Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Stan Lee Story - as told by Roy Thomas

Taschen Book’s latest tome in a series of recent Marvel releases is The Stan Lee Story by Roy Thomas.


Initially released in a very limited signed edition of 1,000 copies, this latest packed volume features a new foreword by Stan fronting Thomas’ in-depth biography, with “complete facsimile comicbook reprints of Stan’s greatest hits and coveted rarities from throughout the decades (at original size) tipped-in throughout the book. This edition also includes a separately bound reissue of Stan Lee’s 1947 Secrets Behind the Comics!”, in addition to the main substance of the book (as illustrated here).




Printed on archival paper and housed in a clear acrylic slipcase – and displaying “more than 1,000 images, including intimate photographs and artifacts from Stan and Joan Lee’s personal archives, with new reproductions of original art and rare comicbooks from the vaults of the world’s premier Marvel collectors” (using a couple of scans from my own collection) – this will soon be available directly from Taschen Books at a cost of £1,100.




A standard trade edition will follow once this limited edition has sold out.




Feel free to repost this information using the following tags: #TheStanLeeStory and #StanLeeTASCHEN

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

MARVEL UK – ANNIVERSARY ROLL CALL: MAY 2018

It was 35 years ago this month that Marvel UK brought The Mighty World of Marvel back to life as a partially full-colour monthly magazine, just one month after its first run had ended with #397 (May 1983), having long since become the monthly Marvel Superheroes, after its previous weekly reboot as Marvel Comic had failed to gain sufficient traction with readers.

While the contents of early issues of MWOM were welcome as a way to continue with stories taken from The Uncanny X-Men, who had been homeless since Marvel Superheroes had ended, the magazine really came into its own when The Daredevils merged into it with #7 (December 1983), bringing Captain Britain and the Night Raven text series into the mix. The magazine also introduced the feature Marvel Showcase, which brought several new names into mainstream comics including the team of Mike Collins and Mark Farmer, presenting fresh material by Kev Hopgood and Simon Jacob, amongst others.

MWOM (Volume 2) #12

When the magazine folded with #17 (October 1984), its final issue a slimmer all B&W affair, it was only Night Raven, Marvel Showcase and some of the text features that survived the transition into (deep breath) The Savage Sword of Conan, featuring The Mighty World of Marvel with #85 (November 1984). Fans of Captain Britain needn’t have fretted much, he was soon to return in his own magazine once more. The moment had been prepared for, but that’s a whole other story!

Meanwhile, and moving onwards five years, this also month marks the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of Action Force Monthly #1 in May 1988, a successful evolution from the weekly Action Force comic that had previously clocked up 50 issues until its cancellation in early February 1988. This became part of Marvel UK’s first clutch of three US format titles – the others were Death’s Head and Dragon’s Claws – to also go on sale in America. In this instance, US readers would get a customised edition of Action Force Monthly, resplendent with the title G.I. Joe Special Missions. This reflected the different names then being used for the toy ranges on both side of the Atlantic at that time.

ANNIVERSARIES PASSED...

After my post on MWOM last year, it was my intention to continue referencing notable Marvel UK dates, as the 45th anniversaries of the early weeklies came up, but things rather slipped after that. In seeking to remedy this, I’ve since plotted all the upcoming anniversaries coming up over the next two years, extending the range to cover all the key birthdays throughout from 1972-1999 before Panini took over.

To begin with, here are the anniversaries that have already passed us by. Please note that the dates mentioned here represent the days that each comic actually went on sale, as opposed to the off-sale dates that appeared on their covers.


UPDATED (25/9/18)... If you’ve been following the on-going conversation below this post, I’ve now amended the entries below to reflect the actual cover dates, with on-sale information where it was included in press adverts and editorial pages at the time. There’s also a brand new entry at the end for this month, too!

In January 2017… it was 35 years ago that saw the release of first merger issue between two monthly titles creating Marvel Superheroes, including Savage Action from #382 (dated: March 1982).

