Friday, November 21, 2008

Irving Gertz R.I.P.

Irving Gertz, the composer who worked on such films as The Incredible Shrinking Man and It Came From Outer Space passed on November 14 at the age of 93.

Irving Gertz was born in Providence, Rhode Island on May 19, 1915. He started playing various musical instruments while very young. He attended the Providence College of Music, and was taught privately by composer and music theorist Walter Piston. He was still a young composer when the Providence Symphony Orchestra was performing his music, but a fascination with film scores led him to take a job with Columbia Pictures in 1938.

Gertz's film career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in both the artillery and the Army Signal Corps. Gertz returned to Columbia after the war. He composed music for such films as Over the Santa Fe Trail and The Counterfeiters. He then went to work for NBC Radio, composing music for radio shows. In the early Fifties, he returned to film and joined Universal-International. Arguably, the Fifties was the height of Gertz's career. He composed memorable scores for such films as It Came From Outer Space, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Creature Walks Among Us, and To Hell and Back.

Gertz also worked in television, his first music for a TV show being for M Squad in 1957. He also worked on Daniel Boone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders, and Land of the Giants. Gertz also composed concert music, including such compositions as Leaves of Grass and Salute to All Nations.

Irving Gertz worked in Hollywood at a time when the studios employed multiple composers on films and those composers were rarely credited. Even so, There can be no doubt that Gertz was a talented composer. His music always fit the atmosphere of the movie he was a scoring. And he had a great sense of drama when it came to scoring films. If films such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and It Came From Outer Space are still loved today, it is largely because of Gertz's music.

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