Where Was That Recorded?
Details of Recording Venues and Engineers
By Chris Malone
Airport by Alfred Newman
Airport was recorded at the Universal Scoring Stage, which was stage 10 on the Universal lot. The stage had dimensions of approximately 80 feet deep by 54 feet wide with a 24 foot ceiling. Prior to scoring Airport, the stage saw renovation directed by Waldon O. "Waddy" Watson (b 1907; d 1986), Universal's sound chief. Watson would shortly thereafter be heavily involved with the development of the Sensurround bass-extension software and hardware utilised on productions including Earthquake in 1974.
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City by Angela Morley
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City was recorded by John Richards at CTS, Bayswater, London to half-inch three-track tape.
Casino Royale by Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach's Casino Royale soundtrack has long been considered an audiophile delight on vinyl. The score was recorded at the Cine-Tele Sound (CTS) studios in Bayswater, London, by Jack Clegg. John Richards was the tape operator. Herb Alpert added his trumpet part in America's A&M studios to a spare channel on the half-inch tape.
Earth Star Voyager by Lalo Schifrin
The Earth Star Voyager two-part pilot with music by Lalo Schifrin was recorded by John Richards at Evergreen Studios. The engineer also recorded Lalo Schifrin's scores to Rush Hour (1998) and Face to Face (TV 1990).
Elmer Bernstein scores
The following list collates some of the engineers and locations of Elmer Bernstein's scores and LP re-recordings.
Airplane! - Dan Wallin. Apparently Paramount Stage M (must have been in the last of the Glen Glenn era prior to Record Plant Scoring's remodelling).
Buddy - Keith Grant.
Cape Fear - Shawn Murphy. One session with Keith Grant and the LSO at Abbey Road Studio 1.
Cast a Giant Shadow - John Norman. Apparently at CTS Studios, Bayswater, UK, according to CTS paperwork.
Caretakers, The - AVA A/AS-31 LP - John Norman.
Carpetbaggers, The - Dayton Burr "Bones" Howe at United Recorders, Hollywood.
Far from Heaven - Dan Wallin.
Ghostbusters - Robert Fernandez at the Warner Bros. Scoring Stage, Burbank, Los Angeles.
Great Escape - Vinton Vernon at Goldwyn Scoring Stage Seven.
Guns of the Magnificent Seven - Jack Clegg at CTS Studios, Bayswater, UK.
Hallelujah Trail, The - John Norman.
Hawaii - LP programme recorded by John Norman (who also recorded Henry Mancini's sequel, The Hawaiians).
Heavy Metal - Keith Grant at St Peter's Church, Surrey, UK.
Kill a Mockingbird, To - AVA A/AS-20 LP - Bill Putnam at United Recorders, Hollywood.
Last Man Standing - Keith Grant.
Magnificent Seven - Vinton Vernon at Goldwyn Scoring Stage Seven.
Marie Ward - Peter Kramper at Bavaria Musik Studios, Munich, Germany.
McQ - Dan Wallin.
Oscar - John Richards.
Rainmaker, The - Dan Wallin.
Rambling Rose - Brian Masterson at Angel Studios, Islington, UK.
Saturn 3 - Keith Grant.
Silencers, The - LP programme - "Mike McLaughlin for Columbia Pictures and John Norman for RCA Victor" says the LP sleeve.
Slipstream - Keith Grant at Abbey Road Studio 1, St John's Wood, UK.
Stripes - Dan Wallin.
Summer and Smoke - Phil Wisdom at the Paramount Scoring Stage, Los Angeles.
Trial of Billy Jack - Dan Wallin.
Zulu Dawn - Keith Grant at Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, UK.
Fahrenheit 451 by Bernard Herrmann
Released in November 1966, Fahrenheit 451 was recorded at the Denham Stage One Music Theatre. Eric Tomlinson recalled working on several Herrmann scores during the late 1960s and early 1970s at Denham as part of the Anvil Film and Recording Group. Film score archivist John Steven Lasher has also confirmed Denham as the scoring location.
Whilst no documentation has been cited to confirm Tomlinson as engineer (and memories are stretched to vividly recall) it is likely that he or Ken Cameron recorded the score. As this was prior to Anvil's modernisation of Denham, it is highly probable that the extant Westrex console was used to balance the tube condenser microphones connected to it.
Hitchcock's scores by Bernard Herrmann and others
The Trouble with Harry - 1955 - Paramount Studios.
The Man Who Knew Too Much - 1956 - "Storm Clouds" cantata recorded at Royal Albert Hall.
Vertigo - 1958 - Denham Stage One Music Theatre and Vienna.
Psycho - 1960 - Universal Stage 10.
Marnie - 1964 - Goldywn Stage Seven.
Torn Curtain - 1966 - Herrmann - Goldywn Stage Seven.
Torn Curtain - 1966 - Addison.
Topaz - 1969 - Jarre - United States in June 1969.
Frenzy - 1972 - Mancini - CTS Studios, Bayswater, engineered by John Richards. Mancini stated, in a video interview with Jimmy Carter, that he was "crushed" to have Frenzy's music rejected during dubbing of the film.
Frenzy - 1972 - Goodwin - Anvil Film and Recording Group, Denham, engineered by Eric Tomlinson.
Family Plot - Universal Stage 10 in January 1976.
