Category Archives: Music

‘Golden West’ and ‘Tomorrow’ Themes

I’ve received quite a few requests regarding the incidental music from The Virginian – specifically two favorite tunes used regularly throughout the series. ‘Golden West’ and ‘Tomorrow’ were originally composed for Wagon Train by the Academy Award winning composer John Williams. Frederick Herbert added the lyrics. The song ‘Golden West’ was originally sung by Ann Blyth on the Wagon Train episode “The Jenny Tannen Story” (2:38). You can view the footage on You Tube.

The Virginian adopted ‘Golden West’ primarily as piano music in saloon scenes and ‘Tomorrow’ as background dance music. Recently I was informed by Elisabeth from my comments board that these themes are available on a new MP3 album of Wagon Train music.  The arrangements are different to those used on The Virginian but this is the only album I’m aware of that features them. You can listen to short excerpts from ‘Golden West’ and ‘Tomorrow’ on the Amazon site.

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The Virginian composer Jack Hayes (1919-2011)

Composer Jack Hayes died recently at the age of 92. In partnership with Leo Shuken he was responsible for many TV Western scores on Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Riverboat among others. When Shuken died in 1976 Hayes continued to compose solo for shows such as Quincy M.E. and to orchestrate numerous film scores including The Color Purple (1985) for which he received an Academy Award nomination. In 2009, Hayes was awarded honors from the Society of Composers & Lyricists and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), for his long career in films and television.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 3 at St. Anastasia Catholic Church, 7390 West Manchester Avenue, Los Angeles. Donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

Here is Shuken and Hayes’ theme for the opening title credits to “Legacy of Hate” (5:01)

The Virginian Season Three Title Sequence

For those watching The Virginian on Encore Westerns at the moment you’ll notice Season Three breaks from tradition with the traditional ride-in title sequence and introduces more action footage to the mix. While I like the footage of James Drury in particular I’m not a fan of the large letter V that introduces the various actors. It was an interesting experiment at creating more of a dynamic quality to the titles but I prefer the traditional ride-in sequence. It compliments Percy Faith’s classic score to greater effect.

Doug McClure in Recording Studio

Diana Blair kindly sent me this photograph of herself recording a duet with Doug McClure.  The song “One Too Many Times” was written by Diana and can be found on her compilation CD that can be ordered direct from Diana for $15.00 plus $5.00 shipping and handling at gem4song@yahoo.com

Tracks [12]: One Too Many Times (duet with Doug McClure), I’m Pretending, I’m the Girl. Happy (duet with Jim Dale), Look At Me Now, Do I Hafta Say Please?, Lucky For Me, Out in the Parking Lot, Telephone Blues, Angel, Ole Cowboy We Miss You (with Aaron Mesa)

Please contact Diana for further details.

Ralph Ferraro Music

Since watching this clip on YouTube I keep humming this lovely theme by Ralph Ferraro.  You’ll notice the familiar face of Tom Tryon who guest starred in quite a few episodes of The Virginian.

I always looked forward to the opening and end credits on The Virginian.  This was in the days when a “Guest Star” listing was reserved for talent – unlike today when practically everyone on an episode is listed.  It was also in the days when one Executive Producer ran a show.

Today we can’t even read the end credits as they are squeezed to make way for a preview of the following week’s episode.  But they added greatly to the enjoyment of a show.  How else would we know who created the outstanding music featured on The Virginian?

Music of The Virginian

The Virginian featured some of the best composers in film and television. I cover them all in my book.  Music has always been an integral part of Westerns both in television and film.  The Virginian excelled in its choice of music with acclaimed composers such as Bernard Herrmann, David Shire and Leonard Rosenman composing scores for the show.

The partnership of Leo Shuken and Jack Heyes provided my favorite music in Season 5.  Here are the opening title credits to Legacy of Hate (5:01) courtesy of YouTube.