooks, and The Lounge Lizards, and was later used as the theme to television's "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer".

In order to make extra money he began teaching trombone in the 1930s. He went to work for CBS in 1940, as a staff musician, but then enlisted in the military in 1941. Hagen was an orchestrator and arranger for motion picture studio 20th Century Fox in 1940s and early 1950s, and worked on films like "Call Me Madam" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". He began writing for television when he left Fox in 1952 with partner Herbert Spencer. Hagen met television show producer Sheldon Leonard when he scored the Danny Thomas series "Make Room for Daddy".

Hagen's most ambitious body of work, however, came from his work on "I Spy", for which he won an Emmy in 1968. Sheldon Leonard, the producer and creator of "I Spy", bucked the trend of using canned music for television shows and instead decided to create original soundtracks for every episode. Since every episode of "I Spy" was set in a different location, Hagen made liberal use of world music in his soundtracks which were mostly written and performed within the West coast jazz genre. (Hagen did not claim the West coast jazz affiliation for himself, instead inventing the term "semi-jazz", which he defined as a union of global themes with American jazz.)

Other television theme songs that Hagen composed were the themes for "The Dick Van Dyke Show", "Gomer Pyle - USMC", "That Girl" (along with "I Spy" Thomas and Leonard productions), "Eight Is Enough", and "The Mod Squad". [Jacket cover, TeeVee Toons Presents, "Television's Greatest Hits" (TeeVee Toons, Inc., 1985)]

At the end of his life he continued teaching and wrote books on music arranging and scoring. Sometimes his only fee was a box of golf balls because of his passion for golfing. He wrote one of the first textbooks on scoring, "Scoring for Films: A Complete Text", and "Memoirs of a Famous Composer Nobody Ever Heard Of" was his autobiography published in 2000. One of his students was fellow Emmy-winning composer and orchestrator Harvey Cohen.Obituary: [http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070203/news_1m3cohen.html "Harvey Cohen"] Associated Press. - (c/o "San Diego Union Tribune"). - February 3, 2007. - Retrieved: May 28, 2008]

He was married for fifty-nine years to Elouise "Lou" Sidwell, a former big-band singer, until her death in 2002. He then married his second wife, Laura, in 2005.

Hagen died of natural causes in Rancho Mirage.


* 1971. - "Scoring for Films: A Complete Text". - Los Angeles, California: Alfred Publishing Company. ISBN 0882843885
* 1990. - "Advanced Techniques for Film Scoring: A Complete Text". - Los Angeles, California: Alfred Publishing Company. ISBN 0882844474
* 2000. - "Memoirs of a Famous Composer Nobody Ever Heard Of". - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Xlibris. ISBN 0738857203


External links

*imdb name|id=0006120|name=Earle H. Hagen
* [http://www.earlehagen.net/ "The Best of All Worlds"] Fan Site with career reflections & highlights.

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