Herrmann CBS Legacy

Bill Wrobel
8 August 2011

Herrmann’s Legacy Left to CBS (and the World)

CBS holds a highly distinctive, valuable legacy regarding music. The artistic heritage CBS acquired from the situation of employing great music talent in the past is quite substantial. During the Thirties, CBS had music for their radio broadcasts written by many gifted composers besides, of course, Bernard Herrmann — Aaron Copland, Benjamin Britten, Leith Stevens, William Grant Still, Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, to name a just several. Herrmann himself was the conductor and musical director of the CBS Symphony for ten years, and he was actively involved with CBS radio for over 20 years (up to Brave New World in late January, 1956), hired initially as a conductor sometime back in 1933. Soon Herrmann would be writing Melodrams for CBS circa 1934-5 and eventually would do other projects such as several lost episodes (not available to collectors) of Ellery Queen, Orson Welles’ Columbia Workshop, and Columbia Presents Corwin, and so on.

Here is a finding aid list of Herrmann’s CBS radio scores (a microfilm of the scores are also available at UCSB):

UCSB: Bernard Herrmann Manuscripts from the CBS Collection (NYPL)
Digital Deli: Columbia Workshop


You can freely download Columbia Workshop episodes here: Internet Archive: Columbia Workshop

As a side note, on my Film Score Rundowns site (FSR) updated early August 2011, I have included several Ellery Queen cues performed by David Ledsam on the synthesizer. Also I will include more Herrmann audio clips not duplicated here in the Bernard Herrmann Society site. The Centenary Clips offered there include the “Sandstorm” cue from Desert Suite, “Lead-In D” from Police Force, and so forth.


The tradition of commissioning quality contemporary composers continued on television in the Fifties and Sixties most prominently. For instance, the acclaimed documentary series, The Twentieth Century (narrated by Walter Cronkite) that premiered in October 1957, showcased many leading composers of the day. This included George Antheil (who also wrote the theme), Franz Waxman, Darius Milhaud, Laurence Rosenthal, Paul Creston, Ulysses Kay, and so on. For a comprehensive rundown of the many composers employed by CBS during the television years, please consult my 189-page paper, “CBS Collection 072 UCLA” [FSR].


Focusing on Herrmann of course, he worked quite extensively on the CBS television library of “stock” music and original music for specific episodes of various television series such as The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, The Great Adventure, The Americans (Main and End titles), Cimarron Strip, and other projects. You can read specifically about Herrmann’s multitude of music for CBS by linking my papers below:

Herrmann’s CBS Television Years [FSR]
Herrmann Music in Have Gun Will Travel and Other Classic CBS Television Series
Television Works of Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann Index


For a visual tour of examples of Herrmann’s written music for CBS (special thanks of permission to CBS and UCSB), please consult this link exclusively at The Bernard Herrmann Society: Photo Tour: The Bernard Herrmann Papers


Now: As I discussed in my “Resources & Herrmann Research” paper for the current issue of the Journal of Popular Music History, Herrmann wrote scores for the CBS radio series, Hallmark Playhouse (6/10/48 thru 2/1/53). I also discussed it in Blog # 41 [FSM]. There is more information on the series at Digital Deli.

It is not necessary to provide representative samples of the music since you can freely access the audio at the following link: Internet Archive: HallmarkPlayhouse

If you prefer a MP3 of the shows, then go to Old Time Radio Catalog.

Specifically, Herrmann composed the complete scores for “Rest & Be Thankful” (4-5-51), “A Breath of Air” (5-3-51), and “A Man’s Mother” (5-10-51). For “Two Years Before the Mast” (4-26-51), Herrmann wrote more than half of the music (cues II thru XIV, or pages 17 thru 35). Murray composed the first 16 pages, and while Herrmann once adapted Lyn’s main Mast theme and a brassy phrase, the rest of the music was original.


Herrmann also composed a total of 51 half-hour episodes of Crime Classics anthology radio shows for CBS between June 14, 1953 and June 30, 1954. A complete log of the episodes can be found at Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs and Digital Deli.

