Monday, October 19, 2009

RIP Vic Mizzy

Vic Mizzy, a film and television composer best known for writing the
memorable theme songs for the 1960s sit-coms Green Acres and The
Addams Family, has died. He was 93.

Mizzy died of heart failure Saturday at his home in Los Angeles' Bel-
Air neighborhood, said Scott Harper, a friend and fellow composer.

A veteran writer of popular songs such as There's a Faraway Look in
Your Eye and Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes, Mizzy launched his TV career in
1960 when he was asked to compose music for the dramatic anthology
series ``Moment of Fear.''

Then came an offbeat assignment: The Addams Family, the 1964-66 TV
series based on Charles Addams' macabre magazine cartoons and starring
John Astin as Gomez Addams and Carolyn Jones as his wife, Morticia.

For his theme song, Mizzy played a harpsichord, which gives the theme
its unique flavor. And because Filmways refused to pay for singers,
Mizzy sang it himself and overdubbed it three times.

The song, memorably punctuated by finger-snapping, begins with:
``They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're
altogether ooky: the Addams family.''

In the 1996 book TV's Biggest Hits: The Story of Television Themes
From `Dragnet' to `Friends,' '' author Jon Burlingame writes that
Mizzy's ``musical conception was so specific that he became deeply
involved with the filming of the main-title sequence, which involved
all seven actors snapping their fingers in carefully timed rhythm to
Mizzy's music.''

For Mizzy, who owned the publishing rights to The Addams Family theme,
it was an easy payday.

``I sat down; I went `buh-buh-buh-bump (snap snap), buh-buh-buh-
bump,'' he recalled in a 2008 interview on CBS' ``Sunday Morning''
show. ``That's why I'm living in Bel-Air: Two finger snaps, and you
live in Bel-Air.''

The season after The Addams Family debuted, Mizzy composed the title
song for Green Acres, the 1965-71 rural comedy starring Eddie Albert
and Eva Gabor.

For Green Acres, Burlingame observed in his book, Mizzy ``again
conceived the title song as intertwined with the visuals'' of the
show's opening title sequence and telling the story of wealthy Oliver
and Lisa Douglas moving from New York City to a farm in the country.

Burlingame on Monday described the themes for The Addams Family and
Green Acres as ``two of the best-remembered sit-com themes of all

Born: 1/9/1922, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 10/17/2009, Bel Air, California, U.S.A.

Vic Mizzy's westerns - composer:
The Yellow Rose of Texas - 1944
Rockin' in the Rockies - 1945
The Shakiest Gun in the West - 1968

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