Lawrence of Arabia by Maurice Jarre
Lawrence of Arabia was recorded by Red Law at Shepperton Studios. [Source: Eric Tomlinson]
Man with the Golden Arm by Elmer Bernstein
For The Man with the Golden Arm composer Elmer Bernstein wisely elicited the counsel of musicians Shelly Manne and Shorty Rogers in defining his influential jazz-flavoured score. It was a virtuoso choice of genre and musicianship to convey the environments inhabited by Frank Sinatra's character. Composing his thematic material within 20 days, Bernstein's score was realised by some 57 musicians and recorded on the RKO Scoring Stage. Due to technical limitations in studio space and monaural optical recording equipment, Bernstein elected to capture the "Main Title" in two passes, using a click track for guidance, to enable blending of the separate elements during assimilation with the film.
Patton by Jerry Goldsmith
The Patton score was recorded to sprocketed 35mm magnetic film at the 20th Century-Fox scoring stage in Los Angeles. Douglas O. Williams is likely to have engineered the Academy Award winning original sound mix.
Magnetic film runs at the rate of 18 IPS and does posses many sonic characteristics that make it attractive for sound recording. Due to the track surface area (in the order of quarter-inch) and flux density, 35mm magnetic film has the capability to capture a very wide dynamic range and high frequency response.
Unfortunately, magnetic film tends to lose these high frequencies over the years through playback and decomposition where the magnetic oxide delaminates from the backing film surface. Furthermore, long term storage often results in shrinkage and warping that produces appalling wow artefacts during playback. The application of digital noise reduction by Dan Hersch in mastering the Film Score Monthly CD presentation has further reduced the high frequency reach.
The Patton album re-recording was engineered by John Richards at the Cine-Tele Sound (CTS) studios in Bayswater, London. The recording was made to magnetic tape, most likely half-inch at 15 IPS, and probably encoded with Dolby-A.
Recording tape is a far more stable, predictable and workable medium. With exception of some stock from the mid 1970s to early 80s (such as Ampex), tape is exceptionally stable in storage.
It would be wonderful to see a CD issue of the invigorating Patton album re-recording from 1970. To my ears the only beneficial tweak would be a tasteful gain in the lower registers to more evenly distribute tone across the frequency spectrum. Intrada granted this wish in November 2010 by issuing a 2CD set (MAF 7110) containing both the original LP programme plus the original film tracks!
Quo Vadis by Miklos Rozsa
Quo Vadis was performed by the Royal Philharmonic with BBC Chorus and recorded at M-G-M Stage 7, Borehamwood, England in April of 1951. The scoring mixer was Ernest Arthur "Ted" Drake (b 1907), recordist was J.B. Smith and the recordings were supervised by Alfred Wilfred "AW" Watkins (b 1895; d 1970).
(Courtesy of Ed Nassour. Thanks, Ed!)
Spartacus by Alex North
From what I understand, Alex North agreed to score Spartacus in April 1959. The score was recorded on the famous Goldwyn Scoring Stage Seven. (Multiple sources confirm this.) Located on the corner of Formosa Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, the Samuel Goldwyn Studios were considered to be the foremost sound facility in Hollywood. The full Scoring Stage had dimensions of approximately 110 by 70 feet with a 30 foot ceiling. The total floor space was over 8,000 square feet. Unlike the other six stages at Goldwyn, Stage Seven was free-standing and not interconnected with another stage.
I'm not sure of exact recording dates for Spartacus but do know that scoring was in progress during June of 1960. One of many probable sessions. Murray Spivack (b 1903; d 1994) is likely to have led the music recording team however Vinton Vernon (b 1899; d 1991) was the scoring mixer. The usual miking technique adopted at Goldwyn concerned six RCA ribbon microphones employed in a close-shot and long-shot configuration with a handful of additional spot microphones.
Murray Spivack was born in Kiev, Ukraine, on 6 September 1903. Spivack commenced working life as a professional drummer at the age of 12 prior to immigration, with his family, to the United States in 1922. Hollywood beckoned in the late 1920s and Spivack embarked on a career in sound effects and music recording that would endure until the mid 1970s. He created sound effects for the original King Kong in 1933 and probably has the distinction of being the first music recordist credited on-screen for a film. A founder member of the Cinema Audio Society, Spivack secured an Oscar for his contributions to Hello Dolly!
It has been said that the Goldwyn Scoring Stage was modernised in the 1950s by Vinton Vernon and engineer Fred R. Wilson under the supervision of legendary film composer, Alfred Newman. Wilson invented the graphic equaliser and, in 1954, was presented a Class III Technical Award for doing so. In 1967 he was cited again for the creation of an audio level limiter.
The dubbing process for Spartacus took some 9 months to complete. Don Rogers was the recordist who operated the magnetic film machines during dubbing at Goldwyn. The six-track spread was prepared at Todd-AO. In 1970, Rogers was appointed successor to Goldwyn Chief Sound Engineer, Gordon Sawyer. Rogers later became the Technical Director of Sound at Warner Bros.
The Frank Sinatra album titled "The Concert Sinatra" was recorded at Goldwyn in 1963 and the album cover provides a glimpse into the inside of the venue. The full picture from the gatefold sleeve was photographed by Ted Allan and is available to view here.
By 1972 the Goldwyn Scoring Stage had fallen into disuse after 45 years capturing famous movie musicals and film scores alike. The site was acquired by Warner Bros. and later sold to a private consortium where it is now known as "The Lot."
A well-connected industry resource submits that the Spartacus score was actually performed on the Universal Scoring Stage. Violinist Paul Shure (b 1921; d 2010) is said to have performed on the sessions where Universal music department head Joseph Gershenson (b 1904; d 1988) assisted in co-ordinating the score.