Batman

Retroist Scoreboard: Of Gotham And Grails 2/15/17

It’s a slow news week here at the Retroist Scoreboard – this week’s only new release is La-La Land Records’ CD of the soundtrack from the DC Animated Universe movie Justice League Dark, scored by Robert J. Kral (Angel, Jake 2.0, Superman: Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Assault on Arkham).
Gotham - Batman - Justice League Dark

Perhaps even more exciting is La-La Land closing the books on the last few copies of some of its past releases, and when I say “last few” I mean “maybe a dozen or so”, which translates roughly to “they may be gone by the time you read this and go looking for them”. Not only will these titles be going out of print, but they’re being sold off at what the Firesign Theatre once called “unhealable deep-cut discounts!”. Titles include the late Shirley Walker’s masterful score from the 1990 TV iteration of The Flash, Haunted Honeymoon, Days Of Our Lives (yes, there was a soundtrack for that), and Les Baxter’s vintage soundtrack from “X”: The Man With X-Ray Eyes. Get ’em while they’re still there. Some of the low-quantity titles I mentioned in the last Retroist Scoreboard…some of those are already out of print. Life comes at you fast when you’re a soundtrack collector.

Since there’s a lull in the action, let’s talk about Holy Grails.

The two big fish in the boutique soundtrack label pond, La-La Land Records and Intrada, have something of a gentlemen’s agreement: this week, La-La Land releases something. Next week, Intrada releases something else. (It’s actually a pretty friendly unspoken rule: if you check the credits in the back of the liner notes booklets of any given recent vintage soundtrack releases, you’ll find the same producers, restoration experts, mastering engineers and liner notes writers are happily working for both labels.) You’ll notice this ebb-and-flow as the Retroist Scoreboard continues chronicling their releases this year.

Both labels tend to hit the pause button around Christmas and New Year, as well as other holidays during the year. So let’s assume that each label will be dropping one or two new items – or one big one, if it’s a box set – 20 weeks out of the year. The labels strive to find a mix of “crowd pleasers” (i.e. last year’s 30-years-overdue release of the complete score plus songs from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), “golden age” material from Hollywood’s postwar heyday, and more recent “silver age” material. Not all of them sell in huge numbers; La-La Land boss M.V. Gerhard has openly stated that the “crowd pleasers” foot the bill for some of the more obscure releases whose scores deserve preservation, remastering, and their own releases.

In short: you’re looking at 40 weeks out of the year with something dropping, not all of which you’ll like, but that’s okay. The late, great Jerry Goldsmith criticized soundtrack collectors who were less interested in music than in “collecting bottle caps”…point taken, Maestro Goldsmith. No one can afford to get all of them.

So…is your favorite out there? If it isn’t yet, someone’s probably working on it. One of the most surprising releases last year was the four-disc La-La Land Star Trek 50th anniversary compilation, one disc of which presented – for the first time ever – the incidental music from Filmation’s early 1970s Star Trek cartoon. (Sharp-eared Filmation fans will also know that this is, essentially, the soundtrack from Jason Of Star Command.) It wasn’t that new tapes had been found and remastered; it happened because two recording engineers who happened to be fans of animated Star Trek managed to piece together every instrumental piece from segments of the show where no one was talking! (These guys work hard for your money.)

Other grails have already seen release – the complete scores from all three Back To The Future films, the now-legendary restoration of John Barry’s complete score from The Black Hole (recorded on a no-longer-used digital tape format, which could be played back only on the same kind of tape deck that recorded it…of which there was only one left in the United States, and it fell victim to flooding just before engineers went to transfer those tapes to a hard drive for remastering), and the massive 15-disc box set of every note of music recorded for the original Star Trek.

Others that are high on people’s lists are lost to the mists of time: one frequently requested title is Disney’s The Rescuers, whose master music tapes seem to be lost forever. Intrada’s late 2016 CD release of the soundtrack from Silent Running suffered a similar problem; the CD was mastered from a pristine copy of the long-out-of-print original LP (!).

