[Dixielandjazz] Re: Dragnet theme (was Dancers In Love???)

Bill Haesler bhaesler at nsw.bigpond.net.au
Tue Apr 15 12:40:55 PDT 2003

Dear Jack, 
Regarding: .......the composer of the Dragnet theme was Walter Schumann, not
Many thanks for the correction.
I should not have believed MY sources (which I seem to have misread) without
Using Google, to confirm your advice (sorry), I came across the following
interesting facts regarding the Dragnet theme.
OKOM content? 
Don't write a smash hit tune! 
Very kind regards

Open Theme: "Dragnet Main Title", aka: "Danger Ahead"
[the Dragnet Main Title was a very familiar motif, which became very well known.
A recording of the Main Title open and closing credits march was made by Ray
Anthony with a "jazzed-up" (or "jitterbug") mid-section. Arranger Dick Reynolds
is believed to have written this historic arrangement for the Anthony band,
which was one of the first times a TV theme had success in the pop music market.
 After Anthony's recording rose high on the Billboard sales chart (Billboard
position #2), a similarity was noticed between the short "dum-de-dum-dum"
Dragnet opening, and a cue written by veteran film composer Miklos Rozsa, in his
score for the 1946 film "The Killers". 
According to the Internet Movie Database, the motif in question "can be found
prominently in the restaurant shootout scene toward the end of the film." 
Although the Universal picture had been scored six years earlier, and Dragnet
had aired on radio since 1947 with no complaints, after the Dragnet Theme
achieved success on the record charts, the publisher who brought suit--Robbins
Music--contended that composer Walter Schumann had access to "The Killers",
since he was on the same film lot scoring Abbott and Costello pictures.
It is not clear how a person busy scoring comedy pictures would have time or
inclination to go around the studio, listening to other cues.
But one of the bases for plagiarism is having the opportunity to hear it. Since
Schumann was somewhere on the studio lot, that was considered enough "access"
for legal purposes.
So Robbins Music sued Schumann for plagiarism. Although the conscious intent to
copy was doubtful, a jury was convinced by the publisher's lawyers, and so
awarded a judgement to Robbins Music. As part of the settlement, Miklos Rosza's
name was added to Dragnet cue sheets, under the cue title "Danger Ahead" -- the
name used in Rozsa's score for "The Killers". Walter Schumann, in frail health,
did not live much longer after that. 
According to contributor T. Perrone, the arranger of the famous1953 hit version
recorded by Ray Anthony's band with it's jitterbug-style middle section, was
Dick Reynolds -- whose version was selected over arrangements by two others who
had been commissioned by Ray Anthony to adapt and expand the famous TV Theme
into a popular arrangement which was the length of a record side (approx. 2 1/2
- 3 min.)]

Composers: Miklos Rozsa (ASCAP), and Walter Schumann (ASCAP)
Original Publisher [of "Dragnet Original Music":] 
Schumann Music Company (ASCAP), sole selling agent: Alamo Music Co.,
administered by: Chappell & Co. of New York, NY


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