You can purchase an MP3 of 39 episodes for only $5 at Old Time Radio Catalog or download free episodes at the Internet Archive.


Here is more radiography information on Herrmann and other composers: Digital Deli: The Free Company

If in the radiogoldindex site you click on “Search by Artist” and then “H” for Herrmann, you will find 226 interesting entries. You will find that he conducted several times for the long-term educational radio series, “American School of the Air.” Remember that the list does not necessarily all mean an original score for each entry because many shows simply used “stock” CBS Music Library cues or fragments of cues: Radio Gold Index


As for the television works, Herrmann wrote a fairly prodigious number of works for CBS in the space of 14 years, even more than what he wrote for Universal-Revue Studios — at least 30 separate scores for CBS, and at least 27 confirmed for NBC if you count the MGM production of The Richard Boone Show that was aired on NBC. If I had the cue sheets for the Convoy series and the “Last Clear Chance” lost episode (not available to collectors) of Kraft Suspense Theater (and other NBC series), I could determine if Herrmann scored more for NBC. Unfortunately I do not presently have such access! Herrmann’s first CBS television project was “A Christmas Carol” for Shower of Stars, first telecast December 23, 1954, and starring Frederic March as Scrooge. This is still available on dvd: Talking Herrmann: Christmas Carol DVD

This was followed by “A Child Is Born,” an episode of the General Electric Theater dated 12-23-56. No video of this show is available that I know of but you can purchase the out-of-print cd of both shows here (or Google for a better price).


Then in early 1957 (undated written scores) Herrmann was commissioned to write music for two pilot shows, Have Gun Will Travel (of course picked up officially as a series) and Ethan Allen (not picked up). Based on my research, however, an annotation on a Music Library Reel 58-D-Six (HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL) cue description states that Herrmann signed a contract on either June or January 18, 1957. The handwriting is rather unclear, so it is possible it could be “Jan” (January) instead of “Jun” (June) but I believe it should be January since the pilot shows for the two series predates other materials. Moreover, the “Travel” cue from HGWT was heard on national television on June 15 in the Gunsmoke episode titled “The Man Who Would Be Marshall” (one of the final episodes from the Second Season). This was three days earlier than the signed contract, so it seems conclusive that the contract was actually signed in January instead of mid-June. Then Lucien Moraweck was signed on July 1957 to write cues based on the HGWT themes. It should also be noted that in a Library IX, Reel 58-D-One cue sheet, the two “Landmark” cues Herrmann wrote (a proposed documentary series that never made it) indicates he wrote a contract for its music on March 1, 1956. So actually the “Landmark” music preceded the Climax cues (see below) in terms of contributing to the newly developing CBS Music Library for television, although the cue numbers (#1281 & 1282) are far beyond the first Climax cue (cue # 215). I suspect that Herrmann either finally recorded the Landmark in late 1957 or early 1958, or he simply re-recorded the music then. For more information and cd availability: Soundtrack Express


In mid-1957 (one document states he signed a contract for the Western Saga on June 21, 1957) he wrote a series of “suites” (collection of cues) for the CBS Music Library. Cues, or select sections of cues, could then be strategically placed by the Music Editor such as, most prominently, Gene Feldman, into episodes of series not commissioned original music. This started with Climax (perhaps tied to the Climax series but unverified) of four cues and immediately followed by the so-called “Indian” suite of ten cues. The first cue you can click & hear is CBS cue # 215, “Climax Prelude.” CBS cue # 215 is the earliest official cue Herrmann wrote that was used in the newly developing CBS Music Library although, as I indicated earlier, the pilot scores of Have Gun Will Travel and Ethan Hale appear to predate these cues. Perhaps CBS did not yet develop a formal numbering system (starting with CBS cue # 1) when Herrmann wrote HGWT.

