CBS’s old movie program used ‘The Syncopated Clock’ as its theme music

Winford Hunter


I was reminded recently of a tv clearly show from the 1950s by the identify of “The Early Exhibit.” It aired all over 4 p.m. every day in the course of the week in Washington. It showcased pretty distinct concept songs at the commence and finish. My next oldest brother would sit and just hear to the music then go about his other enterprise. He was definitely hypnotized by it. It was a extremely catchy tune. I’d adore to know the name.

Greg Denevan, Berwyn, Md.

The instrumental was termed “The Syncopated Clock” and it was composed in 1945 in Arlington, Va., by a composer (and onetime Military intelligence officer) named Leroy Anderson. But right before we get to that, let us explore tv in the 1950s.

Tv then was a medium hungry for content material. Tv set stations essential flickering pictures they could broadcast into viewers’ properties. A lot of this information was piled up in a magical put termed Hollywood: previous motion pictures.

But executives at main studios weren’t sure they required their old movies proven on tv. They felt Tv set was a competitor, siphoning viewers from movie theaters. And so, several Tv set stations had to pad their schedules with foreign films, movies from more compact U.S. studios or movies made by the U.S. federal government.

At some point, an arrangement was struck amongst the Hollywood studios and the Tv networks enabling broadcasters to purchase and transmit films manufactured prior to 1948. The cinematic floodgates have been opened.

CBS took the lead. In 1951, its flagship station, WCBS in New York City, debuted a nightly movie offering, showing an previous film each and every night time at 11:10 p.m. Richard K. Doan was the method supervisor at the time and he claimed to have named the software — “The Late Show” — and to have picked its theme tunes: “The Syncopated Clock” by Anderson.

Anderson was a pops powerhouse. Not pop, as in pop tunes, but pops, as in the light-weight orchestral tunes popularized (popsularized?) by Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops. In simple fact, Fiedler was amid those people who inspired Anderson to devote his daily life to new music.

Anderson was born in 1908 to Swedish immigrants who have been each quite musical. He grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and examined new music at Harvard. The musical preparations he wrote there introduced him to Fiedler’s consideration. Quickly, Anderson was arranging songs for the Boston Pops.

Anderson was drafted in April 1942. When the Military uncovered Anderson had examined Swedish, Danish, German, Icelandic and Norwegian at Harvard, it assigned him to the Counter Intelligence Corps and despatched him to Iceland, in which he served as a translator and interpreter.

In 1943, Anderson was despatched to Officer Prospect Faculty and then posted to the Pentagon as chief of the Scandinavian Division of Military Intelligence. He moved his young relatives to Arlington. When Fiedler figured out Anderson was back stateside, he invited him to be the guest conductor at the Boston Pops Harvard Night time concert.

It was though Anderson was dwelling in Arlington that a title had lodged itself in his head. Lots of composers experienced included the constant, rhythmic ticking of a clock into their performs. But, Anderson later wrote, “No one experienced explained a ‘syncopated’ clock and this seemed to present the chance to produce one thing diverse.”

The consequence was “The Syncopated Clock,” a charming piece punctuated by a wood block. On May 28, 1945, Anderson, dressed in his Army uniform, carried out its premiere at Boston’s Symphony Corridor.

Anderson recorded “The Syncopated Clock” with his personal orchestra in 1950. The file arrived to the awareness of WCBS programmers, who manufactured it the topic music of “The Late Show.” It also graced other CBS movie systems: “The Late, Late Show” and “The Early Clearly show,” the latter of which was broadcast weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on Washington’s Channel 9. (Old Westerns were being frequent.)

Wrote Anderson: “From the extremely first demonstrate, CBS was flooded with phone inquiries for the identify of the topic and both equally CBS and I located ourselves with a hit on our fingers: theirs the show, mine the concept audio.”

Anderson was on a roll. In 1952, his “Blue Tango” offered 2 million copies. His “Sleigh Ride” (with lyrics by Mitchell Parish) is a seasonal staple. Answer Man’s most loved Anderson composition need to be “The Typewriter,” which makes use of an actual manual typewriter to percussive outcome.

Television set stations continued to mine the mom lode of outdated videos. When Baltimore’s WBFF Channel 45 released in the early 1970s, its connect with letters stood for “Baltimore’s Finest Options,” stated community Television set historian Tom Buckley. But more than time, the networks made their personal created-for-Tv videos. CBS has a “Late Show” and a “Late Late Clearly show,” but they’re discuss displays, not movie programs.

Leroy Anderson died in 1975. While he’d had plenty of hits, he insisted he never set out to generate one particular.

“All a composer can do is to generate what he feels and do it as greatest he can,” Anderson as soon as stated. “Whether it is common is up to the community.”

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