February 10, 2020
Day 41 of 366
February 10th is the forty-first day of the year. It is National Memorial Day of the Exiles and Foibe in Italy. This year, it also coincides with the Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat.
In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Cream Cheese Brownie Day, National Home Warranty Day, National Umbrella Day, and National Clean Out Your Computer Day. The last one is typically observed on the second Monday in February.
Historical items of note:
- In 1939, John Ford’s Stagecoach premiered in Miami.
- Also in 1939, Peter Purves was born. He played Steven Taylor in Doctor Who.
- In 1940, Tom and Jerry debuted with the make their debut with the short Puss Gets the Boot.
- In 1967, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. It deals with issues related to Presidential succession.
- Also in 1967, actress, director, and producer Laura Dern was born.
- In 1974, actress and director Elizabeth Banks was born.
- In 1996, the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess for the first time.
In 1929, composer and conductor Jerry Goldsmith was born.
As a child, he studied under Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who also tutored composers and musicians like Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Herman Stein, André Previn, Marty Paich, and John Williams. At the age of sixteen, Goldsmith saw Spellbound in theaters and was inspired by the music of Miklós Rózsa.
After graduating from the University of Southern California, he started his career at CBS as a clerk typist in the music department. He wrote scores for radio programs like CBS Radio Workshop, Frontier Gentleman, and Romance, later progressing to Climax!, Playhouse 90, and several episodes of the iconic anthology series The Twilight Zone. He also worked on Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
He made his film debut on 1957’s Black Patch, and gained widespread recognition after scoring 1962’s Lonely Are the Brave, which came after a recommendation from Alfred Newman.
During the 1960s, Goldsmith nearly fifty titles, including Our Man Flint, Stagecoach, In Like Flint, Planet of the Apes, and The Blue Max. His score for The Blue Max is considered one of the best in his catalog, possibly inspiring later flight music like Supergirl, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Air Force One, and Tora! Tora! Tora!
The 1970s brought Goldsmith to Patton, which used an echoplex to loop “call to war” triplets on the trumpet to reflect the famous general’s belief in reincarnation. The score earned Goldsmith an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score. During the decade, he also scored Papillon, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion, The Omen (and two sequels), Logan’s Run, Islands in the Stream, Coma, Capricorn One, The Great Train Robbery, and The Boys from Brazil.
He also scored 1979’s Alien, using the orchestra and atypical instruments to invoke unease and terror. He also was responsible for establishing the musical path forward in the Star Trek franchise with the juggernaut’s first motion picture. This score introduced the thematic title theme that would carry forward from that point, as well as debuting Craig Huxley’s Blaster Beam instrument as a motif for the V’Ger entity. Goldsmith would return to Star Trek for four more films and the title theme for Star Trek: Voyager.
The 1980s continued Goldsmith’s success with Outland, The Secret of NIMH, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Poltergeist (and its sequel), the first three Rambo films, Gremlins, Supergirl, Legend, Hoosiers, Innerspace, Leviathan, and The ‘Burbs. The 1990s added The Russia House, Total Recall, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Sleeping with the Enemy, Forever Young, The Vanishing, Basic Instinct, Rudy, The River Wild, Congo, Powder, Mulan, and so much more.
He also composed a new theme for the Universal Studios opening logos, which debuted with The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
The 2000s brought Goldsmith’s illustrious career to a close with Hollow Man, Along Came a Spider, The Sum of All Fears, and the Soarin’ attractions at the Disney theme parks. His final cinematic score was Looney Tunes: Back in Action, directed by his long-time collaborator Joe Dante.
Jerry Goldsmith has often been considered one of film music history’s most innovative and influential composers, receiving eighteen total Academy Award nominations. Despite being one the most nominated composers in Oscars history, he only won once. That was for The Omen from 1976.
He died in his home on July 21, 2004, from colon cancer at the age of 75.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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