Some of the four Climax (or alternately termed “Climatic”) cues were used fairly often in the CBS series starting as early as the September 21, 1957 episode of Gunsmoke, “Gun for Chester.” Cue # 217,“Climatic Lead-In” (alternately titled Climax “Middle Lead-In”), was fairly used in the CBS series. An example is the “The Last Laugh” episode of Have Gun Will Travel dated January 25, 1958. The “Echo I” cue (CBS cue # 219 from the so-called Indian Suite) was rarely used. Besides, here in the click & hear, you can hear ten bars of it in a tragic Gunsmoke episode, “Lynching Man” (original airdate November 15, 1958). Incidentally, these cues just mentioned were never released on LP or cd format. Virtually all of these click & hear Herrmann/CBS Centenary clips are world premiere auditions.


Next Herrmann wrote Police Force cues and transitional music (Lead-Ins, Tags, etc.) that were recorded in Europe during the musicians’ strike in America. I discussed this suite in great detail in my Television Works paper. None of this music was released on LP or cd but if you are an avid fan of the great CBS series from 1957 up to the mid-Sixties, you will recognize many of these cues. Now you can identify the music with the clips provided in this special feature. For instance, all seven bars of “Opening F” could be heard in the angst-driven psychological suspense episode of HGWT, “The Ledge” (original airdate February 13, 1960). All nine bars of “Lead-In A” can be heard in the “Helen of Abajinian” episode of HGWT from the first season. “Lead-In B” was a real workhorse for the music editor, inserted quite frequently in many of the CBS series then. It was used as early as September 21, 1957 in the very first episode of Perry Mason, “The Case of the Restless Redhead.”

Note that many of the short cues of Police Force are not available in audio format at UCLA, so we not able to present them here direct from the transcription disc or ¼“ tape formats. Instead we had to cull representative audio samples (not necessarily complete) from the aired episodes of various CBS series, occasionally with some dialog included. For example, “The Mirage” cue from the Desert Suite was taken from a Third Season episode (airdate February 22, 1958) of Gunsmoke that guest starred Claude Akins. In this clip of 2:30 duration we hear Bars 1 thru 31, then Bars 49 thru 51. The “Noonday” clip from Desert Suite was taken from a HGWT episode, Bars 3-12, then Bars 3-4. The “Red Rocks” clip is from an excellent HGWT episode titled “Treasure Trail” (airdate January 24, 1959), Bars 1-14, then a partial repeat, then end Bars 15-18. “Indian Romance” (from the so-called Indian Suite) was taken from a HGWT episode, “Lady on the Stagecoach” (January 15, 1959), Bars 1 thru 31. This cue is very rarely ever heard so it is fortunate we are able to hear the first 31 bars intact. All 6 bars of “Opening A” are from a Perry Mason episode. We are also presenting “Opening A” from the original tracks but only end Bars 5-6 are available there. We are also offering from the various CBS series Middle Tags E, F and G. As for the long cues culled from the series (some dialog may be included) we are presenting the “Night” cue (Police Force) Bars 1-44. This is a particularly long presentation of the cue (quite a rarity). Scene: Attempt to dynamite O’Hare’s dam. Also offered is a rare presentation on the CBS series the action-packed motion cue, “Rundown” from Police Force, Bars 1-14, 1-12, 25-26. The CBS log books describe it as “Staccato, persistent brass, for chase or fight.” From a Perry Mason episode you can hear sections from “Suspects.” A long section (2:40 duration) from “Night Suspense” is taken from a Gunsmoke and also a Perry Mason episode.

Herrmann’s CBS Television Years [FSR]
Music from Have Gun Will Travel and Other Classic CBS Television Series
Police Force


Herrmann’s long “Clues” cue of 66 bars (3:24 duration) was recorded in Munich in 1957. It was very rarely used in the CBS series that I could find so far except for its prominent use of almost two minutes in the first season episode of Perry Mason, “The Case of the Nervous Accomplice” (airdate October 5, 1957), located on the dvd from 00:37:53 thru 00:39:42. Scene: Sylvan Glade Development Co supply hut where Mason and Paul Drake investigate something suspicious. Somehow I missed making a note of this in my old HGWT (& other CBS series) paper. Now you can hear the complete cue in the Centenary selections.

