One of my proudest accomplishments this year: unraveling the previously untold backstory of the music for Jonny Quest, arguably the greatest animated adventure series in TV history. Originally produced for prime-time by Hanna-Barbera (the people behind The Flintstones, The Jetsons and many other popular ’60s cartoons) and designed by genius artist Doug Wildey, the series lasted only one season on ABC but reran seemingly forever, especially on Saturday mornings. Those of us who grew up in the ’60s never forgot it (I still have a Jonny Quest poster on my office wall). The thrilling music, by veteran H-B composer Hoyt Curtin and newcomer Ted Nichols, remains an indelible part of our collective childhoods. In addition to chronicling the saga for La-La Land’s 2-CD set — its first official release, in spectacular sound — I served as album consultant, having done the research (including tracking down cue titles, recording dates and musicians’ rosters) some years back.
It was a pleasure to participate in Saturday’s event celebrating The Man From U.N.C.L.E., old and new, with fans and friends at Creature Features in Burbank, Calif. Veteran special-effects artist Bob Short showcased dozens of original props, costumes and behind-the-scenes photos from the original series, and regaled us with tales of being on the set as an extra — along with his later work as consultant and gun designer for The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. I was happy to sign copies of my book The Music of James Bond and talk about producing the U.N.C.L.E. soundtrack albums.
Then on Sunday it was down to the D23 Expo in Anaheim, where I was delighted to join composer Mark Watters and Disney historian and filmmaker Dave Bossert to talk about music for animation. Bossert screened his award-winning documentary The Tunes Behind the Toons, in which Watters and I appear. Earlier in the day we attended a concert of music from Disney’s Silly Symphony series, hosted by Leonard Maltin. Here is my review of that event.