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» Saturday, April 05, 2008Flying High in the Fifties
Anybody out there remember the old Steve Canyon television series, based on the comic strip by Milton Caniff? I don't, although my dad might have watched it. But James just received the "sampler" DVD that the Milton Caniff Estate has released of four Canyon episodes, preparatory to releasing all 34 episodes to DVD (sales of the sampler help support the release). The episodes have not been seen on television since 1960, except in badly bootlegged editions. We watched them all tonight and I quite enjoyed it.
Canyon, Air Force colonel, is basically a "troubleshooter" sent from location to location on different missions, ones as varied as testing a rocket-takeoff device to shuttling a diplomatic mission to witnessing an H-Bomb test. The series was shot on Air Force bases and therefore doesn't contain the usual silliness inherent in a lot of these series, although some humor is often forthcoming.
One thing I noticed right away was the music, not just the rousing theme, which was written by Walter Schumann, who also did the Dragnet theme. The incidental music also made me sit up and listen harder: a very familiar-sounding score that featured a lot of brasses. Sure enough, there in the credits was Nathan Scott, who did the score to the forest ranger episodes of Lassie. His style is very distinctive.
Blog for the Steve Canyon DVD, with some great tidbits about the series and the restoration. (The sampler DVD, incidentally, is not restored, but it's a clean copy of the 35mm prints.)