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Jay

"You Are Welcome" - John Williams film score from 1954

31 posts in this topic

Check it out:

http://fpdownload.adobe.com/strobe/FlashMediaPlayback.swf?src=http://collections.mun.ca/videos/extension/image/2603.mp4

I found the link via Lukas Kendall at Film Score Monthly:

Longtime FSM reader and friend Thomas Uschtrin sent me a link to John Williams's first film project, a 21-travel travel documentary "You Are Welcome," done when J.W. 22, in the army and stationed in Canada. Watch it if you dare!

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=100763&forumID=1&archive=0

Omen II likes this

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This must be the only JW scored film with a suitcase as a central character.

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Heh a terrific historic find. :)

And what a great main character! So expressive! Which leaves a lot of the story to be told by music. Nice to see Williams was mickey mousing with xylophones already back in 1954.

I never knew that Newfoundland was so important a spot. Now this has been corrected.

You can totally hear the greatness in this stuff. ;)

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Hey that's way back in the days before he changed his name to Johnny Williams

ooh polished seal skin, politically incorrect movie

(that music doesn't sound like the JW we know)

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Nice! The voiceover reminds me a little of the ones that Telly Savalas did about Portsmouth, Birmingham and Aberdeen.

Was anyone else waiting for a great white to come out of the water at about the 19:50 mark and drag the hapless Charlie screaming into the murky brine?

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Wow that was great to see, thanks for sharing! According to the Q&A JW's people send out when you request an autograph, this is the first film JW ever scored.

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Yes, it is, although it was basically a one-off (he didn't score another movie, and had no real ambition to do so, untill the spring of 1958). Some of us have had the film for some time. We had to be kind of secretive about it (for various reasons), but now the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, so I guess it's alright to discuss it. As I wrote on FSM:

It's an intriguing glimpse into his past, even though the majority of the score is adaptations and arrangements of local folk melodies. The whole thing is rather 'newsreel'-style. He scored it some time between 1953 and early 1954, while he was stationed at Pepperell air force base at St. Johns, Newfoundland (which was subsequently closed for good just a couple of years after Williams was there). He stayed at this particular base for quite a long time -- maybe close to two years. I keep speculating that he wanted a transfer here because of his Canadian ancestry on his mother's side (some of which actually also resided in St. John's).

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Sounds like "golden age" film music

So JW is part Canadian. I knew his genius must come from somewhere

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Sounds like "golden age" film music

So JW is part Canadian. I knew his genius must come from somewhere

He, he...I assume that means you're Canadian?

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This was very cool to see because I was always very curious about it. Not much indication of the genius to come though there is a sweet innocence to the score. So basically this seems to be a film to make people not scared to go to Newfoundland Timbuktu? It's crazy to think this was in the era of Vaughan Williams (Symphony No. 8 and 9 were yet to come), Shostakovich, etc. Hollywood must have seemed like a million miles away.

I heard JW was nearly killed around this time. Has anyone heard more details of this incident?

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I heard JW was nearly killed around this time. Has anyone heard more details of this incident?

Huh??!

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Sounds like "golden age" film music

So JW is part Canadian. I knew his genius must come from somewhere

He, he...I assume that means you're Canadian?

Eh... you have both been here in this forum like...almost twelve years? :blink:

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I heard JW was nearly killed around this time. Has anyone heard more details of this incident?

Huh??!

Indeed. Huh x 2?!

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I heard JW was nearly killed around this time. Has anyone heard more details of this incident?

Huh??!

Indeed. Huh x 2?!

An accident I believe.

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Yeah, I'm curious too. Has he mentioned that in any interview?

Williams was never in Korea during the war.

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I was just wondering:

Is the music for this film the FIRST Williams recording we have of his own music? (official or unofficial)

I mean, there is that piano solo "Hello" which is in the Jazz beginnings album, and was recorded in 1956. Maybe it was written before 1954 (thus making it the first one)?

(I don't have the liner notes to that cd, so maybe it says when it was composed?)

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Depends on how you define 'recording'. Obviously, YOU ARE WELCOME was never recorded for album release, only as part of the film. "Hello" and "Aunt Orsavella", on the other hand, were clearly recorded for album. No composition date is given for these two tracks in the liner notes, only recording dates, but we can assume they were composed after YOU ARE WELCOME in late 1953 or 1954. If I were to guess, I'd say they were either specifically composed for the albums in 1956 or leftovers from his setpieces at New York jazz clubs in 1955.

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yes, when I mean recording, i mean either in a cd (unofficial or official), or in a film.

So, "You're welcome", is the first known music we have from Williams..

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Not sure if this is old or not but I haven't seen it before. John Williams talks about his first film score:

"It was not an original score," recalled Williams.

"I did not have a clue or an idea on how to do that. What I did was go to the library, it must have been in St. John's, and pick a Newfoundland folk song or two which formed the basis of what I arranged for that little film." "The one song that I can remember (from the score) was called Jack Was Ev'ry Inch a Sailor." Williams' score also included arrangements of The Ode to Newfoundland, The Squid Jigging Ground, and Lots of Fish in Bonavist' Harbour. After Williams wrote the sheet music for the film accompaniment, he and ten of his fellow U.S. Northeast Air Command Band musicians crowded into the Prescott Street studio of Atlantic Films and played it in front of the microphones.

Williams added that the lessons he learned from his bandmates still stay with him. "Living with these boys who were serious flutists, trumpeters, bassoonists, the rest of them, studying what they did, learning instrumentation, applying it to our little concerts, and even in this juvenile way, to this film, was a great part of what musical education I've been able to absorb," said Williams. "And I remember it all well, and with tremendous gratitude.

More in the article here - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/star-wars-composer-john-williams-first-score-a-1952-newfoundland-film-1.3241603

Not a fan of some of the comments on the article by the way:

"No Shostakovich or Mahler no Williams. He ripped so much off out of the symphonies that you can't listen to either of them without a picture of Darth Vader or Indiana Jones popping into your head. It's sort of a drag."

"@Tronald Dump You're right. Williams' film scores are basically pretty simple and meant solely to underscore the on-screen action. Action films aren't subtle and therefore don't require much in the way of a sophisticated musical score."

Thor likes this

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:drool:

Wow, superb find! Thanks for sharing.

This is Williams information right up my alley! I've dreamed about having him talk about this (and other parts of his early career).

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Insightful comments. You can tell that these people definitely have intimate knowledge of the subject and aren't regurgitating popular but uncompelling critical talking points to appear intellectually secure.

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Insightful comments. You can tell that these people definitely have intimate knowledge of the subject and aren't regurgitating popular but uncompelling critical talking points to appear intellectually secure.

Wasn't it widely known on the internet Williams uses slave labour in his basement to produce his music. It is known.

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The article states the music was recorded in 1952. I have long suspected 1953, but 1952 is feasible too, since he was transferred to St. John's in March of that year (having entered the air force in January-52 or December-51 at the earliest). So if 1954 is the correct release date, did it really linger in post-production for two years before it aired?

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Stranger things have happened. Considering it is a 20 odd minute blurb about the Newfoundland it might have not been a priority on anyone's list.

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I guess. I think DADDY-O suffered a similar fate. It was 'copyrighted' in February-58, but I've read all kinds of release dates for it -- ranging from March-58 to 1960!

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Finding accurate actual sources for such stuff is probably challenging in the US and even more here across the Atlantic.

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It is. I think the source for, say, Jeff Eldridge's information about many of these things stems from visits he's made to a national media library. He could just walk in and find all kinds of video and microfilm information about the older JW films and tv shows. Sadly, that is not possible from this obscure corner of the globe.

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