Monday, June 8, 2009

Fifty years later: The thirty seconds he sold for $200

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make successful in entertainment.

--Steven Spielberg

A few months ago, I was musing about the sort of bill that can one day come due when, let's say, you're Bernie Taupin and you've just spent less than an hour on the phone with Elton John creating "Rocket Man," which will then go on to sell a gazillion records.

Here's another sobering example:

First, the outcome:

Now the back story:

In the late 1950s the CBS television network offered $200 to any composer who could write a catchy, creepy signature theme for its new sci-fi show, “The Twilight Zone.” The winner was Marius Constant, a French modernist composer of Romanian descent. Sadly, no other work by Constant, who died at 79 in 2004, will ever attain the pop-culture status of the “Twilight Zone” theme, 30 seconds of music that he tossed off in a single afternoon for kicks.

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