VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET
Composed and Conducted by Leigh Harline
THE DELICATE DELINQUENT
Composed and Conducted by Buddy Bregman
Itís hard to imagine just how popular Martin and Lewis were back in the day, but they were as big as it got, in both personal appearances and all their films together. But it all ended in 1956 with the pairís final film for Paramount, Hollywood or Bust. Lewis stayed at Paramount and began making solo pictures. Within a short time, he became Paramountís biggest star.
Visit to a Small Planet began life as a television play by Gore Vidal and then Vidal adapted it for the Broadway stage. The play was a hit, and Paramount bought the rights, turning it into a vehicle that was specifically tailored to Jerry Lewis
and jettisoning a good deal of the Vidal play in the process. Appearing alongside Lewis was a terrific supporting cast, including Fred Clark, John Williams
, Joan Blackman, Gale Gordon and Earl Holliman.
Visit to a Small Planet was yet another solo hit for Lewis. Aiding Lewis immeasurably in his hijinks is the delightful score by Leigh Harline
. Harlineís score for Visit to a Small Planet is a treasure, beginning with a melodic seven-note main theme that is impossible to get out of oneís head once itís been heard. Harline makes liberal use of the Theremin and keeps the comedy in the film plowing forward with his clever and infectious musical hijinks. There are a few nice source music cues, too, and the whole thing adds up to an entertaining and buoyant score.
The Delicate Delinquent was originally meant to be the Martin and Lewis follow-up to Hollywood or Bust, but when the partnership went bust the film was quickly retooled as a solo vehicle for Lewis, with the Martin role going to actor Darren McGavin. The scoring assignment fell to someone relatively new to film composition, a young wunderkind named Buddy Bregman
. Bregmanís score for The Delicate Delinquent is an undiscovered gem. His themes are tuneful and his scoring expert. The score starts out with a bang with the exciting main title Ė all bongos and drums and percussion until the dynamic orchestra enters with its propulsive rhythms and its jazzy pyrotechnics. There follows a lovely, bluesy theme for saxophone and orchestra and thatís followed by the main theme, a truly beautiful melody that will appear throughout the score, along with more of the big-band, jazzier stuff. Bregman never plays up the comedy Ė itís a straightforward score and itís one of the reasons the film holds up well today.
This is the world premiere release of both scores, taken from tapes housed in the Paramount vaults. These two scores in particular are very different from each other, but each is perfect for the film itís underscoring, and both are delightful to listen to on their own.