In March 2017… it was 40 years ago since the launch of Fury #1 (dated: 16th March 1977) – the battle was short-lived, and after 25 issues he staggered back into MWOM and enjoyed a much longer run in the comic the second time around – the series had started there originally a few weeks before it had switched over to Fury. In other anniversaries this month, it was 35 years ago since the release of Monster Monthly (April 1982), and later that same month The Incredible Hulk (date: 31st March 1982) went on sale. This month also saw 30th birthdays for Action Force #1 (dated: 7th March 1987) and Thundercats, which according to the adverts debuted on 16th March 1987.


Fury #18 - Carlos Ezquerra
In April 2017… it was 35 years ago since #1 of the unusually lower case-titled cinema (May 1982) went on sale during April 1982. In other anniversaries this month, it was also 25 years ago since the fortnightly Overkill #1 (24th April 1992) went on sale on in early April, anthologising a small fraction of the company’s new and growing US output at the time.


In June 2017… it was 25 years ago since the short-lived W.C.W. #1 (July 1992) went on sale during June 1992.

In September 2017… it was 40 years ago since the arrival of The Complete Fantastic Four #1 (28th September 1977) and it’s free gift of a small, light blue plastic aeroplane kit. In other anniversaries this month, it was 35 years ago since the launch of Fantastic Four #1 (6th October 1982) – slap-bang on the 10th Anniversary of MWOM’s launch – which was advertised as going on sale on the 30th of this month back in 1982. It was also 25 years ago since the debut of the packed, four-weekly 100 page magazine The Exploits of Spider-Man #1 (21st October 1992), which was advertised as going on sale on 24th of this month in 1992.

In October 2017…we previously covered the debut 45 years ago of the original iteration of The Mighty World of Marvel, when it went on sale on the final Saturday of September 1972, but it was also 40 years ago since #1 of Rampage, starring the Dynamic Defenders (19th October 1977) continued the new trend for comics with a complete story in every issue. Rampage was then joined a week later by Marvel UK’s first monthly magazine. Adverts surprised readers with the return of The Savage Sword of Conan #1 (November 1977) on 20th October 1977, just two years after its abject failure as a weekly comic after only 18 issues.

In November 2017… it was 25 years ago since Doctor Who Classic Comics #1 (9th December 1992) first ‘vworped’ in to view according to contemporary adverts on 12th November 1992.


Doctor Who Classic Comics #13

In December 2017… it was 35 years ago since #1 of Marvel UK’s first semi-originated magazine since the weekly Hulk Comic some three years’ earlier, when The Daredevils #1 (dated: January 1993) went on sale during the final month of 1982.

In February 2018… and as mentioned the other week, it was 45 years ago since the launch of the many-titled, and exceedingly long-lived, Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1 (dated: 17th February 1973), said to have gone on sale on the 10th February 1973, but it was also 35 years ago since #1 of the comic that helped save Marvel it Britain (just as its parent comic would across the Atlantic), when Star Wars Weekly #1 (dated: 8th February 1978) arrived in stores at the start of that month.

In April 2018… it was 35 years ago since The Mighty Thor #1 (dated: 20th April 1983) was advertised as going on sale on 14th April 1983, followed the next week by The Original X-Men #1 (dated: 27th April 1983) on the 21st April 1983, while 30 years have elapsed since the monthly (and slightly larger than US-sized) full-colour Alf #1 (dated: May 1988) arrived in newsagents during April 1988.


In September 2018… a mere 30 years have now passed (gulp!) since the launch of the fortnightly anthology comic The Marvel Bumper Comic #1 (dated: 1st October 1988) when it went on sale on two weeks earlier in mid-September.

And that brings us bang up-to-date...at least until next month!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

When Two become Four...

