Sunday, June 28, 2009

Victory At Sea

I watched this show all time with my father. Richard Rodgers composed the music for the series. It was his 107th birthday today.
Victory at Sea was a documentary TV series about naval warfare during World War II that was originally aired by NBC in the USA in 26 half-hour segments on Sunday afternoons, starting October 26, 1952 and ending May 3, 1953. The series, which won an Emmy in 1954 as best public affairs program, played a major role in establishing historic documentaries as a viable television genre. When it first aired, NBC thought it so important that it had no commercial breaks.
The project was conceived by Henry Salomon, who, while in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was a research assistant to historian Samuel Eliot Morison. Morison was then writing the 15-volume History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. During this period, Salomon learned of the large amounts of film that the warring navies had compiled. Salomon left the Navy in 1948 and eventually discussed his idea of a documentary series with one of his Harvard classmates, Robert Sarnoff, a rising executive at NBC television and the son of David Sarnoff, the chairman of RCA (then the owner of NBC).
NBC approved the project in 1951, with Salomon as producer and a budget of $500,000 (large for that era). His team, made up largely of newsreel veterans, scoured naval archives around the world, and received complete cooperation from the U.S. Navy, which recognized the publicity value. Salomon's team compiled 60 million feet (18,300 km) of film, which was edited to about 61,000 feet for broadcast.
After the original run, NBC syndicated it to local stations, where it proved successful financially through the mid-1960s. NBC also marketed the series overseas; by 1964, it had aired in 40 foreign markets. NBC created a feature-length motion picture condensation and made a distribution deal with United Artists; the film debuted in mid-1954; NBC aired the movie twice in the 1960s.
Salomon also signed Richard Rodgers, fresh off several hit Broadway musicals, to compose the musical score. Rodgers contributed 12 "themes"- short piano compositions a minute or two in length; these may be examined in the Rodgers Collection at the Library of Congress.[citation needed] Robert Russell Bennett did the scoring, transforming Rodgers's themes to fit a variety of moods, and composing much more original material than Rodgers, as may be observed in Bennett's inked scores, microfilmed at the Library of Congress.[citation needed] Nonetheless, Bennett received credit only for arranging the score and conducting NBC Symphony Orchestra members on the soundtrack recording sessions, and many writers still refer erroneously to "Rodgers's thirteen-hour score."[citation needed] Rodgers recorded excerpts from the music with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for Columbia Records, but it was Bennett who made the more familiar RCA recordings with the Symphony of the Air, an orchestra created in the fall of 1954 from former NBC Symphony members, identified on the albums as the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra.
The movements and approximate timings in the RCA Symphony performance are as follows; 1. The Song of the High Seas - 5:03 2. The Pacific Boils Over - 5:45 3. Fire on the Waters - 5:58 4. Guadalcanal March - 3:08 5. Pelelieu - 3:43 6. Theme of the Fast Carriers - 6:49 7. Hard Work and Horseplay - 3:44 8. Mare Nostrum - 4:31 9. Beneath the Southern Cross - 4:06 10.Mediterranean Mosaic - 5:03 11.Allies on the March - 5:26 12.D-Day - 5:54 13.The Sound of Victory - 6:15 14.Victory at Sea - 6:11

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