“The Waiting” cue from Herrmann’s Western Suite was not included in the Cerberus LP/Prometheus cd albums but you can hear all 33 bars (2:32 duration) here. It was fairly used in the CBS series. For example, a minute and a half of it can be heard in the first season episode of Perry Mason, “The Case of the Silent Partner” (airdate October 26, 1957). Over a minute of it could be heard in the HGWT episode, “Young Gun” (airdate November 11, 1958). You can also now hear all 51 bars (3:27 duration) of the “Shadows” cue from that suite. Previously you could only hear small portions of it in the CBS series now and then. For instance, perhaps the most prominent use of it was in a terrific episode of the Perry Mason, “The Case of the Silent Partner” (airdate October 26, 1957). The first section starts at 00:25:53 as Perry rings the doorbell thru 00:27:05 (when Perry discovers the body on the floor). I cannot identify the music after that, but ”Shadows” picks up again starting at 00:28:27 as Perry talks to Drake on the phone. Here Bars 17-26, 30-33, 42-51 were used in this edit section, ending at 00:29:55. Skipping to 00:43:36 is the start of “The Waiting” I mentioned above. Scene: Blonde Lola Florey arrives home from the Skyline Cab Co. The music ends at 00:45:04 when she starts to undress. Unfortunately the scene cuts to Perry & Tragg talking just as Lola was starting to unzip her skirt!


Before Western Suite Herrmann wrote the Western Saga suite of cues. Fortunately the Cerberus/Prometheus albums included all of the full-length cues except “The Mesa” and the short-length series of mini-cues (“Comedy Curtains,” “Heavy Curtains,” “Short Curtains,” “Lead-Ins”). Unfortunately, so far I never heard an instance of “The Mesa” in the various CBS series, and I never found the track available in the transcription discs’ material I found. The only way we will ever be able to hear this cue and the many other cues of various Herrmann scores no longer available on original tracks is to have a label newly record the music. Fortunately the written music exists so potentially this can happen (although the probability is rather low).


Herrmann’s next assignment of cues was the Desert Suite. Seven of these sixteen cues were included in the Western Saga Cerberus LP. I would love to have found original tracks of the other full cues but unfortunately I could not (not even one). I managed to find brief portions of various cues from the CBS series, especially HGWT. As given earlier, included in the Centenary Clips is a fragmented portion of that rarely heard cue from the quite excellent “Treasure Trail” episode of HGWT (airdate January 24, 1959). For cd availability and review, consult Soundtrack Express.


Next in Herrmann’s CBS output of suites was the Outer Space Suite. Most of this music was already released in the old Cerberus LP and then reissued on the Prometheus cd label. However, quite importantly, the long “Time Passage” cue was never released. Fortunately the original track still exists, and you can now hear it here. It was first heard (that I could find) in the spooky, atmospheric episode of HGWT, “The Monster of Moon Ridge” (airdate February 28, 1959). A minute and 47 seconds of it was used there. That’s not bad, but within a year in The Twilight Zone you could hear most of the cue in the edgy, offbeat episode, “Third From The Sun” (airdate January 8, 1960). Here in the Centenary clips you can hear the complete cue in the proper order and also a faster version. Enjoy!


Next for CBS Herrmann wrote several cues and transition pieces for Studio One. This was meant for the second half of the final season of the series (roughly starting January, 1958). The series was re-titled Studio One In Hollywood starting on the January 6, 1958 episode, “The Brotherhood of the Bell.” The written score states early December 1957 when Herrmann wrote the music. Unfortunately very few of those episodes survive since it was a live show (only some survived on kinescope or filming the monitor) so I never had the good fortune of hearing the music. Moreover, so far I could not find any surviving original tracks of the music. This mean that the only way we can actually hear the music is for a label to newly record it. That appears unlikely, however, since this is an obscure television score, and labels really need to make some sort of foreseeable or likely profit for doing Golden Age television music that are not instantly recognizable with a strong fan base (such as The Twilight Zone and the Alfred Hitchcock Hour).