Okay, well I promised you all that I'd try and keep you updated much more frequently with work on From Cents to Pence!, so here's the latest on work - very much - in progress. In fact, so much so, that I completely missed the opportunity to run a post on the 45th anniversary of the first edition of the long-running (in it's many guises) Spider-Man Comics Weekly back in late February 1973. Hopefully, the following flashback will make up for that a little!

Then called Spider-Man Comics Weekly, this was the first copy that I purchased after
seeing the classic 1960s animated cartoon show on TV that summer, the next 
copy I bought 
had changed to adopt the unique Landscape format first brought into being by The Titans

Back in June 2015 we ran a story that featured a rough breakdown of what you could expect to see in the book. That's slightly changed now, as you may have guessed from the headline to this post, cheekily riffing on a certain Spice Girls song (with apologies). From 2011 up to 2016, the bulk of my research and updating had centred on the period covering 1951 to 1979, with little done to later chapters over that span of five years. In picking up on where I'd got to after my illness last year, I restarted reading through the chapters from 1980 in order to make sure that the text read consistently, whilst also making final additions to the latter half of the book. A lot of this was fine, but it was clear to me that one of the chapters was now far too long and had got chronologically muddled thanks to later additions and amendments.

I was also somewhat embarrassed to discover that I'd actually omitted a significant portion of information on one topic, after I'd needed to go back to my original stack of resource pages to check on something related to that. This was one area of the book that had changed relatively little since I'd first begun writing a proper history back in the early years of this century, and so was still written in a much more basic way. Carefully placing this information into the narrative soon made it clear where I would now need to sub-divide both that chapter, and a later one, so as to create four instead (and giving rise to the title of this post, of course). This has greatly benefited the whole structure, which has since been grouped under various a series of headers representing (mainly) multiple chapter clusters.

In the midst of all this, I've also been chatting to one-time features writer Pete Scott and to Les Chester, a familiar face (as pictured here, from a clutch of rarely seen photos he's kindly provided) on the convention circuit during the 1970s and 1980s.

Les Chester - ready for action!

So, here's an updated breakdown of the chapter divisions as they presently stand.

Origins
1: A brief history of Marvel in America, and their key writer and editor - the man who would lead the push for Marvel to cross the Atlantic.

Rivalry (1951-1971)
2-5: A detailed examination of Marvel in British comics from 1951 through to 1970; plus the secret origin of British Marvel; The confluence of what, initially, would have seemed unrelated business decisions that led to the formation of the UK wing, and how Albert Landau and (yes) Chip Goodman all became involved with Stan Lee's vision.

Synergies (1972-1978)
6-17: A tale of two cities - how Marvel's new UK operation was organised under the watchful gaze of Sol Brodsky in New York and Ray Wergan in London; the backstories behind all the comics they produced from 1972-9.

Independence (1978-1994)
18-33: 'The Marvel Revolution'; The inside line on the whys and wherefores of how Dez Skinn came to re-shape the UK line in 1979 and the comics they produced; The post-'Revolution' period under Paul Neary, and an exhaustive journey through the Marvel UK years from Captain Britain's reappearance through to the final days of the Overkill-era of UK created American colour comics, plus the lowdown on some of the proposed titles from that period, and earlier, that didn't quite happen for one reason or another.

Turbulence (1992-1999)
34: The most turbulent period in US Marvel history and their amazing salvation from chapter 11 protection, which saw the UK division sold to the giant of collectable stickers Figurine Panini.

Continuity (1999 to present)
35-36: The reinvention of Marvel's place in the UK marketplace, and in complete contrast the calm consistency that has marked Panini's UK Marvel output throughout the present century.


Anyway, that's the new outline for the history part of the book, but there's still some more work to do yet on the final 19 chapters before giving them all a final proofing. Bear with me. It's all looking good.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Mighty World of Marvel - 45 years young!

For comic fans of a certain vintage, today marks a rather special anniversary.

