The Valentino Production Music Library - Page 1


In the DVD commentary for the Criterion edition of The Blob, director Irvin Yeaworth mentions the love theme both he and his wife wrote for the film, and how its sale to a music library ensured the music had extra longevity, appearing in a number of films years after The Blob had come and gone from theatre screens.

Although Yeaworth doesn't specify which library carried his theme, the function of a music library was certainly an aid for filmmakers with special needs for their commercial work, be it TV, theatrical, short form, documentary, or adverts.

On the one hand, library or 'stock' music saved time in seeking out and deciding on a composer, then dealing with spotting sessions, notes, theme samples, and the waiting as music was written, recorded, transferred, and edited to fit the final edit of specific scenes.

Library music was ready-made, and with the movie well-familiar to the filmmakers (and certainly the sound and picture editor), it wasn't hard to find the right cue or cues. The only time spent was arguably listening to various samples, picking the music, and editing it into the final soundtrack.

The real trick was to make the music fit as a seamless score; not just as music filler in montages, but dramatically support the film.

Perhaps the use of library music was largely enjoyed by exploitation filmmakers because A) a bug-eyed monster was less attractive to a young musician/composer than a character drama; and B) most exploitationers were cheap, and music was probably the last ingredient to be slapped into a movie before a quick mix, prints were struck, and the film was shipped off to drive-ins, where it would play through crappy speakers. As long as the dialogue, key sound effects and music formed an active and coherent sound mix, it didn't matter whether the music might at times be a bit off-kilter, particularly when said el cheapo film was essentially composed of familiar scenes and sequences.

In Part 3 of our edited conversation with Monstrous Movie Music's David Schecter, the focus is on the nature of library music, its attraction to film music fans, some of the hurdles a soundtrack producer faces in identifying and ultimately releasing the music on CD, and the soundtrack label's future projects.



Mark R. Hasan: Is there a list where when you can look up a particular track's usage, or what films featured a specific cue from the Valentino library?


DS: Well, I basically posed the question you asked me verbatim to Thomas Valentino, and his answer was 'No.' and I said 'Oh, boy...'

For The Blob (and other creepy sounds), I went after the stuff that I was familiar with, and there were a lot of other cues in there where I said 'Oh, I know this music. Where have I heard it?' and I sent it around to a bunch of people who, like Bob Burns and people like that who have seen all these films a million times… would go 'Oh. Oh! I know track number 34.’

My guess is with every one of these cues I could fill up a fifty-page liner book with a list of all the places it was used, and that would be fun… I know I've heard them a lot, and a lot of people have heard them a lot. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I recognized some of the music in The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962).




MRH: The Blob CD features library cues from The Green Slime (1968) and Terror from the Year 5000 (1958), but when I noticed you included music from Brain, I was elated because it's one of my favourite bad films. It's completely ridiculous, and the music adds to the film’s fun because it accentuates the insanity of the whole production that I'm assuming the director was playing completely straight.


DS: Yes, I think he devoted 17 mins. to choosing the music for the picture… It's just a mish-mash. Sometimes it's effective, but mostly it's wildly inappropriate music selections that only heighten the comedic aspects of things, or play against them, but I don't know; there's something so bizarre about that picture. What's funny to me is all the people who write and say 'I really like The Blob, but I'm so happy you picked the music from The Brain That Wouldn't Die.'

Who would have thought!


MRH: There's also the odd music credit at the beginning “Theme Music: “The Web” by Abe Baker and Tony Restaino by permission of Laurel Records.”


DS: Exactly, and I think I looked that piece up and nobody knows what that is. That one little excerpt had nothing to do with the Valentino library, and in fact Brain That Wouldn't Die was not scored entirely from the Valentino library like all these low budget film. They licensed music from a bunch of different libraries for the same picture... and whoever wrote that one piece that's credited in the opening, maybe part of their demand was 'Well, I'll give it to you for free, but mention the name of my piece,' or something. It's kind of odd that that was mentioned, and not much else.

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