Next Herrmann wrote music for the proposed pilot series Collector’s Item: “The Left Fist of David.” Apparently this was the second pilot because documents indicate “C.I. # 2.” In the Library IX Reel 44 (Dramatic Punctuations and Flareouts) document sheet, it indicates that Herrmann signed a contract for the score dated December 21, 1957. The Cerberus Records LP (“Bernard Herrmann: Music for Radio and Television”) offered nine of the fifteen cues, and the video itself can be obtained on a Vincent Price dvd available. Here’s  information links: Talking Herrmann: Collector’s Item cues | DVD @ amazon.com | Soundtrack Express


Next Herrmann wrote the Opening and Closing music for Pursuit, a dramatic anthology show for CBS that lasted only half a season, only 12 episodes from 10/22/58 thru 1/14/59. The Library IX Reel 58-D-Three (Restricted Thematic Material) document I have indicates Herrmann wrote the contract on August 5, 1958. On the written cues are #1473 Pursuit “Opening” (in ink on beige paper), 21 bars, dated 8-25-58, CBS 9-58-D3, and also #1473 Pursuit “Closing” (in pencil on green paper) dated 8-15-58. The instrumentation is simply the brass and timp. To my knowledge as I write, I do not believe an audio representation was ever released or survived. I’ll double-check some other time. Landmark survives in audio format (Cerberus LP/Prometheus cd) but not Pursuit.


Next Herrmann wrote his first Twilight Zone score, “Where Is Everybody?” All of the TZ scores have already been spoken for in terms of audio availability via original tracks release and re-recording.


Then in April 1959 Herrmann wrote 15 cues for another pilot show, The House On K Street, a Sam Gallu production. I’ve given detailed information on this here:

Talking Herrmann: House On K Street
Talking Herrmann: Jarrett of K Street


Here in the Centenary Clips you can hear most of Herrmann’s “Closing Theme” (Bars 1-2, 9-23) and also, on another clip, portions of the “Stone’s House” cue gleaned from a HGWT episode titled “Ransom” (airdate 6/4/60). Obviously there is a need for a label to re-record the music since the original audio are lost.


Next Herrmann wrote “The Lonely” episode of Twilight Zone, then “Walking Distance” and “The Eye of the Beholder.” With the last episode just mentioned, Herrmann wrote cue # 3055, “CBS Fanfares,” a series of six-bar cues with six alternate last two bar endings. If you are an eager fan of the CBS series, you will hear it at the conclusion of the End Credits. Here Herrmann also wrote the “New Twilight Zone Theme (Opening),” “Twilight Zone Theme (2nd Revision)” and the “New Twilight Zone Theme (Closing).” There are already audio releases of this music. Of course the new Twilight Zone was scrubbed by CBS, replaced by Marius Constant’s now famous theme commencing with the second season.


Next Herrmann wrote the excellent “Kitty Shot” episode of Gunsmoke. So far only Season Four was officially released. “Kitty Shot” was in the Sixth Season, perhaps the most prodigious season for original scores composed for the complete series. I believe at this writing that there might be clips or even a suite of the music presented here for you to click & hear. For more information on the music:

Talking Herrmann: Kitty Shot “Bad Man Shoots”
Talking Herrmann: Gunsmoke “Kitty Shot”


Then Herrmann wrote the “Harriet” and “Tall Trapper” episodes of Gunsmoke for the same season (the only times he wrote for the series). I believe a restoration cd of “Harriet” is still available from the Film Music Society.

“The Tall Trapper” suite (9:24 duration) is available in the Prometheus Records release, Bernard Herrmann: The CBS Years, Vol 1: The Westerns. That album also included a suite of the HGWT pilot, ten cues from the Western Suite, four cues from the so-called Indian Suite, and nine cues from Western Saga.