Flicking back 45 years through the back pages of comics’ history, life at the turn of the 1970s was tough for Marvel fans. Throughout the latter half of the previous decade their superheroes had rampaged through the pages of such weekly comics as Pow!, Smash!, Wham!, Fantastic and Terrific – grouped together under the banner of Power Comics – and after they ended, resurfacing briefly within the pages of the second volume of TV21. But when TV21 folded into Valiant during 1971 – that Marvel magic not extending the lifespan of the title by as many months as I’m sure Marts Press would have liked – nothing followed it. And with a revival of Smash having already turned its backs on featuring any more Marvel material. It seemed that was it for their special blend of mayhem reappearing in any future weekly comic.

Yes, there were still the undated Alan Class anthologies, but they didn’t reprint sequential material, and in any case all too often concentrated on material from the Atlas era of Marvel. There were, of course, the US imports too… if you could find anywhere that stocked them! And if you could find them, the selection wasn’t consistent from month-to-month and it wasn’t unusual to find that some copies were water-damaged too. Perhaps those living nearer the south and south-east coasts had it a little better, as distributors would ship down multiple copies of many comics, filling up all those creaking spinner racks which cluttered up corners of the plethora of seafront souvenir stores that somehow used to survive side-by-side in the most popular seaside resorts.

Apart from the usual Marvel-themed Annual in your Christmas stocking, things were looking grim as 1972 clocked in – nothing had changed… or at least it seemed that way; behind the scenes it was very different. Plans were afoot. By now Stan Lee had become both President and Publisher at Marvel in New York, and one pressing item in his in-tray was a not insubstantial investment that had previously been made in a British weekly comic which had come to naught earlier that spring. With Lee no longer beholden to former owner Martin Goodman’s whims, the project’s salvation was swiftly determined in a collaboration between the returned Sol Brodsky, Chip Goodman, Albert Landau (the manager of the New York-based Transworld Feature Syndicate Inc., who distributed prints and film across the world for Marvel and other comic companies alongside their main business creating feature material, and supplying stock photos, for use in national newspapers and magazines) and his UK manager, Ray Wergan.

What they came up with was a new anthology weekly comic. This time it would be produced by the Marvel Bullpen up in New York, with local editorial and advertising content being created over in London, utilising office space within Ray Wergan’s UK outpost of Transworld’s global business. The comic would no long contain that sometimes awkward mix of traditional British humour strips and adventure material sat alongside the Marvel pantheon. This time the comic would present pure Marvel mayhem from cover to cover. It could only be called The Mighty World of Marvel! Well, that’s not really true, as it very nearly kept its original title of The Wonderful World of Marvel, until concerns that it might upset Disney led to that subtle title alteration. Mark-up on a copy of the artwork used for the first advert to appear in Inside Football and Striker shows that this was a very last minute change.

Inside Football and Striker (30th September 1972)

45 years later, and The Mighty World of Marvel is still with us, albeit in a four-weekly, full colour 76 page iteration unimaginable to comic readers back in 1972, where a few colour poorly recoloured pages were the height of luxury.

Times and tastes may have changed, but thanks to, what was then known as, Marvel UK operating until the aegis of Figurine Panini since 1995, when their parent company Marvel had to divest itself of various investments in 1999 to come out of Chapter 11 protection relatively unscathed – many companies would never make it out the other side intact – Panini was sold off and Marvel’s British line stayed with them. This was a surprise move, but the decision turned out to be a very good one and all these years later Panini are still producing comics for British and European audiences, editorially directed in those countries, that retain a local flavour. Indeed, the introduction of the Collector’s Edition format in 1995 became so influential that it was eventually adopted, in the sincerest form of flattery, by Titan Comics when they later launched their own line of DC Comics reprint titles after Panini had published a Batman Legends title for a few years in the Noughties.

So here’s wishing The Mighty World of Marvel a very happy 45th birthday and a massive three cheers for everyone who worked on, and then built the legacy that is Marvel in Britain, all of which started with this legendary anthology comic.

