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Baby Steps (1977-1978)

Rocketship X-M is a well-mastered album, but more important, it established a template for presenting a score in its most complete form, with a rare bonus track: Dr. Samuel Hoffman performing a Theremin solo of "Lisa's Theme." (While Grofé's score remains unavailable, as of this writing, on CD, Hoffman's theme rendition - unused in the final film - appeared in 2000 on Vol. 4 of Rhino's Brain in a Box set.)

Continues O'Quinn: "Of course, one of the things that always irritated me about soundtrack albums [is where studios like] MGM would put out an album to a musical show they'd done... and they'd cut the dance music ... to a two and a half minute track, and that was it. That used to irritate the hell out of me! If they had a seven minute dance number in the movie, I wanted the whole music; and the same was true of dramatic scores. To me the fascinating stuff was that track that got cut out of the movie, or that sort of thing."

For X-M O'Quinn discovered the discs were indeed the original studio masters, which proved ideal for the proposed soundtrack album. "The only backup they had in those days were these big old lacquered discs... I wanted to put all that stuff in there and make it historically important and complete, because there's no point in doing an album to Rocketship X-M and having people way, ‘Well, I liked it, but they didn't put everything they could have [on] there.' I didn't ever want that complaint leveled against what I was doing because I had that same complaint.

"I was very driven at the time to preserve, like Elmer Bernstein, the history of movie music, and to get more respect for it. The fact that there'd been a classical composer writing cheap movie scores seemed sort of typical of the movies, too. To this day, Hollywood doesn't take science fiction movies seriously when it comes to awards or anything, and by the same token, other than John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (and a few people like that who appreciate the musical value of scores that were written for basically inexpensive movies), there wasn't much support.

"That became a little cause of mine... My partner [Norman Jacobs] thought I was crazy, but he kind of indulged me in this because he knew it was something I loved, and also because we were at a point in the company when he could afford to indulge me a little bit and let me try something and see if it worked... [I also] hooked up with Varese Sarabande Records, which was at the time kind of a small company. I knew the guys involved, and I came out here to L.A., talked with them, and we decided to sort of team up: they would be the releasing label, and they'd put their stamp on it as well. So we began to do Starlog-Varese Sarabande co-productions: they would distribute to stores, and we would sell it through the magazines... We realized that these were never going to be a Barbara Streisand hit or something like that, but there was a certain audience for them, the music was good, and we thought that, in the long run, these albums would go on selling through the years."

Kerry O'Quinn came off the X-M project exhilarated. "There were a lot of things that went into my being interested in putting out that album – not the least of which was the score by a great American composer... I got Kelly Freas to do artwork for the cover, and I wrote the liner notes and produced the album, and I said, ‘God, I love this. This is what I was born to do.' So then I got ambitious, and hired an assistant to work with me on doing things like that, and we began to check on things like rights for When Worlds Collide and War of the Worlds, and some of the old George Pal movies that had never been released."

Review at Soundtrack.net!

Read about Elmer Bernsteins FMC series!

Read the REVIEW!


Read O'Quinn's Lner Notes!

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