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CBS Herrmann Demo Tapes


Bernard Herrmann’s first encounter with television was his score to the 1954 1- hour musical (or "television opera") version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Frederic March (as Scrooge) and Basil Rathbone (as Marley’s ghost). This was rerun the following year in addition to Herrmann’s second holiday special, the half-hour musical A Child is Born. But it would prove to be different kinds of stories that would make Herrmann known as a composer for television.

In addition to original scores for episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Gunsmoke, the Have Gun, Will Travel pilot, and more, Herrmann composed a series of stock music suites for the CBS Music Library. This was thematic music (arranged in suites) which would be tracked to unscored episodes of shows like Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Rawhide and Have Gun, Will Travel.

These stock suites would have names like: The Western Suite, The Western Saga, The Indian Suite, The Desert Suite, The Outer Space Suite, and Police Force.

Herrmann also composed original music for pilots of proposed series like The Ethan Allen Story and Collector’s Item. Failing to become series (like most pilots) these scores also went into the CBS Music Library and were reused in other shows.

Some of Herrmann’s radio scores were also re-recorded for use in the music library. These include The Hitchhiker, The Moat-Farm Murders and Walt Whitman, as well as the 1956 radio version of Brave New World.

Apart from three Twilight Zone scores released by Varese Sarabande, and 4 LPs of excerpts from the stock suites released by Cerberus (both in the 1980’s), very little of this music has been issued on albums.*


Researcher Bill Wrobel has since 1981 piled through the archives of UCSB, UCLA and USC in search for music by Herrmann and other composers. During his research at the UCLA Music Library Special Collections’ CBS Collection he has managed to locate many buried or uninventoried Herrmann scores within the hundreds of large document boxes holding the scores. These include Police Force, House on K Street, and four Crime Classic radio scores which were separated from the UCLA Bernard Herrmann Collection and presumed lost.

Wrobel has now compiled a series of three audio tapes containing Herrmann’s music from the CBS archives. Here you’ll find music from Police Force (perhaps the most unknown of the stock suites), The Western Suite, Indian Suite, House on K-Street, Gunsmoke, and more, as well as radio music from Crime Classics.

It should be noted that the music excerpts are mostly lifted from video tapes, containing more or less dialogue and sound effects on top of the music. The tapes have by no means the quality of today’s recordings, and the pure listening experience you’ll get from them are rather questionable.

The tapes are primarily meant for people interested in doing research of their own.

But what really make these tapes interesting from a researcher's point of view, rather then watching the shows on video, is that each cue has been identified from manuscripts found in the CBS and Bernard Herrmann collections at UCLA. We now know that a certain reused cue in, let's say Have Gun, Will Travel's "The Singer" is actually cue #365 VII "Rundown" from Police Force. This ables the listener to get a better understanding of the suites from which the music originated. This is the real power behind these tapes and I know a lot of hours have gone into it.

Written permission has been granted by CBS Entertainment to Bill Wrobel to distribute these tapes for research and private use only. It is strictly a non- profit, non-commercial presentation of CBS Herrmann music, which is provided to interested parties at cost (cassette, packaging, postage, etc). For those who read music, a few sample pages of the written music (hand-copied by Wrobel) will be included in the cassette package UPON REQUEST ONLY at the time of order. This offer may be cancelled at any time.

Individual cues from Police Force (all of side A), Western Suite, House on K Street, Desert Suite, and Indian Suite.

Individual cues from Indian Suite, Desert Suite, Police Force, Western Saga, House on K STREET, Walt Whitman, Ethan Allen, Outer Space Suite, Kitty Shot (Gunsmoke), and Rawhide.

Music from 21 Crime Classics broadcasts edited into mini-suites.


Here is a series of audio clips made available as a presentation of the audio tapes. The clips are in Real Audio format (16 Kbps, mono) and a version of RealPlayer is required (www.real.com).

People interested in these tapes for research purposes should contact Bill Wrobel.

* A Christmas Carol and A Child is Born were released in the 50’s/60’s, and later appeared on bootleg LPs in the 70’s.

Copyright © 1999 by The Bernard Herrmann Society.
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www.bernardherrmann.org / The Bernard Herrmann Society
International Society for the Appreciation of the Music of Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975)