MWOM #272 (14th December 1977) - one of many original covers by Pablo Marcos

But for the full story as to why Lee and Landau wanted to publish in Britain, and how Ray Wergan – a respected former sports journalist – came to be involved, never mind how Chip Goodman fitted in to all this… well, that’s just one part of the tale of Marvel's UK adventures still to be told within the pages of From Cents to Pence!

And that, at last – after a delay of several months, due to what became a much serious viral illness – is a little nearer than you might think after all these years. Promise!!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

From Cents to Pence! - a story told via 65 original interviews!!

Just  to whet your appetite's while I'm still resting up from a very spiteful viral buggy, here at last is a rough list that I started compiling a few weeks back, listing of all the exclusive interviews that I've conducted for From Cents to Pence!. There will be a few names here that you probably won't be expecting to see ;)

However, as I'm certain will be quickly obvious to many of you, if you don't see a name here it doesn't meant that someone doesn't appear, only that I've had to dig in the archives to find some contemporary commentary - often from some unexpected places. So you should certainly expect to read about the likes of Sol Brodsky, Martin Ackerman and Albert Landau (although in Al's case, alas, only through some detailed personal testimony from close working colleagues) amongst many others from the 1970s to date.

Anyway, here's the list in order of first appearance in the text. I rather suspect that in my still slightly fogged state I may have missed mentioning someone, so apologies immediately in advance.

Ray Wergan, Beryl Clampton, Dez Skinn, Roy Thomas, Gordon Robson, Tony Isabella, Jim Salicrup, Mike McGrath, Tom Orzechowski, Peta Skingley (aka, variously:Peter. L. Skingley, Peta L. Henley and Peter Allen in print), Cassie Tillet (first cousin to Peta), Alan Murray, Robert Greenberger, Rosemary Hull, Maureen Softley (aka Matt Softley in print), Matt Softley (Maureen's son), Nick Wergan (Ray Wergan's son), Doug Moench, Ted Polhemus (author, curator and exhibition-maker), Neil Tennant, Herb Trimpe, Dave Sim, Pablo Marcos, Howard Bender, Ed Hannigan, Scot Edelman, Jay Boyar, David Anthony Kraft, Larry Lieber, Dave Hunt, Jeff Aclin, David Kasakove, Danny Fingeroth, Elitta Fell, Frank Springer, Alan McKenzie, Steve Parkhouse, David Lloyd, Simon Ellinas, Tim Quinn, Mark Oliver, Jenny O'Connor, John Freeman, Dicky Howett, Hassan Yusuf, Lew Stringer, John Tomloinson, Richard Starkings, Jamie Delano*, Hunt Emerson, John Ridgway, Mike Collins, Irene Vartanoff, Chuck Rozanski, Gary Russell, Tim Perkins, Steve White, Liam Sharp, Cam Smith, Mark Harrison, David Leach, Dell Barras*, Alan Cowsill, Tom Spilsbury, Scott Gray.

* = Courtesy of unpublished interviews taped for Comics World magazine by Paul Birch back in the late 1990s.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Vince Guaraldi - Is it James or Charlie? *

As Derrick Bang very kindly mentioned on his blog at Five Cents Please just a few hours ago (http://impressionsofvince.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/the-peanuts-connection-down-to-last-note.html), if you’ve read my essay in the Security Blankets paperback, then you’ll know that it was the Peanuts cartoons which were primarily responsible for switching me on to the joys of Jazz (definitely to be capitalised!) and also of Vince Guaraldi's work in particular.

I’d seen a few of the Charlie Brown specials during the 1970s, in all their grainy, over-played glory, but it wasn’t until the advent of ‘Breakfast TV’ in the UK in the mid-1980s that I would have the chance to video almost all of the early specials, to enjoy them again at leisure, as I’m sure many Stateside fans will also have done in the days before home video releases in stores were common place. I even made up my own audio mix-tape of favourite cues (although I doubt I’m the only one in the world to have done that either) – disruptive dialogue, sound effects and all. Cue strange looks when that was played at work once!

