Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Earle Hagen Dies; Composer of "Andy Griffith" Theme and Other Classic TV Themes

You may not know the name of Earle Hagen, but if you've seen classic TV shows from the late 1960s you'll recognized the songs he wrote. Earle Hagen, who died at age 88 the other day, was the composer of some of the most memorable TV theme songs of all time.

Perhaps the best known is the whistling intro to "The Andy Griffith Show" (which he whistled himself), but Earle Hagen composed music for more than 3,000 TV episodes, pilots, and made-for-TV movies. Among those are themes for a number of iconic shows, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "I Spy," "That Girl," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "The Mod Squad" and "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer."

Hagen was a big-band trombone player before his TV career, though, playing with top names including Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. And he wrote the longtime jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne."

You can learn much more about the work and life of the prolific composer Earle Hagen at "The Best of All Worlds," a fan site dedicated to Hagen.

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