Monday, January 22, 2024

Johnson’s Musical Odyssey Ends

The Spy Command’s Bill Koenig brings news that Laurence “Laurie” Johnson, “a composer whose works included The Avengers TV show and 1964’s Dr. Strangelove, has died at 96 …”

Film and TV music historian Jon Burlingame elaborates in Variety:
Johnson was among the last of the prominent English film composers active during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. He scored “Dr. Strangelove” for Stanley Kubrick in 1964, along with such features as “Tiger Bay” (1959), the Werner von Braun biopic “I Aim at the Stars” (1960) and sci-fi and fantasy films “First Men in the Moon” (1964) and “Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter” (1972). But it was his music for “The Avengers,” the lighthearted and stylish teaming of troubleshooters John Steed and Emma Peel, winningly played by Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg, that gave him star status. Johnson came aboard for the fourth season of the British-made series, which aired in America starting in 1966.

He remained with the series after Rigg’s departure and the arrival of Linda Thorson as Tara King in the series’ sixth season. Johnson scored virtually every episode, “an unheard-of extravagance,” he once said. “Sometimes there would be as much as 30 minutes of music to be recorded and synchronized every week. Over the whole series I must have composed around 50 hours of music.”
Meanwhile, In Reference to Murder reports that “The Avengers, is getting a remake. StudioCanal, which owns the rights to The Avengers catalog, has been quietly plotting a reboot for some time, and a pilot has been written by Mickey Down and Konrad Kay (the writing team behind hit HBO/BBC series, Industry). Ben Taylor is a co-creator and will also direct the series and executive produce.”

There’s a bit more information about this project here.

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