A few years later I chanced upon a review in Record Collector of one of the first Vince Guaraldi CD releases by Fantasy, eagerly snapping up the Trio’s first album and both of the CBS soundtrack albums. These were being imported into the UK through Ace Records at the time, so they came complete with their US long-box cardboard mounting cases (as pictured here), a method of packaging which was later abandoned in the States.

But those two soundtracks hardly scratched the surface of all the potential music which Guaraldi had produced for the shows along with his various sidemen – if any of it still existed, of course (especially from a British perspective of knowing how poor many organisations had been in neglecting to archive their history). Fortunately, we weren’t to be disappointed, it was just that the wait would be a long one. And so it wasn’t until the unexpected release of Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits in 1998 that it became clear that there was indeed at least some new material still to be released. Disappointingly, that seemed to be it. But then a saviour arose in the mid-Noughties, when Guaraldi’s son David uncovered various recordings, in various states of repair, and started to make this fresh material available; first through Bluebird Records and then by resurrecting his father’s previously formed D&D record label.

By then DVD had surmounted video as a much more versatile (pun fully intended) format for adding additional supporting material to collections of archive TV and films, thus making (what were also much slimmer) box-sets a much more-affordable reality at last. Yet, even with the advent of DVD, there were still a good handful of the first fifteen Charlie Brown specials that were frustratingly not yet available, and those that were would sometimes be placed as extras on those individual discs of later shows that were starting to be made available. It wasn’t until relatively recently that we could finally view all fifteen Guaraldi sound-tracked specials chronologically thanks to the excellent 1960 and the first two 1970s box sets.

You can blame Derrick’s excellent book for what happened next! After a full Christmas 2015 devouring of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano, many months after it had been purchased (and following one previous attempt to find time to read it all the way through that had stalled after reading the introduction and then getting too busy with other things to continue with it), I was suitably inspired to complete the long-planned purchase of just about all the Guaraldi CDs I’d been intending to buy but hadn’t got around to yet, and a few others besides. It was then that I looked back at the web-site, and one of the Music Use Sheets for an episode caught my eye. I knew the first cue listed there wasn’t right at all, as I could clearly recall that show starting with a completely different track instead, one that could be found on the first Lost Cues CD. This got me thinking – always a dangerous sign!

Suitably inspired, I then decided to see if I could work out exactly where all the tracks on the CDs came from, bearing in mind the helpful pointers provided on this website about incorrectly named tracks on some of the compilation albums and the shows they actually belonged to rather than what their booklet and sleeve notes might otherwise say. The results threw up several major surprises, a few revisions to information that had previously appeared on Five Cents Please, as well as some other seriously interesting discoveries, all of which will I hope make it easier to see just what original TV music is now out there on CD. As Derrick has mentioned on his latest blog entry, you'll now need to buy at least two more albums than you previously expected to if you’ve only been purchasing those that so obviously do contain TV music! Had I not had that mad buying spree to fill in the many gaps in my collection whilst everything was available, I'm sure I would never have attempted this when I did.

If you've got this far in, and if you're interested in how I approached this project, then read on.

It seems to me that when these TV shows were originally being compiled, names were often given to the cues as a means of describing their purpose, or as an indication of the mood of a scene, rather than as the sort of firm title that they would have automatically acquired if they’d been planned for commercial release at the time. Because these titles weren’t fixed, as they would have been if they were pop songs or other compositions, they are by no means consistent across all the shows. So much so, that some of the more popular tunes that were re-recorded over and over for each show they appeared – often in increasingly different arrangements until they became almost unrecognisable – also went on to acquire several different names too as time passed. Meanwhile, and muddying the waters further, two completely different pieces of music in the same show turn out to share exactly the same name.

