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John Parker - WTF!

Discussion in 'Dallas - The Original Series' started by Grangehill1, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. Grangehill1

    Grangehill1 Soap Chat Member

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    What were they thinking with John Parker as composer? His music is dire! Even during the mid eighties and hearing it first time I remember it sounded wrong. Particularly during the dream season when the incidental music reached new heights of excellence, John Parker rears his head occasionally to ruin things and then much more the following season.

    What's odd is that the last episodes of the last 5 seasons all have him as composer. Why???? Can you imagine what would have happened if he'd have been let loose on Swansong? It would have been ruined.
     
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  2. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 3 Years

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    Especially since he had one of the greatest television series opening title tracks I have ever heard: that of Trapper John, M.D.!
     
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Parker, who was allegedly Leonard Katzman's best friend, is a strange case. The man was not without talent. I remember hearing some wonderful, Native American scores from Parker on some key GUNSMOKE episodes in the early-'70s (when Uncle Lenny was also producing that show), and some interesting jazzy compositions elsewhere. Even his early DALLAS work like "Winds of Vengeance" and "Barbecue" and "Black Market Baby" were damn near perfect.

    But he was over-used during DALLAS' first full year (S2 per DVD count) giving that coltish season a tackier vibe than it needed. Conversely, Parker's complete exclusion from the show for four years between 1982 to 1986 actually helped the series' maturing vibe.

    But once Katzman returned to DALLAS in 1986 with Parker in tow, the latter years seemed to be turned over to Parker almost entirely -- or it felt that way -- with one bizarre, dizzying, redneck jazz score after another. DALLAS had become GREEN ACRES with an attitude, DELIVERANCE minus the artistry.

    How did a man like Leonard Katzman who was so responsible for turning DALLAS into a smash hit, also wind up thinking that Parker's unconstrained worst was the proper sound for DALLAS, that year-long dreams were a great idea, and that April's Parisian death in the final season when no one was even watching anymore was somehow "the worst mistake" the show ever made??

    WTF, indeed!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  4. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat Star EXP: 6 Years

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    I remember even as a 13 year old boy having such an aversion to the jazzy score of season 10, it was just wrong. I've always maintained that the soaps should always have stuck with a classical orchestral score, and if there has to be saxophones then they should be strictly limited to accompanying dimly lit scenes of beautiful women in sexy négligées.
     
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  5. garry

    garry Soap Chat Active Member

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    They were besties for sure! It's all who you know in show business. Parker is still with us at the age of 92 and living in South America.

    He only left Dallas to focus more on composing for Trapper John, M.D. where he composed 139 episodes of that show, which is pretty amazing by TV standards. Katzman asked him to return to Dallas after Trapper was cancelled in 1986. Jerrold Immel always thought Parker's later scores for Dallas were too hard hitting and he was right.

    True. He only ever composed seven or eight episodes per season after his return but it felt like much more. His score kind of undermines the drama in this scene below. Plus the fact that Pam is talking to an umbrella stand.



    Don't forget CHiPs. Another classic theme!



     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    … and, of course, the theme to CANNON ! :lol:

     
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  7. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    … and then there's that 1974 POLICE WOMAN episode, "Seven Eleven," with Parker's music, complete with J.R. Ewing (who takes his requisite dip in the pool), Atticus Ward, and even Mrs. Scottfield:

     
  8. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 1 Year

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    so many of the early Dallas episodes inexplicably have music sequences staight out of a 70s cop show... it's like he took the rejects from his writing for POLICE WOMAN (where they were so appropriate) and pasted them into a "Lucy stalks Alan Beam" scene here and an "Ames and Garr search for Julie and force her off the roof" there.
     
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  9. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    The score ruins the scene for me. Sometimes theme music is not required to create dramatic effect. Kind of reminded me of TNT Dallas and their use of pop songs. I personally hated it as it weakened the integrity of the show...if that wasn't obvious enough.
     
  10. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    Question? Who created Sue Ellen's early series porn music? That was gold.
     
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  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Parker.

     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
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  12. Rove

    Rove Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I take that back. Did he win an Emmy or Golden Globe for creating Sue Ellen's Theme? That scene was pure gold. Sue Ellen pretending to paint a picture perfect wife with drink in hand, sashaying the grounds of Southfork, imagining what life will be like as Matriarch of Southfork only to be scolded by the true Matriarch, Miss Ellie. Brilliant!
     
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  13. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 1 Year

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    yeah, looking at episode credits on imdb it appears he created a number of "character themes", some more successful than others - Lucy's theme from 'Runaway' is not quite as inspired as Sue Ellen's, I'd say. Jerold Immel must have done early ones like the 'Bobby and Pam Love Theme' that keeps popping up over the years. Here's a chance to listen to many of the themes in soundtrack format:

    https://www.amazon.com/Dallas-Original-Televison-Show-Soundtrack/dp/B0058XCD6S

    (good god, I'm tempted to give this a purchase!)
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
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  14. Laurie Marr

    Laurie Marr Soap Chat Active Member

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    The later efforts were overly wrought pieces of funk kitsch that were a strangely appropriate accompaniment to a show that had lost its identity.
     
  15. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Absolutely. Ironic since, at Parker's best, nobody's better.

    One should hear his scores for GUNSMOKE episodes "Charlie Noon" and "Snow Train" and "Chato" and "Women For Sale" (among others). Nobody is better.

    But this also a man who reportedly had them play Bobby & Pam's love theme at his own wedding. So...… y'know....
     
  16. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat Enthusiast EXP: 14 Years

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  17. Taylor Bennett Jr.

    Taylor Bennett Jr. Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 1 Year

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    even when he's generally good in Dallas, he always seems to throw in something so corny that it spoils any feeling of drama. For example, in Barbecue, Jock and Digger's quick reluctant handshake prompts a little blurt of music straight out of a cartoon gag.

    In the episode The Dove Hunt, for instance, his music ranges from the fairly sublime (the snare drum and guitar in the showdown in the woods) to the ridiculous (the music in the fight scene below would have been better off in the 60s Batman series accompanied by POW! and BIFF! graphics)

     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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