Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The "Peter Gunn Theme" by Henry Mancini

It was 100 years ago today that composer Henry Mancini was born in Maple Heights, Ohio. After serving in the United States Army Air Forces, he became a pianist and arranger for the re-organized Glenn Miller Orchestra (Glenn Miller had gone missing in a plane over the English Channel on December 15 1944). In 1952 he became part of the music department at Universal-International. At Universal-International he contributed to such movies as The Glenn Miller Story (1954), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Destry (1954), Tarantula (1955), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), and others.

Henry Mancini left Universal-International became a freelance composer and arranger in 1958, at which point he did some of his most famous work. He was responsible for the music on the hit television show Peter Gunn, including writing the show's iconic theme. The "Peter Gunn Theme" proved to be a hit, reaching no. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and no. 12 on the R&B chart. Henry Mancini would later record different versions of the theme (including one for the 1967 feature film Gunn).

Of course, Henry Mancini would go onto yet more success following Peter Gunn. He was responsible for the music on the TV show Mr. Lucky. While that show was not as successful as Peter Gunn, its theme proved to be a hit, going to no. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. He would go onto compose the song "Moon River for Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), the iconic Pink Panther theme, and music for movies from The Great Race (1965) to Victor/Victoria (1982).

In tribute to the 100th anniversary of Henry Mancini's birth, there is the "Peter Gunn Theme."

1 comment:

Mike's Movie Room said...

Oh man, I love the music from Peter Gunn! In fact, I love the series, and have it on DVD. I have two vinyl copies of the original LP, and would love to get the follow up LP, More Music From Peter Gunn. Mancini composed so much incredible music. One of my favorite movie themes is the one he did for Soldier in the Rain (1962), which, for some strange reason, was taken out of the film at some point. It's one of the most beautiful, most emotional pieces ever written.