Confusing, isn’t it?!!

Although I’ve kept closely to the style and terminology that was carefully set out for the original on-line episode guides on this web-site, you’ll quickly see that I’ve narrowed the focus here to concentrate on identifying where specific TV cues can be found on CD, adding separate notation in blue type indicating where other, later re-recordings of some of these cues can be found on CD that are not yet available on any Guaraldi album in any of their on-screen TV variations.

As Derrick says elsewhere on his web pages, whilst some of the TV soundtrack recordings that have escaped on to CD can be heard in full within the original TV episode, this is by no means always the case, and in many instances only selected segments of some recordings are utilised within the final cut of the animated shows. In addition, it’s become clear, in listening through all the TV shows, that most episodes had several different versions of the same cues recorded, which came in varying tempos, moods, arrangements and instrumentation (as we’ve heard from the ‘alternate’ versions of familiar cues that keep slipping out on to CD every few years). As you'll have seen, I’ve tried to reflect these variations by adding in some extra descriptions of my own in an attempt to more clearly define these differing versions, such as [brass version] or [guitar version] for instance. Some of the differences are very slight and require several listens to properly identify, but most are much easier to spot.

It was only after embarking on this project that I happened to wander over to his blog, only to discover that Doug Anderson had already helpfully worked his way through the Christmas special, although using far more hi-tech methods than I have at my disposal (but then I’ve spent many decades working in music identification, picking out remixes and alternative versions of songs for other projects, so I have certain methods that I use too). Strangely enough, I’d also marked up the cue sheets by the time positions that they appear on the DVDs. The only difference you’ll find between what Doug set down, and what I’ve assembled here, is that I’ve split some of the cues up further, as to my ears some of them are actually individual tracks separated by the tiniest of gaps.

On the spreadsheets I appended to my previous post Ive highlighted rows in bold type on the TV episodes guide to make it easier to see those cues that can be found on CD, with a note guiding you to the album it appears on, along with its track number. I’ve done the same thing over on the CD album guide to indicate which tracks on each album featured as a cue in an actual TV episode (noting its position within that show by the cue numbers I’ve assigned to each episode). In the final column at the end of each row I’ve added various notes about the music – a mixture of previous posted information and some new additions. But beyond what’s already been posted about some of the tracks, you’ll also find a few suggested corrections in green type where things are not quite what they initially seemed to be.

Thus, after a six month period of comparing the soundtracks to the specials alongside the material scattered across various CDs, swapping headphones between the DVD and the CD players to play and replay the music to run full A/B comparisons, this is what I’ve come up with so far. Oh, and I also took a brief side-trip in to classical-land while I was delving deeper into the TV shows, and managed to lock-down both the precise details of those classical tracks that were documented previously on the original Music Use Sheets compiled for each episode, but I’m pleased to say that I have also managed to identify a few of the other classical works about which there were no details at all, although by no means all – at least one cue of which has unfortunately escaped identification as yet.

But let’s hope this isn’t the final word on this. One can only hope that there’s yet more material waiting somewhere to be discovered and released. It would be great to fill in some more blanks. As it presently stands some specials still sadly remain entirely unrepresented on CD. If I hadn’t already thought so before I started this, a chronological box set of Guaraldi’s music for the Charlie Brown TV specials is now definitely long overdue, although it would be a herculean task to compile, especially with material scattered amongst various archives at present. Nevertheless, I’d love to help trying to identify any material that did surface, as I know others would be too. The fact that Fantasy keeps dipping into Guaraldi’s catalogue convinces me that if a wider audience could be reached then a full-blown collector’s set would be a worthy project. If this research helps in any way to further that possibility, then all the better, but I’m just happy to have finally got to grips with what’s already out there, hence my desire to get this information out to as many of Guaraldi’s admirers as possible.

Happiness is… listening to more Vince!

P.S. In answer to this article's title - referencing one particular TV music cue - the answer is Brown!