Next Herrmann wrote the Main Title and End Title for the short-lived 1961 CBS series, The Americans. Only 17 episodes were aired. The Library of Congress has these episodes on 16mm format. Whether Herrmann did a specific episode, I don’t know, but the rumor is that he wrote an original score for “The Regular” episode (according to IMDB). Such specific information from that site is rather unreliable. It could simply mean that Herrmann’s music was tracked in by a music editor (not an original score). Once again I wish I had access to the cue sheets. Incidentally, part of the theme was self-borrowed from his Walt Whitman cue, “Suspense Processional No. 4.” I never found the written music in the CBS Collection 072 at UCLA or any indications of the audio tracks. I believe the only episode of the series I managed to buy from a collector was episode # 11 “The Gun” (airdate 4/3/61), music by Jeff Alexander.


Next Herrmann wrote the “Little Girl Lost” episode of Twilight Zone (written in February 1962, airdate 3/16/62), and then in September the “Living Doll” score. It was during this summer that Herrmann started to write scores for NBC/Universal. Then in October 1963 Herrmann wrote for CBS the “90 Years Without Slumbering” episode of TZ. That same month in October 1963, Herrmann composed an original score for the hour-long dramatic anthology series, The Great Adventure, which aired 26 episodes from 9/27/63 to 5/1/64. The episode is “Nathan Hale” (airdate 10/25/63). Here is info on the music I wrote on Talking Herrmann: Nathan Hale (CBS Box 190 UCLA)


As a side note, the series is not likely to be made available officially but I managed to find several other episodes from collectors so far. One is “The Testing of Sam Houston” (1-31-64) starring Robert Culp, music by David Buttolph. Another is “Six Wagons to the Sea” (10-18-63) starring Lee Marvin, music by Fred Steiner. At the end of the episode, coming attractions of next week’s show was presented, and it happened to be “The Story of Nathan Hale.” None of Herrmann’s original score was included in those coming attractions. Another episode I acquired is an excellent one, “The Special Courage of Captain Pratt” (2-14-64), starring Paul Burke. Stock music was used here but it appeared to be entirely the music of Leonard Rosenman. I believe I also have the “Go Down, Moses” episode starring Ossie Davis, music by Drasnin.

The written music is safe at UCLA but there is no available audio of the music except for the original broadcast of the show that I happened to obtain from a collector. However, a representative example or two of the music (culled from the show) may be heard in the Centenary Clips for you to hear! Since this music is so obscure for even avid Herrmann fans, I doubt if a record label will risk newly recording the music.


Next Herrmann composed the Eight Season premiere of Rawhide (starring the young Clint Eastwood) titled “Encounter At Boot Hill” (airdate 9/14/65). No audio representation was released except the old Columbia House subscription vhs-video of the episode. Perhaps you can find a copy from a collector. Meanwhile audio clips may be offered here in the Centenary Clips.


Finally, Herrmann wrote for CBS the Cimarron Strip episode (# 18 of only 23 episodes), “A Knife In The Darkness” (airdate 1/25/68). This 90-minute series starred Stuart Whitman as Marshall Jim Crown of the 1880’s Oklahoma Territory. You can hear many of the cues in the Film Music Society restoration westerns CD.


This atmospheric score definitely needs a new recording. I feel that it is one of the best candidates of a television score for a label to take a risk on. Then House on K Street would be an excellent choice followed by various cues from Police Force (especially “Rundown”) and the “Kitty Shot” episode from Gunsmoke. A few cues from Studio One would prove exciting too since they remind me somewhat of Herrmann’s Twilight Zone scores.


Thank you for your time away from listening to these Herrmann clips!


More CBS centenary audio clips are available at the Film Score Rundowns site.



© Copyright 2011 Bill Wrobel


Herrmann CBS Legacy
Bill Wrobel • 8 August 2011
Company/organization: CBS