You’ll notice that there are some genres that get a little more love than others, but that’s often because their very nature lent itself to more epic music: westerns, historical dramas (especially epics like Ben-Hur and Spartacus), and sci-fi are, perhaps, over-represented. But there’s also a healthy selection of ’70s thrillers and a growing category of ’80s cinema (i.e. recent relases of Beverly Hills Cop I & II, Less Than Zero, the aforementioned Ferris Bueller) and ’90s material (i.e. Jurassic Park, Twister, DuckTales: The Movie, Galaxy Quest) that are on the rise. As the audience age range shifts, collectors are “into” the soundtracks from the movies they enjoyed in their youth, and the labels are obliging those changing tastes.

Be patient: someone is almost certainly working on that one soundtrack you’re waiting for, if they haven’t already made it available. (I’ll bring this up again in a more personal context in a couple of weeks.)

When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at theLogBook.om, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. You can catch him lining up carefully curated excerpts from TV, movie and game scores most months on the Log Book’s soundtrack mixtape podcast, In The Grand Theme Of Things.

We Are FINALLY Getting A Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Soundtrack!

I think that for those of us that grew up in the ’80s there are many, many reasons that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off shines as one of the comedy greats. You have the stellar performances of not just the main trio played by Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, and Mia Sara but the supporting cast with Jennifer Grey and Jeffrey Jones as well.

Another reason that film is so great is because of John Hughes clever selection of music. I’m talking about not just using the Main Title from Star Wars and “classics” like Danke Schoen and the Beatle’s cover of “Twist and Shout” but The English Beat’s “March of the Swivelheads”, “BAD” by Big Audio Dynamite and of course the instrumental cover of The Smith’s “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” by The Dream Academy to name just a few.

[Via] Save Ferris 1985

To all of us Ferris Bueller’s Day Off fans it has been rather odd that a soundtrack was never released for the film. Now 30 years later we are finally getting a soundtrack thanks to the hard work of La-La Land Records who have secured a deal with Paramount Pictures to release an authorized version. At the moment we have no track listings but it’s been reported by Salon that the movie’s composer Ira Newborn, Tarquin Gotch who acted as music supervisor, James Hughes (the late John Hughes’ Son) as well as the movie’s editor Paul Hirsch have been interviewed for the liner notes of the release.

There was a 7″ vinyl release for two songs from the soundtrack, 100,000 mailed out to members of the fan club – the Wikipedia page for the movie quotes John Hughes on the matter of a soundtrack:
“The only official soundtrack that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off ever had was for the mailing list. A&M was very angry with me over that; they begged me to put one out, but I thought “who’d want all of these songs?” I mean, would kids want “Danke Schoen” and “Oh Yeah” on the same record? They probably already had “Twist and Shout”, or their parents did, and to put all of those together with the more contemporary stuff, like the (English) Beat-I just didn’t think anybody would like it. But I did put together a seven-inch of the two songs I owned the rights to-“Beat City” on one side, and… I forget, one of the other English bands on the soundtrack… and sent that to the mailing list. By ’86, ’87, it was costing us $30 a piece to mail out 100,000 packages. But it was a labor of love”

While like the track listing for this release nothing has been firmly nailed down, the soundtrack for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is expected to be released later this year with Salon mentioning it might even be out as early as September.

Now if you will excuse me I need to head out and celebrate the news…properly…

[Via] Drean

1991 NATO Showest Producer Of The Year Film (John Hughes)

Sticking with the John Hughes themed stories that have carried over from last week with Flack’s Ferris Bueller novelization post and the ‘Museum scene’ from the film with John Hughes commentary.

What we have here is the short film made to honor the late Director and Producer for being selected as 1991’s Producer of the year by the National Association of Movie Theater Owners. In this short film you’ll see plenty of cameos from the many talented people that Hughes had worked with up to that point in his career, he had just released Home Alone the year before.

[Via] Olvidetango’s YouTube Channel

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Museum Scene With John Hughes Commentary

I’ve stated before that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of my favorite films from my youth, it probably speaks the most to those of ‘my’ generation. This last weekend though something occurred to me that mirrored almost exactly what Cameron(Alan Ruck) experiences and how he reacts in this moving scene from one of John Hughes best. Thanks to the YouTube clip below you can listen to the legendary John Hughes explain some of his reasons for the artwork included in the scene as well as it’s connection to Cameron.

[Via] Monkey Boy Bud’s YouTube Channel

I’ll let you all know if I somehow end up wrecking my Father’s car in the next day or two. ;)